DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse contains more spoilers than the number of times Holden drinks coffee per day. Even destroying his coffeemaker in a fit of rage can’t prevent our Cap from consuming a cup of joe. You’ve been warned. Prepare for interplanetary war, and enter at your own peril.
Welcome back, Belters! The Expanse gave us a glimpse into how the war is affecting those outside of our Roci circle. As the Captain aboard the MCRN Hammurabi so eloquently put it, war is the result of an interaction of three things: intense emotion, politics and luck. Each of the aforementioned aspects came into play in this week’s episode. Naomi revealing she had a son to Holden along with the real reason why she gave the protomolecule to Fred Johnson definitely falls into the intense emotion category. Avasarala revealing her desire to snatch a sample of the protomolecule for Earth and the attempted mutiny aboard the UNN Agatha King screams politics. Lastly, the Hammurabi possessing the communication logs condemning Errinwright feels pretty lucky to me.
Alright, ready to delve into “Triple Point?” Just be sure to keep Bobbie away from any incendiaries, explosives, etc. She gets a little trigger happy where fire is concerned. Must be a Mars thing…
We open with the Roci speeding toward Io. Mission: Save Mei is still a go. Bobbie (Frankie Adams) reveals to the crew a path of least resistance for the remainder of their trip. Wouldn’t want to run into any MCRN or UNN ships, what with the Roci being jam-packed with “criminals” and all. Holden (Steven Strait) gives it his stamp of approval, and off they go!
Meanwhile, Sinopoli (Atticus Mitchell) is safely aboard the MCRN Hammurabi. Captain Kirino (Krista Bridges) and Lt. Durant (Matthew Bennett) pull Sinopoli aside so the latter can explain how he was saved. Hey, that’s Aaron Doral! So that’s what that frakkin’ toaster has been up to since Battlestar Galactica bowed out. Anyway, Sinopoli reveals that the Roci came to his aid and that he spoke with Avasarala herself. Then, he plays the communication logs containing footage of Errinwright admitting to his crimes. Sinopoli informs the duo that Avasarala has assigned him the task of sending said logs to Admiral Souther aboard the UNN Agatha King. Now, the Kirino and Durant are wary of the logs’ legitimacy, which is understandable. This is a war, after all. Deception is a key tactic in obtaining desirable results.
Next, our trio discovers that the Agatha King is heading to Io for some inexplicable reason. Why make the trek to what’s essentially a desolate rock? Cap orders the MCRN be notified of the UNN ship’s destination. She also orders her crew to change course for Io, so they can intercept said ship. Uh oh. Ship is about to go down, folks.
Later, aboard the UNN Agatha King, Admiral Nguyen (Byron Mann) continues to put Admiral Souther (Martin Roach) and his crew in their collective place. Souther discovers that Nguyen has his sights set on Io. When he tries to protest regarding this latest course of action Nguyen silences him. Nguyen believes the war will be fought at Io, because he knows of Jules-Pierre Mao’s incessant protomolecule hybrid testing. That, and Errinwright is sending Nguyen to Io to shut it all down. It’s all connected, just like the MCU!
Meanwhile, a sleep-deprived Holden shuffles into the kitchen for a liquid pick-me-up. Yes, Holden is back to drinking coffee…tea be damned. I understand that on a spiritual level, Holden. Never give up the bean. Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) is also present, observing the Cap in his natural habitat. Avasarala reveals that she needs a sample of the protomolecule, and Holden realizes that Naomi was right. Well, she doesn’t need it for Earth per se, but for all of humanity itself. Avasarala hopes to study the protomolecule to better protect humans from it. She knows that Holden has an intrinsic need to be the hero. So why not save the universe together? I can get behind this superhero team.
