DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse contains more spoilers than the fake cheese that peppers Alex’s famous lasagna. Mars is not known for their farming, that’s for sure. You’ve been warned. Prepare for interplanetary war, and enter at your own peril.
Welcome back, Belters! The Expanse continued its streak of solid episodes last night with “Reload.” We saw the fallout from the missile impact, which decimated two million people in the Amazon on contact. Anna finally saw Errinwright for what he really is – a slithering snake. Oh, and she surreptitiously received enough evidence courtesy of Avasarala to pin down said snake for good. Here’s hoping it works! Meanwhile, the Roci crew found survivors of their battle with the U.N.N. Escort ship while scavenging for supplies. Of course, with this being The Expanse and all, it’s never a simple rescue mission. Then, on Io, Katoa was fully infused with the protomolecule and proceeded to make a bloody mess of the nursing staff. I would send the janitorial staff to clean up the mess but…
Alright, ready to delve into “Reload?” Just be sure to prevent Naomi from cooking…at all costs. It won’t end well if she does.
We open with Drummer (Cara Gee) on the hunt for the Nauvoo ship that was initially being held at Tycho. If you’ll recall, the Nauvoo was the star of a plan concocted by Miller to sway Eros from its barreling toward the Sun. Unfortunately, the protomolecule stepped in and now the Nauvoo is careening listlessly through space. But not for long! Drummer and her crew finally find the massive transport ship and secure it in place. After some inspecting inside the vessel, they receive the proof they need to know this is truly the Nauvoo. Everyone is pleased. Everyone bursts into song and dance. Just kidding, Drummer would never dance.
Meanwhile, the Roci continues its trek toward Io. Holden (Steven Strait) informs his crew that they’re running out of supplies – namely, fuel. They stumble upon the remnants of an earlier battle near Io between the UNN and MCRN. He suggests they scavenge any desolate ships they may encounter for supplies. You know, ransack the dead. They won’t need said supplies anymore. Naomi (Dominique Tipper) agrees with our Cap. They begin their search for the perfect vessel for plundering.
Next, Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) sports a new ensemble. She’s looking like a proper soldier, that one. She tells Bobbie (Frankie Adams) that she believes Holden can be persuaded to join their cause. He’s certainly the heroic type. Avasarala desperately needs to get those Errinwright-condemning communication logs to Admiral Souther aboard the Agatha King. Oh, if only she knew he was also a puppet for Errinwright…
Then, the Roci spots the perfect candidate for their supply scavenging. Amos (Wes Chatham) finds Prax (Terry Chen) engrossed in a video featuring Dr. Strickland (Ted Atherton). Strickland is explaining his hybrid soldier, protomolecule-infusing program: Project Caliban. Prax is, of course, appalled that one human would essentially torture another in the name of politics. Clearly, none of these people watched the first Captain America movie.
Now, with their target acquired, half of the Roci crew leaves to nick supplies. Naomi promises Alex (Cas Anvar) she’ll craft a signature Belter dish upon Holden, Prax and Amos’ safe return. Alex, touched by Naomi’s newfound passion for the culinary arts, allows her to take the wheel on this.
Meanwhile, our scavengers find an ample amount of fuel aboard a desolate vessel. They also stumble upon a handful of survivors. Time to be the hero, Holden! He’s always struggling with his desire to stay out of harm’s way and his innate heroic qualities.
Later, Sec-Gen Gillis (Jonathan Whittaker) is about to give his grand speech to the General Assembly. Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell) sits beside Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) as the latter congratulates her on a well written speech. Everything starts out rosy – wonderfully articulate words filled to the brim with compassion and empathy. Anna is pleased as punch…that is, until said speech takes an aggressive turn. Errinwright clearly convinced Gillis to take a bolder stance. Gillis vehemently vows that Mars will pay for their crimes against Earth. This is war. The crowd rises collectively to their feet, cheering for Gillis. Well, everyone except Anna, who’s disappointed in her friend. She’s well aware that Errinwright swooped in and tinged the latter part of Gillis’ speech. So, he’s now a snake that can fly. A flying snake.
Next, on Io, Jules-Pierre Mao (Francois Chau) is preparing to put the kibosh on his protomolecule program. Strickland, of course, is reticent to do this, considering how far Katoa (Jaeden Noel) has progressed. Mao wishes to take all the children with him. Strickland reluctantly obeys his boss…to his face. The morally questionable doctor quietly flees to a hidden room that houses an iridescent Katoa. Katoa intermittently acts as a vessel for the protomolecule to communicate with Strickland. It speaks! Occasionally, however, we hear the real Katoa push through. Strickland just couldn’t let this one go, and clearly defied Mao’s orders.
Meanwhile, Holden is back aboard the Roci with the trio of survivors he snagged from the wreckage. Sinopoli (Atticus Mitchell) and Loftis (Kelly McCormack) are grateful for Holden’s heroics. They explain that their lieutenant selflessly sacrificed himself so they could survive. Oh, and they’re Martians, so confusion abounds when they discover that the Roci crew is piloting a former Martian vessel. Alex pops in to visit the trio (the other is still unconscious), hoping another Martian face will quell their collective anxiety. Outside the med bay, Holden informs Bobbie of the Martian survivors and urges her to introduce herself as well. They’ll be one big Martian family!
