DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse contains more spoilers than the number of times Bobbie has had to fight her way out of a situation. Never underestimate a Martian marine. You’ve been warned. Prepare for interplanetary war, and enter at your own peril.
Welcome back, Belters! The Expanse pulled zero punches this week. The stakes have never been higher, folks. For starters, Earth sought to decimate Mars’ missile reserves. Of course, success seemed inevitable when four out of five of said reserves were eliminated. However, one missile seeped through the cracks, landing smack dab in South America, in a city with a population of two million. Two million lives needlessly lost. Not to mention, Errinwright did what he does best in this episode – manipulate, manipulate, manipulate. He was the one who convinced Sec-General Gillis to destroy Mar’s missile reserves. But when the plan ultimately backfired, he threw Gillis under the bus. A snake personified.
Alright, ready to delve into “Assured Destruction?” Just be sure to give Alex’s lasagna a try. You know Mars is well known for its natural, homegrown cheese.
We open where we left off – on the Roci. Sorry, I refuse to refer to it as the “Contorta.” Roci forever, baby. Anyway, Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) is recovering in the medical bay after almost dying from high-g speed. Holden (Steven Strait) is observing her, making sure everything is up to snuff.
Meanwhile, Bobbie (Frankie Adams) notices that the MCRN logo has been “defiled.” She angrily demands to know why, and Amos (Wes Chatham) replies that he painted over it to avoid detection. Seems like the logical thing to do when you’ve been dubbed interplanetary criminals. Alex (Cas Anvar) tries to pacify Bobbie, you know – Martian to Martian. However, Bobbie is not falling for our favorite pilot’s “Southern” charms. Naomi (Dominique Tipper) demands to know why Bobbie and Avasarala were being chased by a U.N.N. Escort Ship, but the latter stays tight lipped on the matter. Holden arrives to obliterate the tension, and informs Bobbie that she’s free to leave if she so chooses.
Later, Naomi pulls Holden aside and urges him to reconsider his role in the grand scheme of things. He could really do some good. However, Holden dismisses her and suggests she take the racing ship to Tycho should Bobbie and Avasarala decide to stay. Of course, this would mean our dueling lovebirds would separate. I don’t know about you, but I just want everyone to be happy. That includes Naolden (my ship name for Holden and Naomi).
Next, we see the UN Security Council session is in full swing, with Sec-General Gillis (Jonathan Whittaker) and Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) at the helm. Gillis learns that the Martians possess five “platforms,” each containing an overabundance of missiles…missiles that could be aimed at Earth at any given moment. Errinwright believes Earth has the capabilities to destroy said platforms simultaneously, before the Martians catch wind of it. Seems risky. Luckily, Gillis is reticent to incite an attack of this caliber, especially considering how deadly the repercussions could be. Errinwright tries to convince Gillis that yes, there will be casualties, but destroying the platforms could potentially save more lives. Isn’t that worth the cost? War is brutal, y’all. Gillis decides to sleep on it.
Meanwhile, Cotyar (Nick E. Tarabay) is still alive! Woo hoo! As it turns out, he and Theo (David Tompa) successfully evaded the U.N.N. Escort Ship. Now, we see a Jupiter vessel called the Agatha King has received the distress call Theo sent out from the docking ship. Said vessel is about to close in on our pair. However, Theo is already embroiled in a full-on panic attack, with Cotyar attempting to soothe the former’s nerves. Well, he actually kills Theo which could be considered a form of consolation, if you’re a glass half full type of murderer.
Later, in the helium refinery on Io, Jules-Pierre Mao (Francois Chau) observes Mei (Leah Madison Jung) playing with her friend Katoa (Jaeden Noel). Katoa has developed some pretty sweet abilities thanks to the protomolecule. He begins swinging from metal beam to metal beam with incredible agility. This is his superhero origin story. Or his villain origin story, depending on how he fares being fused with the protomolecule.
Then, we see Amos is removing some stitches from Prax’s (Terry Chen) head. Amos decides to divulge some of his backstory. He was born and raised in Baltimore, where he learned the importance of survival at all costs. However, Amos found that convincing everyone of his death was the only true way to survive. That’s how he escaped Baltimore. Maryland, am I right?
Meanwhile, Avasarala has awoken! Holden pays our favorite politician in the med bay. She explains the real reason they were being chased by the UN – Errinwright’s betrayal, Avasarala attempting to turn in Jules-Pierre Mao, etc. Avasarala has all the incriminating evidence she needs to put Errinwright away, she just needs Holden to drop her off at the nearest port. Holden blatantly refuses, citing that the Roci is on course for Io in the hopes of finding Prax’s daughter. Avasarala reminds Holden there’s a reason he’s at the center of the chaos. He’s supposed to be the hero who saves the day. Holden could help end the war between Earth and Mars. However, our Cap remains stubborn in his ways. Caffeine withdrawals are no joke.
Next, on the Agatha King, Admiral Souther (Martin Roach) receives a surprise visit from Fleet Admiral Nguyen (Byron Mann). Souther informs Nguyen that he has Cotyar in the med bay. They decide to interrogate him, knowing full well his connection to Avasarala. Right now, everyone in the UN believes Avasarala to be enmeshed in treasonous cahoots with Jules-Pierre Mao. Nguyen grills Cotyar on Avasarala’s whereabouts. Cotyar lies, claiming she perished courtesy of Mao. Nguyen finds it difficult to believe that Cotyar was the only one to survive that blast. Of course, Cotyar fibbed about how Theo kicked the bucket. Nguyen and Souther leave, hoping that after Cotyar receives the rest he requires they’ll get the answers they desire.
