This week’s episode of The Expanse finally slowed things down after the last few episodes brought on shocking new developments with huge implications. While “The Seventh Man” is by no means a bad episode, it just isn’t quite as outstanding as the last couple of episodes. Frankly, the bar had been set so high that it would have been pretty difficult to keep that level of excellence up every single week. Following the surprising finale of last week’s episode – which saw Martian Marine Bobbie Draper’s squad assaulted by what appeared to be UN Marines – Draper spends most of the episode dealing with the emotional and political fallout from the skirmish.
Notably, this is the first time that we’ve gotten to see the vulnerable side of the stern gunnery sergeant. As such, it’s the first time we’ve seen Frankie Adams’ versatility considering that to this point she’s really only had to be strong willed and fairly aggressive. Seeing her mourn her squad mates brings depth to the character that we didn’t previously see, which is great in that it really helps round out the show. Earthers and Belters have felt pretty established in The Expanse since the first season considering we’ve seen a lot of different perspectives. This season has definitely concerned itself with establishing Mars’ point of view which we get through Bobbie’s character, so as her character becomes more fully developed, so does our understanding of their perspective.
Meanwhile back on Tycho Station, Fred Johnson finds himself in a bit of a political battle for the heart and soul of the OPA. Anderson Dawes, one of the most influential OPA leaders who is now essentially running Ceres, arrives on Tycho, which leads to a spirited debate between OPA factions. It’s very interesting because while it seems cooler heads are prevailing among the planets with Mars and Earth agreeing to an emergency summit, the Belt and the OPA have been thrown into disarray due to the internal power struggle. It’s a nice piece of writing and Dawes is portrayed brilliantly by Jared Harris. The dysfunction in the Belt offers a stark contrast to events elsewhere in the galaxy, at least for now.
There’s also some real trouble brewing for Holden and Naomi to the point that it is already straining their relationship. We’ve already seen her disobey his order to destroy the rest of the Protomolecule managing to trick him into thinking she had. More over, they seem to have fundamentally different perspectives on the matter considering that Holden is originally from Earth while Naomi hails from the Belt. Right now it seems that their relationship is tied to each of the major OPA factions and it will be worth monitoring how one effects the other going forward.
The biggest development for the overall story arc comes with Bobbie remembering the events at Ganymede, and it looks like all of the UN Marines and her squad were slaughtered by the mysterious being that she saw, the titular seventh man. As the only survivor of the events at Ganymede, Bobbie is told she will testify at the emergency summit. Surprisingly she is instructed to say that they fired first, accidentally providing the spark for the incident. While it is the smart move in terms of preserving piece, not allowing her to discuss the seventh man not wearing a vac-suit is frustrating. More puzzling though is how she has yet to reveal that the attacker didn’t appear to be human.
Here are a few more events worth noting in this episode:
- Amos has a moment while handing out supplies to Belters in need as he’s reminded of himself as a youth. Slowly they have been giving some much needed depth to the character and while he may be blunt conversationally speaking, he’s more perceptive than he looks.
- Diogo is a lot of fun and as Dawes tells him, his legend continues to grow. The funny fast talking Belter takes the Rocinante on a diversionary chase that helps tilt control of the OPA to Dawes.
- Speaking of which, Dawes and Drummer apparently were close at one point. Though she doesn’t seem overly fond of Dawes, she does appear to help him in spite of being Fred Johnson’s second in command and Chief of Security for Tycho Station. When all is said and done, it would be surprising if she doesn’t play a pivotal role in that one way or another due to her unique position.
All things considered, it’s a solid episode of The Expanse but not it’s best but that’s okay considering how much the last few episodes have paid off. As we start getting closer to the end of the season they needed a slower episode to help set the table for what’s coming.
GEEK Grade: B
Check out the preview for next week’s episode right here!
The Expanse airs on Syfy on Wednesday’s at 10:00pm.
Written by Georgia Lee
Directed by Kenneth Fink