DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse contains more spoilers than the number of times Miller has regaled Holden with old police stories. Miller sure does love recounting the past. You’ve been warned. Prepare for entering the Ring, and proceed with caution.
Welcome back, Beltalowda! The Expanse continued its streak of heart pounding, edge-of-your-seat episodes this week with “Dandelion Sky.” Holden finally reached the Station, aka the nucleus of the Ring, with apparition Miller’s assistance. The UNN Thomas Prince traveled through the Ring successfully, although one poor soul didn’t make the journey. Meanwhile, Ashford continued to fight with Drummer for command of the Behemoth. Don’t test my girl Drummer, Ashford. It won’t end well for you.
Alright, ready to delve into “Dandelion Sky?” Just be sure to have coffee ready for Holden when he returns. Who knows how long he’s gone without a steady stream of caffeine in his veins.
We open with Alex (Cas Anvar) and Amos (Wes Chatham) watching a video of Holden (Steven Strait). Holden explains why he left the Roci, and that Miller told him to travel to the Station. He also vehemently orders the duo not to follow him. Holden thanked Alex and Amos for all the support they’ve provided. This sounds like a goodbye, and I’m not a fan of that. Neither are Alex and Amos.
Meanwhile, Holden is en route to the Station with apparition Miller (Thomas Jane). They discuss what it means to follow your “programming.” Miller jokingly dubs Holden the “Patron Saint of Lost Causes.” That sounds about right. Also, I’ve missed Jane in this role so much. My life has been sorely bereft of Miller’s 1930s film noir vibes and colloquialisms.
Next, we see the UNN Thomas Prince is preparing to enter the Ring. Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell) is ecstatic at what this “miracle” could entail. However, not everyone is tickled pink. A man named Lt. Nemeroff (Matt Bois) nervously tries to engage in conversation with our favorite Reverend Doctor. He too is a Methodist, and tries to elicit comfort from Anna’s shared beliefs. Nemeroff expresses his fear of what may pass. Unfortunately, Anna politely brushes him off to get a closer look at the ship moving through the Ring.
Then, we learn that the Thomas Prince made it to the other side of the Ring. Success! Anna and Kolvoord (Chris Owens) immediately commence an animated debate regarding the Ring. They notice the nucleus, or “Station” of the Ring and examine it more closely on their map. Our duo spots the missing Mars probe, the Behemoth missile and dearly departed Maneo’s slingshot ship. It would appear the Station acts as a magnet of sorts, drawing these objects to its center. Hmm. Science!
Meanwhile, Naomi (Dominique Tipper) is still en route in her skiff to the Rocinante. She incessantly tries to communicate with her boys via comms, but all she hears is silence. Suddenly, the MCRN Xuesen reaches out to Naomi and orders her to turn around. Naomi refuses to do so, insisting that Holden did not blow up the Seung Un. Unfortunately, Mars is not convinced. Naomi continues forward, MCRN warning be damned. That’s my girl.
Next, we get a glimpse inside the MCRN Xuesen and, lo and behold, one Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) graces us with her presence! Oh, how I’ve missed my Gunny. We learn that Bobbie and her team are the ones meant to apprehend the Roci crew. They spot Holden flying toward the Station solo. Bobbie asserts that Holden didn’t blow up the Seung Un. She merely wants to stop Holden from doing anything stupid.
Then, Holden notices the Xuesen is quickly approaching him. He picks up the pace and begins speeding toward the Station. Millers urges Holden to slow down, that the Station will “squash him.” Hey, Holden doesn’t wanna get caught, and I can respect that. However, Holden reluctantly slows to his previous pace. All things in good time, Cap.
Meanwhile, aboard the Roci, Alex and Amos hold down the fort. Alex informs Amos that the Xuesen launched a skiff and are in pursuit of Holden. Amos replies that the Roci should follow suit. Alex is in awe of how calm and collected the Roci mechanic is. Amos reveals that he hasn’t felt true fear since he was a child. Alex envies him of this gift, but Amos insists it’s more of a burden than a gift. However, Amos would rather go down swinging than roll over to the MCRN. I’m with Amos on this one.
