The Expanse Season 2 Episode 1: Safe Episode 2: Doors & Corners

by Kbear on February 2, 2017

The season premiere was a two-part episode. “Safe” began shortly after the incidents of “Leviathan Wakes”.

Training on Mars

Instead of immediately joining the Rocinante, we are finally on Mars watching some Martian Marines in training. The person leading them is Gunnery Sergeant Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams). She is running some kind of obstacle course in full military gear under real fire. She blows up the automatic machine guns that are firing on her. The rest of platoon joins her. On her wrist band she is able to look at how the valley will look in a hundred years after it is terraformed. This seems to give her comfort and motivation. Her platoon receives an order; they are heading to Phoebe station.

Recovering on the Rocinante 

James Holden (Steven Strait) is recovering from radiation exposure and hallucinating that the Protomolecule has affected Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) and him. Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar) is testing the survivors from Eros they rescued for the Protomolecule. Everyone is clean. Former Detective Josephus Miller (Thomas Jane) finds his dead detective friend’s body on ice. The crew has a canister of the Protomolecule onboard, should they shoot it into the sun or keep it in hope of finding a vaccine to it. They watch a transmission of the test in Eros. (I think it is a live transmission.)

Was it something I said?

Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) is giving an interview blaming the manufacture of the stealth ships on Fred Johnson (Chad Coleman). After she gives her interview, the helicopter behind her explodes. On the MCRN Scirocco, Bobbie is arm wrestling a robot arm and defeats it. Her platoon is talking about their mission and other matters. One of them was born on Earth but his family migrated to Mars when he was five. For some of platoon mates this doesn’t make him a true Martian. Since all of their families at one time migrated to Mars, it doesn’t make sense. Of course, anti-immigrant sentiments don’t make sense here on present day Earth either. Bobbie’s CO wants her to report to him. Earlier the Donnager had been to Phoebe before it was destroyed. They found some charred bodies. The Scirocco’s mission is to investigate what’s going on there. Bobbie would rather fight Earth to avenge the Donnager.

Evil Plans Unhatch

Julie’s asshat father, Jules-Pierre Mao (Francois Chau) is at his estate talking to UN Undersecretary Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) about their nefarious plans. Errinwright is worried about people finding out, especially since the Scirocco is headed to Phoebe, and the sacrifices he’s making helping to carry out this plan. JP Mao reminds him he sacrificed his own daughter so don’t talk to him about sacrifice. He’s watering Julie’s favorite spot, a big tree. I’d feel sorry for him if he hadn’t sacrificed his own daughter and the people of Eros. He orders Errinwright to continue with the plan.

Crazy or Evil?
Miller and Amos Burton (Wes Chatham) discuss Amos killing Miller’s friend. Amos is sorry, he’s sure he was an all right guy but he had a gun on Naomi and he wanted to leave Miller and Holden on Eros. Miller doesn’t care about that and attacks Amos. It goes about as well as you’d expect it went for Miller, Amos easily beats him. Naomi walks in and has to keep Amos from killing him. Later, Naomi goes to talk to Miller. She explains that Amos isn’t crazy or evil, but he’s different. Miller says she must be his guiding light. She says that Julie must have been his. She is surprised to learn that Miller had never met her, his first time seeing Julie was in her hotel room covered with the Protomolecule. Sometimes he sees her standing before him. He is thinking about leaving the ship, Naomi jokes about him walking out in the middle of space. They bond as Belters.

Things heat up
he UN is planning for a Martian attack. Errinwright wants to deploy the fleet. Chrisjen pretends to agree. On board the Scirocco, they see that the UNN Nathan Hale is on a path to Phoebe. The marines have orders not to let it fall to Earth. They are going to deploy Bobbie and her troops, boots on the ground. Bobbie is thrilled for a fight. Chrisjen meets with a former spy and asks him to join her security detail. Actually, she wants this spy to be her personal spy. On the Rocinante, Holden and Naomi are putting the canister of Protomolecule in a rocket so they can send it to an abandoned asteroid mine to hide it. Once they get back on board, the two extremely attractive people do it in the cargo bay. Back in the UN war room, Errinwright is pushing them to fight Mars, Chrisjen calls for patience. Out in space, the Scirocco fires missiles but they aren’t for the Nathan Hale; they blow up the Phoebe station.

