DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse episode “Subduction” contains more spoilers than the number of times Bobbie Draper has reigned victorious in battle. Our favorite Martian Marine is a fighter, not a lover. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution. 

Welcome back, Beltalowda! Our The Expanse binge-athon continues with “Subduction,” the third episode of Season 4. This time the focal point of the narrative was split between Ilus, Earth and Mars. Avasarala found her incumbency being challenged by political opponent Nancy Gao. Draper was forced to break the law just a teensy bit to ensure the safety of her nephew by a corrupt cop. Murtry continued to stir the sh*t pot with his questionable morals. Oh, and the protomolecule inflicted strange weather phenomena on the settlers of Ilus. Have you ever seen a twirling blue metallic mountain? Neither have I…until now. 

Alright, ready to delve into “Subduction,” my fellow The Expanse junkies? Time to flip and burn, Screaming Firehawks. 

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Now, we open with the Ilus settlers drawing battle lines after Murtry (Burn Gorman) murdered one of the Belters in cold blood. Holden (Steven Strait) and Alex (Cas Anvar) are dumbstruck at the sight of the protomolecule lightening strikes. Naomi (Dominique Tipper), who is still in the Roci, notices that said strikes have a pattern to them. As a result, the next strike should fall upon the encampment…and it does. She urges Amos (Wes Chatham) to take cover.

Pictured: Cas Anvar and Steven Strait

Next, Amos informs the group that, thankfully, nobody was seriously injured by the lightening strike. However, the power was knocked out during the incident. Naomi tells Holden and Alex to stay put at the metallic mountain formations, as she intends to join them. But she’s still overcome with critical health issues, and is easily overwhelmed by fatigue. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Okoye (Lyndie Greenwood) fills her partner Dr. Fayez Sarkis (Zach Smadu) regarding the ensuing chaos on Ilus. Murtry shot a Belter, the peculiar lightening strikes, etc. Dr. Sarkis is monitoring Ilus from a station above the planet, so he can also observe the lightening strikes across the globe. 

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Then, we see Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) with her husband Arjun (Michael Benyaer). The pair are en route to NYC after their sojourn to Mars. Avasarala learns of Nancy Gao’s plan to run for Secretary-General, and Arjun urges his wife to prepare herself for the impending battle. However, Avasarala always savors a good fight, and she’s already looking forward to it. That’s my gal. 

Meanwhile, on Mars, Draper (Frankie Adams) inquires her brother Benji (Steven Allerick) on her nephew’s whereabouts. Benji is clueless and surmises that he’s studying with his girlfriend. Of course, we know said girlfriend is really a drug dealer threatening David’s safety. After Benji leaves, David calls Draper and implores her to help him. 

Next, Draper meets with the aforementioned “girlfriend” and David’s drug boss Esai (Paul Schulze). Esai reveals that David will remain in business with him until his debt is paid in full. You know, since Draper wrecked the man’s lab and all. Esai offers Draper a deal – if she leaves a door open to a cache of supplies (which are worth a lot of money), then his men will swipe the goods and David can walk free. Draper agrees to said deal. 

Later, we see our crew hard at work repairing the power grids that were damaged during the lightening storm. Naomi is working in tandem with Dr. Lucia’s (Rosa Gilmore) husband and daughter. Her daughter wishes to be like Naomi – attend university and go into engineering. However, Lucia believes her daughter belongs with her family, and urges Naomi not to encourage the young girl to pursue her dreams. Hogwash, I say. Hogwash! 

Next, Amos notices a slew of generators over in Murtry’s encampment that are not in use. He brazenly saunters over, in typical Amos fashion, and proceeds to snag one of the generators. Murtry’s crew attempts to stop him, but he beats the snot out of them. Chandra (Jess Salgueiro) orders him to back off. Murtry is her boss, so she won’t hesitate to shoot Amos if need be. “So does that mean we can’t f*ck anymore?” Amos asks. Chandra, as any human being with eyes would, ensures him that the horizontal tangoing will continue. Amos tells Chandra he’ll see her later. Lucky gal. 

Pictured: Encampment on Ilus

Then, we see Draper waltzing into the MVPD station to report David as a missing person. She’s led to a detective by the name of Esai and, sure enough, it’s the drug dealer from earlier. He’s a corrupt cop, it turns out. He reassures her that as long as she adheres to their agreement, no harm will befall her nephew. Sketchy!