Later, Melba (Nadine Nicole) is surreptitiously tinkering around on the Thomas Prince. She asks her device to show the Roci’s course. Her hope is to intercept the Roci prior to the Xuesen stepping in. However, it would appear to be impossible considering the current speed of both ships. You’ve done enough damage already, Melba.
Next, we visit the crew aboard the Behemoth. Drummer (Cara Gee) and Ashford (David Strathairn) are discussing their next move regarding the nucleus of the Ring. Drummer asserts they’ll reach the nucleus before the Inners do. Ashford loudly laments the loss of Naomi, for if they had a chief engineer they could send probes to inspect the Station. Drummer supports her decision to allow Naomi to leave, citing that the Behemoth is not a slave ship. However, Ashford reminds her that this is the Belt’s first warship. Diogo (Andrew Rotilio) eavesdrops on their conversation. Drummer reminds Ashford that she’s the Captain, and they have farm machinery in their possession that they can convert to probes. Drummer, out! You tell ’em.
Meanwhile, the crew aboard the Xuesen continues to hale the lone Holden, but to no avail. Lt. Mayer (Simu Liu) hands the task over to Bobbie. Thankfully, Bobbie is able to elicit a response from Holden. Everyone in the skiff is perplexed to hear Holden talking to someone else. Holden insists he’s on another channel, but Bobbie isn’t convinced. Bobbie urges Holden to slow down so the Xuesen can take him in. She insists they’ll hear him out. Holden asserts his innocence regarding the Seung Un, as well as Amos and Alex’s innocence. Then, Holden locks Bobbie out. The Xuesen continues their pursuit of Holden. Yeah…maybe don’t talk to your ghost friend while simultaneously chatting with your living and breathing friend, Holden.
Finally, Holden and Miller reach the entrance to the Station. A hole opens up, just for them. Miller reveals that an ancient civilization used to exist billions of years ago, but now all that’s left behind are locked doors and empty hallways. Miller hopes to enlist Holden’s help in “picking the locks.” So, an alien race, right? This just keeps getting more interesting. Holden finally descends into the Station.
Meanwhile, we see Nemeroff sitting alone on the Thomas Prince. He’s watching footage of the Ring. Suddenly, he grabs a gun and sticks the barrel in his mouth, pulling the trigger. Oh no! How heartbreaking.
Next, Melba is watching footage of the documentary Monica shot of Holden. Melba is still trying to figure out how to wipe Holden from the map for good. She ponders whether simply exploding the Roci is a better option than trying to board the ship. I don’t like either of those.
Then, Diogo pulls Ashford aside on the Behemoth and expresses his displeasure with the way Drummer spoke to the latter. Diogo asserts that Ashford should be the captain. However, Ashford urges Diogo to tread carefully, and that Drummer is in charge. Listen to your boss man, kid.
Now, we see Holden and Miller traveling through the long tunnel to the Station. Miller tries to get the Station back online, and insists that he needs Holden because he’s alive. Miller launches into a monologue comparing Holden’s living body to machinery, and makes him question the reality he’s in. I’m starting to think they’re both on mushrooms.
Meanwhile, Anna learns that Nemeroff killed himself. She’s asked to craft a eulogy for his service. Anna is heartbroken, and feels an overwhelming amount of remorse for brushing off the nervous Nemeroff earlier. She joins Tilly (Genelle Williams) and informs her friend of the news.
Later, Tilly runs into Melba and instantly recognizes the latter. “Clarissa?” Tilly asks Melba. However, Melba flees from the exchange as quickly as her feet can carry her. So her real name is Clarissa Mao? Melba is like an onion – she’s got layers, y’all.
Then, Lt. Mayer orders his crew to get the Xuesen skiff as close to the entrance as possible. They plan to drop into the Station in an effort to extract Holden. He won’t go quietly, Martians.
Meanwhile, Anna delivers a powerfully heartfelt eulogy at Nemeroff’s service. Her speech brings to light the message of reaching out to those in need, of being a friend when someone asks for help. I can’t help but think of the recent suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade while listening to Anna’s words. We could all stand to be that shining light in someone’s darkness.
