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.
Earth, Tycho, and the Rocinante crew are all reeling from the aftermath of the destruction of Eros and reacting to it in different ways. Oh, and Holden and Naomi admit they’re dating. Let’s dive into “Paradigm Shift” – – and as always, spoilers within.
0. We Need to Talk About Last Week First
Before we dive into this episode, we gotta talk for a minute about last week again. Everyone doing okay after that ending? Anyone need tissues? Chocolate? Liquor? A hug? All of the above?
Because HOLY CRAP MILLER DIED AND I’M STILL NOT OVER IT A WEEK LATER. For someone that had his Moments of Asshole Stupidity(TM), he came through in the clutch for all of Earth, sacrificing his life to stay with Julie until the end, deflecting Eros away from Earth to Venus. His comfort of a scared woman who is not sure what she had become but knew she was done running alongside the stars had to have broken your heart and if not: you’re dead inside. He knew his mission was to find and save Julie, and in the end, he fulfilled that mission. (In fact, you see later in this episode Miller celebrated on Tycho as a hero.) Pour one out and raise a glass for Josephus, for his sacrifice was not in vain. Those lives he touched, particularly those on the Rocinante, will be forever changed as a result.
And when you consider the title of this episode, “Paradigm Shift,” it’s certainly fitting. With the end of the Mystery of Julie Mao, and the Rocinante crew not fighting for survival, it’s time for a change in the waters.
1. The Weight of Leadership
Being in charge means having to make all kinds of decisions you don’t want to make. Heavy ones like who lives or who dies, or actions that could cause people to die. Less heavy ones like telling everyone else on your ship that you and the engineer are bumping uglies on the side. Holden’s been in charge of this crew for quite some time now, and he’s still adjusting to the skin of a leader. For him, it’s a lifelong process and I wonder if he’ll ever be comfortable being in command.
I wonder if this reluctance to accept the mantle of being in charge because he just wants everyone to get along and play nice. A thoughtful and noble goal, but not the reality of the current situation as Fred reminds him: “In order to survive, you have to pick a side.”
Don’t be an Aaron Burr have no beliefs. Be Jefferson and have them. (Sorry. Been listening to a lot of Hamilton this week.)
2. Discussions Are Happening Over Dinner
The UN meeting on How to Solve a Problem Such as Eros has a guest, courtesy of Avasarala: Dr.Michael Iturbi, aka Future Dr. McSteamy. (He’s a silver fox that is not bad to look at when someone starts going on and on and on after the meeting should have ended half an hour ago. I see what you did there, Chrisjen.) Future Dr. McSteamy later has a Non-Date with Chrisjen to share his own theory on the Eros mystery: what if the bioweapon is not that – – what if it is a new technology beyond what Earth and Mars can comprehend?
3. Trust Issues
The crew debates what to do with their proto-molecule sample. Holden and Amos want to destroy it, figuring that they have the last of its existence. Alex wants to turn it over to Mars to have them study it. Naomi wants things to just remain as they are, but concedes to Holden and Amos and lets forth a torpedo containing the sample. Or does she? That torpedo doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere and Naomi’s eyes bear the brunt of someone who just lied right to the face of her commander – – who is also her boyfriend.Continued below
This is not how you maintain healthy personal and professional relationships, Nomes.
4. The Night The Lights Went Out in GEORGIA!
If you take nothing from this episode, take Avasarala’s confrontation to Errinwright as she convinces him to have Jules-Pierre Mao’s surviving children convince their father to turn himself in, detailing the consequences if they don’t – – because government is more powerful than any corporation. It builds slowly to Chrisjen’s justification for her actions (“I. Saved. Earth!”) and she does not pause, does not take a breath, does not allow time for Errinwright to get a word in edgewise. If you are of a Certain Age(TM) like me, you watch it and are reminded of one of the famous rants of Designing Women’s Julia Sugarbaker (this one is my favorite), a monologue you want to save for future theater auditions.
And just like Julia, Chrisjen remains impeccably styled in a black and gold ensemble I would die to see in an evening gown. Never say you can’t look good when you’re fighting the good fight.
5. “That’s the Thing About Technology. It Changes Everything.”
Throughout this episode, we’ve had a glimpse into some of Mars’s past through the eyes of one Solomon Epstein, who had been tinkering with a ship to improve its fuel efficiency, but discovers he can move faster than before – – the high gravity burns commonplace in the current world of The Expanse. While his discovery came at the expense of his life, it allowed Mars to break free of UN colonization and explore further, faster, farther than before. His last words were about technology’s power to change everything, the precipice that this present day finds itself on with this proto-molecule. Technology was the paradigm shift (ROLL CREDITS!) that made Mars an independent planet. What paradigm shift will the proto-molecule bring?
– Just when you think Amos and Alex are going to give Naomi and Holden the third degree about their relationship . . . you find out that the two had a little side bet going about it. The more things change, the more things stay the same.
– The Mormons have also filed a lawsuit against Fred Johnson and Tycho Station for the loss of their Space Cathedral. We didn’t kill all the lawyers first thing in the 23rd century, did we?
– Having met Cas Anvar in person at Big Apple Con this spring (and being wowed enough by his charm to start watching this show), it makes me smile to see Alex having his way with the ladies of Tycho Station. That’s most definitely not all acting. *wink*
– Naomi, thanks for being the one to remember Miller and Julie’s name, to keep their flame, to tell their story. Thank you for putting them back in the narrative. (Yeah, I totally lied about not dropping Hamilton in anymore.)
See you next week for “The Seventh Man” and tell me what you thought of this episode in the comments!