Welcome to the Ending Explained for Extrapolations, Episode 3, titled “The Fifth Question.” This episode marks the first batch of episodes that Apple TV+ has made available to the public. From now on, the series will become a weekly release. The series was created by Scott Z. Burns, who jumped to fame during the pandemic for having written the fantastic film Contagion. This movie truly depicted what could happen during a proper pandemic, which was something we all lived through in the past three years.
Extrapolations is an anthology series, meaning that each episode focuses on a particular set of characters and follows their story independently of what happens to other characters in previous or future episodes. Because of it, each episode could be seen on its own. It is pretty cool to see all these stories telling us what the world could be like in the next couple of decades if we don’t stop destroying it by mining and polluting it. This is a bleak TV series, even when trying to be hopeful and charming. The truth doesn’t care about your feelings, though. The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Extrapolations, Episode 3. Read at your own risk.
Why Is Marshall in Miami?
The third episode of Extrapolations takes us to the land of Miami in the year 2047. Here, we meet another character from the first episode and follow through on that story. That character is Marshall Zucker. In episode one, we saw him having a deep conflict with his father. This businessman couldn’t see anything else in the future than having more and more money, even helping those who are destroying the planet in the process. Meanwhile, Marshall was becoming a rabbi in Israel, and his mind was set on having his career there.
However, when his mother got sick and his father died, Marshall decided to move to Miami and start working with his father’s associates. Now Marshall is the rabbi of a temple in Miami, but the rising sea levels have made the city of Miami a sort of swamp; the people who lived near the ocean have all been relocated, and important buildings are going through a selection process to see if they can be preserved. It all seems very futile, though, because as the sea levels rise, nothing can stop the incoming flood.
Marshall tries to save the temple by appealing to the preservation committee, but his presentation lacks the grease of palms and is rejected. Marshall also discovers that the weather does not favor his mother either. The temperatures keep rising, meaning her mother could suffer from another episode and probably die. We see that Marshall doesn’t want to let his mother go, but she decides to go to Chicago with her sister and tells Marshall he should stay in Miami because people need him.
Marshall is clearly being assailed on all fronts, and it is quite a frustrating thing to see. We can see a change between his character in the first episode and this one. In just nine years, the world has eaten up Marshall’s hope. He also starts having a conflict of faith, as he sees that God might not be the answer to every single question in the universe. During this period of conflict and crisis, Marshall meets Alana, a thirteen-year-old girl who is also having an existential crisis.
Why Is God Doing This to Us?
Alana Goldblatt might be the best character in the show so far. The young thirteen-year-old girl is a force of nature, and she has a ton of questions. Alana has a strained relationship with her father, who is the son of an associate of Marshall’s father. Alana knows his father is a liar and that he has built his fortune by stepping on others and leaving the poor without options. Alana’s father clearly represents the capitalist system, which Scott Z. Burns sees as one of the main causes of the global warming issue.
Alana and his family begin to go to Marshall’s temple, and there Alana confronts Marshall. Alana asks why God is doing this to us. To her surprise, and the audience’s, the adults all seem baffled about what she means. God is doing what? They ask her multiple times as if they are blind to the incredible amount of tragedy that is happening every single day in the world. The city of Miami is going to disappear, pandemics are sparking every single week, and there is war and famine on unprecedented levels, and yet, most people don’t think it has anything to do with them at all.
Alana is clearly frustrated about this, but she keeps conversing with Marshall. The types of conversations she can have with her father. When her grandfather dies, the FBI arrives to arrest Alana’s father. He is being arrested for all kinds of extortion and bribery. Alana’s bat mitzvah arrives, and Marshall suggests a passage from Sodom and Gomorrah. Alana links this story to her world, and she snaps during the ceremony. Marshall is reminded of how he used to be and resigns his position as a rabbi, knowing he has lost his way.
The 41st storm of the year arrives, and a category four hurricane named Stanley. Marshall arrives at the time, knowing that he needs to save the ancient Torah that is kept in the building. He receives help from a pump technician he met before, and they manage to save the ancient relic. Everyone is relocated to Tallahassee, and Marshall and Alana meet again. Marshall finally answers Alana’s question, and Marshall answers that it is not up to God to save the world but up to us.