DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse episode “New Terra” contains more spoilers than the number of times our Roci crew has been in imminent danger. They laugh in the face of danger. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome, Beltalowda! After a seemingly unending wait, The Expanse has finally returned to our screens. The Season 4 premiere “New Terra” was just as brilliant as I anticipated. It was rife with breathtaking visuals, Avasarala’s snarky expletive-laced one-liners, new supporting characters and a new planet ready for exploration. Seeing all of our favorites together again after SyFy’s cancellation and Amazon’s revival felt like a well-earned victory. Euphoric, even. This episode laid the groundwork for what may be The Expanse‘s most intriguing season yet.
Alright, ready to delve into “New Terra?” Time to flip and burn, Screaming Firehawks.
Now, we open with a Belter refugee ship attempting to seek refuge within the confines of the Ring. Now that news of the innumerable star systems housed within said Ring has spread far and wide, Belters longing for a place to call home have tried to pass the blockade. Despite warnings from the UN and even a warning from Drummer (Cara Gee) herself, the ship presses on undaunted and manages to successfully fly into the Ring.
Meanwhile, Holden (Steven Strait) and his mother Elise (Frances Fisher) are spending some much-needed family time together on Earth. Eight months have passed since that Belter ship traveled into the Ring. Elise finally met Naomi, albeit it was via video call. Holden’s mother asks him about what he saw in the Ring, but the latter is unable to put his experience into words.
Next, Holden receives a visit from apparition Miller (Thomas Jane). He’s hitching a ride through the Ring, and talks of something that is the “next clue.” Miller reiterates the clue line a few times during their conversation. Holden plans to meet with Avasarala, the new Secretary-General, at the United Nations in NYC.
Meanwhile, Amos (Wes Chatham) receives a video call from Melba (Nadine Nicole), who is serving a life sentence alongside her father for her crimes. The pair traveled together for a while prior to her sentencing, and have developed a special bond. She asks if she can call him again, and he replies “Sure, Peaches.” That’s cute. I’m digging this pairing.
Next, we see Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) holding a meeting at the UN. A woman named Nancy Gao (Lily Gao) argues that Belters craving access to the Ring just want secure ground beneath their feet. What happens when a UN ship longs to explore new lands? Will Avasarala order they be shot down too? In true Avasarala fashion, she refuses to reverse her stance and makes damn sure that her orders are followed.
Now, Avasarala meets with Holden. We learn the new planet is called Ilus via the Belter colony that settled there. Avasarala wants the Roci crew to explore the terrain and determine whether it’s safe for humans. She shows him a peculiar rock formation on Ilus that could have protomolecule origins. Her fear is that Ilus may be another Eros. Should that be the case, she orders Holden to kill the protomolecule, nuke the planet and get everyone out of there. God, I missed her so much.
Later, Holden brings Amos, Alex (Cas Anvar) and Naomi (Dominique Tipper) up to speed regarding Operation: Ilus. Naomi expresses her desire to explore the planet alongside her boys, despite her inexperience with gravity. Holden is reticent, but he abides by her wishes.
Meanwhile, Draper (Frankie Adams) is back on Mars, hard at work on a construction site of sorts. We see her make the trek back to her apartment – well, she’s currently staying with her brother, his wife and nephew. His nephew’s girlfriend is starstruck upon meeting Draper – she refers to our favorite Marine as a war hero. Damn right she is.
Next, Alex video calls Draper and asks how her regular job is going. It’s clear that Draper is antsy and anxious to resume her military duties. Alex reveals that the Roci is heading for Ilus, and he’s fearful of what lies in the unknown. However, our favorite cowboy pilot is up to the task.
Later, we see Ashford (David Strathairn) is on patrol outside the perimeter of the ring. He catches a Belter pirate who is firing upon UN ships in the surrounding area. Ashford captures said pirate and chastises him for infringing upon the already tenuous truce between the Belters and the UN. Even Ashford is attempting to play by the rules now.
Next, Drummer is commanding the Medina Station which is located in Ring space. Naomi phones in and the pair have a conversation regarding their new tasks. Drummer wholeheartedly believes the Belters shouldn’t have settled on Ilus, claiming that they’re “space people.” Naomi, on the other hand, believes people deserve the right to choose where they lay their head. However, the two are respectful of each other’s views and end the call peacefully.
Now, after giving the proper codes for access, the Roci crew has successfully passed through the Ring. Miller pops up and thanks Holden for the ride. It’s showtime!
Then, we see a strange fellow named Thomas (Michael Xavier) seemingly stalking Draper while she’s at the bar. The pair join for a drink and exchange military anecdotes. Thomas was also confined to meager work on Mars despite being a service member. He asks Draper what she saw in the Ring. Of course, like Holden, Draper also comments on how difficult it is to summarize the experience in words.
Next, Ashford is seen playing a little game with the UN – he waits until the last second to give them his access code to pass through Ring territory. He reunites with Drummer at the Medina Station. As a result, Drummer scolds him for playing with fire. They’re supposed to comply according to the standards set by the truce.
Meanwhile, a ship rife with expedition equipment, doctors, technicians and scientists is seen heading to Ilus. We meet Dr. Elvi Okoye (Lyndie Greenwood) and Adolphus Murtry (Burn Gorman).
Suddenly, something or someone hits the ship and it spirals out of control. It crash lands on Ilus, killing many and injuring others. The mission commander has perished, leaving Chief Murtry in charge of the expedition crew. Thankfully, Dr. Okoye survived as well. After that, Avasarala fills the Roci crew in on the accident and urges Holden to “keep your d**k out of this. The situation is f**ked up enough as it is.” Amos comments on how prudent that advice is, and I have to agree. That may be my favorite Avasarala line yet.
Next, the Roci finally lands on Ilus or “New Terra.” The Belter encampment witnesses the landing as well. We see everything from the viewpoint of Naomi, who is all ready for gravity after several shots and strenuous training. The scene is breathtaking and immensely touching. Watching Naomi experience ground beneath her feet and the effects of gravity is akin to watching a baby walk for the first time.
Now, our crew meets with the residents of the aforementioned encampment. However, not everyone is happy to see them. Several Belters grow violent and assume the Roci is there to evict them. Holden and Naomi assure the crowd that they’re merely there to observe. Murtry introduces himself as leader of the pack. We also meet Carol Chiwewe (Patti Kim) and more doctors/residents. A shootout almost takes place between Murtry, a vehement Belter named Coop (Kris Holden-Ried) and Amos.
Suddenly, a swarm of metallic bugs swoops down on the crowd, slicing faces (like Naomi), arms, etc. Holden picks one up after the incident to examine it. It moves as an insect would. Is it protomolecule-based, or some other weapon? We’ll find out in the next episode!
Now, this is just the tip of The Expanse iceberg, Screaming Firehawks. So much goodness is surely heading our way. The seeds are sown, and we can see that the tenuous truce between Earth, the Belt and Mars has the potential to unravel. War may be at a standstill, but it’s far from quashed. Not to mention, this Murtry fellow seems…shady. I’m curious to see if he morphs into a villain of sorts.
Alright, what do you think those metallic insects are about? Who sabotaged the expedition ship? Will our crew find anything out of the ordinary on Ilus? Join me next time as I continue to recap The Expanse, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Expanse Season 4 is now streaming on Amazon Prime.
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