The Expanse continues its impressive sophomore season with another really solid episode this week. While certainly not as flashy as some of the earlier episodes this season, it helps flip the political dynamic in The Belt. We’re also effectively introduced to a new character that puts a face to the tragedy at Ganymede – Praxadike Meng and his missing daughter Mei.
The episode opens with a brief look at Meng’s point of view during the destruction of Ganymede Station before we see him wake aboard a refugee ship. Immediately you feel pretty sympathetic for the man considering he’s lost everything yet still doesn’t want to be a burden on anyone. It illustrates one of the shows many strengths which is how they build their characters from the ground up. While he becomes more important to the episode overall as the episode progresses, the introduction is done in such a way to evoke a sense of sympathy and trust in the character and almost immediately getting a sense for the kind of guy he is.
Though distraught, Meng decides to travel to Mars with a friend of his that happens to be on the refugee barge along with him. In short order, they are separated from one another on the ship as the “Inners,” people from Mars and Earth are to board another transport. It’s a tragic yet elegant scene which quickly turns to horror as the outer door is opened and the “Inners” are spaced. One might expect this to break Meng considering he’s already lost so much, but we see that he’s got some steel in his character as his horror and despair quickly turns to anger. All of this happens in such a short amount of time early in the episode, but due to the execution, you feel all of the emotions Meng is going through.
Meanwhile, Holden, Johnson and the rest on Tycho deal with the fallout of Dawes escaping with the Protogen technician they captured aboard the Thoth station, the derelict site used to monitor the Protomolecule experiments on Eros. Primarily, the event serves as the catalyst for the upheaval The Belt is about to go through as the OPA at large seems to have turned on Johnson as one faction assaults the command center at Tycho in an attempt to gain access to the captured nukes. The power struggle makes its presence felt almost immediately as one of the faction leaders of the OPA that had been outspoken about the missiles in the last episode makes a move to try and wrest them from Johnson’s control.
All of this is spurned on by Dawes. The OPA leader sends a message to Johnson and it becomes quite clear that he isn’t looking for peace and that he is definitely taking the group in a different direction. Once again, Jared Harris is fantastic in the role and there’s just something special about the way he is able to bring that unique Belter accent to life.
Interestingly, this comes at a time when, at least for a moment, The Belt seemed like the most politically stable faction in the system. After all, Earth and Mars are at the cusp of an all out war in the wake of the Ganymede event which comes hot on the heels of the Eros dilemma. Not to mention the fact that Holden and the crew once again find themselves without the backing of a bigger, more powerful ally.
The biggest development comes when Naomi and Drummer are able to tap into the relays on Tycho station and are able to determine that the signal the engineer from Thoth received from the Protomolecule originated from Ganymede. This puts the crew on the trail of the Protomolecule once again and also leads Holden and Naomi to find Meng, who just arrived on Tycho setting the table for the next episode.
Some other quick notes from this week’s episode:
- Something is definitely wrong with Amos as he and Alex nearly come to blows. Alarmingly, Amos seems to nonchalantly threaten his life and it makes one wonder whether or not he had part of his brain removed to rid himself of certain emotions like the engineer from Thoth did.
- Drummer catches a bullet but lives through the short lived siege while Johnson displays the backbone needed in a true leader as he resolves to not give them access to the nukes.
All things considered, this was a really good episode of The Expanse that falls a little short of great.
GEEK Grade: B
Be sure to check out the preview for next week’s episode right here!
The Expanse airs on Syfy on Wednesday’s at 10:00pm.
Written by Robin Veith
Directed by Kenneth Fink