Then, we see that Amos and Prax are still aboard the vessel where the Martian survivors were found. They’re hard at work snagging supplies for the Roci. Little do they know of the culinary surprise that awaits them back on the ship!
Later, things take a violent turn in the med bay, where Holden orders the survivors be quarantined until they pass out of the war zone. Loftis and Sinopoli commence beating up poor Alex, claiming he doesn’t deserve to don the Martian uniform. Ranhofer (Alain Chanoine) wakes from his slumber and joins his friends. Loftis takes the lead and makes the executive decision to commandeer the Roci from Holden in the name of Mars. It is a Martian ship, after all. Leave my Alex alone, that’s all I ask of you.
Meanwhile, Holden and Naomi view the video footage of Errinwright admitting to his crimes courtesy of Avasarala. Avasarala is hard at work convincing Holden to allow her to send said footage to Anna. Our favorite politician discovered Anna was in the audience during Gillis’ General Assembly speech, and knows that she’s an outsider in that group. Anna is Gillis’ moral compass and will most certainly be persuaded of Errinwright’s villainy. Holden and Naomi firmly believe that this could draw unwanted attention to them, especially since they’re considered criminals. However, Avasarala knows this act will end this needless war, and her reasoning ultimately wins Holden over. He orders Naomi to find a site off the grid so Avasarala can send her message. Holden’s heroic tendencies are winning out today.
Later, Loftis and Sinopoli have Alex at gunpoint as they make their way to the command center of the Roci. Naomi attempts to pacify the aggressive Loftis, who’s the one wielding the gun. Meanwhile, Holden discovers Ranhofer is doing some ransacking of his own by trying to steal the Roci’s supplies. Holden successfully knocks the lights out of Ranhofer. And by “knocks the lights” I mean “kills him.” Probably.
Next, Holden arrives at the command center brandishing his gun in the direction of Loftis. Bobbie even enters the scene, ready and willing to take out Loftis at a moment’s notice. Martian vs. Martian over the life of another Martian. Sounds like a sci-fi flick just waiting to be written. Thankfully, Sinopoli is easily swayed and tries to warn Loftis of Bobbie’s great might. Loftis finally hands over her gun, albeit reticently. Alex is saved! Amos is late to the party, ceremoniously dropping Ranhofer’s lifeless body for all to see. Oh, Amos. Your inability to be punctual just bit you in the bum.
Then, Anna finds Gillis and lets him have it. Errinwright tries to intervene, but Anna unleashes all her fury on him too. You go, girl! She knows Errinwright is speaking through Gillis, and definitely disagrees with it. She informs Gillis that she’s out. She’ll no longer participate in his political ambitions.
Meanwhile, Naomi and Amos are able to get the Martian survivors’ ship up and running so they can return to their fleet. Avasarala pulls Sinopoli aside with a request. Of course, Sinopoli is starstruck at the sight of a big wig politician. Keep it together, man. Avasarala urges him to take the communication logs and deliver them to the commander of his fleet. Said commander will then send said logs on to Anna. Boom! Now it can’t be traced back to Avasarala and the Roci. Brilliant planning on her part. Sinopoli agrees, and the survivors depart.
Next, Anna is in her room video chatting with her wife. She’s furious with Gillis, rage packing her belongings so she can go home to her family. Anna’s wife, of course, wants her spouse to do what she feels is best. After the decision is made that Anna is leaving the UN, she receives a mysterious video entry. Anna is taken aback at the sight of Sadavir Errinwright blatantly confessing to his crimes. You know, partnering with Jules-Pierre Mao to create protomolecule hybrid soldiers being the largest of them. Now Anna has the ammunition she needs to take down Errinwright.
Then, we see Bobbie and Alex bond while exercising in the space gym. Aw, Martian love, y’all. He thanks her for saving him, and they both agree that Naomi’s Belter cuisine is an acquired taste.
Meanwhile, Holden expresses his relief that Naomi wasn’t hurt in the violent encounter with Loftis. Just stop bickering, you two. Holdomi (my shipper name for them) must live on.
Later, Jules-Pierre Mao tries to console a distraught Mei (Leah Madison Jung). She demands to see her friend Katoa. Mei runs away, and Mao follows his little friend. He finds her sitting outside the room containing Katoa. Mao orders Strickland allow them access inside said room. Strickland acquiesces. They all stumble upon a horror beyond imagining. Mao orders an attendant to usher Mei away. Katoa is fluently speaking protomolecule now, and the young boy appears to have disappeared entirely. He’s almost entirely glowing that bright blue associated with the protomolecule. Katoa is finger painting with the bloody remains of the nurse previously caring for him. Finger painting, or drawing out a map with her severed limbs. One of the two. Regardless, Mao is mesmerized at the sight and commends Strickland for continuing with the project. Project Caliban is officially still a go.
The Expanse never ceases to amaze me. It’s the Battlestar Galactica of this decade. Poignant, powerful and epic. Season 3 is shaping up to be the best yet, with interplanetary war in full bloom. Where will the chips fall this time? Episodic MVP goes to Anna, with Mitchell injecting an abundance of heart into the “moral compass” of Gillis. Here’s hoping she can pin down Errinwright for good.
Do you think Errinwright will discover Anna’s efforts to take him down, and ultimately destroy those condemning communication logs? Will Mao and Strickland transition their protomolecule testing to Mei, since Katoa’s is complete? Will our Roci crew make it to Io in time to save the children of Ganymede? 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.