DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse contains more spoilers than the number of times the Rocinante has tried to evade capture, or misunderstood as the enemy. Hey, it’s all par for the course when you’re the protagonists in a dog eat dog system. You’ve been warned. Prepare to encounter the Ring, and enter at your own peril.
Welcome back, Beltalowda! The Expanse sure knows how to raise my blood pressure, and this week’s installment was no exception. By the end of the episode I almost short circuited. Holden and the Roci were floating in limbo – pinned between the Ring and a hard place. A hard place dressed up as the MCRN. Holden learned the missiles fired from the Behemoth and the MCRN were gravitating toward the center of the Ring and not the Roci, their intended target. Meanwhile, Naomi made an imp choice – one that could potentially sever relationships. We also dove deeper into Melba’s fascinating backstory and uncovered the motivation behind her actions.
Alright, ready to delve into “Intransigence?” Just be sure to allow Miller some time to materialize. Being an apparition is tough stuff.
We open with the Behemoth en route toward the Ring. Drummer (Cara Gee) discovers that their systems are still shot after launching a missile at the Roci. Ashford (David Strathairn) wonders why Naomi (Dominique Tipper) isn’t working diligently to remedy the issue. Naomi is thoroughly distracted, mentally torturing herself over Drummer’s order to gun down Holden and co. Of course, she has no idea they’re still alive. Drummer shouts out an apology as Naomi leaves the command deck. They’re still alive, Naomi!
Meanwhile, Holden (Steven Strait), Alex (Cas Anvar) and Amos (Wes Chatham) are attempting to suss out why they’re still alive. The Ring has supernatural capabilities, and they surmise it can slow down any object hurtling toward it – like the missile, for example. They discover that the Behemoth’s missile is still moving, albeit very slowly. The torpedo also appears to be veering away from the Roci, toward the center of the Ring. Well, that’s good news, right? Monica (Anna Hopkins) and Cohen (Brandon McGibbon) are sitting on the sidelines during this brainstorming session. Cohen surreptitiously launches his camera to film the trio’s discussion. Holden reminds the group that their comms are still down, which means they can’t convince anyone of their innocence. Amos notices the camera and promptly smashes it to pieces. Yeah, Amos! Down with surveillance!
Now, Amos launches himself on top of Cohen. He asserts that the cameraman had something to do with their comms being sabotaged and potentially that incriminating, very fake video of Holden proclaiming responsibility for the destruction of the Seung Un. Monica protests Amos jumping to conclusions. Cohen admits to snooping on their command deck and manipulating their slides, although he didn’t know exactly what he was doing. Methinks he’s merely a pawn in a bigger plan at play – one that involves the downfall of James Holden. Our crew also learns that the MCRN Xuesen is now on their tail. Great, more ships. So, on one side is the terrifying Ring, and the other is a Martian ship waiting to board them.
Next, Holden declares they must figure out how to get their comms back on line. Amos grabs Cohen and orders the cameraman to help him fix the situation. Of course, Cohen claims to know zilch in this department.
Meanwhile, aboard the UNN Thomas Prince, we see a video from Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) declaring that all civilians must depart from the vicinity of the Ring. Only authorized military personnel are allowed near the phenomena. Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell) appears crestfallen at this news. We see Melba (Nadine Nicole) sitting with Stanni (Ari Millen) and a few others while they eat. Melba hears the voice of Tilly Fagan (Genelle Williams) as the latter chats with Anna. Our elusive super girl is immediately thrown back in time to an upscale party. We see Melba dressed to the nines. She’s clearly a wealthy socialite. Tilly waltzes past her, also dressed in elegant finery.
Then, Melba finds none other than Julie Mao (Florence Faivre) and Jules-Pierre Mao (Francois Chau) embroiled in a heated argument. This must be during Julie’s Razorback racing days. Apparently, this party is for her. Julie vehemently curses Jules and promptly quits the racing team. She storms out. We discover that Melba is Julie’s sister. It’s all connected! Melba vows to her father that she’ll replace Julie. However, Jules snubs his daughter. Julie is clearly the favorite in this family.
