The “Now Saved” Expanse (S03E07) “Delta-V”

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This reviewcap is late because of the remarkable events this week (May 23, 2018). Jeff Bezos announced at the International Space Development Conference that a deal had been struck saving The Expanse. Wonderful news!

This episode marks crossing over to the second half of the season of The Expanse and it’s remarkable how much has transpired.  In order to advance the plot in a universe in which time passes, and it takes a long time for things to happen, this episode represents a jump ahead in time.  Although this could have been jarring, it was handled with great care and some significant new plot lines were introduced with a lot of finesse – primarily by transitioning in several places by reference and smooth visual effects.

Spoilers ahead.

With aides fussing over her, Avasarala (Shohreh Agdashloo) speaks to all the peoples of the solar system: Belters, Martians and Earthers.  She reminds people that Errinwright was jailed for treason, and Sorrento-Gillis has retired.  She calls for unity in the fact of all that has happened, one people with a shared purpose.

The Protomolecule-related ooze that emerged from Venus has transformed itself into a beautiful slender ring that glows with the same blue as all the rest of the protomolecule (thank god it was a beautiful blue, and not some ugly brown or something…).  It seems to sit there, inert.

Some things have lasted more than 200 years.  Deep Purple is one of them.  Cruising to the sound of Highway Star, Maneo Jung-Espinoza, a glory-seeking Belter pilot engages in the slingshot competitions.  Avasarala’s speech interrupts his first record-setting effort.  Nearly crushed by the gees he pulls, and with blood drying on his face, Maneo (Zach Villa) learns his brother has taken advantage of his absence and has captured his girl AND he hears he’s been booted AGAIN from the news because of the Ring.  Listening to a Belter ballad, eyeing the ring, he plots a way to win his girl back. He sends her a message which shows that he plans to go through the Ring and he tells her to tell no one.  (The music is this episode is magical).

The Roci is stationed outside the Ring and a UNN fleet is coming to see what it is all about.  On board, we meet a documentary reporter, Monica Stuart (Anna Hopkins) – her apparent job is to press the crew currently on board the Roci (a skeleton – skeleton crew).  She’s kind of good at it, too.  Pointing out that they have stolen the Roci evokes Alex (Cas Anvar).  He says it’s a legitimate salvage.  It’s clear Monica’s company is paying for Holden to fix the ship and go to the Ring.  Alex is the only crew member not shying away from Monica and her cyborg cameraman, who uses a drone to film.  She pokes at Amos (Wes Chatham) (boy, that’s dangerous).  She asks where is Naomi Nagata?

Naomi (Dominique Tipper) is on the Behemoth (formerly the Nauvoo).  She sees a drug deal going down.  The user scuttles away.  Naomi tells the dealer he’d get jail time on Tycho, but he says that’s not where they are and not to be like the classier folks on the Roci.  She says she doesn’t want to see that in work areas.  Naomi heads up to the deck to meet an unhappy Camina Drummer (Cara Gee).  They meet Klaes Ashford (David Straithern), clearly someone Drummer knows from her past.  Klaes works out his pirate history with some of the workers, emphasizing that they need to be focused on being more civilized.  However, in Ashford’s wake is our old friend, Diogo (Andrew Rotilio)!

Drummer and Naomi view him like they would a snake.  It is unclear what deal was made between Dawes and Fred.  Diogo was granted amnesty.  It rubs Naomi and Drummer the wrong way that Diogo and Ashford are wearing OPA uniforms.

Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell) is now on the UNN Thomas Prince (placed there by the new Secretary-General (Avasarala!) and she sees a scientist and she has questions.  She wonders about the nature of the ring.  The scientist confirms the sheer magnitude of what the Protomolecule has accomplished, and he tells her to pray that it is inert because he thinks it is machinery and that a very intelligent intelligence created it.

Monica meets up with Alex and Amos in the galley.  She probes Alex about his family.  His cheer diminishes, but she quickly switches over to Amos.  She wants to know how he became a mechanic, and mentions that she did some research and the only records that she can find of an Amos Burton were a mob boss in Baltimore.  Amos smashes the drone camera.  As he tries to leave, Monica tries to make a move on Amos, who tells her he “doesn’t shit where he eats.”

