The Expanse: Pesky Guests

Title: The Expanse Season 3 Episode 4: “Reload”
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction
Platform: TV – Syfy
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Writer: Robin Veith
Rating: TV-14
Release: May 2, 2018
Cast: Steven Strait, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Frankie Adams, Cas Anvar, Wes Chatham, Dominique Tipper
Feature image: Source


“We have secured the Nauvoo.” Drummer – The Expanse

The Belter Salvage Fleet under the command of Drummer (Cara Gee) is preparing to salvage the LDSS Nauvoo. Drummer: “Launch the drones.” They launch hundreds of drones to turn the ship around. Drummer: “Put us on the deck.” Drummer and some of her crew board the Nauvoo. They open a panel to get below deck. This area has murals of the Mormon faith. Drummer: “We have secured the Nauvoo.” They will begin retrofitting it.

“I’ve met his mother, I get the impression he won’t be able to ride the fence for long. Let’s give him a push.” Chrisjen Avasarala – The Expanse

The Contorta/Rocinante along with the Razorback enter the battlefield debris. James Holden (Steven Strait): “You okay?” Alex Kamal: “I was just wondering if I knew any of these people, if I served with them.” The Rocinante has entered the battlefield debris to salvage a Martian ship for ammo. Alex feels like they are robbing their graves. Amos Burton (Wes Chatham): “The Dead don’t need their stuff.” Holden and Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) look at each other uncomfortably. Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) is wearing Julie Mao’s racing uniform and pulling the look off wonderfully. Bobbie Draper is complaining about the crew limiting their access to the ship’s communications. Chrisjen: “Didn’t they train you to bend people to your will?” Bobbie: “I can’t make you do what I want, and you’re half my size.” Chrisjen still wants to send the tight-bean to Admiral Souther but Holden won’t let her because it could get them spotted. Bobbie says that Holden doesn’t want to get involved with the war. Chrisjen: “I’ve met his mother, I get the impression he won’t be able to ride the fence for long. Let’s give him a push.”

The crew picks the Kittur Chennamma to board. The battle took the Kittur Chennamma out early. The ship wasn’t able to fire back, so it didn’t use any of its ammo. Naomi suggests they leave this area as quickly as possible because of the black boxes in the ships could bring the Martian fleet to the area. Holden agrees with her. Dr. Praxideke (Prax) Meng (Terry Chen) is watching a video of Dr. Lawrence Strickland (Ted Atherton) describing his experiments. Amos tells him to store the gear, and that he’s watched this video too much. It is monstrous what he is doing. Prax: “How could you do that to another person?” Amos: “I think you and I had very different childhoods.” Amos tells him to put up the gear; Holden needs him. Prax, Amos and Holden board the Kittur Chennamma to retrieve its ammo. Naomi checks on Alex to see how he doing. Alex thinks he’ll prepare a nice meal for the crew to deal with this ordeal. Naomi: “I used to know this fantastic recipe for red kibble.”  She becomes defensive when Alex tells her she doesn’t have to cook. He explains he only means it’s nice for her to do this. Holden sees that the ship’s drive wasn’t damaged; he thinks they can haul it. He believes he hears some knocking and tells Amos and Prax to quiet down. He goes to the door and listens closely, “SOS. Someone is alive in here.”

“I knew Mars wouldn’t leave us behind.” Ensign Sinopoli – The Expanse

Bobbie walks up to the bridge to check on something and realizes that they are salvaging a Martian ship. She looks at Alex and screams, “So they’re stripping our dead and you’re okay with it?” Alex testily responds, “Nobody asked you.” Naomi tells her they have to do this because they used all their ammo to rescue Chrisjen and her, and if they hadn’t salvaged this ship, they wouldn’t be doing a rescue now. Holden, Amos, and Prax get inside the compartment and find several bodies. They find the Martian crewman, Sinopoli (Atticus Mitchell) who did the SOS. Sinopoli: “I knew Mars wouldn’t leave us behind.”

UN Secretary General Esteban Sorrento-Gillis (Jonathan Whittaker) prepares to give his big speech to the General Assembly. Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) sees Reverend Doctor Anna Volovodov (Elizabeth Mitchell) and heads over to her. Errinwright: “You wrote a wonderful speech. You should be front center.” When the speech begins, it is high minded and conciliatory, calling for humanity to unite. Anna mouths the words along with Gillis. The speech makes a sharp turn and becomes war like when it accuses Mars of losing its humanity and calls for all humans to be under one flag again. The assembly seems to love it, but Anna is in shock. Errinwright [smugly]: “Thank you for your help.”

On Io, Jules-Pierre Mao (Francois Chau) is having everything packed up for the Agatha King to pick up. He will personally take the surviving children with him. Strickland is pissed, he mutters to himself about Mao, “Unwilling to shoulder the burden of history.” He goes to check on Katoa (Jaeden Noel). Katoa looks at him and can see the Protomolecule blue affect all over Strickland and says, “So beautiful.” Strickland responds: “You certainly are.” Katoa is rapidly changing, so Strickland decides to continue with the experiment behind Mao’s back.

