Hello Multiversity TV bingers! For this year’s Summer TV Binge, I’m tackling the SyFy/Amazon show The Expanse, based on the novels by James S. A. Corey. My boyfriend Frank joined me for our look at the first season, and as we move into the second season, I’m flying my own Rocinante all alone.
In the second half of the second season premiere, the Rocinante wants information on the protomolecute that decimated Eros. Meanwhile on Earth, Chrisjen Avasarala finds out some interesting information on Fred Johnson. Let’s dive into “Doors and Corners” – – and as always, spoilers within.
1. United Nations?
This episode has examples of leadership styles and their effectiveness. Before the credits, we peek into UN politics as they debate a response to Mars’s destruction of Phoebe Station. The war hawks (Chrisjen included) want to make a statement with destruction of a base on a minor Martian moon as a warning. The lone pacifist at the table, Fleet Commander Souther, fears that any statement would be nothing short of a declaration of war, preferring some trade embargoes instead. In the end, a resolution is being drafted to move forward with the attack, but Souther quits in disgust (and lays it into Chrisjen later at a bar when she offers him a transfer).
Meanwhile, there’s some dissension in the Belter factions on Tycho Station when Fred Johnson attempts to put together a team to help the Rocinante raid a communication station that has more information about what took place on Eros. One Belter insists that Fred Johnson isn’t one of their own and attempts to rally the Belters to take back what is there, “the way Anderson Dawes did.” Needless to say, that Belter (named Nikil) doesn’t live long.
Which will prove to work in the long run, and which will not?
(Side note: one thing I’ve noticed throughout last season and this season of The Expanse is that every character has a name, even the most minor ones. It’s a nice touch, rather than leaving these folks to such generic names as “Belligerent Belter #1” or “MCRN Pilot #2.” It lends their lives significance and importance, even if we the viewer do not get to know much about them.)
2. Love Triangle
With immediate survival over, it’s time for a further peek into the lives of our Roci crew. Today’s reveal is that Amos and Naomi had a Thing(TM) a while back, which puts a little bit of a complication in her growing relationship with Holden: Naomi doesn’t think Amos is one hundred percent over her. Looks like we have our first love triangle on her hands.
I also chuckled when Naomi and Holden debated what to do now that they’re together with respect to the rest of the crew. Nice to see workplace romances are still a problem in the future.
3. Awakening the Fire Within
Eros Station was a match that has lit a fire in quite a few people. Alex has taken an active role in resettling Eros refugees on Tycho Station, perhaps becoming an overzealous Welcome Wagon. Naomi gets over her guilt over her OPA involvement of her youth. (She’s still vague about what happened, but does mention that “people died.”) Fred Johnson takes a little more time to come around, but only after Detective Miller reveals just what happened to Julie, his OPA operative and how she died: waiting for an OPA rescue that never came. Johnson gets over his anger over the Roci crew going rogue from his mission and sees Eros for what it was – – a genocide – – and unifies his Belters (who as mentioned before are sowing some dissention in their ranks) to go on the mission with the Rocinate. Guilt is one hell of a drug, isn’t it?
Alex sums all this up succinctly to Amos (or who he thinks is Amos, more on that in a bit): “Doing nothing is just as bad as doing the wrong thing!”
4. “Defy our orders, or we will wipe you out.”
The truth about Anderson Station and Fred Johnson’s role in it comes out. If you recall in “Back to the Butcher,” Anderson Station was a Belter outpost that had been trying to negotiate for better working conditions, but was destroyed on Fred Johnson when he was part of the UN Marines – – hence his nickname, “The Butcher of Anderson Station.” Turns out that Fred was never told of the efforts by those Belters to try to negotiate; their communiques to Earth were blocked by the UN so they gave up their negotiations and surrendered. Had Fred known this, he would have never ordered the hit. The reason this information was not shared and Anderson Station was destroyed? To send a message: “Defy our orders, or we will wipe you out.”Continued below
Now the levels of corruption within her government hit Chrisjen hard, and she orders a secure communique to chat with Fred Johnson. It’s an act of treason, and she knows it.
5. “Doors and corners are where they get ya”
ROLL CREDITS! Though the Belters chide Miller for his difficulty with space travel, he does provide the best advice to his team when they make it to the comm station: be alert at all times, especially around what you can’t directly see in front of you: the doors and the corners. Anything and everything could be a trap.
(Living up to my promise to vary up the gifs this season!)
The good news is, the comm station raid is a success (for the most part, it’s not without a firefight and some deaths). Miller’s raid allows a look at the science behind the proto-molecule with a networked hive mind of sorts being controlled/supervised by Dresden, the lead research scientist on the proto-molecule. Dresden insists that his research is for good intentions: he wants to turn this proto-molecule weapon into something that can be used to expand, empower, and unlock human potential – – including immortality. He wants the chance to continue this research under the OPA’s watchful eye.
Holden asks the questions we’re all asking right now: was its use on Eros worth it in the end? We don’t get an answer, either literally or figuratively, as Miller enters and wordlessly executes Dresden. And now we roll credits.
(Quite a Few) Afterthoughts:
– I mentioned at the top that this is the “second half” of the second season premiere – – this was broadcast right along with “Safe” on the same evening, but Amazon Prime splits it into two separate episodes.
– The joys of watching this on Amazon Prime, and something to look forward to for its Season 4 debut there: Alex gets quite colorful in his language. I swore I heard him drop the F word during the raid. According to Frank, the show was filmed with all the curses and swears, but then edited out for Syfy. Supposedly encore showings were a little less censored.
– Amos you sly devil. Offering to buy a pretty girl a drink so she listens to Alex’s rants so he doesn’t have to.
– Detective Miller’s looking mighty sexy and scrumptious with that facial hair. Don’t lose it, Josephus.
– Something Chrisjen and I have in common: an appreciation of a good gin and tonic.
See you next week for “Static” and tell me what you thought of this episode in the comments!