Title: The Expanse Season 3 Episode 3: “Assured Destruction”
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction
Platform: TV – Syfy
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Writer: Dan Nowak
Rating: TV-14
Release: April 25, 2018
Cast: Steven Strait, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Frankie Adams, Cas Anvar, Wes Chatham, Dominique Tipper
Feature image: Source

[Spoilers]

“The Martians are bonding.” Amos Burton – The Expanse

Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) is in sickbay, James Holden (Steven Strait) is looking after her. Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) looks happy to be on a Martian vessel again, but she gets into it with the crew about Amos Burton (Wes Chatham) defacing the Martian flag. Bobbie: “Who defaced the Martian flag on the bulkhead?” Amos: “I updated it.” Bobbie: “You think that’s funny?” Amos: “Maybe not now.”  The crew wants to know what’s going on with Bobbie and Chrisjen. Bobbie is upset that they are going to Io when Chrisjen has important information that could end the war. She argues with Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar). Holden walks in and asks what’s going on. Amos: “The Martians are bonding.” Holden tells her she and Chrisjen are free to go. Bobbie objects because their comms aren’t working. Holden: “We’ll fix your comms; after that we don’t owe you anything.” Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) tells Holden that the information Chrisjen has about the war could be important. She accuses him of trying to ignore the war. Holden tells Naomi it might be best if she took the Razorback and go to Tycho Station.

The UN spy satellite Watchtower-14 has located two of the five Martian missile platforms. Using this information they can determine where the other three are located. Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) tells Secretary-General Sorrento-Gillis (Jonathan Whittaker) that his sources in the Martian command tells him that they are ready to launch. He is trying to get Gillis to authorize a preemptive first strike against the platforms while they know where they are. Gillis isn’t ready to do it until he gets more Intel.

“There’s a lot I don’t understand about this war, but even in low G, shit flows downhill.” Admiral Souther – The Expanse

Cotyar Ghazi (Nick E. Tarabay) is on the jump ship with Theo (David Tompa); still bleeding out from his wounds. The flagship of the Jupiter fleet, UNN Agatha King receives their signal and is ready to pick them up. A junior officer asks Admiral Souther (Martin Roach) why they have been tasked to pick up the occupants of the jump ship when any ship could do it. Admiral Souther: “There’s a lot I don’t understand about this war, but even in low G, shit flows downhill.” They get a message from Admiral Nguyen (Bryon Mann) to treat the men as prisoners and for Souther not to let anyone talk to them until he gets there. To keep Theo from telling the UN that Chrisjen is still alive, Cotyar kills him. He sadly keeps telling Theo he is sorry as he strangles him.

Dr. Lawrence Strickland (Ted Atherton) and Jules-Pierre Mao (Francois Chau) are watching the kids play. Katoa (Jaeden Noel) is impressing his fellow lab rats with his enhanced abilities.

“James Holden. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Chaos has a way of finding you.” Chrisjen Avasarala – The Expanse

Amos is taking metal studs out of Dr. Praxideke [Prax] Meng’s head. Amos shares his dark philosophy on life and how he got out of Baltimore. Amos: “Dying’s the only way out of Baltimore.” Prax: “So how’d you get out?” Amos: “I died.”  Naomi is doing repairs on the Razorback and sees a map to Tycho. She thinks about taking off. Chrisjen thanks Bobbie for not letting her die. Chrisjen and Holden finally talk. Chrisjen: “James Holden. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Chaos has a way of finding you.” He is embarrassed when she calls him a hero. She wants to send a tight-beam transmission to Admiral Souther on the Agatha King. Holden doesn’t want to because it could get them spotted. He tells her the ship is still going to Io. She asks how a man who had risked his life on Eros not get involved. Chrisjen tells Holden she spoke to his mom. She said as a child he wanted to be a knight. Holden tells her he grew up, “I’m nobody’s savior.”

Admiral Nguyen tells Admiral Souther that Chrisjen is charged with treason for collaborating with Jules-Pierre Mao and the Martians. Souther can’t believe it. Nguyen wants to question Cotyar, Souther asks to join him. Cotyar plays it cool with Nguyen until he calls Chrisjen a traitor. He tells them Errinwright is the traitor, and that the UN Escort ship destroyed Mao’s yacht. Nguyen laughs it off but Souther is shocked.

Anna Volovodov (Elizabeth Mitchell) goes over Gillis’ speech with him. He wants to talk about the people getting over their fears of what is going on. He talks about them not fearing the hard decisions they will have to make. Anna quickly figures out Gillis is talking about himself. Gillis brings up sacred sacrifices. Anna tells him that war is not holy. At best a war can be justified. Gillis: “You know how many lives a leader has to sacrifice to still be a good man?” Anna: “Yes, as few as possible.”

