The second episode of “Extrapolations” on Apple + holds a mirror to the unrestrained greed of humankind that doesn’t stop even when there’s nothing more left to steal from. Rebecca Shearer, whom we last saw in “Extrapolations” Episode 1, is seen as a researcher in Menagerie2100, nine years after applying for a job there. Her current responsibility is communicating with a humpback whale to gather information about her species using the voice of a male humpback that even Becca hasn’t seen. Unfortunately, there’s a sadder story that the organization hides, and here’s what happens to the male humpback whale.
The Advancements In Science
It’s the year 2046, and more than 400,000 species have gone extinct in this century. Rebecca Shearer’s son, whom she gave birth to in “Extrapolations” Episode 1, is now nine years old, and she wakes her son Ezra up and tells him he fell asleep with the TV on, where his grandmother Eve (Meryl Streep) stays frozen. He wakes up and says his grandma was telling him the story of elephants, a species that has gone extinct. Ezra needs to go to school, and he hopes it’s not going to be an orange day, but Rebecca learns from the weather monitor that there’s an orange alert out for the day in the city of Cali, in Colombia. Becca speaks to an acquaintance from a rival firm of Menagerie2100, and the employee from TomorrowZoo tells her that he hasn’t spotted a single humpback whale and asks if she has any information on the creature. After a bit of hesitation, Becca says she had one she was talking to the previous week, but she’s gone, and Becca can’t re-establish contact with her anymore. The problem is that krill, the primary food source for humpbacks, is almost exhausted, and without the whale, Menagerie will shut down Becca’s division in trying to communicate with the lone whale. Becca’s reverie is disturbed by her pet beagle as the news monitor on the dog’s neck reports of the possibility of cardiac arrests due to extreme heat, in conditions known as “summer heart,” and for some reason, Becca turns down the news with a little deliberation.
The Burning Planet
While seeing Ezra off to school, Becca reminds him to keep the blue badge on him at all times—it’s a heart monitor. Ezra, much like everyone else stepping outside, has to wear full-sleeve shirts, masks, and caps to protect himself from the sun’s rays. As Becca boards the helicopter to head to her worksite, she plays an audio recording of a woman’s voice, who says that when her child came into the world, he didn’t understand anything but just needed his mother, and the woman was everything for him. Becca remembers the time Omar and she watched the infant Ezra in the hospital as the forest fires raged on underneath. She asks the woman where her child is now, and we get to see a humpback with its child. The woman’s voice says the child has gone beyond what her voice can reach, and she wants her child to return. The school nurse tells Ezra that with the forest fires burning, he needs to ensure his oxygen supply is continuous, and the badge should be kept blue—it’s a heart monitoring device that alerts a drop in blood oxygen by turning red. At lunchtime, a few older kids bully Ezra for saying his mother saw a tiger—a species that’s been extinct for decades—and even when another girl alerts him to keep a watch on his heart monitor, the kid loses his temper, and his badge turns red.
Before Rebecca can descend to the ocean to try re-establishing contact with the humpback she’s looking for, her boss arrives and urges her to speed things up because a lot of money and time is being invested in this project. By this time, science has become so advanced that animal noises can be recorded and converted to human language, and human speech can be converted into sounds that animals understand, enabling communication between the two species; this is how Becca was communicating with the whale. While listening to a record of the whale, she plays a symphony by Gustav Mahler and broadcasts to the whale that the voice she’s using for her is that of her mother, Eve, who’s no longer with Becca anymore. While she continues speaking about her mother and wishes for the whale to return, an alarm makes her rush upstairs, and she reaches her son’s school to find Ezra had an episode, and because of complications during his birth, he runs the risk of dying due to extreme heat if he’s outside. The nurse says that he fell sick after a few older boys teased him, and there was another girl who has the “summer heart” condition.
At dinner, we hear Nick Bilton’s voice, as he announces the latest pharmaceuticals by Alpha Industries, while Ezra asks if his father also had summer heart, but Becca says Omar was born in 1999, and no one had a condition like that back then. Unfortunately, his father died in a storm in Manila. Ezra says he heard in school that people with summer hearts don’t survive beyond 30, but Becca says that by then, some device will be discovered that’ll help him live until 90. In his room, Ezra plays a game of virtual snowmaking with his friend, who had warned him in school. The next day, Rebecca finally establishes contact with the humpback, who returns to communicate with her and tells her that the previous night she heard the singing of a male and asks for his location. Becca promises to find the male because the whale wants to become a mother, and she also confirms that if the male is here, that means there’s enough food for them to sustain themselves. Later, Becca speaks with her boss, who tells her that if the whale is provided with enough food, she’ll be able to mate with the male, but adult humpbacks require 3,000 pounds of krill daily. The boss says she’ll discuss the food quantity internally, but having the humpback will really help their organization. The boss’s associate Hendricks tells her that feeding a whale while people in Asia starve due to drought will be horrible, and she wants to be done with the experiment before the week’s over and things are revealed.
