The Expanse: Windmills Review

The enjoyably tense scenes and insightful character moments distract from the increasingly complex mystery surrounding Julie Mao.

This The Expanse review contains spoilers.

The Expanse Season 1 Episode 7

However viewers feel about Miller and his tenacity with the mystery of Julie Mao’s disappearance, Holden and his compatriots are arguably more interesting and have been for some time. As everyone converges on Eros, however, the disparate groups may begin to even out the pacing… hopefully. While characters like Naomi win points each week, Miller is becoming a bit of a sad sack, and despite her insightful investigative powers, Chrisjen seems locked into observer status by Earth’s gravity well. In the end, this week’s The Expanse episode just needed more forward motion after last week’s character development heavy installment.

Miller’s arc this week found him deciding what to do now that he’s been cut loose from Star Helix, and his choice to keep going, although not surprising, is difficult to take in given the audience’s incomplete picture of Julie Mao. Miller’s infatuation, if that’s what it is, is starting to look as pathetic as perhaps Tavi Muss thinks it is. Dawes thinks Miller has been freed from servitude to Earth’s security force, and perhaps Miller’s journey to Eros following a thin lead will transform the now ex-cop into a more interesting crusader rather than an obsessed puzzle solver.

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Chrisjen’s investigation into the real Jim Holden reinforces the audience’s view that the deputy secretary truly understands that everything in this escalating conflict isn’t as it seems. Her willingness to travel to Montana, where a militia-style system of landowners defend their insular existence with force, proves she’s willing to put herself into danger to learn the truth about why Holden leaves destruction in his wake.

The mothers, after some initial distrust, sympathize with each other’s decision to push their sons into service in the Earth Navy, and despite Chrisjen’s conclusions about Holden’s innocence, it’s easy to see how the disappearance of her Tycho Station spy and the loss of the Donnager could look suspicious to her superiors. The tension surrounding her struggle to find out who’s really behind the stealth attacks reflects well upon her; the only problem is her distance from the action. Her sequences lately have been mostly revelatory but undeniably static conversations about faraway problems.

Her spy becomes a much more interesting character as a result. His part in helping the Rocinante avoid confrontation with the MCRN was impressive even though it didn’t win him much trust, which is probably for the best. More revealing was Amos’ interaction with the spy in the airlock as well as his casual disregard for Holden’s misgivings about shooting any Martian boarders. Holden’s moral code and Amos’ almost psychotic self-preservation are bound to cause some interesting problems in the future.

Naomi and Alex working to get the necessary code words to call off the Mars Navy was the most enjoyable part of the episode, especially the comic relief coming from Alex’s reactions both to the stress of the situation and the eventual victory. Naomi’s MacGyver-like skill has begun to draw the attention of her crewmates, and it continues to be one of the main reasons why the engineer steals the show each week.

With the spy still trying to get a signal on his eye-camera and the U.N. seeking to take Holden out of the equation upon arrival at Eros, the intrigue is sure to deepen soon. Since Miller is also headed to Eros, the convergence of storylines is an exciting prospect. The Anubis shuttle that Miller found out about while rifling through Julie’s quarters is an obscure clue in an already complex mystery surrounding Julie Mao, but perhaps the picture will become clearer. Until then, the thrill ride of The Expanse has hit a few bumps that hopefully will smooth out soon enough.

For more speculation and discussion of The Expanse, check out Den of Geek’s new podcast, Sci Fi Fidelity! The inaugural episode contains discussion of this great show (27:08) as well as an interview with Naomi Nagata herself, Dominique Tipper (47:54). Check it out below and subscribe on SoundCloud, Stitcher, iTunes, or TuneIn.

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3.5 out of 5