DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse contains more spoilers than the number of times Avasarala has spewed expletives. Our favorite politician possesses a colorful vocabulary. You’ve been warned. Prepare for galactic war, and enter at your own peril.
Welcome back, Belters! The Expanse kept the energy flowing from last week’s premiere with its second episode. Bobbie and Avasarala were ruthlessly hunted down by the U.N.N. Escort Ship courtesy of Errinwright. Bobbie was putting the pedal to the metal as she sped across the galaxy. However, the speeding was slowly suffocating Avasarala. But all was not lost, for the Roci crew swooped in and saved our duo! Okay, I realize the ship is now christened as the Contorta, but it just doesn’t roll off the tongue like Rocinante. Meanwhile, Secretary-General Gillis called in for backup, utilizing his old friend Anna to calm the masses. War is scary, y’all.
Time to flip and burn! Ready to delve into “IFF?” Just be sure to give Holden some time to get used to a life without coffee. Caffeine withdrawals are no joke.
We open with Mei (Leah Jung) abruptly waking, terrified from a dream she had involving her father Prax (Terry Chen). Dr. Strickland (Ted Atherton) looms over her, extricating her from a pod-like device where she was sleeping. They’re in the decomissioned helium refinery on Io, the desired destination of our Roci crew. Mei wishes to see her father, but Strickland has other nefarious, bad guy things in mind. More testing, for one. He attempts to soothe her anxiety, shooing her off for a routine checkup. Methinks Strickland has an evil agenda regarding the kidnapped children of Ganymede. Time to do some digging!
Next, Jules-Pierre Mao (Francois Chao) arrives at the Io station. He is not a happy camper. Errinwright is demanding Mao hand over the protomolecule, but the latter knows the elusive substance will be used to fuel the war.
Meanwhile, Bobbie (Frankie Adams) and Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) are navigating the remnants of debris left over from Errinwright’s missiles. Our duo believes said debris is the destroyed docking ship containing Cotyar and Theo. Bobbie offers her condolences, but Avasarala throws them back in her face. Our favorite politician’s theory is if you aren’t the catalyst of the deceased’s destruction, then why be sorry? Avasarala wonders why they aren’t speeding away from the still roaming U.N.N. Escort Ship. Bobbie believes that would alert said ship to their presence, and give them enough time to fire missiles in their direction. Traveling incognito is the name of the game.
Well, until someone spots you. The U.N.N. Escort Ship locks its eyes on the racing ship. Bobbie kicks it into high gear. Avasarala isn’t used to feeling the pressure from the drastic speed increase. Bobbie notes that if they continue at this speed, it could kill Avasarala. Avasarala asks if Bobbie has a com system in her fancy pants suit. Maybe she could reach out to someone for help. Bobbie hops on this suggestion, but decides to omit their identities since, you know, she’s wanted for desertion and Avasarala is a war criminal. Bobbie sends a distress signal, calling for help.
Later, we see Holden (Steven Strait) enter the kitchen on the Roci. He reaches for a mug, but with the coffee maker out of commission he’s certainly not crafting the perfect cup of joe. Perhaps he’s taking Prax’s insightful suggestion and trying out tea. Holden spots a vast array of plants covering the kitchen table. Said plants are everywhere, really, seemingly taking over the ship. Prax and Amos (Wes Chatham) are the culprits behind the plant invasion. Since their oxygen levels are running low, the plants will help alleviate that problem. Smart thinking!
Then, Naomi (Dominique Tipper) and Alex (Cas Anvar) are discussing the ship’s fuel reserves. Naomi hopes to tweak the “burn” exuding from the engines so they can make their resources last longer. Get on with your bad engineer self, Naomi.
Suddenly, Alex receives a distress signal from an unidentified source. He uses the IFF (Identify Friend or Foe) system to get more information. Should our crew help out someone in need and deviate from their mission to Io? Or should they ignore their heroic instincts to help Prax? Quite the moral conundrum they’ve got here.
Meanwhile, on Earth, riotous protesting has commenced outside the United Nations in NYC. Police are exacting violence on the protesters, and one man is unjustly injured amid the chaos. A woman named Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell) leans down to help. She demands the police escort this man to get the medical attention he needs. They reluctantly follow suit. I already like Anna solely based on the two minutes she’s been on my screen. She’s assertive, but not maliciously so. Her compassion and intellect is evident. We see her being led into Secretary-General Gillis’ (Jonathan Whittaker) office. Gillis is having a meeting with Errinwright (Shawn Doyle). Gillis shoos Errinwright away as he embraces Anna.
As it turns out, Anna is a Reverend Doctor who runs a church. She’s also an old friend of our Sec-General. He called Anna here for a reason, that reason being he needs someone to write his speech to the General Assembly. Gillis hopes Anna will help pacify the protesting masses, inject calm into the anxious crowd. Now, Anna will do this on one condition – Gillis monetarily supports the medical facility in her church for a year. Gillis heartily agrees to this, and Anna shacks up in the UN for the unforeseeable future.
Next, Alex and Naomi approach Holden with the distress signal news. Holden gives it a hard pass, citing that they must focus on aiding Prax in his mission to find Mei. It’s a difficult quandary, indeed. However, I don’t think Holden will suppress his heroic side for long. Just keep working on him, Alex.