Mao is walking down a hallway when he runs into Mei Meng (Leah Madison Jung). Mei: “Are you someone’s dad?” Mao: “No one you would know.” He walks with Mei back to the lab. She asks him a lot of questions. She asks did he see Katoa, he tells her he did. She hopes she’ll be able to do all he did too so that she can show her dad. Mao has a pained look.

Alex is running tests on the Rocinante when he gets a transmission from his wife Talissa (Supinder Wraich). She isn’t happy with her wayward husband. She tells him he was wrong to walk out on her and his son to be in space. Talissa: “I’m glad you have something more important than us. We don’t need you anymore.”

“82% is not good enough.” Secretary-General Sorrento-Gillis – The Expanse

The UN Watchtower satellite has found the fifth missile platform. Errinwright is ready to strike. Gillis asks what the percentages of taking out the platform are. Errinwright says there is an 82% chance of taking them all out. Gillis: “82% is not good enough.” He orders Errinwright to stand down. Errinwright is pissed off.

Amos helps Chrisjen with her gravity boots to Bobbie’s amusement. He tells her once she gets used to them, she’ll be able to walk in them like pumps. Chrisjen: “How do you know what it’s like to wear pumps?” Amos: “I didn’t always work in space.” Chrisjen proudly gets the hang of it. Alex and Naomi are both depressed. Alex tells her he saw her looking at a map to Tycho. He knows things have been tense on the ship lately, so he understands her wanting to leave.  He is still mad about her giving the Protomolecule to Fred Johnson, but he respects her dedication to the Belt. Naomi appreciates his support. He offers her his plate of lasagna, “The cheese ain’t real, but the love that went into it is…”

“Wait, you guys fought one of those things and won?” Bobbie Draper – The Expanse

Chrisjen thanks the crew and lays her cards on the table. She tells them about Errinwright and Mao developing Protomolecule hybrids to wipe out Mars. Bobbie tells them about the hybrid wiping out the UN Marines and her unit on Ganymede. Holden shows her a video of their fight with the creature. Bobbie: “Wait, you guys fought one of those things and won?” Prax tells Chrisjen and Bobbie about Strickland using kids [including his daughter] with an immunodeficiency found in Ganymede to create the hybrids. Chrisjen says she wants to make sure the Protomolecule doesn’t spread. Holden laughs, that is what he had tried to do too, and by the way, Fred Johnson has a Protomolecule sample. She asks Holden how he could be so stupid to give Fred a sample. Naomi speaks up and says she gave it to him. She tries to justify her action. Chrisjen: “I’d say ‘cry me a river’ if I thought you Belters knew what one was.” Chrisjen thinks Belters would get more respect if they didn’t let the OPA speak for them. Amos suggests when they get to Io they shoot the scientists and nuke Io. Chrisjen thinks Amos suggestion of nuking Io sounds good.

“Leaders are remembered for how they move civilizations forward.” Sadavir Errinwright – The Expanse

Errinwright talks to Gillis about his legacy. Errinwright: “Leaders are remembered for how they move civilizations forward. This isn’t about defeating Mars. It’s about what’s happening on Venus. Eros proved that nobody on this planet is safe anymore and we need to end this because we don’t know who or what our next enemy is. What if there is another Eros? One that we can’t stop. If you end this war, you will be remembered as the man who united humanity in the face of first contact.” Gillis seriously contemplates Errinwright’s words.

Mao watches Katoa show off to the other kids again. This time he gets sick from the Protomolecule that is in his system and goes into shock. Mei is scared for her friend. Mao finally realizes what he is doing.

“She said you were an honorable man. This war was built on a lie. Are you going to do something about it?” Cotyar Ghazi – The Expanse

Admiral Souther asks one of his junior officers how long the systems will be down in sections 2, 3, and 11. He tells him section 11 is fine, but then realizes what Souther wants. Section 11 will be down for about 20 minutes. This gives Souther time to talk to Cotyar alone. Souther thinks Chrisjen can be a real son of a bitch, but she is patriot. Cotyar tells him everything. Souther figures out that Nguyen is in it with Errinwright. Nguyen is at the bridge and tells the junior officer they are headed to Io. He asks where Souther is, the junior officer lies and says he thinks he is in his quarters. After finding out section 11 is down, he immediately knows Souther is in sickbay with Cotyar. Before Souther leaves, Cotyar tells him, “She said you were an honorable man. This war was built on a lie. Are you going to do something about it?” Souther leaves sickbay before Nguyen catches him. Nguyen takes over command of the ship.

