The Expanse (S02E04) “Godspeed”

If there was any doubt that Earth was the entity behind the stealth ship, they were erased when Avasarala (Shohreh Agdashloo) and Cotyar (Nick Tarabay) review the data file from Fred Johnson (Chad Coleman). The two of them evaluate the likelihood of Errinwright and Jules Mao of Mao-Kwikowski collaborating because Protogen is run by Mao-Kwikowski. All the dots line up. Avasarala instructs Cotyar to have the wreck pushed into the shipping lanes so everyone will know.

protogen-cap-for-a-and-k-discussion

Back on Tycho, Fred and Miller (Thomas Jane) identify their concern that people will poke at Eros, unleashing the Protomolecule catastrophe. Naomi (Dominique Tipper) and Holden (Steven Strait) think the Martians will guard it, but because of the brewing Earth/Mars confrontation triggered by the destruction of Phoebe and Deimos, Mars has redeployed its ships. So, they all agree they need to seal and destroy Eros. The team floats the idea of just blowing Eros up, but they are worried that there will be a ton of mini-Protomolecule bits floating around. Fred is willing to conscript the Nauvoo to change the trajectory of Eros into the sun.

Jules Mao (François Chau) is less than thrilled that Mao-Kwikowski has been linked to the stealth ship and all Protogen’s assets system-wide have been frozen. Mao makes an immediate trip to see his buddy Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) and not-really-his-buddy Avasarala is there, too. Mao flatly denies that he knew Protogen funneled money to build the stealth ships. Errinwright floats the idea that it was rogue OPA people who were behind this (carefully mentioning Fred Johnson’s name). Avasarala says maybe the UN should hire those successful people. Avasarala makes sure the Mao knows he’ll be blamed if the Earth is damaged, because she is trying to stop the imminent conflict between Earth and Mars.

It’ll be a big effort to get the Nauvoo evacuated of the rightful Mormon occupants, so that the OPA team can fit it up. The Mormon recruiter says that their ship was part of God’s plan and Miller says this IS part of God’s plan. Naomi talks to Miller about the fact that he’s doing this for Julie, but notes that this won’t get rid of all the Protomolecule because they have the sample. Miller assures her he didn’t tell Fred that they have it. Miller says it’s on Naomi to do the right thing. Miller goes to the Guy Molinari and Naomi goes to the Roci, joining Amos (Wes Chatham), Alex (Cas Anvar) and Holden.

We are then treated to the most impressive spacecraft launch in TV history. Fred Johnson: “You were meant to go to a new sun” and then, “good luck and Godspeed.”

Mao calls Errinwright and he’s pissed because Mao knows that Avasarala knows that he and Errinwright are working together. Mao effectively dumps Errinwright, much to Errinwright’s chagrin.

On the Roci, the crew conducts a screen for ships. On the Guy Molinari, it’s clear that Miller is, as he says “a City Belter” with little familiarity with spacewalks. Although he loses his trigger, Diogo (Andrew Rotilio) has him covered with a spare. And, so much GOOD SPECIAL EFFECTS!!

The Roci crew discusses what going on inside Eros: it’s generating heat, and they hear the radio broadcast, which appears to be speaking to them. They detect another ship which is orbiting Eros. Naomi remotely breaks in and they see that it’s a med ship, the Marasmus. The doctor-captain knows that the Roci is actually a Martian frigate. This ship is on a humanitarian mission, but they say they couldn’t enter because Eros was locked down.

 

Miller and Diogo plod along setting the charges. Miller tries to convince Diogo to be careful about the OPA. Diogo reminds Miller that he was Star Helix (security) and calls Miller a “Wellwalla” or traitor to his kind. They discuss what Miller’s going to do after this. Miller hesitates but says he might go back to Ceres.

The Roci allows the Marasmus to think about leaving. In the meantime, Miller sees something suspicious and goes to investigate. He realizes someone has broken into one of the airlocks. He advises the Roci that there’s a body in a hacked airlock. This is bad news because this clearly happened after the infection, and the Marasmus doctor knows about the Protomolecule, but not who’s responsible. If the Erasmus gets out of jamming range they will be able to broadcast what happened. Unfortunately, the Roci has to destroy the Erasmus. Notice the parallel between Miller’s decision to destroy Dresden and Holden’s decision to destroy the Erasmus.

go-get-laid
“Go get laid”

The debris from the Erasmus damages Miller’s suit. Diogo coaches Miller to repair his suit. But, Diogo has bigger problems; the detonator safety was fried, so it’s manual now…. Somebody has to babysit the bomb. Miller saves Diogo’s life by assuming this responsibility. Diogo sadly hops the rail, going back to Guy Molinari. Although Holden and Naomi are desperate to save him, Miller makes it clear that he is staying because even if the Roci could override the bomb, they couldn’t get him in time. From Miller’s perspective, we watch the Nauvoo approach, but miss. Only, it DIDN’T miss. EROS MOVED!

Grade: A+

The amazing and pitch-perfect pace continues. This episode should, and I imagine WILL, win technical awards for the absolutely stunning FX. A great deal of the ability to immerse yourself in a show is dependent on excellent, clean direction and believable special effects. The entire complement of people making this show are completely dedicated professionals. The actors have true fidelity to their characters. This show is based on a series of books with enormous scope and it is evident in the rich tapestry of relationships, politics and technical believability woven into the episodes.  Whether you have read the books or not, you are immersed in a very similar experience, likely due to the deep involvement of the creators of the books, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (writing under James SA Corey). It’s hard to believe we are only four episodes into the second season. An additional aspect of the show that I love is the parallels in character motivation. In this episode, we saw Avasarala make a decision about releasing information, which parallels Holden’s original decision. We see Holden make a decision to destroy the Marasmus, and innocent people, for the greater good, which parallel’s Miller’s decision to kill Dresden (not for revenge, but to protect people). It adds layers to the show for people who pay close attention.

Next Episode: “Home” Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 10 p.m. on Syfy

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