Meanwhile, Strickland is updating Mao on the latest tests regarding the protomolecule. Remember the hybrid creature from the Season 2 finale? There’s hundreds more like it on Io. Strickland believes the hybrid is key to keeping the universe in check. That Supreme Leader Snoke-looking thing? Seriously, it looks like Snoke’s second cousin twice removed.
Then, we’re back with Bobbie and Avasarala as they attempt to evade the U.N.N. ship. Avasarala momentarily loses consciousness when the speed increase continues. Bobbie gives her pointers on how to prevent fainting. Whistling helps keep the breath circulating. Squeezing the thighs aids in blood flow. Maybe I’ll try this next time I’m in a racing ship in space being gunned down by the United Nations.
Next, Avasarala passes out again as the U.N.N. ship launches its missiles. Bobbie thinks they’re done for. However, said missiles stop dead in their tracks and explode. What the what? Missiles aren’t supposed to do that…
Now, the Roci crew is launching into action. As it turns out, they stopped the missiles and are saving the day. Holden, you big softie! Amos asks Prax why he’s okay with this decision. Why is he fine with putting Mei on the back burner? Prax is reticent of what he might find where Mei is concerned, and rightfully so. Strickland is doing some shady s**t with the Ganymede kids.
Meanwhile, Anna calls her wife and daughter for a brief chat. She’s a pastor who’s married to a woman? Just when I thought I couldn’t love this new character more. Anyway, she explains that her stay with the UN is indefinite, and that she must write a speech for Gillis. Hey, it’s apparently for the good of the war.
Later, Anna is having dinner with Gillis. She receives a video call from the protester she helped earlier. He’s happily showing off his cast. She smiles at the sight. Gillis rejoins her after having a side conversation with Errinwright. Anna and Errinwright butt heads over a heated topic, and once again my love for her grows. Anyone that can take on the snake-like Errinwright is a gem in my book.
Next, we see the Roci crew hard at work fighting off the encroaching U.N.N. ship. Bobbie is continuing to evade capture, with Avasarala slowly losing life in the fray. Hurry, guys! She needs medical attention stat. Prax and Amos are strapped in for the fight. Suddenly, the tool table that was supposed to be locked snaps open. Every sharp instrument contained within flies outward, and with each jerk of the Roci said tools dart about aimlessly. They rain on Amos and Prax, who try to avoid any potential injuries. However, one of the tools inadvertently releases Prax’s oxygen tube so it’s no longer secured to the source. Prax, in a panic, grasps at his throat. Uh oh. That can’t be good…
Meanwhile, Strickland reveals to Mao that the reason he hand selected these particular Ganymede children is that they possess a rare genetic condition. Said condition is only active due to Ganymede’s atmosphere. Thus, this genetic predisposition is perfect for keeping the protomolecule at bay, as Mao previously pointed out how difficult it is to keep it in check. Interesting. But, there are side effects. Mei reunites with her friend Katoa (Jaeden Noel) in the checkup area. He rolls up his sleeve to reveal his arm. We see it glow a luminescent icy blue, just like the protomolecule. Of course, the young boy sees this as a burgeoning new superpower.
Then, Amos releases himself from his seat to help Prax. We see his body fly to and fro with the movements of the ship. The special effects team for The Expanse deserves a hefty raise, as this scene was beautifully shot. Thankfully, Amos makes it to Prax in time to secure the latter’s oxygen tube. Prax can finally breathe again. Success!
Next, our Roci crew continues to get the upper hand on the U.N.N. ship. Finally, after some back and forth, they disable the Escort Ship. The good guys win! Take that, Errinwright and Mao!
Later, Amos and Prax are seen cleaning up in the aftermath of the galactic scuffle. Amos urges Prax to continue his search for Mei. Family is important, especially for growing children. Who knew Amos had this soft side to him?
Then, the Roci attaches itself to the racing ship so Bobbie and Avasarala can board. Avasarala has completely lost consciousness at this point, and is precariously perched on the brink of death. Bobbie carries her across a glass-like tunnel that the Roci attached to the racing ship. Our Roci crew is on the other side, waiting for Bobbie and Avasarala. Once the doors open, Bobbie pleads with the crew to help them. Holden immediately recognizes Avasarala. And, once again, The Expanse ends on a cliff hanger that makes me hunger for more. Curse you, SyFy!
The Expanse is continuing its streak of solid storytelling. Everything from the beautiful special effects and the wide shots of the solar system to the explosive fight scenes are pitch perfect. Not to mention, every single woman on this show kicks so much a**. Representation matters, and it’s not in short supply on this show. These are strong female role models that young girls can definitely look up to. Also, the addition of Anna and the always superb Mitchell was an A+ choice. I can’t wait to see David Strathairn make his highly anticipated debut.
Do you think the Roci crew can save Avasarala? How will the crew react to the remnant of protomolecule that’s still on the ship? Can they reach Io in time to save Mei? How long before the UN discovers that Errinwright is the turncoat? Join me next week as I continue to recap The Expanse, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Expanse airs Wednesdays at 9pm on your SyFy affiliate.