Gillis gives the order to fire the railguns at the five missile platforms. The first four railguns fire without a hitch, but the fifth one has a malfunction. It finally fires. The first four missile platforms are destroyed immediately, the fifth railgun destroys the fifth platform, but the Martians are able to get off a missile before it’s destroyed. The missile isn’t intercepted by Earth planetary defenses and it strikes a city in South America, killing two million. They have destroyed Mars first strike ability, but at a steep price. Gillis wants to know what caused the malfunction. A recycling malfunction was caused by powering up the railgun and standing down. Gillis is crushed.

The Agatha King heads to Io to pick up the hybrid program. Mao tells Strickland to stop the experiments on the children. Strickland objects, he says that great men have to be strong. Chrisjen and Naomi are in the kitchen and have it out. She warns Chrisjen they won’t be friends. Naomi: “There’s an old Belter Joke, how can you tell when an Inner’s lying? When their…” [Chrisjen takes over the punchline.] Chrisjen: “When their mouth is moving. And it’s not much of a joke, really.” Naomi tells Chrisjen she might have fooled the rest of them, but she knows what she is up to. She wants to go to Io to get a Protomolecule sample for Earth so that Chrisjen can stay in the game. Naomi is staying on board to prevent Chrisjen from doing it. Chrisjen: “You’re right. We’re not going to be friends.”

Anna is looking at the news reports about the damage in South America. Errinwright walks in and blames it on Gillis. If he hadn’t wavered, the recycling malfunction would not have happened. He tells Anna in an ominous voice, “It’s good that you’re here… he’s going to need you now more than ever.”

Bobbie and Chrisjen try to acclimate themselves with the crew of the Rocinante. It isn’t going smoothly. Bobbie and Amos nearly get into it because he defaced the Martian flag, and she gets into it with Naomi because she wants to know what Bobbie and Chrisjen are doing together, a Martian Marine and a UN diplomat nearly killed by the UN. Even the two Martians aren’t getting along. We get a great scene when everyone puts their cards on the table and explain what has been going on the past three seasons. It’s a refreshing change when characters on a show actually talk to each other. This leads to Chrisjen and Naomi getting into it with each other. Naomi can’t get along with anyone [except for maybe Alex]. Jules-Pierre Mao grows a heart when he meets Mei. After seeing what happens to Katoa, he thinks about the innocent little Mao and tells Strickland they have to stop experimenting on the children. Strickland doesn’t have a heart so he believes that great men have to be strong. His idea of strength is experimenting on little kids to progress his scientific agenda. It is a good guess that Strickland won’t follow Mao’s orders. I hope that when Katoa becomes a Protomolecule creature, he breaks Strickland in half. I don’t know why seeing Mei would just make Mao realize that what he is doing is wrong. She probably reminds him of Julie when she was young, but the billions he’s willing to kill to make a profit maybe should have kicked in his conscience before now. Errinwright is hard at work trying to destroy Mars. The Agatha King rescues Cotyar. Admiral Souther who is a reluctant ally of Chrisjen is the commander. Admiral Nguyen who is the fleet commander comes on board to deal with Cotyar himself. Nguyen is an ally of Errinwright and he wants to find out where Chrisjen is. Cotyar is able to convince Souther that Chrisjen isn’t a traitor, but that Errinwright is. Nguyen takes over command of the Agatha King so that he can go to Io to pick up the hybrid program. Using the thought of Gillis’ ‘legacy’ to get him to act, he persuades Gillis to call for a preemptive strike on five Martian mobile missile platforms. Gillis would like to do the right thing, but unfortunately, he is a weak willed leader. He needs Anna to provide him a moral compass, but Errinwright is able to feed into his vanity and ambition. Because he hesitated to strike when the railguns were first warmed up, when they went the second time, one of the railguns malfunctions, giving the Martians the chance to get off one missile that kills two million in South America. Errinwright blames Anna for Gillis’ indecision. Now she is in his crosshairs.

This was a good episode, which had four different storylines on Earth, Io, the Agatha King, and the Rocinante. It was a lot to keep up with in one episode. Many major things happened that didn’t get enough time to breathe because something else major was happening. If they had just Chrisjen and Bobbie meeting the crew of the Rocinante along with the attack on the Martian platforms, that would have been enough. One good thing though, it looks like three of the storylines will be merging soon. Everyone is heading for Io, and that should make for a wild ride.

Grade: B+

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Senior Contributor

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Senior Contributor

A fan, enthusiast, and appreciator of sci-fi, comic books, and fantasy film and TV. kbeartv61@nayahscifi.com
Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Senior Contributor

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