by Kbear on March 3, 2017
The pioneering spirit
Instead of opening right after Eros crashed into Venus, we instead open up 137 years in the past above a young colony, Mars. A Martian named Solomon Epstein (Sam Huntington) is doing an experiment on his spaceship. He pilots his ship into a high G burn. (The same effect the Rocinante crew experienced the last episode.) The ship is going very fast without using a lot of fuel. He is trying to contact his wife to get help but soon he is out of range. He is hoping his technological advance can get Mars out from under Earth’s boot and help them go further out into the system. Solomon records, “That’s the wonderful and terrible thing about technology. It changes everything.” Solomon has invented the Epstein drive, which goes very fast without using a lot of fuel. It helped Mars gain independence from Earth and helped create the settlements in the Belt.
Chrisjen the enforcer
Back on present day Earth, the UN realizes that 30 nuclear missiles have not self-destructed and are missing. A scientist (Stephen Farrel) comes into the room and sits down. He listens to Colonel Janus (Conrad Pla), a UN scientist try to explain how Eros was able to leave its orbit, head towards Earth and eventually crash into Venus. He thinks the Martians might have developed new technology that could change everything like the Epstein drive did. Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) doesn’t think this makes sense. They wouldn’t have revealed their new technology this way. She later meets with the scientist; it appears they have a past together, perhaps as lovers. He explains his theory to her, and it is close to the truth. He doesn’t know about the Protomolecule but he has figured out this might be alien in nature. He wants to go on the Earth expedition to Venus to find out why and how Eros did what it did. He will secretly report to Chrisjen. She later meets with Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle); she wants him to contact Jules-Pierre Mao (Francois Chao), who is in hiding. She is willing to cut him a deal to find out what went on in Eros. Errinwright thinks his remaining kids might know where he is. Chrisjen in full HBIC mode tells Errinwright to inform the Mao kids that she will take everything away from them and destroy them unless Mao turns himself in. If he doesn’t she will turn them into hunted pariahs. Chrisjen has cleverly threatened Errinwright too, and he looks terrified. (I’m sure he peed in his pants, if not worse.)
Not a secret
After sending a message to his mom telling her he is alright and hoping she’ll meet his crew one day, especially a special member of the crew, Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) and James Holden (Steven Strait) discuss the recent events. He wants to destroy the sample to keep anyone from using it again. Holden has another duty he has to perform, he and Naomi tell Amos Burton (Wes Chatham) and Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar) that they are sleeping together. After looking serious for a moment, they break out in laughter; they had already figured it out and had a bet about it. Amos assures Holden he looks at Naomi as a sister, but if she ever offered him any, he would hit it. Holden doesn’t look that relieved to hear that. Alex has something important to show Holden. As we learned earlier, 30 of the nuclear missiles Earth launched at Eros didn’t detonate and are missing. While they are talking, we see the missing missiles caught in a net.
A big secret
When the Rocinante crew disembarks from the ship in Tycho station, they receive a hero’s welcome. There is an airbrush painting of Miller on a wall, Diogo (Andrew Rotilio) tells some young women how Miller sacrificed his life for him and told Diogo, “You live to fight for the Belt.” Miller is becoming a Belter legend. Diogo is trying to become a legend with the ladies. Holden reports to Colonel Fred Johnson (Chad Coleman) about the 30 missing missiles. Col. Johnson already knows; he has the missiles. He is going to use them for deterrence. Holden wants to tell Earth and Mars about the Protomolecule being alien but Fred wants to hold on to that info as not to cause widespread system panic. He reasons that if Earth and Mars panics, the Belt will suffer. At a bar, Alex is bragging to four women about his brave exploits chasing Eros. A rough looking Belter grabs one of the women and drags her away from the table. Alex objects and the bad hombre jumps Alex. Amos pops up out of nowhere and beats the shit out of this guy. Alex wonders where he came from; Amos has himself a room in the brothel next door.
