DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse contains more spoilers than the number of times our Roci crew has marched full force into harm’s way. The belly of the galactic Beast. Hey, the Roci laughs in the face of danger. You’ve been warned. Prepare for interplanetary war, and enter at your own peril.
Welcome back, Beltalowda! The Expanse blessed us with a two-hour season finale that changed the game. “Congregation,” Episode 12, finally brought our characters together aboard the Behemoth, as current Captain Ashford ushered all injured parties to the safety of the OPA ship. We learned that, after Ashford sent a nuclear warhead housed in a skiff to the Station’s borders, the protomolecule viewed humanity as a threat and would soon incinerate the universe. It’s then that Ashford decided to take matters into his own hands and use the Behemoth’s massive communications laser to blast it through the Ring to the other side, effectively demolishing it.
However, Holden knew that the Ring would perceive this as an act of war, with humanity being on the losing side. At apparition Miller’s behest, Holden urged all ships to shut down their reactors, going dark. Only then would the Ring allow the ships to go free, after it was reassured that the humans don’t plan to destroy it. In short, s**t went down. Hard.
Alright, ready to delve into “Congregation” and “Abaddon’s Gate?” Just be sure to set aside some Mormon scotch for when humanity is good and properly saved. You know our Roci crew is on the case.
We open with Melba (Nadine Nicole) being held captive in the med bay of the Rocinante. Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell) and Amos (Wes Chatham) enter the scene, informing Melba that her superpowers have been inhibited thanks to blockers. Oh, and that thing that makes her super strong? Endocrine enhancement implants. Amos wants to take her down, citing that people like her deserve to die. However, Anna sways him to the contrary. Anna’s super power is the power of persuasion.
Meanwhile, Alex (Cas Anvar) and Naomi (Dominique Tipper) are trying to figure out what’s what on the command deck. Where exactly is Holden? After watching old footage, Alex observes the MCRN Xuesen skiff leaving the Station. They obviously took Holden into custody. Then, the duo catches the message from Ashford (David Strathairn) granting any injured persons medical assistance aboard the Behemoth. Bingo! Holden must be heading for the Behemoth. Naomi vows she’ll take Amos and Anna with her, but Alex won’t have it. They’ll all go together – like a family. And cue the eye leakage.
Later, we see Holden (Steven Strait) is being held in solitary aboard the Behemoth. Captain Lucas (Yanna McIntosh), of the MCRN, attempts to solicit information regarding what happened on the Station. However, Holden won’t budge until he’s reassured that his friends are safe. Exasperated, Lucas steps out and passes the baton to Ashford. Ashford draws out the story using a different approach.
Now, Holden finally divulges his story, starting with his visions of apparition Miller. He also reveals that he saw the beginnings of the civilization that created the protomolecule, and how said civilization was wiped out. The Ring was constructed as a roadway to other worlds. But, since the ancient civilization was demolished, Holden and co. are stranded in a graveyard of sorts. They must find a way to leave the Ring and never return. Sounds like something from a science fiction movie! Ashford leaves Holden fully convinced that the latter has lost his marbles.
Then, Bobbie (Frankie Adams) and her squad board the Behemoth. Ashford informs the crew that Holden has suffered brain damage of sorts, much to Bobbie’s disbelief. Bobbie protests on behalf of Holden, citing that he hasn’t lost it. However, Bobbie is silenced by Lucas and sent to work. Ashford forces the MCRN Marines to relinquish their Iron Man suits. Bobbie hands hers over begrudgingly. No, not the Iron Man suit!
Meanwhile, Drummer (Cara Gee) is convalescing in the med bay, with her wounds being attended to by the resident medic. Apparently, she’s undergoing a complex spinal repair procedure, which would work better if she were unconscious. Drummer’s legs are essentially useless due to the trauma she suffered while being pinned by the farming equipment. Frustrated, Drummer orders the medic to leave her be. She lets out a silent scream, and my heart breaks for her. I sincerely hope Gee is promoted to series regular when Season 4 rolls around. She is a force to be reckoned with. Drummer spots mechanical support equipment and wheels her gurney over to retrieve said equipment. Then, she gets to work on making the mechanical legs operable. That’s my girl.
Later, UN Commander Kunis (Sean Baek) boards the Thomas Prince. We see Kolvoord (Chris Owens) chase him down. Kolvoord beseeches the UN Commander to allow him to tag along on the trek to the Behemoth. He has a theory that they could use the Behemoth’s massive communications laser to penetrate the interference emitted by the protomolecule and send a distress signal. It’s worth a shot. Kunis vows to pass on the idea to Ashford.
