The Expanse: Against All Odds (They Won)

Title: The Expanse Season 3 Episode 6: “Immolation”
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction
Platform: TV – Syfy
Director: Jeff Woolnough
Writer: Alan DiFiore
Rating: TV-14
Release: May 16, 2018
Cast: Steven Strait, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Frankie Adams, Cas Anvar, Wes Chatham, Dominique Tipper
Feature image: Source


“Our own ships firing on one another. What the hell is going on out there?” Esteban Sorrento-Gillis – The Expanse

The UN war room is in turmoil. They are getting the initial reports on the mutiny on the Agatha King. A confirmation just comes in confirming that the Agatha King shot upon the Jimenez and destroyed it. UN Secretary-General Esteban Sorrento-Gillis (Jonathan Whittaker): “Our own ships firing on one another. What the hell is going on out there?”

The Roci crew on the ground, James Holden (Steven Strait), Amos Burton (Wes Chatham), Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams), and Dr. Praxideke ‘Prax’ Meng (Terry Chen) look at the Protomolecule pods take off. Bobbie sees that more pods are preparing to take off. Holden orders Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar) to shoot them down. Alex shoots down as many as possible but he soon runs out of ammo. Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) reports that the pods have stealth tech and that once they leave orbit, the Rocinante can’t track them. Alex wonders where they are going and Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) says Mars. Alex asks how she knows. Chrisjen deduces that since this is a Mao facility and he is working with Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) that the destination for these pods would be Mars. Naomi calculates the damage the Protomolecule pods could do on Mars, “Mars could become another Eros.” Holden is going to see if they can abort the pods from within the facility.

Looking at the Rocinante, Jules-Pierre Mao (Francois Chau) assumes that the Roci crew is a Martian Assault team. He is ready to surrender. Dr. Lawrence Strickland (Ted Atherton) has other ideas. He tells Mao that since the assault team is on the other side of the facility that gives them time to get to their ships and take off. Mao asks what would keep the Martians from shooting them down. Strickland says they can tell them that they have children aboard. To give them time, they will tell the facility personnel that the Martians are there to kill them, so they have to fight. Mao’s bodyguard tells him the personnel will be slaughtered but Mao doesn’t care. Strickland has one more trick up his sleeve. He goes to what was once Katoa’s (Jordan Dacol) pod. You can see in the creature’s eyes, visions of Venus. Strickland looks at him and says, “Such a waste. But this was what you were made to do.” He releases him to attack the Roci crew.

“They shot at us. They made the choice.” Dr. Prax Meng – The Expanse

The Roci crew gets in an elevator and begins talking about random things. Alex, Naomi, and Chrisjen are watching them on the monitors. Naomi: “Are they hypoxic?” Chrisjen: “They are whistling in the dark.” When the elevator door opens, Mao’s people start shooting at them. Prax, Amos, and Holden return fire while Bobbie stands still. She detects four people and immediately shoots them down. Holden: “They don’t look like soldiers.” Prax: “They shot at us. They made the choice.” On board the Rocinante, they check the ships that are in orbit. Alex zeroes in on the Agatha King. They can see the ship covered in Protomolecule green. Naomi: “That ship was hit with a hybrid pod. You don’t want to be on it.”

“I don’t even know what we’re fighting for.” Ensign Larson – The Expanse

Cotyar (Nick E. Tarabay) wakes up in sickbay restrained and floating. Ensign Larson (Sydney Meyer) comes running in and tries to lock the door, another crewmember walks in and they begin fighting. The Protomolecule is affecting the other crewmember. Cotyar wraps his legs around the affected crewmember’s neck, giving Larson time to shoot him. Cotyar asks her what is going on. She tells him that something hit their ship, they began to make repairs, this green goo started affecting members of the crew. Cotyar immediately knows what she is talking about. She notices he’s restrained. He asks her to get him loose; she wants to know what this is first. Cotyar: “Remember Eros? Basically, it’s that shit. It kills everything it touches, and it cannot be stopped.” She’s crestfallen; Cotyar tries to motivate her but she isn’t listening. She shoots his restraint off and sits down. He asks for her help, but she won’t move. Larson hands him her gun and sadly says, “I don’t even know what we’re fighting for.” Cotyar finds a hazmat suit and goes out into the hallway. Floating dead bodies fill the hallway and green goo is all around it.

Bobbie picks up the heat signatures of the children. She gets another heat signature; it’s the hybrid. She tells Holden that they should go and get the kids; she’ll lead the hybrid away from them. Chrisjen: “Bobbie, don’t be an idiot. This won’t bring back your dead marines. Bobbie: “Ma’am, for the first time in your life, please just shut your damn mouth.” Bobbie fires on the hybrid; it sees her and gives chase.