 Calm Before the Storm

Alex has cooked lasagna for a sit down dinner with his crewmates. He wants to relax, talk, and eat. Even Miller joins them and tells a funny story about cheese theft and cheese farts. Everyone is relaxed and having fun. Remember this picture, we won’t see it again this episode.

The Truth Revealed

We return to the UN and they are at it again. Errinwright wants to attack a Martian station as retaliation for Phoebe. The fleet admiral is against it. When they ask him will he go against a direct order, he steps down from his post. If he were in the room with Trump, he would have fired him before he got a chance to resign his post. Chrisjen catches up with him in a bar. She is the last person in the world he wants to have a drink with. As far as he is concerned, she is like the rest of her UN compatriots. She asks him about Fred Johnson. When everyone else attacked him for leaving the marines and becoming the head of OPA, the admiral wasn’t one of his attackers. What gives? He tells her what actually happened at Anderson Station. The UN was jamming the Anderson Station protesters signals. Even though they had surrendered, Col. Johnson’s commanders didn’t tell him they surrendered and for him to attack. They wanted to send a message to the Belters. Named a hero on Earth but a villain throughout the rest of the solar system; Fred never tried to clear his name, he simply resigned from the service. He is a man of honor who never surrendered his soul. Chrisjen tells her agent to contact Col. Johnson, even though it is treason to do so.

Regrets and More Truth

Speaking of the devil, Fred Johnson is waiting at Tycho for the Rocinante’s arrival. He is mad because he hasn’t heard from them since they left. Naomi tells him they were in Eros. He is shocked to hear what happened. They show him the transmission from Eros and they want to attack the station that is receiving it. Holden asks for an assault team. At the bar, Alex is feeling guilty that they didn’t do more to bring more people aboard their ship from Eros. Amos was sitting next to him but when he turns around it’s a strange woman. Amos had paid her to listen to Alex. Naomi and Holden are back at the ship talking about guilt. Naomi tells Holden not to blame himself for everything; Holden says he’s guilty about how much fuel they have used. They discuss Naomi’s reluctance to get involved with the OPA. When she was a kid, she became involved with them but people got hurt so she vowed not to get involved with them again. The situation at Eros changed that.  Holden is concerned about how Amos will take them being together. Naomi isn’t worried; Amos is like a brother to her. Holden hopes Amos understands that.

Who’s the Boss?
Col. Johnson is talking to leaders of other factions of the OPA. He needs 50 troops with experience to attack the secret station. He is offering jobs and contracts. A ‘bad dude’ from the Black Flay faction starts to criticize the rest of the OPA for following this Earther. He brags about his group blowing up the helicopter meant for Chrisjen. Fred deals with him by tossing him out an airlock. That reminds me of the good old days of Battlestar Galactica. Long live President Laura Roslin, “so say we all.” Now that he has their attention, he tells them what actually happened to Eros and commands them to send him these troops.

WTF, Miller?

Using simulations, Alex is trying to figure out how to attack the station. It has a stealth ship protecting it, and we know what those stealth ships can do. The simulation drill isn’t going well. Holden asks Miller to sit this one out since he hasn’t been in combat. Miller doesn’t plan to be on the Rocinante, he is going to join the attack team. He plans to move his gear out, but Holden tells him they’ll keep it for him. A nice heartwarming moment, the last of its kind.

