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

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.

The Expanse (S03E06) “Immolation”

Thoughts on the episode: We covered a huge amount of terrain in this episode! Errinwright’s angry diatribe 100% validates what Avasarala has been saying about “Bobblehead Gillis.” I actually now feel sorry for Errinwright, even though he is DESPICABLE. This reflects brilliant character development and writing. I rarely actually cry, but Cotyar’s farewell speech got to me, and I’m sad to see him go. I’m also sad to see the end of Katoa, Basia’s son. It’s hard to imagine much worse than experimentation on children, so it was very rewarding to see the end of Dr. Strickland. The eruption of the blue material on Venus portends a big shift in the show, and I’m really looking forward to that.

The Expanse (S03E04) “Reload”

Thoughts on the episode: This episode did an excellent job of the pacing required for a complex story. I credit both the writing (by Robin Veith (although Cas Anvar mentioned he thought this episode was written by either Ty and Daniel)) or the direction by Thor Freudenthal. You did not feel unnecessarily jerked about, although quite a lot was happening. A stand-out scene for me was Bobbie addressing Loftis (Kelly McCormack) who was scared and infuriated and wanted revenge. Bobbie was clearly empathetic and I think she got through, at least to Sinopoli, that bigger forces were at play. There was a lovely scene of the Razorback moving in tandem with the Roci – another reminder of the exceptional VFX. Any time I can watch the Nauvoo, I rejoice.

The Expanse (S03E03) “Assured Destruction”

Thoughts on the episode: This was one of those quiet but really powerful episodes. Masterful, really. All of the characters were so faithful to how they have been developed. This video produced by Syfy discusses both the Roci maneuver is E03S02 and gives background on the Railgun action in this episode. http://www.syfy.com/theexpanse/videos/science-of-the-expanse-space-warfare I’m still unhappy with Mao, but he did display basic humanity. Too bad he didn’t EARLIER! It’s a darn good thing Souther is on Avasarala’s side and believes Cotyar.

The Expanse (S03E01) “Fight or Flight”

Warning, this review is a recap, with commentary; therefore, it is ONE GIANT SPOILER if you haven't seen the episode. The Expanse is BACK! Seems like forever, doesn’t it? But, we take up right where we left off. There is a news report about the disintegration of the Arboghast over Venus, and the march to war. Things are escalating. There are actual battles being fought.

The Expanse (S02E13) "Caliban's War"

This will serve as a refresher, as we are just literally starting Season 3, based on the book Abaddon's Gate, written by James SA Corey (a nom de plume for Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham). Season 2's finale episode name, Caliban's War, follows the tradition of the final episode taking the name of the book the season primarily followed.

The Expanse (S02E12) “The Monster and the Rocket”

In my last reviewcap, I actually didn't recap. But, I've decided to return to that format. In this episode, the moral is beware what you create. Errinwright was useful to Avasarala her entire career, until he wasn't. She was right that he was a powerful, determined man, but she seems to have underestimated his willingness to go the full distance, including murdering his Russian UN counterpart and arranging to kill his mentor! Naomi has carried the guilt of leaving the Eros survivors behind and is finally compelled to take action to help clear her conscience. She's also pretty determined. Holden continued to demonstrate his single-minded determination to eliminate the living hybrid protomolecule, although others around him are becoming aware there has to be more of this stuff. We see the true spirit of the Belters in the decisions necessary to evacuate from Ganymede. This episode marked the forging and severing of relationships. Errinwright and Avasarala are clearly done, after all, he implicitly orders her death, and in his eyes, she has betrayed both him AND Earth. Naomi and Melissa bond, with Melissa overcoming her original outrage (even though in my opinion, Melissa's husband was dead either way, the Roci crew just actually saved her and the Somnambulist). A particularly tender moment was the moment when the Belters were left behind, and were exceptionally civilized. This reminded me of the airlock scene with the FIRST group of Belters evacuated from Ganymede. Pretty stark contrast in behavior, but the emotion was equally wrenching. We witnessed the cementing of Bobbicotsarala, and I thoroughly enjoyed their interactions throughout the show. These actors clearly like each other.