Next, Alex informs Holden that the Xuesen launched two probes. One zoomed through the Ring past the Roci while the other veered off, into the outside perimeter of the Ring. The latter probe just blinked out of existence. Well, that’s fun. So, note to selves: don’t go outside the Ring.
Meanwhile, Ashford hears a message from the MCRN Xuesen. All comms are out of commission due to the elusive qualities of the Ring. Also, the Xuesen is in pursuit of the Rocinante. He finds Naomi engineering away in solitude. Ashford informs Naomi that, since the Xuesen is pursuing the Roci, there’s a good chance her former crew is still in the Land of the Living. He can also sense that Naomi is very much conflicted – on the one hand, the Roci crew is her family. On the other, the Belters are also her family. Ashford attempts to persuade our favorite engineer to stay aboard the Behemoth. She has Belter blood, and that means something. If she feels remorse, that will fade with time. However, Naomi doesn’t give an answer either way.
Later, Alex checks up on Holden, who is sequestered away in the hopes he’ll find Miller again. However, apparition Miller just doesn’t want to materialize. Holden opens the door and wordlessly glares at Alex, which definitely tells me that his attempts at eliciting the Miller apparition have been unsuccessful. Holden promptly slams the door and continues screaming for Miller. This was a nice comedic scene to help lighten the dark mood of this episode. Anvar is a comedic god.
Meanwhile, Cohen is proving to be very unhelpful where fixing the comms is concerned. He really had no idea what he was doing. Cohen procures the slide he placed in the system. Alex doesn’t recognize it, and notes that this is a “Naomi problem.” This is why y’all need her! Anyway, Amos grabs Monica and threatens to kill her, a knife poised at her bare throat.
Next, we see Amos dragging Monica and Cohen over to the doors. It would appear he’s going to space them. Alex immediately rushes over to the trio and attempts to convince Amos to save them. However, Amos reveals that he’s planning to send the documentarians over to the Xuesen to negotiate with the Martian ship. We see Monica and Cohen are donning space gear, which means they won’t perish upon contact with the blackness outside. Good thinking, Amos. Aw, our baby’s growing up! Alex is taken aback by Amos’ rational thinking. He urges Monica and Cohen to convince the Xuesen of their innocence. They didn’t blow up the Seung Un – that was Melba. We see the documentarians exit the Roci, but will they sing our crew’s praises? I’m doubtful, especially given Amos’ multiple death threats. Hey, he has a penchant for the dramatic.
Later, Tilly reveals to Anna that she was able to pull some strings to stay aboard the Thomas Prince. Her aristocratic status and business connections definitely helped. Anna longs to continue her journey through the Ring. She hopes that Tilly will use her connections to help Anna stay as well. Networking is so important, folks.
Meanwhile, Melba heads over to the lockers with some friends to clear out Ren’s things. They discover Ren’s notes and read aloud the late man’s assessments regarding his crew. Melba doesn’t want to hear what Ren thought of her, but her friends inform her regardless. Apparently, Ren thought Melba had the makings of a great technician. Suddenly, we’re pulled into another flashback.
We see Melba approaching a forlorn Julie outside their lavish home. Melba is irritated that she put all of her efforts into throwing a party for Julie while the latter is sulking outside. Then, Melba gives her sister a piece of her mind. She is cutting all ties from Julie. Julie stomps off, and coldly reminds Melba that Jules will never think of her as worthy. Ouch.
Then, aboard the Roci, our crew is unable to get their comms up and running again. Holden makes a tough decision – he informs Alex and Amos that they will wait for the Xuesen to board them. They’ll turn themselves over to the MCRN. Holden hopes they can persuade the Martians of their innocence, and that someone was trying to frame him. This means that they’ll lose the Roci, unfortunately. Alex is gobsmacked by this news. No! You can’t separate Alex from his one true love! I won’t allow it!