“I walked away once… but this time, you’re going to do the right thing.” Rev. Doctor Anna Volovodov – The Expanse

Back at the UN war room, they still can’t get in contact with the Agatha King. They know that something was launched from Io but they can’t track the objects because they have stealth tech. Errinwright tries not to show any emotion. The Reverend Doctor Anna Volovodov (Elizabeth Mitchell) walks into Gillis’ office. He isn’t in the mood for Anna’s lip but she doesn’t care. She brings up a march that Gillis led into a military facility. He encouraged his followers to do it. He didn’t bother to tell them that the military had orders to shoot. Anna: “Takes a few martyrs to solidify a movement.” This incident broke their relationship. Anna: “I walked away once… but this time, you’re going to do the right thing.”  She shows him the Errinwright video.

Amos, Holden, and Prax walk into the room where the kids slept. They see little kid drawings all over the room. Amos and Holden look through the records while Prax looks at the stuff in the room to see if he spots something Mei did. Amos and Holden find Mei’s picture, they all realize the kids could still be in the facility. Bobbie is out in the facility corridors firing at the hybrid. She uses the rockets in her boots to fly out of the facility. The hybrid uses the ladder to follow her. Holden checks the different monitors and sees Strickland and the kids heading to their spaces shuttle. He delays them by messing with the bay doors. He sends Prax and Amos after them. Holden looks to see if he can find something that will abort the pods. Naomi asks if he can abort the pods, he tells her he can’t because the launch controls were sent to the Agatha King. He sees Mao and his bodyguard on another monitor. Holden: “There’s someone here who should know. Let me go and ask.” Alex can’t wait any longer, he is going to take the Razorback to the Agatha King and see if he can abort the pods from there. Naomi tells him he can’t do this alone and asks Chrisjen to watch the others while they are gone. The hybrid and Bobbie are outside making cool jumps. Bobbie’s battery is getting low. The hybrid eventually catches her and they tumble off the building and hit the ground.

“I fought to save earth. You fought to save yourself. The planet deserves better than you.” Sadavir Errinwright – The Expanse

Gillis calls Errinwright to his office. Anna is sitting on the other side of the room. The S-G shows his deputy the video. Gillis is surprised that Errinwright doesn’t try to deny it. Errinwright turns away from Gillis and talks to Anna. Errinwright: “Was he always like that?” Anna: “Like what” Errinwright: “Spineless and weak. Dignified face with nothing behind it.” He tells her that Gillis’ only doing this because she was the last one to talk to him. Gillis tells him to say what he wants to say to him since this will be the last time he’ll get to do it. Errinwright: “I fought to save earth. You fought to save yourself. The planet deserves better than you.” The MPs come in and handcuff Errinwright, Gillis tells them to take him away, “I never want to see him again.” Anna is smiling, she is proud of Esteban Sorrento-Gillis. Gillis looks at her and says, “My legacy was going to be a catastrophic war with millions dead. That’s all on Errinwright now. Thank you.” The smile fades from her face.

“I am that guy.” Amos Burton – The Expanse

Strickland is with the med tech (Nicole Stamp) and the children. He hears the gunfire in the distance. Strickland tells her to leave the children for a moment. She thinks she gets it, “Right, trade the children for our freedom.” He shoots her out of the children’s sight. Prax and Amos arrive right after he kills her. He pretends that he killed her to protect the children. He opens the door and Mei (Leah Madison Jung) runs out from behind the other kids to hug her father. The Razorback is about to dock with the Agatha King. Holden catches up with Mao and his bodyguard, when the bodyguard goes for his gun, Holden shoots him. Mao: “James Holden. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised it’s you.” He asks how Holden caught him. Holden tells him they weren’t looking for him but the children. Mao tells him they were working on the problem on Venus. Holden asks him if they found a solution, he tells him they hadn’t yet. Holden asks is there a way to abort the pods, Mao says there isn’t. Since Mao doesn’t have any answers, Holden tells him to shut up. He orders him to pick up his data core and they leave. Prax tells Mei, “This is Amos. He’s my best friend in the whole world. He helped me find you.” He asks her to go with him while he talks to Dr. Strickland. Mei says, “Hi” to Amos while he says “Hey” as he holds her hand. He leads the other kids away. Strickland tries to convince Prax that he was looking out for Mei. He reminds Prax that he’s known Mei since she was a baby, she loves him and he loves her. Prax slowly lifts his gun to shoot him, but being a good man hesitates for a moment, before he can squeeze the trigger a hand is over his gun. Amos: “You’re not that guy. You’re not that guy.” Prax leaves to join Mei. Strickland: “Oh thank you, oh thank you.” Amos [raises his rifle]: “I am that guy.” There is blood all over the room. Bye Strickland, you evil bastard.

Bobbie is on the ground and her suit is on the fritz. She can’t get up. The hybrid gets up and gets on top of her. Bobbie asks it what it is waiting for; the hybrid looks up at the sky, this allows her to raise her arm and shoot half his head off. The hybrid formerly known as Katoa is dead.