Later, Tilly reveals to Anna her encounter with Clarissa/Melba. Anna urges Tilly to address her acquaintance, but from a loving perspective and not a confrontational one. Tilly takes that advice and runs with it.
Now, we see the Martians have reached the entrance to the Station. Bobbie and co. are ready to pursue Holden. Holden learns that Miller needs him to complete a circuit within the protomolecule. We see a spindly structure in the middle of the Station with a gap inside, small enough for a human hand to squeeze into. Holden confronts Miller on whether he remembers Eros and Julie. Millers insists that Julie is irrelevant to their mission. However, Holden surmises that his completing this circuit may wipe out all of humanity. Who knows? “No risk, no reward,” retorts apparition Miller.
Next, we see Drummer is converting the Behemoth’s farm machinery into proper probes to explore the Station. Ashford finds his captain and the two hash out their beef. Drummer reminds him that she’s in charge, and surmises he’s planting the seeds to overthrow her as they speak. Uh oh. This might not end well.
Meanwhile, Tilly finds Melba up to her usual tinkering. Tilly vows she’ll help Clarissa/Melba out with whatever the latter needs. She even offers to bring in a lawyer to help clear Clarissa/Melba’s name. However, Melba reveals that Holden is the one who needs to pay, and she will make sure that ice cold justice is served. Then, Melba goes into Hulk mode. She accesses the device or whatever she has that enacts her superpowers. Tilly, you don’t want to make her angry. You won’t like her when she’s angry.
Later, Miller regales Holden with a story Julie told him. He also reveals their final moments before descending into Venus’ atmosphere. We hear the beautiful string arrangement from “Home” playing softly in the background, and I have instant goosebumps. Seriously, hats off to Clinton Shorter for such a gorgeous piece of music. “It’s good to see you, Miller,” Holden says, now thoroughly convinced that this is the Miller he used to know. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I miss Miller so much.
Suddenly, Bobbie and the Xuesen crew arrives inside the Station, ready to apprehend Holden. Of course, they can’t see apparition Miller. Bobbie insists that she never believed Holden blew up the Seung Un, but they need to take him in so he can properly explain himself. Holden refuses to leave, and attempts to shoo Bobbie away.
The Martians fire their weapons at Holden, but the protomolecule properties in the Station stops the bullets from showering our Cap. A piece of the Station branches outward, and Lt. Mayer fires at it. Not a good idea, by the way. Said piece reaches for Mayer and pulls him apart akin to the UNN ship exploring the Eros wreckage on Venus. We see Mayer’s skin plucked from his bones, then his entire body ripped to shreds. Kudos to the VFX team for that shot. Not to mention, everyone else surrounding the Ring experiences a shock of sorts – Melba is prevented from attacking Tilly, for example. Ships lose power.
Finally, Holden slips his hand inside the gaping structure to complete the circuit. What happens next is beyond, for lack of a better word, trippy. Holden sees everything – the beginning of the protomolecule, every incident involving said protomolecule. He even glimpses multiple portals inside the Ring that lead to other star systems. Other worlds beyond this one. He witnesses a star exploding within one of the portals. Then, he returns to the Station and promptly collapses.
Once again, The Expanse ends on a monumental cliffhanger and leaves me salivating for more. I’m curious about the other star systems Holden was able to glimpse – perhaps this will pave the way for further space exploration on the show. Also, should Tilly escape her encounter with Melba alive, she now has proof that Holden is innocent. Melba was behind the Seung Un explosion and Holden’s video message to the system. MVP goes to Thomas Jane. His dialogue this episode was top notch, and his interactions with Holden made me reminisce for the old days when our favorite fedora sporting policeman was still among the Land of the Living. Also, I dug the much-exalted (in my eyes) return of that beautiful string piece from “Home.” My only complaint is that there’s not enough Avasarala.
Do you think Melba will be able to intersect the Roci before the Xuesen? What happened to Holden post circuit completion? Will he eventually leave the Station with Bobbie? Will Naomi make it to the Roci? Join me next week as I recap The Expanse, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Expanse airs Wednesdays at 9pm on your SyFy affiliate.