Next, our Roci crew boards the Behemoth with the prisoner Melba in tow. Melba is escorted to the brig, where Holden currently resides. Naomi demands to know what happened to Drummer. Diogo (Andrew Rotilio) has her escorted to Ashford, as she’s technically considered a deserter. Amos is ready to raise hell, but Naomi knew this was coming. Plus, she might receive the answers she seeks. Amos and Alex are forced to relinquish their firearms, and the triple As (Alex, Anna and Amos) are ushered to the med bay to assist in whatever way possible.
Then, Naomi reunites with Ashford on the command deck. We also spot Commander Kunis and Captain Lucas chatting with Ashford. An Earther, a Martian and a Belter. That sounds like the beginning of a bar joke. Ashford assures her that Drummer is being cared for, and that he didn’t forcefully depose her. In fact, Drummer courageously saved him. Naomi breaths a sigh of relief. Ashford asks Naomi to make essential repairs to the Behemoth’s power grid. Otherwise, they’ll all “asphyxiate in darkness.” That’s pretty high stakes.
Meanwhile, Ashford initiated the communications laser in an effort to send a distress signal to the outside world. Unfortunately, the laser fails to penetrate the protomolecule’s interference. The laser merely elevates the Ring’s temperature ever so slightly. Trial and error, folks.
Later, we see our trio of As in the med bay, providing assistance to the injured. Amos learns that Anna used to be a nurse prior to her Reverend-ing. He seems entranced by her. I’m really enjoying the burgeoning friendship between these two. Anna will be a positive influence on Amos.
Next, Naomi finds Drummer convalescing, as Ashford promised. Drummer vows to help Naomi track down Holden if the latter can make some mechanical legs work. Naomi, always up for a fixin’, helps her friend. Our Belter ladies have been reunited, and it feels so good.
Meanwhile Ashford, Kunis and Lucas contemplate their next move. Ashford perceives the Station as a formidable threat, and makes the executive decision to blow it up. He decides to send a skiff housing a nuclear warhead as a last ditch effort. Blowing things up is not a plausible solution in my book.
Later, Anna pays Melba a visit in the brig. She confesses that she prevented Amos from killing Melba not out of morality, but vanity. Anna wanted to convince herself that she wasn’t merely avenging Tilly. She couldn’t care less for Melba’s own well being. Melba, enraged, accuses Anna of cowardice. Anna responds coldly that a quick death would be a way out for Jules-Pierre Mao’s daughter, and Melba deserves to suffer. Ouch. After Anna leaves, we see Holden introduce himself to Melba from the adjacent cell, and she lets out a bitter laugh. How ironic that she would be imprisoned right next to her murder target. Life has a funny sense of humor.
Then, it’s show time! The nuclear warhead approaches the Station and detonates. Now, the protomolecule shifts, but nothing happens. It’s as if the explosion of the warhead is frozen in time. Eventually though, the protomolecule will react. Kolvoord ventures that it may take seven hours max, but something will happen.
Meanwhile, Naomi is on a reunion tour at the moment. She embraces Holden once she reaches his cell, and the two vow to never leave each other’s sides again. Once more, my eyes begin to leak. Holden unloads everything that’s happened, starting with his visions of the Miller apparition. Naomi believes him. Finally! We see Melba is eavesdropping on their conversation in the cell next door. Holden vows to try to save humanity, even if it kills him.
Next, we see a video from Monica Stuart (Anna Hopkins), documentarian extraordinaire, being broadcasted throughout the Behemoth. She reports on the current happenings involving the Ring and expresses her hope that answers will come soon, for the benefit of all humanity.
Later, Ashford proposes to Kunis and Lucas that they blow up the Ring via the communications laser they used earlier. This time, though, they’ll aim to blast it through the Ring with the intention of destroying it. Since they detonated the warhead near the Station, the protomolecule now assesses humanity as the threat. Therefore, it’s not implausible to believe that the Ring will wipe out whomever is inside it…and out. However, Kunis and Lucas inform Ashford that this action will trap them inside the Ring forever, and nobody outside will ever know what they did. Ashford asserts that it’s better to go out as heroes. I concur.