The big action set piece we’ve been waiting for begins. The Rocinante is hiding behind a freighter Fred Johnson and another OPA member are piloting. In the back of the freighter are two pods that hold Miller and the other OPA troops. Miller still isn’t use to space flight and heading for a firefight has him a bit nervous. He throws up. A kid on his pod who knows him makes fun of him. The kid asks, “Why are you here?” He tells Miller he’ll look after him; Miller will do the same for him. (I didn’t realize until I watched that scene again that the kid (Diogo) was the one whose Uncle Mateo put him out of his ship so he could attack the police vessel. The episode was “Rock Bottom”. So he survived.)

The Rocinante swings out from behind the freighter and attacks the station. The stealth ship appears out of nowhere and starts firing. The Rocinante’s hull is breached; the thruster is out so Amos goes to fix it. The FedEx pods (FedEx is still in business, I wonder what happened to UPS?) with the troops are dispatched. The ring around the station has one cannon they weren’t aware of; one of the pods is destroyed. Amos fixes the thruster but has a rough ride as they maneuver to take out the cannon and the stealth ship. Alex does some great flying because they are able to take out both. The pod with Miller is able to land. When they run out of the pod, they are met with gunfire. Diogo is hit (I guess he couldn’t survive this). The people on the station aren’t shooting real bullets. The OPA assault team quickly takes them out. Diogo is all right after all, (that kid must have nine lives).

Miller takes command of his group. They start going down spooky, half-lit hallways. In one of the rooms is a group of people attached to a computer. I guess they are doing calculations; it reminded me of the Borg. Miller unplugs them from the machine and they go berserk. The OPA assault team guns everyone down except for one man that Miller protects. He gives him to Diogo to put under custody. Miller proceeds alone and finds the evil scientist Dresden (Daniel Kas) doing calculations. Dresden acts as if he is still in charge of the situation; the butt of Miller’s gun disagrees. Holden and Col. Johnson join them. Dresden offers them anything they want to allow him to continue his work. If they try to break into his research, it will self-destruct. He explains why his work is so important. They made a discovery on Phoebe of an organism that was sent from outside our solar system that can repurpose other lifeforms and evolve. They studied it on Phoebe but needed a larger controlled environment to study it, so they picked Eros and its poverty-stricken citizens as control subjects. They need to do this to defend Earth and to use it to make humans evolve. He is willing to work for the OPA if they let him continue his research. Fred is willing to negotiate with Dresden but Miller isn’t. He puts a bullet in his head and for good measure shoots him a few more times on the ground.



Most fans of the show had to wait a year, since I only watched it during the Christmas holidays, my wait was much shorter, but it was worth it. The quality of the show has taken a jump up from last season. They are doing more character work with the other characters. Last season we only knew Holden, Miller, and Chrisjen very well. This episode alone we learned more about Naomi and Amos. We learned that even though she’s a Belter she didn’t want anything to do with the OPA. We also received some clarification of her and Amos’ relationship. We don’t know if Amos sees it the same way yet. Miller is an extremely damaged human being; he might be as dangerous as Amos. Maybe even a little more unstable. I don’t know how Fred and the Rocinante crew will be able to trust him. Even though she isn’t the nicest person in the world, we know Chrisjen might be our only hope of not going to war. She’s a tough lady but she isn’t spoiling for a fight. We can’t say the same about our new character Bobbie Draper. She wants to go to war with Earth right now. With Earth being a constant threat to Mars, her government has had to divert resources to defense instead of transforming Mars into a habitable planet. About the time they are able to do this, Bobbie will be dead. She wants this to happen for future generations, but she is mad it won’t happen for her. Get rid of the Earth threat and she can see that lush valley for herself. The space battle was fantastic. You get a real sense how dangerous the battles are and how vulnerable the crews are. If some aliens sent the Protomolecule to attack earth, humanity has a greater threat than it could have imagined. Maybe this will make Earth, Mars, and the Belt unite for something. The group Dresden worked for reminds me of the shadowy group the cigarette smoking man worked for in the X-Files. Maybe Holden and Naomi are the new Mulder and Scully.  Let us keep getting everyone together; it makes the show more enjoyable.

Grade: A-

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
Latest posts by Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief (see all)