Later, Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell) and Gillis are working on his speech to the General Assembly. She hopes to inject some compassion into the Sec-General’s words. Anna also urges him to ignore Errinwright’s plan to destroy the platforms. A lose of life is devastating no matter the quantity. Gillis seems to agree with her. Here’s hoping he stands strong in his decision.
Then, Mao meets little Mei. They immediately hit it off, as Mei excitedly chats about everything from her favorite cartoon to her friend Katoa’s incredible new abilities. Mao seems smitten. Of course, whenever Mei mentions visiting her father Mao’s face drops with remorse. Could he be realizing the error of his ways?
Meanwhile, Alex receives a message from his wife Talissa (Supinder Wraich). She reveals that everyone at home thought Alex was a goner. Talissa confesses that she’s moved on, and their child has adjusted to having an absentee father. In short, Talissa is pulling the plug on their marriage and Alex’s fatherhood. My heart breaks so much for Alex. He’s one of my favorite characters, and Anvar’s portrayal of him is chock full of soul.
Later, Errinwright ushers Gillis into a meeting with positive news – Earth is so very close to blasting away Mars’ missile reserves. However, everything is not running at 100% just yet. Gillis won’t act until he’s absolutely sure they can succeed, so he orders Errinwright to stand down for now. Take that, snake!
Then, Amos gives Avasarala a fancy new pair of gravity boots. Hey, if you’re going to waltz about in space, at least you can do it in style. She tries them on for size, cautiously putting one foot in front of the other. Those boots were most certainly made for walking in a zero-gravity environment.
Next, Alex and Naomi bond over lasagna. Remember Alex’s famous lasagna, complete with fake cheese? He entices Naomi with a plate of it. Alex urges Naomi to go to Tycho, and admires her dedication to the Belt. Aw, I like these two together. New friendships are something sweet.
Later, Avasarala fills everyone in on her mission to take down Errinwright and Mao. She also reveals Errinwright’s intention to use the protomolecule hybrid soldiers to incinerate Mars. Naomi blurts out that she gave what the Roci had of the protomolecule to Fred Johnson. Of course, Avasarala turns on her, but Naomi defends herself, citing that the Belt deserves a piece of the pie as much as Earth and Mars. Dangerous substances like the protomolecule shouldn’t be in anyone’s hands, to be honest. Kill it with fire!
Meanwhile, Errinwright pays Gillis a late night visit. He attempts once more to convince his superior to launch the attack on the platforms. History will remember Gillis as the hero who saved Earth. Errinwright paints a romantic picture, one where Gillis’ name is on everyone’s lips. Gillis appears to be rethinking his initial decision. No! Stay the course!
Then, Katoa starts to convulse after continuing to put his protomolecule abilities on display. Mao witnesses the terrifying incident, as the young boy is dragged away from Mei and his friends. He even appears to feel sorrow for Katoa. Can a tiger really change its stripes though?
Next, power outages plague the Agatha King. Souther uses this opportunity to visit to Cotyar in secret. He knows that Avasarala isn’t a traitor. Cotyar reveals the real truth, that Errinwright and Mao must be brought to justice. Avasarala was framed. Oh, and Nguyen is in cahoots with Errinwright. Yay betrayal!
After his conversation with Cotyar, Souther is stripped of his rank courtesy of Nguyen. Nguyen takes command of the Agatha King, much to Souther’s chagrin. Well, it does make Cotyar’s statement about Nguyen working with the bad guys ring true.
Later, Errinwright reveals that all five platforms have been located, and Earth is primed to destroy them. Gillis reluctantly gives the okay to decimate the platforms. Four of the missile reserves are destroyed with ease. However, number five manages to evade Earth’s missiles. Mars sends out their own missile from the fifth platform, having been given enough time to retaliate from the moment Earth launched its attacks. Said missile zooms toward Earth, exploding instantly on impact. It lands in South America, in a city with a population of two million people. Everyone stands in stunned silence. So many unnecessary casualties now hang over Gillis’ head.
Meanwhile, Mao urges Dr. Strickland (Ted Atherton) to stop testing the protomolecule on the children. Let kids be kids, not scientific guinea pigs. Of course, Mao probably feels strongly on this subject considering the fact that he’s a parent himself. Strickland is flabbergasted as he tries to convince Mao to reconsider. He believes they’re on the brink of a major discovery where their testing is concerned.
Next, Avasarala and Naomi engage in a heated conversation in the kitchen. Friends, they are not. Naomi believes she has Avasarala all figured out – the politician wants to travel to Io so she can snatch the protomolecule for Earth. Of course, Naomi is way off the mark on this one, but Avasarala decides not to correct her. Why can’t we all just get along?
Later, Anna watches the news in horror after the botched missile attack. Errinwright slinks into her room. He informs her of his efforts to dissuade Gillis from his decision to destroy the Martian platforms, but the Sec-General refused to listen to reason. Don’t listen to him, Anna! Errinwright is a slithering snake.
The Expanse not only elevates the sci-fi game, but the way they handle the political aspect of this series should be applauded. Everything is so relevant to today’s political climate, and that’s what makes this show so powerful. The Expanse shows us that, regardless of time period, human behavior is unchangeable. We are creatures of habit, unwavering in our overwhelming sense of pride. War is here, and everyone is ensnared in it. Side note: I love seeing everyone come together. Merging the story lines was the right call on the show’s part. Keep it simple, y’all.
How do you think Gillis’ speech will fare after the extreme losses in South America? Will Mars stage a retaliation against Earth for destroying most of their missiles? Can Mao convince Strickland to stop testing the protomolecule on the children? 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.