The Expanse (S03E09) “Intransigence”

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 (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 (S03E02) “IFF”

Thoughts on this episode: As usual, a huge amount of material is crammed into this episode. I definitely had to watch more than once to get some of the subtle details. If you miss them, you can misinterpret what is happening, but the good news is that it becomes clear in any case. This episode introduced a compelling new character, Anna Volovodov. She brings at least a teeny bit of restraint, but it’s unclear that this can stop the speeding train wreck that Errinwright is responsible for. It’s lovely to see Bobbie and Avasarala meet up with the Roci crew, which now includes Prax. There is some real potential for sparks with these combinations. I was happy to see that there were some residual effects of Holden’s crushed leg – to be honest, I was surprised at his recovery speed in the last episode. The complexity and beauty of the Roci’s and Razorback’s space moves was breathtaking. The manipulation of the children by Strickland is stomach turning. One hopes he gets his in some future episode.

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 (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 (S02E02) “Doors and Corners”

Things are moving very rapidly this season. There is not one moment of lag, and that is amazing considering the effort required to portray all of these space locations AND future Earth. None of the characters are perfect! They have tempers and commit heinous crimes. The reveal at the end of what Dresden was doing is especially chilling if you listen to the utterly calm and rational way that he justifies the "rounding error" of the Eros experiment. Everyone has a different idea about what should be done, but Miller acts swiftly, not allowing anyone to respond to the siren song. I loved the callback to Diogo, and Andrew Rotilio nails the exuberance of knowing you are living on "extra" time, because you should have died.