DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse contains more spoilers than the number of times Holden drinks coffee in a single day. Hey, our fearless leader requires a caffeine boost to go about his daily business. He’s just like the rest of us! You’ve been warned. Prepare for a planetary war, and enter at your own peril.
Welcome, Belters! The Expanse launched back into action this week with no holds barred. Pedal to the metal. Balls to the wall. In short, our Powers That Be behind The Expanse pulled no punches. Okay, I’m running low on cliches, but you get the picture. With the United Nations officially declaring war against Mars and Fred Johnson teaming up with Anderson Dawes to unify the Belt, s**t is pretty tense right now. Oh, and if you recall, Naomi handed over the infamous protomolecule to Johnson, so…there’s that. Also, I’d like to take a moment of silence for Holden’s most cherished possession – his coffee maker. May it find solace in the Great Beyond. Rest in peace, dear friend. You served the Roci crew well.
Alright, ready to delve into “Fight or Flight?” Just be sure to let Alex pilot the Roci solo. He has a special connection with that ship that cannot be severed.
We open with a view of Venus, at the site where Julie Mao and Joe Miller crashed. If you recall, the protomolecule is alive and well there. At the end of last season, a ship was sent to said site to investigate, which birthed disastrous results for all involved. That protomolecule has a mind of its own. Anyway, we hear a news broadcast detailing the current dangerous political situation, with breathtaking shots of Earth and Mars as the backdrop. The cinematography and effects on The Expanse never ceases to amaze me.
Next, we see a crucial meeting is taking place at the United Nations on Earth. Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) – resident traitor, backstabber, betrayer, etc. – is also present. He’s sitting pretty as the right hand man of Secretary General Gillis (Jonathan Whittaker). Now, Gillis is pondering over the whereabouts of Chrisjen Avasarala, and Errinwright feigns ignorance on said topic. However, we know Errinwright attempted to assassinate our Avasarala… and failed. Boom!
Now, the United Nations is plotting their next move, which will be crucial to whether the solar system is engulfed in war or lives in precarious peace. They believe that Mars possesses the protomolecule. Errinwright persuades Gillis to take the path of war. Since Mars has so much fire power at their disposal, it would be best to get the upper hand. Gillis reluctantly agrees, and officially declares war against Mars. Uh oh. This won’t end well.
Meanwhile, Holden (Steven Strait) and his crew are patching up the Rocinante after that protomolecule fiasco. Thankfully, this is two hundred years into the future and technology has advanced at light speed. He gets a news alert that Earth has officially declared war against Mars. Now time to decide where to hide so as not to get swept up in the destruction. Oh, and time for a new transponder name. RIP Rocinante. We hardly knew ye.
Then, Alex (Cas Anvar) and Amos (Wes Chatham) discuss Naomi’s betrayal. Remember when the gang agreed to launch the protomolecule into the sun so no one will get their hands on it? Well, Naomi surreptitiously gave it to Fred Johnson. Alex is worried that this will tear a rift between their “family,” but Amos asserts they were never a family to begin with. Come on, Amos. Be the teddy bear that I know dwells deep inside you. Anyway, Alex is curious as to how Amos is handling the fallout from Naomi’s actions, especially since the latter and Naomi are best buds. Amos looks to Naomi as a moral compass. However, Amos’ view of his friend has ultimately changed. “She’s not the person I thought she was,” he says forlornly.
Next, we’re on Jules-Pierre Mao’s ship, where we last saw Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) and company. Errinwright led her there to murder her, free from the eyes of the United Nations. However, he failed. Avasarala has Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) as her bodyguard. Bobbie, resident bad***, took on the lot of the ship’s crew and won. She looks like the female Iron Man we’ve always wanted in her Martian suit.