Later, Drummer gives a rousing speech to her crew aboard the Behemoth. Drummer plans to defy the MCRN’s order condemning ships from passing through the Ring. They’re Belters, after all. They are just as relevant as the Inners. Her speech is certainly Braveheart worthy. In fact, it may be the best speech ever delivered on The Expanse. Drummer is a true bad***. Everyone is feeling encouraged, except Naomi. She remains silent on the sidelines, still torn. We see the Behemoth triumphantly pass through the Ring.
Next, Anna tries to convince one of her friends to stay on the Thomas Prince. She claims to have found a way for both of them to continue the mission. However, her friend declines, claiming that God is not with them out in space. Anna walks away in disappointment. She finds Melba again and introduces herself. Anna asks Melba why she’s staying aboard the Thomas Prince. Melba is thrown into another flashback, and we see her with Jules-Pierre Mao. Jules continues to sing Julie’s praises despite the altercation they had earlier. Melba attempts to convince her father of her worthiness, but Jules brushes her off. She’s no Julie. Melba just wants her father’s love and approval.
Suddenly, Melba excuses herself from her conversation with Anna. She finds Ren’s belongings and records a message on his device. Melba urges whoever finds said message to pass it on to her father Jules. She vows to continue fighting to avenge her father. Ye, Jules is in prison, but the protomolecule lives on. His work is flourishing. Melba promises to take down the man responsible for imprisoning Jules. Methinks she means Holden, considering her hatred of him.
Later, Drummer finds Naomi with her bags packed, preparing to escape the Behemoth. Drummer is disappointed in Naomi’s decision, and bruised by the latter’s choice to slip away quietly into the night. Naomi was merely giving an Irish Goodbye. Naomi didn’t believe Drummer would allow her to leave, given the Cap’s rules regarding desertion. Naomi vows that the Belters are still her family, but so is the Roci crew. Drummer reluctantly unlocks the doors for Naomi. And so ends a beautiful friendship.
Next, Holden finally sees Miller (Thomas Jane). The late Ceres detective makes his grand entrance. He wonders why the Roci is stalling in the entrance of the Ring. While Miller’s speech is still peppered with the occasional incoherent jargon, he’s starting to make more sense. Miller asserts it’s due to the Ring’s connection being stronger with the Roci in closer proximity to it. Sounds plausible. Miller also reveals that the “signal’s pretty good inside the Ring.” He urges Holden to follow him.
Meanwhile, Naomi attempts to send a message to the Roci, proclaiming her return home. However, the Roci’s comms are still down, so the message doesn’t get through. She surges forward, promising her boys she’s coming home. Yay! Reunited and it will feel so good.
Later, Holden is standing outside the Roci, staring into the iridescent glow of the Ring itself. He spots the nucleus of the Ring – that black ball in the center where one of the Xuesen’s probes ventured into. Miller urges him to jump inside the nucleus. This is Holden’s next course of action, and will provide him the answers he seeks. Suddenly, our Cap takes the plunge…and dives off the Rocinante.
The Expanse ends, once again, on a massive cliffhanger this week. This series is so adept at making its audience salivate for more content. I’m counting down the minutes until next week’s episode. As usual, we’re left with questions in dire need of answering. Episodic MVP most certainly goes to Nadine Nicole. Hats off to The Expanse writers for doing an excellent job at making Melba a multi-faceted, sympathetic character. Also, the Maos are interwoven into the fabric of this series. Like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s all connected.
Do you think Melba is responsible for Holden’s Belter declaration, and used Cohen as a pawn to orchestrate said declaration? It would explain why Cohen didn’t know what he did. Will Monica and Cohen clear the Roci crew’s names while aboard the Xuesen? When will we see Bobbie again? Will we get to see an official trial on Earth with Errinwright and Jules-Pierre Mao? Where did Holden go? Join me next week as I recap The Expanse, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Expanse airs Wednesdays at 9pm on your SyFy affiliate.
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