The Evils Of Mankind
Ezra listens to his grandmother read a book for him while his mother works on the whale’s sounds, and Ezra asks his mom if the whale sounds like the orangutan she worked on. Becca says that the orangutan sounded like his dad Omar because she missed him, while the whale sounds like his grandmother Eve. Meanwhile, Menagerie2100 has struck a deal with Nick Bilton’s Alpha Industries because their mission statement involves identifying what part of the present has a place in the future, and Hendricks tells his boss that the package is very impressive. Becca makes Ezra feed a monkey that visits them and continues speaking to the whale until one day; she finds Hendricks waiting for her. He tells her that instead of using her mother’s voice, she needs to use the AI-generated voice to avoid attachment and notes that she’d done the same with an orangutan. She reminds him of the divers that could check on the male along with gathering a DNA sample, but Hendricks tells her there’ll be no DNA samples because there was no male at all, and the sounds the female heard were those of a whale that had died seven years ago, and it was all a ploy to extract information from the female. Becca is furious, and before storming out, she tells Hendricks she’s a highly sophisticated creature, but the man says that unless her brain is emptied before she realizes she’s the last of her species, they won’t have a business anymore. Becca barges into her office and chastises her boss for the crimes of the human population against a species like the humpback whale and how, after bringing the whole population down, when there’s just one of them left, they chose to lie to her. Her boss tells her that if they were honest, the whale would have to know that there’s nothing left to turn to before sending her packing for Alaska, while Hendricks can finish the task here. Becca follows her and asks if they plan to make the whale beach herself, so their rivals don’t get their hands on the last of the species. The boss excuses herself while Hendricks plays the male’s voice continuously on loop to bring the female in.
At her home, Becca looks at the video of her mother, Eve, reciting a poem and faltering until Becca in the video—a little younger back then—asks her mother to stop and expresses her anger at Eve because she lied to her daughter. Eve told Becca that she was getting better while her liver cancer metastasized, but since Becca was working with elephants back then, neither Eve nor Omar called her. However, Eve says there’s no point thinking about the future because all they have is the present, as Becca lies down on her mother’s lap, crying. The next day, Becca goes to the facility and finds the male’s voice in a continuous loop of saying, “there’s no path,” so she stops the broadcast, pauses the recording, and tells the humpback that it was all a lie. Becca has to explain that the male didn’t appear in front of the female because he was dead, and the female can’t understand how the voice of a previous time can be used. The animal can’t understand what the word “lie” means, so Becca has to tell her that the male wasn’t real, and the humans want its information for themselves. She then tells the whale that a time may come when the whales may return, but it’ll take time. At her office, Becca tells her boss that the whale has escaped and can’t be traced, so the boss gives up and asks her to head to Alaska to work with a wolf to extract information.
As the Shearers plan on moving, Becca gives Ezra a stuffed humpback whale, and like every animal that has gone extinct, including elephants, tigers, and orangutans, the toy recounts details about the humpback. The mother and son take a boat to the location where the humpback is, and Becca descends with an instrument. The duo jumps into the water to wait for the whale. As a conversation between the whale and Becca is heard in the background over music, Ezra watches the humpback leap out of the water to dive back in. Becca can be heard telling the whale to warn her species about humans and the evils they can do and to keep them away from any more humans.
‘Extrapolations’ Episode 2: Ending Explained – What Happened To The Male Humpback Whale?
In the heart-wrenching second episode of “Extrapolations,” it’s revealed just how low big organizations can stoop to make a profit. In 2014, when 400,000 species, including the elephant and tiger, had gone extinct, Menagerie 2100 tried studying the remaining animals so that they could bring back their exclusive prototypes. One such prototype they’re trying to research is the last remaining member of the humpback whale species, and Rebecca Shearer from “Extrapolations” Episode 1 tries to establish communication with the animal. According to Menagerie, there’s a male that can be heard, which has attracted the female, and she wants to mate, but Becca is enraged to learn that there was no male in the first place. Menagerie2100 used the recorded voice of a male that’s been dead for seven years to extract information from the female while she kept searching for her potential mate. There never was any male, and it was all a ruse to gain a higher profit by having an exclusive humpback. The cruel organization might’ve even told the whale to beach herself afterward so that the rival company couldn’t gather information from her.
However, Becca revealed the whole plan to the whale and asked her to escape far away from the area. In the end, the humpback revealed herself to Ezra, who had only seen the stuffed toys of extinct animals, so for him, this was present like no other. Becca also warned the whale never to trust humans again, warning her of the destruction her species had unleashed upon the world.