This The Expanse review contains spoilers.
The Expanse Season 2 Episode 10
No one does subtlety like The Expanse. In an episode that deepens the show’s already rich world-building, the characters are really displaying their consistent but malleable personalities. Especially welcome was Bobbie’s development as a soldier caught in the middle of a political battle, but the extra touches for Amos and Avasarala as well as the slow decline of Holden’s moral resolve really added spice to an episode that otherwise delivered only the tiniest of juicy morsels in the ongoing mystery surrounding Ganymede.
In fact, there’s a small taste of procedural narrative as Naomi and Holden investigate the disappearance of Prax’s daughter and ostensibly the role of Dr. Strickland in the continued existence of the protomolecule. Their questioning of the survivors doesn’t yield any similarities to what happened on Eros, yet they — and perhaps the viewers — learn that another child with the same immune disorder as Mei is also missing. The Expanse doesn’t mollycoddle its audience, though; we’re just supposed to ask the obvious question: how are the protomolecule and sick children related to the blue-eyed beast that was loosed on the UN and Martian marines?
Instead of leading us to an answer, the focus is placed on how Holden gets his information. We believe Amos when he tells Prax, “I’ll watch your back, but they’ll find your little girl,” but when Amos beats the greedy opportunist, Roma, with a can of chicken to ensure his cooperation in combing the surveillance footage for Mei, his methods, the brutality of which we’ve become familiar with, are less shocking than Holden’s reaction to them. It’s a tough evolution to watch; as Naomi says, “Every shitty thing we do makes the next one that much easier.”
Not that you can argue with the results. Presumably, Holden’s team will be searching for Mei in the oldest part of the station where there are no cameras, a foreboding prospect to be sure. Given this new information and the manner in which it was obtained, it’s surprising that Prax has the scope of observation to notice the changes to his lifelong home that indicate it’s dying. The prospect of a cascade effect resulting from nitrogen deficiencies, people feeding on air-scrubbing plants, and the use of distilled water has the trademark stamp of real science that The Expanse is known for, but Prax’s calm demeanor, logical as it may be for a scientist, is equal parts disturbing and worrying.
How much can they accomplish with the station dying, especially now that Mars has put in place a no-fly zone around the moon? As enjoyable as it was to see Alex enjoying his beer in his zero-g hiding spot, the pilot is their only escape route should things go south in the pursuit of Strickland. The lockdown raises questions about the role Mars may play in the unleashing of the blue-eyed creature, especially given the information Avasarala uncovers.
In fact, the assistant undersecretary’s intel would be suspicious if it weren’t for Mars’ Ganymede lockdown, but Bobbie must feel somewhat vindicated that she wasn’t seeing things when the “seventh man” without a vac suit destroyed her unit. Despite the fact that Bobbie up until this point has been very anti-Earth, almost itching for war, her treatment at the hands of her own people combined with the possible cover-up of a second weapons test of sorts with the ever-resilient Jules-Pierre Mao might persuade her to cooperate with Avasarala.
Plus it seems the culture of Earth, specifically the lives of those living on Basic in slums around the city, has made just as much an impression on the Mars-born soldier as the ocean itself (which was less than magnificent, truth be told). Whereas Prax’s cold reporting of the botanical signs of Ganymede’s impending doom was alarming but scientifically satisfying, there’s no substitute for the observable distress Bobbie experiences being in the overwhelming vastness and comparatively greater gravity of Earth. It’s this personal touch that makes the scientific reality pack a real punch.
Although The Expanse is taking its sweet time getting to the next big confrontation since the loss of Miller, the emotional journey of the much-loved characters of the show is just as satisfying as the more in-your-face armed conflicts. With Bobbie Draper taking an enjoyable turn in the spotlight this week, the set-up for the big finale is making sure the emotional hooks are set good and deep before the Epstein drive kicks in. Buckle up — here comes the juice!