“Abaddon’s Gate” (S03E13)
We open with Naomi and Drummer observing Holden in his cell. He’s attempting to summon apparition Miller. Of course, even when Miller does reappear our Belter duo is unable to see him. Judging by Holden’s shift in body language and dialogue, though, apparition Miller pulls through and provides the answers they so desperately seek.
Meanwhile, Ashford calls Drummer once he’s informed of her escape from the med bay. He urges her to meet him in person. Ashford wholeheartedly believes that he’s not the threat, but Holden and his seemingly unraveling sanity may fit that category. Afterwards, Holden reaches out to Alex and relays the information he gleaned from apparition Miller. Apparently, Miller thinks the humans must reassure the Ring that they’re not a threat. The Ring knows of the humans’ capabilities thanks to the nuclear warhead Ashford sent to the Station. So, what’s the next step? Every ship within the Ring must turn itself off. Shut down their main reactors. Go intentionally dark. Once the Ring perceives the humans as harmless, it may allow them to leave. Holden urges Alex and Amos to start spreading the word.
Now Holden, Naomi and Drummer are making their way to the reactor. Amos, Alex and Anna (my triple As), also get a move on, hoping to inform the masses. Ashford learns from Diogo that Holden has also escaped the brig, presumably with the help of Naomi and Drummer. The new captain of the Behemoth sends his men to track them all down. Uh oh. This won’t end well.
Next, our trio of As finds Monica Stuart and urges her to broadcast their message to everyone in the Ring. However, Monica is still cross with Amos for how he treated her and Cohen, and rightfully so. She also reveals that Cohen was promptly sliced in half right as they boarded the MCRN Xuesen. So, there’s that. Amos doesn’t express his condolences, but rather he expresses the gravity (pun intended) of the situation to the esteemed documentarian. Monica reluctantly hops aboard the Team Go Dark train.
Meanwhile Holden, Drummer and Naomi take an elevator to the main reactor. Once they exit the elevator, they blow it up in an effort to erase their tracks. Our trio finds the reactor and clears it of everyone inside. Naomi gets down to business to defeat the, uh, protomolecule. I was trying to do a Mulan thing, but it spectacularly detonated in my face.
Then, our triple As and Monica find a remote location to do the broadcast. They plug in the camera so the footage can’t be tampered with. Anna and Amos have a frank conversation on morality. The Reverend reveals that Amos doesn’t have to harbor such hate, and that it’s a burden. Amos vows to keep Anna safe at all costs. Have I mentioned yet how much I love these two together?
Next, Naomi and Holden discover that someone is rigging massive amounts of power to the communications laser. Drummer surmises that Ashford’s next plan of attack is to punch through the Ring with said laser. Holden reveals that, should Ashford fire the laser in an attempt to destroy the Ring, the protomolecule will retaliate…and it will win. It will decimate everyone and everything on both sides of the Ring. Drummer tells Ashford via her comms that they know what he’s up to. Holden urges Ashford to stand down, that he has another way to save humanity that will ultimately require zero sacrifices. Listen to him, Ashford!
Meanwhile, Monica begins her broadcast and introduces Anna as someone who was instrumental in taking down the traitorous Errinwright. Anna then speaks to the masses in an attempt to pacify them. She spreads the word about everyone shutting off their main reactors and going dark in an effort to assure the Ring that humans aren’t the enemy.
Then, we see Melba has been released from the brig to aid in repairing the power grid. She’s on the command deck with Ashford. Ashford watches Anna convey the message about going dark, and scoffs. He orders his men to find where the message is coming from. However, the footage cannot be tampered with. Grigori (Brock Johnson) decides to rebel against Ashford and join Team Holden. However, Ashford promptly shoots him in the head. Way to assert dominance, dude. Lucas vows to send Bobbie and her squad to track down the trio of As and Monica.
Of course, Bobbie discovers that their Iron Man suits are missing! Those sneaky Belters! We see Diogo and co. charging toward the reactor donning the Martian suits, guns blazing. They’re firing at two Belters who are standing guard, loyal to Drummer. Naomi is just about finished with her work in the main reactor. Finally, Holden, Drummer and Naomi narrowly escape just as Diogo reaches the reactor.
Meanwhile, Bobbie and co. stumble upon the triple As and Monica. They immediately start raining gunfire on the broadcasters. Anna and Monica take shelter as Alex and Amos fire in retaliation. Bobbie announces her identity and orders the shooters to relinquish their weapons. Alex is taken aback that his friend and fellow Martian Bobbie is firing at him. Once Bobbie realizes that Alex is present, she stands down. Friends don’t shoot at each other, you guys.