“We’re taking this ship.” Ensign Loftis – The Expanse

Along with Ensign Sinopoli, they found two other survivors, Ensigns Loftis (Kelly McCormack) and Ranhofer (Alain Chanoine). Ranhofer is receiving medical treatment from Alex, so Sinopoli and Loftis tell Holden and Amos what happened to their ship. Sinopoli begins to realize something isn’t right about this ‘Martian’ crew. Sinopoli: “You’re out of uniform. That’s a Tachi jumpsuit. This is the Tachi.” Loftis: “Your James Holden!” Holden tells them to calm down. They think they are POWs, Holden tells them they aren’t, but that they are restricted to quarters. Holden and Amos prepare to leave; Alex tells them he’ll stay behind with their guests. Back on the Kittur Chennamma, Amos and Prax are getting the rest of the ammo. To Amos’s surprise, Prax callously tosses a dead Martian aside. While watching SG Gillis speech, Chrisjen spots Anna in the crowd. [Thanks Errinwright for putting her front center.] Bobbie eats Naomi’s red kibble dish and asks Chrisjen if she wants some. Chrisjen tells her she has to talk to Holden. In sickbay, Loftis and Sinopoli question Alex on why he is wearing Tachi gear and not trying to help Mars in the war. He tells them he earned the right to wear the gear because he served 20 years in the Martian Navy; the three of them won’t make any difference in the war. Loftis thinks they can with a battleship. She and Sinopoli head towards Alex, he pulls out his gun, but the previously unconscious Ranhofer grabs his arm. The three Martians take his gun and beat him down. Loftis: “We’re taking this ship.”

Chrisjen asks Holden to send a message to Anna. Anna used to be a speechwriter for Gillis in his protester days. The speech he gave sounded like it came straight from Errinwright. Anna isn’t UN personnel, so it’ll be easier to contact her. Luckily, she isn’t an Errinwright stooge. Naomi: “Wire band broadcast will light us up on everyone’s threat board. We’re too close to the warzone to risk it.” Chrisjen tells Holden that if Errinwright is controlling the Secretary General, he’ll destroy both Earth and Mars. Chrisjen: “Please help me stop it.” Holden tells Naomi to find a way to send the message to Anna without anyone being able to trace it back to them. Chrisjen: “Thank you for being the man your mother knows you are.” She gives Naomi a sly look, shakes Holden’s hand and leaves. Naomi: “This is how it starts, you know.” Holden: “We’re sending a message, nothing more.” Naomi: “You can’t trust her.” Holden: “And I can trust you? I understand what she is.”

“The hardest part of this game is figuring out who the enemy really is, and these guys aren’t it.” Bobbie Draper – The Expanse

Holding Alex as a hostage, the three Martians storm the bridge. Naomi keeps the Martians from shooting her and Alex. Loftis sends Ranhofer to the armory to get more weapons. Alex: “This is starting to feel a little ungrateful…” They knock him out. They want Naomi to send out a message to the Martian fleet. She asks them to let her crew aboard the Kittur Chennamma back on board their ship. They are surprised the Rocinante crew has it back running. Ranhofer grabs a rifle. Holden walks in on him, Ranhofer tries to shoot Holden, but the rifle is empty. They begin to fight and Holden puts him in a sleeper hold. Naomi tries to send an alert to the rest of the crew but the Martians catch her. It doesn’t matter because Holden enters the bridge with the rifle. Holden: “I just sent out the master alarm so you have from now until whenever my mechanic gets back.” They threaten to kill Alex and it’s a standoff between the two parties. Bobbie wanders in and sees the situation. Bobbie: “Hey fellas. What’s all the ruckus?” Loftis: “Stay right there big girl.” Bobbie: “Okay, I’m gonna give you a pass because your young and stupid but keep pointing that thing at me and I’m going to take it away from you.” Sinopoli realizes from her outfit that she could take them out. Loftis is still ready to fight. Bobbie begins to calm them down. She knows that they are trying to rejoin the fleet to fight the war but it is more complicated than they think. Bobbie: “The hardest part of this game is figuring out who the enemy really is, and these guys aren’t it.” She is able to get Loftis to hand her Alex’s gun. Amos drags in Ranhofer and asks, “Shit! Did I miss it?”

“You don’t get to speak to me. Not ever again.” Anna Volovodov – The Expanse

Anna storms in on Gillis and Errinwright. Anna: “Esteban, what the hell was that.” Gillis: “Anna.” Anna: “No. You twisted my words. You made me a part of everything I hate about all of this.” Errinwright tries to jump in. Anna: “You don’t get to speak to me. Not ever again.” Turning back to Gillis, “And you didn’t need to be his hand puppet.” She tells him he could have been better than this. She walks out and Errinwright smiles to himself.

