The Expanse (S02E02) “Doors and Corners”

We open with the UN discussing what to do about the destruction of Phoebe. Despite efforts otherwise, Mars and the UN have not directly attacked each other. Avasarala (Shohreh Agdashloo) provides information to Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) suggesting that they destroy Deimos (basically a base for a base, but with minimal damage). Fleet Commander Admiral Souther (Martin Roach) expresses his deep concern over the escalation, and is forced to step down.

expanse_hero_tycho_station
The Roci crew is back facing Fred Johnson (Chad Coleman) at Tycho Station. Fred is angry about the loss of his operative. Miller (Thomas Jane) is pissed that Fred’s OPA group didn’t come help Julie. They explain to Fred about the Protomolecule. The Roci crew knows that they are sending the Eros data to Dresden’s station. The Roci wants to launch an assault but Fred is very reluctant. Alex (Cas Anvar) is very concerned about Belters they rescued. He and Amos (Wes Chatham) are having a heart to heart about the guilt Alex feels. Amos, clever kopeng that he is, pays a chick to listen to Alex vent.

bar-scene

Naomi (Dominique Tipper) and Holden (Steven Strait) are repairing but they are discussing whether they should do stuff. Naomi briefly discusses her background about running with some bad dudes, but how they were OPA, big ideas, little experience. She clarifies that the team is OK with this project. They discuss Amos’ relationship with Naomi. (A recurring theme. Amos is a bit unpredictable. And, he’s dangerous).

fixing-the-ship

Fred meets up with a group to recruit a team. He identifies his incentives. A Belter makes the mistake of challenging Fred, and admits that they almost took out Avasarala. Fred…promptly spaces him. Because the OPA forgot Fred’s background. OOOOPs. Fred gives more info on the Eros attack and works on uniting the OPA factions. He knows they are doomed if they don’t unite.

coleman

Alex is running simulations and going wild because of the rail guns. BTW, the simulations are absolutely phenomenal. I also love the mechanized chair. Miller gets asked by Holden to “sit this one out” but he’s absolutely committed to helping the assault team. He’s got a point, because he’s got some tactical experience. So, “he ain’t sitting this one out.”

Back on Earth, Avasarala meets with the ex-fleet commander and discusses his impending fate and guides him with decision-making. There’s a tip of the hat to Lagavulin, a favorite of the author(s) James SA Corey. What really is sticking in the Fleet Commander’s craw is how Fred Johnson was used at Anderson Station. He explains what REALLY happened with Fred Johnson. Avasarala mulls over WHY Fred would do what he did.
avasarala-and-souther

Avasarala asks Kotyar to send a communique to Fred Johnson, a high risk move.

We see Fred on the freighter Guy Molinari. (Apparently this was a ferry that writer Daniel Abraham rode every day – love those little tidbits.) On the Roci (hidden behind the Guy Molinari) – we see Holden abandon his coffee cup. Fred confirms he spaced the dude on purpose. Miller is trying to control his nerves and handle (unsuccessfully) his space sickness. And, Diogo (Andrew Rotilio) is there!! Diogo wonders what the hell Miller is doing there. Diogo is pumped. They sort of bond. Miller, anxious, and not used to spaceflight, loses his lunch to the crew’s amusement. Amos scolds Holden for letting his coffee cup float.
miller-and-diogo

And, the battle is on! We see the Roci take rail gun shots and it’s damned impressive to see the attention to detail on what would happen with venting damage from the rail guns. The Roci has some damage and Amos has to go fix it. And, the FedEx breaching pods (“a beer can strapped to a rocket”) with Miller and gang get launched. Because there is a cannon on the station which could take out the pods, Alex makes some dramatic course corrections, throwing Amos around. One of the pods gets destroyed anyway. Amos finishes the repair but the serious tossing continues. Alex is successful in maneuvering to get the cannon destroyed and the Miller’s pod breaches the station. (Everyone is sick thinking that the wrong FedEx breaching pod got obliterated).

Fortunately for us, the OTHER FedEx pod got destroyed. Entering an apparently abandoned station, we see Diogo take a shot to the head and a whole bunch of shooting happens. Turns out, it was a gel round. Diogo: “Invincible me!” Miller wonders what they are doing only equipped with gel rounds and notices they were like prison guards. (Hold that thought!!!) Moving further into the station, they encounter a group of people connected to something and unresponsive to the team. Miller disconnects them and they go absolutely wild. One survives and Miller sends him out, and continues on into another lab with a scientist frantically working (really sexy looking lab if you’re a geek).

miller-dresden

Surprise! It’s Dresden. Miller knows him and pistol whips him, making Miller feel a whole lot better. (This is parallel to Miller shooting Filat Kothari). Miller drags Dresden to Coleman and Holden. Dresden explains about the Protomolecule, telling them critical information that the Protomolecule can “repurpose” organisms. Dresden explains if they control it, they can create ANYTHING, DO ANYTHING. Dresden notes that Earth was the Protomolecule’s target. He’s being persuasive about being monstrous in order to pursuing his ends. Fred begins to lay down his conditions, when Miller plugs Dresden. And, twice more for good measure.

If you watched the very end, there was an interesting audible… stay tuned.

Things are moving very rapidly this season. There is not one moment of lag, and that is amazing considering the effort required to portray all of these space locations AND future Earth.  None of the characters are perfect! They have tempers and commit heinous crimes. The reveal at the end of what Dresden was doing is especially chilling if you listen to the utterly calm and rational way that he justifies the “rounding error” of the Eros experiment. Everyone has a different idea about what should be done, but Miller acts swiftly, not allowing anyone to respond to the siren song. I loved the callback to Diogo, and Andrew Rotilio nails the exuberance of knowing you are living on “extra” time, because you should have died.

Grade: A+

Next Episode: “Static” airs on February 8, 2017 at 10 p.m. on Syfy

 

 

 

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