The Expanse (S02E09) “The Weeping Somnambulist”

In general, I have very few complaints about the adaptation of the novels to the TV show. There is one scene from the prior episode where I would have wished that it was closer to the book, and that was when Gunny sees the Protomolecule on Ganymede. In the book, Protomolecule Man picks Gunny up and in the process of this interaction, it hurls her a large distance, which simultaneously seriously injures her, but actually saves her, too. It reinforces her memory of Protomolecule Man, as well. In the show, in the small snippet of the battle, Gunny sees the UN team FIRING BACKWARDS, but she is prevented from elaborating on this during her questioning by Martens or her testimony to the Earth and Martian diplomats. This might mean that many viewers didn't completely catch that either. However, I fully trust that the writing and production team will integrate this information into the ongoing story. As usual, a rewatch is invaluable. Watching once gives the broad strokes, but this show is full of subtlety, easily missed, particularly if viewers live tweet. My recommendation is to watch twice. At a minimum, make sure you watch this show carefully at least once. This episode was all about people being short-sighted. Errinwright and Sorrento-Gillis don't fully grasp what is going on, and Janus doesn't understand what is happening on Venus. People's limited views have really significant impact and this is setting up the continuing storyline. In the meantime, large swaths of people are impacted by events which have been set in motion. I'm looking forward to seeing what action Avasarala will take in reaction to her clear disbelief in Bobbie's story AND her concern over what is being observed on Venus. Also, what will the crew find out on Ganymede?

The Expanse (S02E06) “Paradigm Shift”

How do you follow a episode that could have been a season finale based on its strength? You begin, in earnest, to pursue the story arc of the next book that your series is based upon. And, you throw in the origin story of the space engine drive that makes this intrastellar travel possible (and opened up the possibility of generational interstellar travel). Some have called this episode a filler episode, but that is a function of handling the emotions of "Home" and the unexpected loss of a major character. This episode features one of the best take-downs of an arrogant politician ever scripted and delivered. An unsung episode, with some great action and information, it will be appreciated later. We find out about how the Epstein Drive was developed but also about how it was a paradigm shift in the relationship between Earth and Mars. This highlights the current apparent paradigm shift which is happening, but not everyone is aware of it. The episode illustrates just how tribal human beings are, and how little it takes for even a close team to devolve back into factions. We get great insight into Avasarala's ability to discern the big picture, her fear AND her righteous anger at people who would sacrifice humanity for the sake of profit. We see cracks appear in close relationships. And, some decisions being made which will have profound consequences for future events. And, grab your hats, the Ganymede storyline is great. Have a slug of ProtoGin on me.

The Expanse (S02E05) “Home”

For those viewers who had not read Leviathan Wakes, this was an utter shock. It marked the end of Miller, a character with whom many bonded. For followers of the book, this was masterfully done, and conveyed the crew's desperation to rescue Miller (almost more than the compulsion to save the planet, which you know affected them, particularly Holden). It also showed Miller's sheer determination to muscle that bomb along and accomplish his objective. It's sad to think of the rest of the season without Miller, but there is equal excitement to watch the next segment of the story which is the beginning of Caliban's War. Fans of Bobbie should be very happy as her arc escalates. As far as effects go, this episode equaled its previous mastery, both in terms of covering the Eros chase, and particularly in giving life both to the blue fireflies, as well as showing the construction and "animation" of blue Julie. Although brief, the Venus strike was gorgeous. If you have not read "Drive," a short story by James SA Corey (nom de plume of authors Abraham Daniels and Ty Franck), I recommend that you go read this RIGHT NOW. http://www.syfy.com/theexpanse/drive/form.html.

The Expanse (S02E01) “Safe”

Such a strong start to the season! The beauty of the books are the complex threads, which, when combined, tell a wonderful and terrible story of humanity and beyond. Last season, some viewers didn't like the perspective changes, but they are elegantly timed to inform the viewer of the big picture, one small picture at a time. Characters are showing their complexity. The visuals are stunning. I have absolutely no trouble in losing myself and thinking I'm actually in space with the various characters. The show is dedicated, almost fanatical, about the accuracy of what they depict, without it being SO nerdy it turns people off. Grade: A