Later, Alex (Cas Anvar) receives a surprising message from his son Melas (Chris River). Melas is out on the surface of Mars, donning some snazzy space gear. He reassures Alex that he’s not cross with him, unlike his mother. Melas hopes to join the MCRN one day, like his father. He expresses his love for Alex, and my heart grew three sizes today. Seriously, if an Alex scene is going to involve tissues then I need to be forewarned. Or perhaps I should stop cutting onions while I watch TV. So, there’s that.
Then, we see Prax (Terry Chen) and Amos (Wes Chatham) examining the weaponry they’ll be carrying on Io. Prax expresses his gratitude for Amos’ support, to which the latter responds that he can be thanked once Mei is found. Now, Prax also mentions tapping into some innate desire for vengeance, and I sincerely hope our favorite botanist doesn’t go down that road should things go south. Prax is too pure for words. Please don’t sully him.
Next, Lt. Shaffer (Natalie Lisinska) and Lt. Manusco (Morgan Kelly) meet with Admiral Souther in secret to discuss Nguyen. Manusco mentions that Nguyen has been surreptitiously communicating with Io off board. Both lieutenants believe the fleet would side with Souther, given the number of commanders he’s taken under his wing. Souther is initially reticent, since what his subordinates are essentially saying is “Let’s stage a mutiny!” However, one of Nguyen’s lackeys enters the room and breaks off the conversation. Souther takes his leave, and Nguyen’s henchman tries to persuade Shaffer and Manusco of Nguyen’s legitimacy. The Admiral earned his stripes, as it were. We’ll see about that…
Meanwhile, Alex and Bobbie are putting the finishing touches on the latter’s Iron Man suit. Bobbie is ready for battle. She mentions her desire to be prepared should she come face to face with a protomolecule hybrid soldier. Alex reveals they were able to incinerate the hybrid with fire from the Roci’s engine. Bobbie spies with her little eye boxes of incendiaries and explosives, ripe for the taking. Of course, Alex is not a fan of going this route, but Bobbie wants to feel prepared. And burn some weird glowing alien people. The usual.
Then, on Io, Jules-Pierre Mao (Francois Chau) and Dr. Strickland (Ted Atherton) are towering over an encased Katoa (Jaeden Noel). Well, a different version of Katoa. The young boy’s body has grown exponentially, and is fully overtaken by that blue incandescent glow. In short, he’s looking very similar to the hybrid that attacked the Roci last season. Mao and Strickland try to elicit conversation from Katoa, but the boy can only sputter random words. He mentions that “they” (the protomolecule) are working on something. However, Katoa starts screaming in pain and Strickland sedates him.
Next, Nguyen is informed that the Hammurabi has their sights set on the Agatha King. However, the Hammurabi won’t fire unless the remainder of the fleet does. Nguyen returns to his quarters for a brief respite, while Manusco discreetly pulls Shaffer aside with news. The Hammurabi just sent a message for Souther. Shaffer shows the Errinwright-condemning logs to Souther. Then, Souther pays a visit to…
…Cotyar (Nick E. Tarabay)! Avasarala’s favorite bodyguard is still alive and well, thank the gods. Cotyar learns that Avasarala sent Souther the logs after all, and her mission was accomplished. A look of pure relief washes over Cotyar’s face at the news. Unfortunately, before the duo can discuss too much Souther is called away to meet with Nguyen. Uh oh. This won’t end well.
Meanwhile, Naomi (Dominique Tipper) reveals to Holden the real reason why she slipped the protomolecule to Fred Johnson. Back in her OPA days, Naomi had a son named Phillip with another OPA member – an “idealist,” as she called him. Very much like Holden. However, this man tried to force Naomi to do something she didn’t want to, and as punishment he snatched Phillip away from her. Of course, when she saw how passionately Holden cared for the plight of the Belter people she couldn’t help but share her heart with him. Thus, she gave away the protomolecule so the Belters have a chance of surviving this war. Holden is taken aback, awestruck as to why she never revealed this before. He understands why Naomi did what she did. Tipper really shines in this scene, injecting Naomi with a beautiful vulnerability and rawness.
