The Expanse (S03E09) “Intransigence”

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This episode reveals a lot about people’s motivations for actions they take, with overarching discussions of what is more important: family or the great unknown?  The Expanse has a wonderful way of mixing action with these bigger questions, questions which are very personal.  Answers to those questions tend to form the basis of fan’s choice of faction alignment.

Spoilers ahead!

The Behemoth successfully launched its missile at the Roci, but Naomi (Dominique Tipper) doesn’t know if it was successful. Drummer (Cara Gee) orders her to get to work. She tells Naomi that she ordered the launch, and apologizes if she killed her friends.

Cara Gee
I’m sorry.

Viewers, as well as the Roci crewmates wonder what is going on? Everything is in odd suspension.  They can’t communicate with anyone, either.   Amos (Wes Chatham), Alex (Cas Anvar) and Holden (Steven Strait) look intently at the console.  Amos has rightfully been suspicious of Cameraman (Brandon McGibbon) and he pushes him on what he did.  Monica (Anna Hopkins) seems shocked, and maybe Cameraman does, too, because he didn’t think the results would be this bad.

Alex (Cas Anvar), Holden (Steven Strait) and Amos (Wes Chatham) look at the console.

The Xuesen has come through the Ring and target-locked the Roci, but that’s to try to communicate.  Holden is determined to get more information out of Miller (Thomas Jane), and he grimaces, shutting his eyes in an empty room. No go.

Holden (Steven Strait) peeks.

Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) sends a message out recalling all civilian ships, and Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell) hears this with the Thomas Prince crew and passengers.

People think Ren died on the Seung Un, and Melba (Nadine Nicole) talks with the crew about hazard pay.  She overhears a familiar laugh and viewers are transported to a celebration party.

Melba (Nadine Nicole) at home.

Guess who is there! Juliette Andromeda Mao (Florence Faivre)! It’s her party (from the past), and she’s being a pain. Melba is there (and so is Tilly (Genelle Williams), whose voice Melba recognized).   Shockingly, Melba is actually JULIE’S SISTER! Melba HATES that Julie is independent and awful to Daddy.  Jules-Pierre Mao (Francois Chau) is really a rotten dad.  He’s obsessed with curbing Julie, although proud of her at the same time.  Julie quits the racing team, confronting her father about his corruption.  Melba desperately wants her father’s approval, but she’s invisible to him.

On the Roci, Amos struggles to get Cameraman to help him fix what is wrong with the Roci, but Cameraman doesn’t know anything other than the cartridge he installed. Amos doesn’t know what to do with that, because it’s engineering, not “stuff” to fix. He threatens to kill Monica if Cameraman doesn’t help.

Amos threatens to kill Monica (Anna Hopkins)

Alex is able to figure out two critical bits of information, because the Xuesen launches two probes at the Roci. One goes too fast, and is caught. The other reaches the edge of the Ring and disappears. That does not leave great options.

The Behemoth hears the Martian Navy announce that Xuesen is pursuing the Roci, and for all others to stay put. Ashford (David Straithern) tells Naomi that’s good news, because it means Roci wasn’t destroyed.  He also tells her that Behemoth is going to enter the Ring anyway (because, of course, they aren’t MCRN).  Ashford can tell Naomi wants to leave to go to the Roci, and tries to persuade her to stay. Naomi doesn’t answer at that point.

Klaes Ashford (David Straithern) talks to Naomi (Dominique Tipper)

Alex witnesses Holden still fruitlessly shouting for Miller. He leaves and hearing screams, arrives just in time to see Amos preparing to space Monica and Cameraman (in suits – he’s not completely a monster).  Amos has actually given this thought. He’s sending them over to be rescued by the Martians.  Although she’s apparently not really guilty, Amos is sending Monica because (i) he’s still kind of mad at her and (ii) Cameraman is blind and Monica can help him.  Alex reluctantly agrees with Amos and asks them to tell the truth about the broadcast to take the target off of the Roci’s back.

Alex agrees with Amos spacing Monica and Cameraman.
Carefully, Alex checks on Holden.

On the Thomas Prince, civvies are being evacuated, but Anna doesn’t want to go. She figures out Tilly isn’t leaving and wants to use her to leverage staying. She doesn’t want to miss this miracle, the first in her lifetime.

Anna with Tilly.

Melba and other crew clean out Ren’s locker, and find performance reviews.  Turns out Ren thought Melba could be great (she really could – she had very little training and picked up all that stuff really quickly!)  What a waste that she wasted him.  We see Melba return to the past, where Julie astutely, but cruelly, tells her “You’re never going to be good enough for him.”  This might have been the trigger for her to “prove” herself to Daddy. Ugh…Daddy issues killed a lot of people, because no action is ever done in isolation.

Holden gives up on trying to evoke Miller, and suggests they simply turn themselves in, even though they would lose the Roci. This doesn’t sit well with Alex.

St. Crispin’s Day on the Behemoth

Because of the sheer fear factor in entering the Ring, Drummer delivers a “St. Crispin’s Day” speech to fire up the crew – all but Naomi, who is still pining away for the Roci and its crew. They enter the Ring.

The priest that Anna has befriended is in line to leave and Anna pulls at him to stay. He has changed his mind, valuing family over adventure and convinced God isn’t out there.  Anna is concerned with WHO will be there for First Contact.  Ironically, while Anna wants to stay, a crewman is caught deserting and dragged off. Anna sees Melba and confides that she’s feeling overwhelmed. Melba says it’s just the money that is making her stay.

The viewer sees Melba remembering her conversation where her father treats her like dirt. (“You plan parties.”)  Returning to the present, Melba finds Ren’s communication device, records a message saying that Ren was a good man, and then leaves a message for her father crowing about how she can’t fix how he was treated even though she thinks he was right about the Protomolecule, but she CAN screw Holden, the man she holds responsible for her father’s “plight.”

Naomi tries to slip away, but Drummer finds her. In one of the most emotional scenes, Drummer asks why she’d leave without saying good-bye. Naomi tells her she thought Drummer would stop her, and that hurts Drummer even more.  Drummer reaches out and opens the bay door. “You underestimate me.”

As the Roci slows and changes course, Miller finally pops back up.  Holden asks Miller what is going on, what is he and how is he here?  Miller, channeling his occasional assholery, explains a lot using jargon which is clearly incomprehensible to Holden.  So, Holden gives up and asks for the easier version.  He also asks if Miller is “changed” and Miller says the signal is pretty good inside the Ring.  Miller tells Holden he needs to go to the nucleus (that item which is sucking stuff into itself).

Naomi, on her ship, finds that comms are still dead, but whispers that she’s coming.

Holden, in an amazingly brave move, puts on a suit, stops to take in the view and then launches himself towards the nucleus.

Thoughts on this episode:  I always thought Drummer and Naomi had a “thing” and their interaction this episode confirmed this for me.  Amos’s actions could have been considered brutal, but I think he had no choice. They don’t have enough crew to be paying attention to Monica and the Cameraman, so out they went and in the long run, Amos was being thoughtful in an odd sort of way. Melba’s actions are horrifying, and for the shallowest of reasons: Daddy issues.  It’s a bit heartbreaking that just when Naomi is coming back, Holden is leaving – they sure are star-crossed, so to speak.

The Expanse airs on Wednesdays at 9/8c on Syfy. “Dandelion Sky” airs on June 13