Pick a side
Johnson boards the Rocinante to ask Holden why he cut thrust for five hours when they left Eros. Holden is upset Johnson went through their logs, but he explains Amos killed a friend of Miller’s and they were giving him a space burial. He leaves out they were hiding a sample of the Protomolecule. Johnson wants Holden to work with the OPA but Holden thinks it is bullshit that everyone has picked a side. Johnson agrees it would be a wonderful world if these divisions didn’t exist, but everyone has to pick a side. Later Johnson checks on Cortazar (Carlos Conzalez-vio) the crazy scientist. He is working on equations in his cell. It looks like under Fred’s encouragement that his is still working on the Protomolecule equations. Holden is definitely not going to like that.
Are we on the same page?
Naomi goes to Fred’s office to ask him a favor. She wants everyone to know the love story of a Belter (Miller) and an OPA Earther member (Julie) whose love saved the system. Fred thinks it’s a nice story and he’ll make sure it gets out. Back on the Rocinante, the crew is having a meeting on what to do with the sample. Holden of course wants to shoot the sample into the sun to destroy it. Alex wants to give the sample to Mars so they can study it. He reasons they are the only party who was not involved with it in the first place. Amos agrees with Holden, Naomi questions if this is even the only sample out there. Holden thinks with Eros crashing in Venus and them not finding any samples anywhere else, it probably is. Soon everyone agrees to Holden’s plan. (The expression on Naomi’s face suggests she isn’t really on board with the plan.) Later she is programming the missile the sample is on to strike the sun, Holden is pleased, but after he leaves it looks like Naomi hasn’t sent the missile anywhere.
Alex and Amos discuss Amos stepping in to protect Alex in the bar fight. Alex tells Amos he can protect himself. Naomi is helping the OPA with nuke deconstruction. She tells the woman she is working with that Belters have to look out for themselves. She might be moving away from her crew and closer to the OPA.
Last woman standing
Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) and her squad are at the Ganymede Agricultural Station, a Joint UN and MCRN Facility. Her commanding officer Lt. Sutton (Hugh Dillon) sends her and her squad on the surface. There are UN troops on the UN side of the facility. They spot the UN troops from a distance but follow their orders not to engage. The Martian Marines comms jam, so does their naval ship comms. Something attacks and destroys the ship. Back on the planet surface, something attacked the Martian Marines. It looks like everyone is dead except Bobbie, but her suit has been damaged and oxygen is leaking out. She looks up and it looks like a blue faced person is looking at her.
Last week’s episode felt like a season finale with the Miller, Julie Mao, and Eros’ storyline coming to an apparent end. That means this week’s episode felt like a season premiere with them setting up and continuing previous storylines. There has been a shift since the Eros incident. Chrisjen has gained more power and is using it against the conspirators. Errinwright might as well have called her ma’am after her powerful speech.
One of the themes of this episode was choosing a side. This was most evident aboard the Rocinante. Even though the crew has gone through many adventures that has made them close, they each advocate what is in the best interest of their tribe. Alex wants to turn the Protomolecule sample over to his tribe, Mars. The two Earthers, Holden and Amos want to shoot it in the sun. They do not propose to hand it to Earth, where the people who developed it are from, but they will not let the other tribes get their hands on it either. Meanwhile the Belter Naomi is secretly looking out for her tribe. She has not destroyed the sample and is not letting Holden know about it. Even though they are dating, he is not in her tribe. The divisions in the crew reflects the whole system. Everyone is so divided they cannot see the new threat. Bobbie has seen it, but since she was losing oxygen, she probably won’t realize it yet. If that blue creature she saw was a Protomolecule person, then I would suggest to our distant descendants to get it together before it is too late.
This wasn’t as good an episode as last week, but I didn’t think it would be. It did a good job setting up the conflict for the rest of the season. A lot of important character work was done on Chrisjen, the Rocinante crew and Fred Johnson. I hope to see the same work done on Bobbie next week, if she is still alive.