Naomi and Amos are back on the Kittur Chennamma finishing repairs. Naomi: “It’s nice to be working on something that’s easy to repair.”  Amos: “Some things don’t get fixed.” Sinopoli is in a room with Bobbie and Holden. He wonders what is up. Chrisjen walks in. He is thunderstruck that the Chrisjen Avasarala is aboard. Sinopoli wonders what kind of ship this is. Chrisjen: “This is going to be very tedious if you remain this dim.” They explain that they are going to let him and his two friends rejoin the Martian fleet aboard the Kittur Chennamma, which they have made ready to fly. Chrisjen makes a request, he take a copy of Errinwright’s transmission to his commanding officer and have him get in contact with Admiral Souther. Chrisjen tells Sinopoli that the war is a lie; it needs to stop out here away from the politicians. Chrisjen: “Yes, I’m aware of the irony.” He agrees to do it and he and his shipmates leave.

Anna is talking to her wife, Namono Volovodov (Raven Dauda). She believes she made a mistake in coming and is leaving to rejoin ‘Nono’ and their daughter. Nono advises her to do what is best. Anna: “I have…I have no ideas what the best thing is anymore.” Nono tells her they miss her and hurry home. Just when she gets through speaking to her wife, she gets the message from Chrisjen. When she plays the message, she sees Errinwright confessing to starting the war.

Alex walks into the ship’s gym to thank Bobbie for diffusing the situation earlier. In a playful tone, she tells Alex, “Hey sailor. Let’s wage a war on that gut.” Things are beginning to thaw a little between Holden and Naomi. Naomi: “You can’t help yourself, can you? Saving everyone. You can’t just stop yourself. Thank you.” Holden: “I’m glad you’re okay.”

“You were right to continue. He’s the key to everything!” Jules-Pierre Mao – The Expanse

Things aren’t as chummy on Io. Mei (Leah Madison Jung) is throwing a temper tantrum. She wants to see Katoa. When her nurse tells her no, she kicks her in the chins. Mao is amused and tells the nurse he’ll take care of this. Mei starts running down the hallway to the lab Strickland keeps Katoa locked in. Mao is suspicious and has his men bring Strickland to him. Strickland: “Sir, we’re so close. I couldn’t in good conscience abandon the test when we were so far along.” Mao has him unlock the door. When they walk in, they see a horrendous sight. Mao has his man take Mei away. Katoa has disassembled his nurse to study him. Katoa: “Disassembly reveals useful pathways.” Mao realizes he is talking to the Protomolecule in Venus. He turns to an appreciative Strickland and says in wonder, “You were right to continue. He’s the key to everything!”

Even though we had the same number of storylines as we did in the previous episode, the episode flowed much smoother. The writers didn’t spend a lot of time with the Belter Salvage fleet, the UN, and Io but the scenes in their storylines efficiently made their points. The Nauvoo storyline only had one scene in the beginning of the episode, but it was visually stunning. You can look at it here. The UN had three brief scenes, Gillis’ speech, Anna tearing into him and Errinwright, and Anna talking to her wife and getting Chrisjen’s message. It effectively moved along the earth storyline and tied it in to the Chrisjen storyline. On Io, we see Mao packing up the lab and Strickland continuing his tests on Katoa behind Mao’s back. In their second scene, we see the results and Mao deciding to continue the experiments. Strickland is a sick bastard [we knew that], but Mao isn’t much better.

The bulk of the episode was on the Rocinante. The crew needed to restock their ammo supply, so they went into a battlefield debris to find a Martian ship that had ammo. They found the Kittur Chennamma and as a bonus found three survivors. The Martians are happy for their rescue until they find out they weren’t rescued by the Martian military, but by the infamous James Holden aboard the stolen Tachi. Alex tries to make their guests comfortable but they jump him and attempt to take the ship. Bobbie talks them out of it, proving that some of Chrisjen is rubbing off on her. She is learning to use her words, not only her fist to change outcomes. Chrisjen is able to get Holden to send a message to Anna about Errinwright, and she gives the Errinwright video to the Martians so that their CO can send it to Admiral Souther. It appears that word of Errinwright’s villainy will resound around the system soon.

This was another great Expanse episode. It was much easier to follow the story. Things are happening, big and small. After facing a common threat, the crew is growing closer together. The Martians, Alex and Bobbie seem to have gained respect for the other, and the ice is melting a little between Naomi and Holden. I hope the ice thaws soon between Naomi and Amos. It looks like Errinwright will face serious opposition now. He nearly ran Anna off, but armed with the video, she’ll be able to fight back. I think Errinwright will find out that she’s tougher than she looks. With the Martians knowing about Errinwright, maybe the UN and the Martians can call a truce. They will need to because it looks like the Protomolecule story is ready to heat up. Who knows what Katoa is communicating to the rest of his kind? The Rocinante and Agatha King should be arriving at Io soon. If Souther gets the message about Errinwright from the Martians, all hell will break loose.

Grade: A-

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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