Naomi, Ashford and Drummer discuss the Behemoth’s current weaponry status. Drummer clearly doesn’t trust Ashford, calling him a pirate. He says he is a patriot now, and the ship can’t ignore that the Belters built the greatest ship the Inners have ever known.  Drummer and Ashford discuss the leadership status.  Dawes has Cortazar (who has knowledge) and Fred Anderson has the Protomolecule sample (and Tycho).  So, Drummer is Captain and Ashford is First Officer.  But Ashford lusts after leading the ship.

An emergency alert goes off and the drug user that Naomi saw lost control of his ship and Naomi had to bring it in.  They couldn’t save the pilot.

Bobbie (Frankie Adams) is now on the MCRN Xuesen.  While she was on Mars, the MCRN reinstated Bobbie.  She checked on Alex’s family.  Alex tells Bobbie that his wife filed for divorce. Bobbie is sympathetic to Alex’s ambivalent feelings.  There’s seemingly a little spark (but the showrunners hastily denied this!).

Naomi informed Drummer that she observed a drug deal involving the now-dead pilot.  Although Naomi feels guilty, Drummer reminds her that the dealer freely chose to take drugs.  Drummer hustles off, observed by Klaes.

NoNo (Raven Dauda) calls Anna who still hasn’t come home.  Nono is happy Avasarala lived up to her words but distraught that Anna might never come home to her again. Worse, because Anna is so far out, the time lag makes real time communication impossible.

Ren and Stimpy, rather Ren (John Kapelos)  and Stanni (Ari Millen), show Melba (Nadine Nicole) how to work the system time charging.  Ran sees a news report about James Holden, attributing Mao’s arrest to him.  Melba clearly doesn’t like Holden.  While replacing brownout buffers, Ran sees a very upset Melba assuming she’s worried, but she’s actually placing explosives on the ship.

Monica’s cameraman (Brandon McGibbon) comes down and tries to insinuate himself with Amos, but Amos shuts him down.  Amos reveals that Prax is rebuilding Ganymede and, although Amos thinks of Prax as his very best friend, he’s “not the rebuilding kind of person.”

It’s unclear how many of these explosive units Melba has, but perhaps a metric buttload is a good description.  Ren checks on Melba and explains a fascinating fail-safe on the ship.  Melba tells Ren she’s out of her depth and he’s very sympathetic to her.

On Behemoth, the crew drags the drug dealer supplier to Drummer, who is stationed by an airlock.  The writing is on the wall.  A shocked Naomi tries to get Drummer to stop, but Drummer says Naomi doesn’t have to be involved.  Just as she is about to space the supplier, Klaes approaches Drummer.  She notes he’s done this exact thing, but he explains it’s vital they move beyond being undisciplined pirates.  Naomi supports Klaes’s position.  Drummer offers an amnesty period, and while she wanted to space violators, Klaes steps in and says anyone caught with contraband will be imprisoned.

Zipping along in his racer, Maneo gets a tightbeam message from his chicky. “You do this, you get this!”  He’s … motivated.

Klaes observes that the crew have returend a LOT of contraband.  While Drummer is resistant to this newfound “mercy,” Klaes is serious about this approach.  He pins Naomi down, knowing that she agrees with the civilized method and has clout with Drummer.

Ren finds Melba’s secret. Worse, she has more of a secret that he realizes.  She pops some substance, giving her serious power, and crushes Ren’s head into a bulkhead, collapsing next to lifeless Ren.  Whatever she is doing, it may explain her persistent sweatiness.

Monica presses Holden (Steven Strait), by calling him a liar.  Holden leaves, still not having lost his temper.  The cameraman tells Monica he needs to run a diagnostic on his drone, and closely examines the ship’s status panels.

Maneo approaches the Ring.  He turns off his transponder and tells the challenging ship that he’ll get out of there in a minute.  He records a message for his girlfriend and powers up.  He’s about to make history.  Just not how he planned.  He goes through the Ring aaaaaand SPLAT.

Holden, in his quarters, hears mumbling.  Perplexed, he rounds a corner to figure out what this is.  “There’s no laws on Ceres, just cops.”  Holden see Miller (Thomas Jane) sitting on his bunk and looks absolutely convinced he’s lost his mind.  He blinks and Miller is gone.

The Expanse airs on Wednesdays at 9/8c on Syfy.  “It Reaches Out” airs on May 30, 2018.