The Expanse (S02E01) “Safe”

We open with a very quick recap of pretty much all of Season 1 – impressive. In basically one minute.

Shifting quickly, we see a battle, which is a ground exercise on Mars. This introduces a significant new character, Gunny Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams), who’s just been told she’s heading out to Phoebe Station. They note it’s going to be a long trip (score one for space travel time realism). Gunny’s missile delivery is really awesome.  Before she leaves, she looks at the projected terraforming of Mars. It’s beautiful. (Uh oh! the streamed version has the very short titles. Viewers who watched live were treated to the full length gorgeous titles. Here’s a link to the full version – https://vimeo.com/breeder/theexpanses2).

mars-exercise

Shifting to the Rocinante, Holden (Steven Strait) is dreaming that the infection on Eros made it to the Roci. Amos (Wes Chatham) and Naomi (Dominique Tipper) are working on liberating a storage unit.  Amos notes the perks of a vac suit include peeing in place. Before Naomi has a chance to go use the head, they realize the chamber they are working with is no longer functioning correctly. Alex (Cas Anvar) is testing desperately unhappy refugees from Eros to see if they are sick.  Fortunately every one is clear, but the refugees suspect they aren’t welcome and think the Roci should have taken more.

Miller (Thomas Jane) takes a look at frozen, dead, Semi, who Amos took out. Miller says good bye to Semi, before spacing the body. Miller knows that they used Eros as the testing location because no one would care about 100,000 Belters. Miller, although cynical, is likely correct in his assessment. He and Holden continue their anti-dying treatment.

Naomi and Amos, finish opening the cryogenic unit and determine (to their horror) it contains the blue shit from Eros.

amos-blue-shit

Avasarala (Shohreh Agdashloo), code named Archangel, is discussing people’s general untrustworthiness, when she is spared by “this much” from being blown up.
avasarala

The Roci team sees the test film made by Dresden, showing him testing the Protomolecule (Yes, now it has a name). And, they figure out that the Protomolecule was an “Extra-solar object.” Holden: “First proof of alien life.” Miller: “and it’s just more fucking death.” Amos suggests launching it into the sun. Miller does NOT endear himself with Amos when he calls him No-Neck (I was amused). Naomi votes against destroying the Protomolecule sample, because she thinks a vaccine could be made out of it, but everyone agrees NOT to keep it on the ship. They decide to give it a berth out “there.”

Bobbie, on the transport to Phoebe is proceeding to beat the shit out of a droid arm on the MCRN Scirocco. Pretty fucking impressive.  I like that they note her problem with the suit (which is a nod to the book).  The crew has a conversation about origins, and how weak they think Earthers are. This crew is mixed, and they have strong opinions about what makes one a Martian and tempers are hot, but Gunny is a true leader telling them to keep it professional. The group encourages Gunny to seduce the Commander to find out info.  Gunny doesn’t “use sex as a weapon, she uses WEAPONS as weapons.”  She’s invited into a meeting, discussing the fate of the MCRN Donnager. Although suspicions abound, the Captain wisely instructs to not jump to a conclusion. So, Earth thinks the Canterbury was destroyed by the Martians and the Martians think the Donnager was slagged by Earth. They discuss the passion they all have for the Mars terraforming project.
badass-bobbie

Jules Mao (François Chau) and Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) are discussing the issue of Phoebe and how a Martian gunship is heading there. They worry that someone needs to get to Phoebe first. Errinwright is concerned about keeping Eros isolated. Jules mourns Julie. Jules tells Errinwright he should never talk to him about sacrifice again and basically says if Earth wants any further weapons systems, they better play his way.

Back on the Roci, Miller and Holden get an injected device to hold cancer in check. Miller goes to examine the coffee machine, and Amos is in the galley. They need to clear the air about Semi. Amos tries to explain to Miller that Semi pulled a gun and that he follows Naomi, but Miller isn’t satisfied. Using the excellent “drop the coffee cup” distraction, “skinny” Miller takes on “human” Amos… with a somewhat predictable outcome. Amos tells Miller to stay down, but Miller is actually constitutionally incapable. Amos is about to end Miller, but Naomi stops him.


On Earth, Errinwright expresses his errr… sincere concern over Avasarala’s welfare, while ensuring she’s told that it was an OPA plot.  Shifting to a UN meeting, they argue whether to kick asses or just keep an eye on things. Avasarala agrees they need to re-deploy the fleet, but she doesn’t look happy.

Naomi checks in on Miller. Miller clarifies the relationship between Amos and Naomi with Naomi, and it’s clear she’s Amos’s guidestar. Naomi knows that Miller holds a torch for Julie, but didn’t realize Miller never met her. Miller illustrates what happens when you are surrounded by bad shit all the time. He notes that while Holden was shocked about Eros, he was only shocked it hadn’t happened earlier. He still sees Julie. She’s his anchor to his “humanity.”  Miller and Naomi have a bond due to their shared Belter identity.
miller-and-naomi

The Mars ship has been commanded to not let Phoebe fall into UN hands.  We see Bobbie rally the troops. “Who Are We? MMC!!!”

Avasarala meets with Cotyar (Nick Tarabay), who she recruits for “security” but who is really a spy for her. She tells him that she thinks Errinwright is tainted.

The Roci “finds a nice little resting spot for the nasty blue goo.” Naomi and Holden are out deploying it into a rocket, with charges – so if it’s disturbed they will know about it. Holden is clearly still not 100%. They are having a half personal discussion, when Naomi initiates a private helmet-to-helmet convo. She is concerned with doing something about what they all experienced and wants to make sure Holden is OK. He assures her he is. The goo is launched to its new home. When Holden and Naomi reboard, they are removing their uniforms and…well. That spark is lit. As the Expanse Season 1 kitty video says, “space sexy time.”  Steam is relieved. Good thing the next door neighbor is 100 million miles away.
space-sexy-time

Back with Bobbie, live rounds are loosed from the Scirocco, which means battle is likely. But, what they did was to vaporize Phoebe.

The UN meets again because of the Scirocco’s approach to station Phoebe. Because of the time required for communication with ships out in the Belt, Avasarala manuevers the UN into holding off until they hear back from the Nathan Hale, preventing a devastating “hot” war.  However, when the Nathan Hale does report back, they learn the Scirocco completely destroyed Phoebe Station.

Alex feels the crew needs to bond, so he gets everyone together for a meal, and they learn about Miller and cheese farts. Amos and Miller now have an unspoken truce.
lasagna

Bobbie meets with her commander and is wondering just what is going on. And, she goes back to dreaming of life on a verdant Mars.

mariner-valley

Such a strong start to the season! The beauty of the books are the complex threads, which, when combined, tell a wonderful and terrible story of humanity and beyond. Last season, some viewers didn’t like the perspective changes, but they are elegantly arranged to inform the viewer of the big picture, one small picture at a time.  Characters are showing their complexity. The visuals are stunning. I have absolutely no trouble in losing myself and thinking I’m actually in space with the various characters.  The show is dedicated, almost fanatical, about the accuracy of what they depict, without it being SO nerdy it turns people off.

Grade: A

Next Episode: “Doors and Corners” (aired jointly with Safe on February 1, 2017)

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