Meanwhile, Holden, Alex and Okoye are at the mountain site. They begin to feel earthquake-like sensations, and we see Sarkis from space trying to analyze data. Since Ilus has no log of tectonic activity, this new phenomena is just that…phenomena. 

Next, Amos and Murtry have a nice chat about killing people and bloody stuff. Thinly veiled threats are exchanged. Murtry suspects that one day these two will have a bloody showdown. Amos claims he can read Murtry better than most. That’s my hot little psycho killer! 

Then, we see Avasarala and Arjun are relaxing at home. Avasarala’s aide brings her vital dirt on Nancy Gao (Lily Gao). As it turns out, Nancy has a perfect record…except for one thing. She apparently cheated her way into an apprenticeship which normally takes decades to gain acceptance. Avasarala orders her aide to discreetly leak it to the press, and the media will take it from there. Boom!

Pictured: Shohreh Aghdashloo

Now, Draper is in her dock uniform and already on the job. She surreptitiously sneaks into the room that Esai wants access to. Draper checks out the merchandise that’s apparently worth loads of money. Then, she leaves the door unlocked for Esai’s men. Later, she spies his men nonchalantly walking past her. After discreetly scanning them, she notices they’re Belters. OPA members hiding their trademark tattoos. The plot thickens!

Meanwhile, after overhearing the Belters attempting to enlist Dr. Lucia in their efforts to take down Murtry, the latter waltzes into the med bay for treatment. He asks Lucia to adjust his leg brace, as his leg is healing much faster than anticipated. Murtry subtly grills her on her alliance with the rebellious Belter faction. She takes note of his methods and provides him with vague answers. Naomi enters the scene and chastises him for shooting one of their own. Suddenly, Naomi faints from too much exertion. 

Now, we see Holden, Alex and Okoye witnessing a new phenomena: while the lightening strikes have ceased after covering the entire planet, the formations have taken to spinning. The protomolecule mountain formations are moving in a way that’s causing earthquake vibrations. Will it end, I ask you? Probably not. 

Later, Esai asks to meet with Draper. He applauds her for adhering to the deal. David is safe and sound at home. However, he attempts to enlist her services for his own gain. Esai reveals that Mars will never appreciate Draper for her talents, and soon the red planet will need her again. This scenario very much mirrors the previous episode when Avasarala implored Draper to work for her. Everyone wants a piece of the ol’ Bobbie!

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Meanwhile, Naomi wakes up after her fainting spell. Lucia is tending to her. The good doctor reveals that, shortly after they arrived to Ilus, a cluster of settlers fell ill due to their bodies rejecting the gravity pills. A few of them perished, unfortunately. She cautions Naomi to take it slow, otherwise she’ll end up dead as well. Naomi, being Naomi, stubbornly refuses to relent. Take care of yourself, girl!

Then, Holden urges Alex to send a torpedo from the Roci to nuke the spinning protomolecule mountain. Okoye vehemently protests, citing that humans have never seen anything like this. They could study it. However, Holden believes the next target could be the encampment, and they would all be squashed like bugs on a windshield. Alex does as he’s bid and sends up the torpedo, which effectively takes out the spinning mountain. 

Later, we see the rioting Belters putting their plan to eliminate Murtry in motion. The trio heads outside after a mysterious gas infiltrates their camp. However, Murtry and his men are waiting outside. They take out the trio, and Murtry shoots their leader in the head point blank. Amos is right – Murtry does get off on killing people. 

Pictured: Burn Gorman

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 The Expanse is so adept at having just the right amount of political intrigue, fascinating science fictional elements and thrilling action sequences. It’s a balancing act, and they’re knocking it out of the park. The visuals are better than ever, and I’m really digging the aerial shots of Ilus. Not to mention, I love that we’re seeing more of what life on Mars is like (play David Bowie, Siri). Their lifestyle is much of what I imagined – militaristic, straightforward and very structured. Well, Mars is the God of War, after all. 

Do you think Murtry has an overall objective for regulating life on Ilus? Will Naomi heed the doctor’s warnings before it’s too late? Just how deep will Draper go into the seedy underbelly of the crime world to save her nephew? Join me next time as I recap The Expanse, here on Geek Girl Authority. 

The Expanse Season 4 is now streaming on Amazon Prime. 


Melody McCune
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