This episode of The Expanse had the most anxiety-producing final 10 minutes of any episode so far! And, the welcome return of a character SOME of us have been waiting for quite a while now. A continuing theme is loyalty in the face of extreme unknown and threatening circumstances. Given the emergence of The Ring last episode, it doesn’t seem like this stress will go away any time soon.
Spoilers beyond this point. (Think of it like the Ring!)
Thanks to Maneo (Zach Villa) broadcasting to everyone, his splatter received FULL attention. The UNN is trying to figure out why his ship didn’t crush, when its velocity changed so drastically. Of course, half the UNN group is criticizing and putting the Belters down, but Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell) sees that it wasn’t a volitional act by the BELTERS, but simply a silly kid. This demonstrates that scared people don’t think rationally. On the Roci, they realize that the Ring woke up and Alex (Cas Anvar) doesn’t think it’s happy. Alex thinks maybe it is fate that the Roci is there by the Ring.
Naomi (Dominique Tipper), Drummer (Cara Gee) and Klaes Ashford (David Straithern) discuss the ramifications. Both Drummer and Naomi agree if BAD stuff happens, it’ll get hung on the OPA, but if it’s good, Earth and Mars will claim credit. Drummer also worries the war will heat back up. She doesn’t want to race to reach the Ring, although Ashford thinks they should. The Belter swearing is amusing and Naomi uses a new expression “tolowda nawit fewa” which is “you without faith” or oh, ye of little faith.
While getting coffee, Holden (Steven Strait) hears Miller (Thomas Jane), who appears to repeat significant phrases that he has said or heard others say, like ‘Bones like chalk’ which Dawes said when talking about his sister. Holden asks Miller if he wants to talk, but it’s actually Monica (Anna Hopkins) who is there. Monica badly wants to find out what is eating at Holden. As she leaves, Holden looks around for Miller.
Melba (Nadine Nicole) wakes up looking at dead Ren (John Kapelos). Although profoundly upset, she invokes whatever she is using to power up, and stuffs Ren into a locker. She finishes setting the explosive.
On the Behemoth, Ashford sings (David Straithern has a lovely voice), and brings news that Dawes warned the UNN that if they take action, it won’t be received well. He points out that maybe it was good that young Maneo woke up the Ring, because the Inners would have waited forever to test it.
Amos (Wes Chatham) catches the Cameraman (Brandon McGibbon) in the systems room and kicks him out. Holden, in the medical bay, tests himself to see if he is infected by protomolecule.
Stanni (Ari Millen) wonders where Ren is, believing he is sleeping off a drunk. Melba is experiencing PTSD and nearly crashes the ship. Stanni is pretty oblivious to Melba’s shaking and emotion.
Holden’s test comes back normal, but he immediately sees Miller. Holden asks why Miller is here, and Miller tells Holden he’s just an investigator. He “finds things.” Holden struggles valiantly to understand what is happening to himself. Frustrated, he yells at Miller, and right then Amos comes in. Amos explains that he can understand why Holden would be close to breaking. Holden tries to reassure Amos. After Amos leaves, Holden reviews tape of the room, and there is no one in the room with him.
On the UNN Thomas Prince, Anna is seated listening to a “mega church” pastor while a young woman (Tilly, played by Genelle Williams) notes that her family donates to make sure the business is treated right by his “flock” on Earth. Anna notes that Melba is upset and follows her – Melba ALMOST tells her what she is doing, but then hardens her resolve and walks away.
The Cameraman is looking at Holden footage, and we cut to Monica speaking to Holden, and then to Amos talking to Alex. The Cameraman replaces one of the panels in the communications port. Amos broke into the computer system to read the auto-doc log. After chastising Amos, Alex asks what it said, panicking because he thinks it might be the Protomolecule. Amos reassures Alex that it ISN’T the Protomolecule and they agree to keep a close eye on the captain. Holden, while talking to Monica, has an idea that he confirms – he saw Miller at the same time that the Ring awoke. He shoves Monica out of the room, and Miller reappears. Now Holden thinks Miller is trying to tell him something. Miller doesn’t allow Holden to touch him, explaining that they are both tools.
Melba activates the bombs and blows the UNN ship to bits.
Frantic activity erupts as everyone tries to determine what happened with the destroyed ship. Holden keeps asking Miller what’s happening and he’s frustrated because Miller can’t directly tell him, because his communications are all metaphors based on his previous experience as a human. As Holden desperately quizzes Miller, the crew pounds on his door to get him to come see what is happening. Alex tries to move the ship closer, but he doesn’t have control. The Rocinante broadcasts a message that the explosion is Holden’s fault and that he is acting on and claiming the Ring on behalf of the OPA.
On the Behemoth, Naomi insists it wasn’t Holden, but they don’t have time to analyze the feed. They grab her as Drummer is making a decision to shoot down the Roci. Holden runs to go talk to Miller. He’s grabbed by Amos, and finally has to ask Amos to trust him.
Drummer buys a very short amount of time, and Ashford convinces her they have to fire. She orders it, but the Behemoth isn’t yet quite battle-ready, and they need to reroute more energy. Holden desperately calls for Miller. Miller arrives and says “If you go into a room too fast, the room eats you” and the penny drops for Holden that SPEED is the issue when going into the Ring.
The Behemoth launches a missile. Holden tells Alex he MUST slow the Roci down, flip and burn and massively decelerate right in front of the Ring. He finally tells Amos that it is Miller who is telling him the information. Amos takes a leap of faith and tell Alex to do what Holden says.
Shocked, Naomi, Drummer and Ashford realize the Roci is going for the Ring. The UNN realizes the same thing. Once again, the show demonstrates gorgeous and realistic VFX with the Roci maneuvering to avoid the inbound missile and getting crushed by the Ring dynamics. Inside the Roci, the gravitational pull knocks the crew and passengers out. Holden wakes up to see the missile in slow motion right behind the Roci at the Ring.
Thoughts on the show: this episode was high octane! Everyone’s loyalties are severely tested, both to people and to causes. While Naomi needed to work with the OPA, her loyalty is clearly with Holden and the Roci. The Twitter world believes that the Cameraman is to blame for the Holden message, and this is borne out by seeing him edit Holden footage. Additionally, viewing a close-up of Melba’s device shows the Rocinante, so she and the cameraman are working together. I love that the display in the control room on the Behemoth displays in Belter. Those touches really increase the show’s enjoyability. Book readers have waited an eternity for Miller to resurface and the payoff was worth the wait!
The Expanse airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Syfy. “Intransigence” airs on June 6, 2018.