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, Mars, and Tycho all handle an attack on an outer planet in very different ways. Let’s dive into “The Seventh Man” (what an appropriate name for the seventh episode of the season) – – and as always, spoilers within
1. Don’t Eat The Red Snow
The final scenes of last week’s episode were set on Ganymede, a joint Earth-Mars station, with Bobbie Draper and her team patrolling the border. A firefight erupts from somewhere, killing both her commanding officer in the air and her team on the ground. We open on that aftermath with Bobbie wounded and stunned, and red snowflakes floating through the atmosphere – – snowflakes dyed red presumably from the blood of the dead. The juxtaposition of the delicate, fragile ice crystals dyed crimson is a double whammy of a metaphor on the fragility of life.
Fortunately, Bobbie isn’t left to die. Unfortunately, she’s also seen something not human on Ganymede and in her condition, who’s to say MCRN – – or anyone for that matter – – will believe her?
2. Minor Planet, Major Implications
The role of Ganymede as an agricultural and political hub elevates it from just a minor planet for “farm patrol” (as Bobbie complained in a previous episode to her commanding officer). It provides food for the outer planets, making the destruction of the farm hubs a humanitarian crisis. The UN views the action as a proxy to war, wanting to destroy a Mars target as an appropriate response (never mind the fact that Ganymede was a joint Earth-Mars base, so why would Mars wage war on its own interests?)
Chrisjen comes up with the suggestion of a peace summit, to quell fears that are on both sides since Eros, and to send a warning to Mars that doesn’t rely on mutual extinction. And the men in the room may want to mansplain her to death, but she makes a hard and logical argument for the summit that only an idiot could ignore.
Now I may only be six minutes in, but this is the candidate for line of the night, and everyone else can go home.
“Why didn’t you run for office?” – UN Secretary General
“Because I like getting shit done. And I like my head attached to my neck.” – Avasarala
3. Back on Tycho Station
The arrival of the refugees from Ganymede on Tycho Station has effects on the Rocinante crew. Holden and Naomi differ on their views of Anderson Dawes, and Amos’s confrontation with a refugee child seems to spook something in him, from his less than ideal early days, which he hints at to Cortazar. (I’m not sure if it has been mentioned explicitly yet in the show, but Frank did tell me during our Season 1 recaps that Amos was raised in a brothel.)
Fred Johnson also shows his savvy for politics and the art of negotiation here, providing an inspiring speech to the masses and appointing a true born Belter, Anderson Dawes, to represent the interests of Belters at the upcoming summit. Anderson one-ups Fred with a rallying cry to the masses that calls the motivations of Earth and Mars into question, and you can see in Fred’s eyes that he’s regretting the decision. Even Holden’s defense of Fred doesn’t help temper the flames of angry belters, which leaves me wondering how much good their presence at the impending summit will do. If they can’t agree among themselves, how can they play nice with others?
4. Focus on the Facts
Bobbie’s healing and able to start talking about what happened on Ganymede, but her questioning by Thorsen is less questioning and more of him putting words in her mouth to place the blame for the attack on Earth (and the appearance of a mysterious seventh man, hence the name of the episode), an accusation she makes without hesitation. This idea is later reinforced when she speaks off the record with a MCRN chaplain, who appeals to a family connection (the chaplain served with her father) to get Bobbie to show vulnerability, as well as a further high-pressure investigation with the help of what looks to be a 23rd century truth serum. Oh, and both these official MCRN interrogations are being recorded.Continued below
This is not good news for that upcoming summit, nor for Bobbie’s recovery.
5. Who Shot First?
And as if Bobbie wasn’t under enough pressure and pain, she now has to go speak at the Earth-Mars summit to tell her story – – but not the story that was told at her interrogations. Thorsen wants her to say that Mars shot first, an action that will most certainly provoke Earth to respond with bullets and bombs rather than peace treaties. Oh, and whatever else Bobbie saw doesn’t exist anymore.
Remember that Thorsen recorded their earlier interrogations, and when those recordings come out, they’re going to provide a very different story. Bobbie knows this, and she knows Thorsen’s directive is bullshit. Will she follow the lead of her commander when she comes to Earth or will she go with her conscience?
– Dawes’s conversation with Drummer (you’ll recall she’s Fred Johnson’s second in command) is quite cozy and leaves me wondering if they knew each other in the Biblical way a long, long, time ago.
See you next week for “Pyre” and tell me what you thought of this episode in the comments!