Right now, Avasarala is cradling her actual bodyguard, Cotyar (Nick E. Tarabay), as he bleeds profusely from an injury. Bobbie asserts there are still survivors on the ship that must be exterminated. She hands Avasarala a gun and urges her to pull the trigger if someone other than her walks through those doors. Bobbie vows she’ll return after she checks the ship for potential threats. You go, girl! Bobbie finds Theo (David Tompa), the panicked technician from earlier, and enlists in his help.
Meanwhile, Prax (Terry Chen) helps Naomi (Dominique Tipper) rename the Rocinante. Prax launches into a story about a plant that must burn in order to spread its seeds. Thus, the Contorta is born. Long live the Contorta!
Later, we see Fred Johnson (Chad L. Coleman) conferring with Anderson Dawes (Jared Harris). Of course, Johnson has the protomolecule, which makes him the most dangerous man in the solar system. With Dawes being a prominent figure in the Belt, who knows what the pair has up their collective sleeve…
Next, Cotyar bolts upright after Avasarala heals his wounds. Who needs hospitals anymore? The door to their quarters slides open and Avasarala fires a slew of bullets in that direction. Fight or flight, baby (See what I did there?)! Thankfully, it’s just Bobbie with Theo in tow. Bobbie informs the duo that Theo will help them escape the ship. Mao kept a racing ship at the ready for his son, which is located on the tip of the ship they’re in. Operation: Escape is full steam ahead.
Meanwhile, Errinwright is holding a secret meeting with Gillis in the latter’s office. He throws Avasarala under the bus by claiming she’s suffused in a “shadow government.” According to him, she’s committed treason against Earth by conferring with the enemy. Oh, and she’s fully responsible for the destruction of Eros. Okay, Errinwright. We get it. You’re a coward and you’re trying to save your own skin by burning someone else at the stake. Unfortunately, Gillis believes Errinwright’s claim and orders the latter bring swift and merciless justice on Avasarala for her “crimes.”
Later, on Tycho Station, we see Drummer (Cara Gee) is doing pull ups despite her stomach wound, like the bad*** she is. Johnson takes her aside and informs her of his alliance with Dawes. If you recall, Dawes was responsible for the massacre aboard Tycho last season, and almost slaughtered Drummer. Drummer is furious that Johnson would side with Dawes. I don’t blame her, especially considering her own seedy past with Dawes.
Next, Naomi approaches Amos and Alex with a suggestion – they take up shelter at Tycho. Amos was hoping to settle down on Ceres for a while, and initially doesn’t agree with joining Johnson on Tycho. However, Johnson is the devil they know, and everyone else in the solar system knows who they are. Technically, our Contorta crew are wanted criminals. Essentially, if they go to Tycho they are hiding in plain sight. Amos reluctantly hops aboard Team Naomi on this issue. Suddenly, we see that down below, sequestered inside the newly christened Contorta, is a remnant of the protomolecule. Uh oh. This won’t end well…
Then, our crew on Mao’s ship locates the flight crew and incinerates them. Well, Cotyar fires a bunch of bullets, and that does the trick. Now they have full access to the ship’s controls. Go team!
Meanwhile, Amos plants the Tycho bug in Holden’s ear. Surprisingly, he agrees with Naomi. So, Tycho it is, then. Later, he heads downstairs to grab a cup of coffee and runs into Naomi. Awkwardness ensues as she tries to strike up innocent conversation, asking him how his leg is doing. He insists it’s perfectly fine. Naomi leaves. Holden discovers that his trusty sidekick, his loyal companion the coffee maker, is no more. Oh no! In a rage, he destroys said coffee maker. Prax, who witnessed the incident, urges him to try tea instead. That may be a good idea.
Next, we see the crew aboard Mao’s ship isn’t out of the celestial woods yet. As it turns out, Errinwright is sending a slew of missiles to finish his botched job of slaughtering Avasarala. Avasarala convinces Theo to extricate the ship’s communication logs so she has ammunition against Errinwright when she returns to Earth. Time to throw the real traitor under the bus! Bobbie informs the group that they only have seven minutes until impact. Cotyar tries to persuade Avasarala to leave it alone so they can seek the safety of the racing ship. However, our girl is insistent. Theo does as he’s bid.