Later, after Katoa is seemingly stabilized, Mao tries to question him once again. What is he building? Katoa merely mutters “soon…work…finish,” over and over, like a malfunctioning record player. He frees himself from his restraints and commences pounding on the glass encased around him. Strickland and Mao exit the room and observe as Katoa starts to break the glass. Mao orders Strickland to find another conduit, but Katoa genetically gelled best with the protomolecule. However, Mei would be the second best option. Mao pauses for a moment, and we see the conflict well within him. Unfortunately, his curiosity wins out and he demands Strickland prepare Mei for the experiment. No, Mao. You have to be better than this!
Next, Nguyen calls Mao and orders the latter transfer control of the hybrid pods to the Agatha King. Also, Mao’s accounts are frozen and all his assets will be collected. Say “bye” to your baby, Mao.
Then, Souther tries to reason with Nguyen, but their interaction is cut off by the announcement that they’re closing in on the Hammurabi. Meanwhile, Durant doesn’t understand why Kirino sent those logs to Souther, knowing full well they could potentially be falsified. Kirino launches into a beautifully put monologue regarding the true definition of war. I really love this character and the fact that we have a strong female Captain running ship.
Later, we see Team Roci closing in on Io. They land and then…it’s go time! Bobbie, Amos, Holden and Prax touch ground and proceed to gain access to the helium refinery.
Meanwhile, Nguyen is stumped as to why the Hammurabi aren’t opening fire on the Agatha King. Souther replies that perhaps the ship is testing them. Suddenly, Manusco and Shaffer commence the mutiny, grabbing Nguyen’s lackeys and brandishing their weapons. Souther officially relieves Nguyen of his duty and orders the latter be locked in the brig, citing that Nguyen is fighting an illegal war. Yay, the good guys win! Souther makes this announcement official to all ships within range, and is planning on charging Nguyen with conspiracy. Perhaps this could lead back to Errinwright, especially since Souther possesses those comm logs.
Suddenly, one of Nguyen’s lackeys fights back, attempting to restrain Souther. Shaffer and Manusco are also seen joining the fight. Nguyen withdraws his weapon and fires on Souther in one fluid movement. Souther falls, his now lifeless body smacking the ground. No! Nguyen has Shaffer and Manusco arrested. Nguyen makes an announcement to the fleet that Souther has been put down for attempting mutiny. All ships are supposed to report back and prepare to fire. However, one ship refuses to respond. Nguyen orders more of Souther’s crew be detained as he fires a missile at the insubordinate ship. Someone’s very trigger happy today. Shaffer and Manusco attempt to fight back once again, and this time Shaffer is able to wound Nguyen.
However, both courageous lieutenants meet their demise when Nguyen shoots them both. Kirino of the Hammurabi orders all MCRN ships hold their fire as they turn on the Agatha King. Mars will fly the flag of truce, so that they may all proceed in peace. Nguyen responds to this message by unleashing the hybrid pods that Mao relinquished control of. Our Roci crew is almost inside the refinery when they notice said pods streaking the starry sky heading, presumably, toward the massive fleet just outside Io.
Seriously, The Expanse is like a weekly mini sci-fi feature. Everything from the astounding effects and the breathtaking score to the heart-pounding action and the beautiful performances, The Expanse is a series that should be on everyone’s radar. Now, this episode took me down the path of nostalgia, reminding me of the mutiny episodes from Season 4 of Battlestar Galactica. I still recall how floored I was by Gaeta’s betrayal and how flawlessly executed said episodes were. The Expanse couldn’t have picked a better series to emulate. MVP goes to Tipper for her heart wrenching monologue and Bridges for being a general bad*** Captain.
Do you think Nguyen will successfully nuke all of those ships standing in his way? Will Mao start the hybrid process with Mei before Prax can find her? If the hybrid pods work, will Errinwright allow Mao to continue his experimentation? 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.