Considering this season of The Expanse has mostly ranged from great to absolutely amazing, surprisingly this episode felt a little lackluster in comparison. The thread with Holden and the crew arranging to sneak onto Ganymede station felt needlessly drawn out and the summit talks between Earth and Mars are mostly predictable. The episode probably would have been better off had at least one of those story beats played out a little quicker.
In the beginning of the episode we find that Amos and Holden have boarded a relief vessel headed for Ganymede disguised as MCRN Navymen. The explanation is that they need a discreet ship to get them onto Ganymede as the Rocinante will draw the attention of all of the real MCRN ships in the area. Unfortunately, they are bogged down and the story beat moves really slowly.
The episode attempts to deliver one of those moments where Holden has to make a tough call – the right one in spite of the fact that one of the owners of the vessel was killed – and live with the consequences but it ultimately just fell flat. The thugs on Ganymede were going to take all of the supplies intended for the survivors on the station that are badly in need of the rations and they had to be stopped. The problem was with the execution, as the scene just didn’t resonate the same way as the moment when Holden torpedoed the group of doctors that had been investigating Eros Station earlier in the season.
Now, the big story beat of the episode was meant to be the peace talks between Earth’s representatives and the Martian delegation. The relationship between the two planets is pretty fragile in the wake of the disaster at Ganymede and neither side fully understands what happens. Understandably a dangerous situation for the principal powers in the system.
Much of the meeting hinges on Bobbie Draper’s testimony as she’s the only one that survived the ground assault. Initially, she sticks to the story given to her by her superiors as they don’t want to hear anything about the mysterious seventh man. Notably, Avasarala is present for the meetings. Obviously, she has been the driving force on Earth trying to preserve the peace while simultaneously looking into the mystery that shrouds all of the recent events in mystery. That said, this moment with Bobbie and Avasarala felt like it should have been bigger. While it was awesome to see Avasarala get a little feisty and pose some hard questions to Bobbie, the result was underwhelming. Though Avasarala did cause Bobbie to become flustered and in turn mention the man without a vac suit, it felt like the former hasn’t quite connected that to Eros yet which is disappointing.
One interesting thing is that Errinwright seemed to blanch a bit when Bobbie mentioned the mysterious attacker on Ganymede. It seems to imply that he might know more about the Protomolecule than we previously thought. Undoubtedly he believes this is linked to Jules-Pierre Mao and Protogen, but previously it seemed as though he wasn’t fully aware of what it was they were up to. This should also cause some more pervasive investigation into the incident considering that prior to the skirmish they had lost contact with the U.N. Marines that were on the ground.
Surprisingly, a sort of side plot to the episode ended up giving us our most interesting and puzzling moment. The U.N. research team headed by Colonel Janus nears Venus to investigate the impact zone where Eros crashed. What they find on their sensors is astounding as it appears that the crash site is teaming with life on a planet with an atmosphere that was thought to make it completely inhospitable. Though we don’t know any of the characters on the vessel particularly well, this should be pretty intriguing going forward considering that Avasarala has an inside man on the ship. Not only are their findings quite important, they are being shadowed by an MCRN ship, and given the current political climate, this makes the entire operation feel quite tense.
Aside from the pacing of the show and the lack of any really meaningful development in the story, the episode is otherwise well executed. The Expanse still looks like one of the most cinematic shows on TV right now and this episode is no different, it simply moved a little too slowly.
GEEK Grade: B-
Be sure to watch the promo for next week’s episode right here!
The Expanse airs on Syfy on Wednesday’s at 10:00pm.
Written by Hallie Lambert
Directed by Mikael Salomon