Then, Prax and Holden have a conversation over letting go of the past. Holden reminds Prax that the girl they glimpsed wasn’t really his daughter Mei. Prax, forlorn, replies that he’ll never really know the truth. My heart breaks for our favorite botanist.
Meanwhile, Theo gives Avasarala the communication logs. Success! Our quartet heads to the racing ship to escape. Unfortunately, the hangar only holds two people. Cotyar orders Bobbie to pilot the racing ship with Avasarala to safety, while he takes a docking ship with Theo that’s located below Mao’s ship. Separation is never good, but in this case it’s for the best.
Later, Alex sends a message to his family on Mars. He tells his wife and son he doesn’t believe Earth will nuke Mars, but relations are incredibly tight at the moment. He apologizes for being a not-so great father and husband. Alex professes his undying love for them both, and wishes them well. Someone keeps cutting onions directly under my face, and I’m not a fan of it. Anvar really shines in this scene. He brings out the vulnerable side to the usually fun loving Alex, and illustrates a different kind of casualty of war – that of a severed family.
Now, our group on Mao’s ship discovers that they can’t access the hangar bay. Bobbie takes matters into her own hands, and exits the ship through the side. We see her run up the side of Mao’s ship to the very top. She’s going to enter the hangar bay from the outside. Go, Bobbie, go!
Then, Holden approaches his crew with a new destination in mind – Io. Apparently, one of Mao’s bases is located there. He firmly believes they didn’t do enough to find Prax’s daughter, and hopes to aid his friend in a continued search for Mei. Naomi resolutely disagrees with this decision, but Holden stands strong in his choice. Amos and Alex side with Holden, ready to gear up for another adventure. They are heroes, after all. Naomi reluctantly tags along, knowing she’s outnumbered. Io, here we come!
Next, Johnson finds Drummer drinking her sorrows away at the station’s bar. He explains why he’s siding with Dawes, and not just because the former has the protomolecule. Johnson wants to unify the Belt – all aspects of the Belt. With Earth and Mars battering away at each other, the Belt needs to stand strong as one unit. Now, more than ever. Johnson assigns Drummer with a crucial task – travel to the different areas of the Belt in a show of unification. Bring everyone together. Drummer, although still reticent, agrees to do this. But first, time to finish that drink. She’s got her priorities straight, this one.
Now, we see Bobbie enter the hangar bay from the outside and open the door for Avasarala. Yes, girl! Bobbie is my soul sister. Avasarala says a tearful goodbye to Cotyar, and hands him his medication so he can continue to heal his wounds. Our group splits in two. Cotyar and Theo safely enter the docking ship. We see them take off, flying away from Mao’s ship. Meanwhile, Bobbie and Avasarala strap in for a bumpy ride. The missiles loom ever closer, zipping toward the ship with light speed. Bobbie waits a beat before zooming away, not wanting to give the missiles enough time to latch onto them instead. Finally, our pair races away to safety as Mao’s ship explodes from the impact of the missiles.
The Expanse is, without a doubt, the best sci-fi series on television right now. Everything from the relevant political climate to the sweeping views of the stars, this series takes the genre up a notch…and then some. Season 3 is shaping up to be the most climactic yet with war on the horizon for Earth and Mars. Of course, the threat of the protomolecule is not to be taken lightly. Our heroes on the Contorta are divided more than ever, and Avasarala is fleeing from her attempted assassination. Cas Anvar and Frankie Adams are co-MVPs in this episode. Anvar delivers a gut wrenching monologue with finesse, while Adams put her bad*** skills on display as the strong and intuitive Bobbie. Both deserve gold stars for a job well done.
Where do you think Bobbie and Avasarala are headed? Will Errinwright discover that she wasn’t on that ship? Did Cotyar and Theo really get away safely? What will Holden and co. discover on Io, and will Mei be present? 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.
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