Then, Melba encounters a rough spot while making repairs. Ashford approaches her and inquires of the situation. Melba reveals that the blockers are inhibiting her ability to think clearly. Ashford promptly removes them, which means now she can activate her endocrine enhancement implant and beat the tar out of everyone. Uh oh.
Later, while they’re trying to escape, Drummer offers to stay behind and dispose of Diogo and the other Belters chasing our crew. Drummer has two grenades on her person. Naomi and Holden climb up the elevator shaft, and we see Diogo ascending through the shaft toward them. Suddenly, the elevator plunges downward, crushing Diogo under its weight and exploding at the bottom of the shaft. Thankfully, Drummer wasn’t harmed and didn’t have to use the grenades. Good thinking, Naomi! Also, RIP, Diogo. Your vibrant personality will not be forgotten.
Meanwhile, Bobbie’s own squad turns against her when she flees to Alex’s side. Alex and Amos aid her in fighting them off. Amos even cleanly shot one of the Martian soldiers in the head. His nonchalance would normally be off putting, but the crew has no time to react to that. Bobbie collapses to the ground, and Alex realizes that she was shot during the scuffle. Oh no, not my Gunny!
Next, Holden and Naomi approach the command deck. They’re greeted by a horde of bullets fired from Belters standing guard outside. Holden reticently moves closer to Ashford, citing that he too is trying to save lives. Both parties are trying to do what they think is best for humanity. Ashford promptly orders his men to shoot our duo. Suddenly, Melba activates her implant and launches into Hulk mode. She knocks a few men aside and makes her way toward Ashford. She knocks him unconscious. It would appear Melba came to her senses and is trying to make things right. I can appreciate a good redemption story.
Then, Melba manages to rig the power grid so the power immediately shuts off. As every ship in the Ring goes dark, Holden is launched into a vision. He is standing on a beach, viewing the Ring from the other side. Is he on another planet, in another galaxy? Who can say. Suddenly, the power returns to all ships, and we see a plethora of black holes materializing within the Ring. They’re portals, the gateways that Holden envisioned inside the Station. The Ring now looks like blue Swiss cheese. Ashdord wakes to see the portals for himself. Miller’s plan worked! Everyone is saved! We see the ships departing the Ring through the exit points inside.
Now, Holden surmises that apparition Miller’s objective all along was to open the portals inside the Ring, to access these other worlds. We see Melba sitting with Anna, collapsing in tears. She’s clearly remorseful over her actions. Alex is piloting the Roci with Bobbie at his side. I need to see these two entangled in a proper Martian romance. Make this happen, The Expanse Powers That Be! Amos helps Naomi make repairs aboard the Roci. Drummer brings Ashford some scotch in the med bay. On Earth, Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) observes the portals in her office at the UN. Finally! I’ve missed her so. Holden informs us that 1,300 habitable worlds exist beyond said portals. Of course, humanity will continue to explore them in “another blood soaked Gold Rush.” All appears to be right with the world.
We end the season with Holden standing on that beach, verbally surmising what killed that ancient civilization that crafted the protomolecule. Miller (Thomas Jane) finally appears, informing Holden that he’d like to find out what slaughtered them as well. He asks Holden for a ride, and my heart is fit to burst. These two teaming up again in Season 4? Frak yes. Suddenly, the Roci is submerged through one of the portals, and now we’ll have to wait till next season to learn what Holden will discover on the other side.
And that concludes Season 3 of The Expanse! This season was, without a doubt, the best yet. Not to mention the ending just opened up a new realm of possibilities. Other habitable worlds ripe for discovery can only mean new life forms. Are there other humans, or will our crew stumble upon different beings? I’m tickled pink at the endless possibilities in the road ahead. Of course, there’s still plenty of book territory left to cover. Thank Amazon that our favorite sci-fi space opera will live on for another glorious season.
What do you think Holden will discover on the other side of that portal? Will we see a trial for Errinwright and Mao on Earth? How will Avasarala manage as Earth’s ruler? Will Melba finally go by Clarissa and stay with the Roci crew, alongside Anna? When will Alex and Bobbie finally get together? Now, the waiting begins, Screaming Firehawks. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be feverishly binge watching all three seasons of The Expanse while I wait for Season 4.
The Expanse will return for Season 4 on Amazon Prime.
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