“I always thought I’d have something clever to say in this moment you know…I can’t think of a damn thing.” Cotyar – The Expanse

Alex and Naomi make it to the CIC; Admiral Nguyen is still alive trying to shoot them. Fortunately, his gun is empty. Naomi tries to abort the pods. Nguyen gleefully tells her, “You’re wasting your time. They can’t be stopped.” Naomi decides to see if she can gain control of them and send them off course. While she is working, Nguyen harasses Alex. Nguyen: “You stopped being human when you claimed that miserable red planet. You’re an insect. Prideful insects, the whole hive of you.” Alex wants to shoot him, but Naomi tells him not to. She’s able to get control of one, but not the rest of the pods. Cotyar, who is infected by the Protomolecule, comes over the comms, he is sending a message to all ships in the area; he warns them to leave. Because of the Protomolecule infection on the Agatha King, he is going to rig the nuclear reactor on the ship to explode.  Chrisjen sees him and tells Naomi she knows him and asks her to patch her in to him. Naomi can’t because he has it so no messages can get to him. Cotyar gives his final statement, not knowing that Chrisjen is watching. Cotyar: “Well Charanpal, I guess that makes us even. I uh…I always thought I’d have something clever to say in this moment you know, something pithy. Even a little ironic, but…Memorable. I can’t think of a damn thing. Oh well.” He sets the timer for the reactor to melt down, Naomi doesn’t have enough time to gain control of the rest of the pods, but she quickly turns on the pod’s transponders. Alex wants to continue working but Naomi tells him they’ll find another way. They leave Nguyen to laugh at the thought of Mars’ destruction. The Razorback gets away in time.

“I think I have a better idea…” Naomi Nagata – The Expanse

Alex wants to inform Mars about the pods. Naomi agrees, but she’s afraid that even with the transponders on, Mars might not be able to shoot all of the pods down. Naomi contacts Holden and Amos, “I think I have a better idea…There’s a way we can shoot all the pods down before they reach Mars. Fred Johnson.” They all have a ‘not this again’ look on their faces. Naomi explains that if they send the transponder codes to Fred, he can use the missiles he stole from the UN to shoot them down. The pods will be passing near Tycho soon. Holden agrees he can do that, but if he has the transponder codes, he could also add the pods as a new weapon for the Belt. Naomi: “I want to do this but we all have to agree. All of us.” Alex: “All right I’m in.” Amos: “It’s worth a shot.” Holden: “I agree.” Naomi smiles and contacts Fred (Chad L. Coleman) who is in a bar watching the news reports about the mutiny. Naomi explains that here is a chance for him to do something good and raise the Belt up as a system power.

“What… the hell… is that?” Amos Burton – The Expanse

We get a montage of Alex helping a badly bruised Bobbie in sickbay. Fred launches the nuclear missiles. Holden brings Mao to Chrisjen and forces him to his kneel before her. Prax gives Mei her backpack and favorite toy back. She gleefully hugs him. Holden and Naomi have reconciled and are lying in bed nude. The missiles hit the Protomolecule pods and destroy them before they reach Mars. Suddenly a spacecraft created by the Protomolecule on Venus leaves that planet. The news services broadcast it throughout the system. Amos is serving the other kids a meal and he sees it on a screen. Amos: “What… the hell… is that?”

In “Triple Point”, the Roci crew is preparing to land on Io to rescue Mei. Ensign Sinopoli gives the commander of the Hammurabi, Captain Kirino the Errinwright video. Chrisjen talks Holden into helping her and getting involved again. Alex receives a video from his son, at least one person on Mars still loves him. Amos teaches Prax to shoot. Prax is determined to rescue Mei or get revenge if that’s not possible. Admiral Souther’s staff openly talk mutiny against Admiral Nguyen. Bobbie asks Alex how the crew defeated the hybrid, she is ready to take one on in Io. Souther receives the video from Kirino and confirms its validity with Cotyar. Naomi finally makes a proper apology for her betrayal to the crew and tells Holden about her son. Mao questions Katoa about what the Protomolecule is up to, once he is no longer able to speak, he and Strickland plan on using Mei as the next subject. Mao transfers launch control to Nguyen. Though the Hammurabi is within missile range, Kirino holds back from firing, to give Souther a chance. He takes control of the Agatha King and broadcasts to both fleets that he has arrested Nguyen for being a conspirator in an illegal war and he will send them the evidence. Nguyen shoots Souther and regains control of the ship. He doesn’t regain control of the fleet and destroys the Jimenez. The UN fleet is in full mutiny and fights each other. Kirino offers the UN ships who are under the flag of truce aid. Nguyen launches the Protomolecule pods.

This episode picks up with the UN war room getting reports of the Agatha King mutiny. Alex shoots down some of the pods, but Naomi reports that the pods have stealth tech and they can’t track them. Chrisjen deduces that the pods are heading for Mars. Strickland convinces Mao to use the kids as hostages to escape. He also unleashes the hybrid against the Roci crew. One of the pods hits the Agatha King and it is quickly infected. Cotyar just barely escapes sickbay. After taking out some of Mao’s people, Bobbies leads the hybrid away, so the guys can rescue the children. Anna shows S-G Gillis the Errinwright video. Prax and Amos go after Mei and the kids while Holden goes after Mao. Alex and Naomi fly the Razorback over to the Agatha King to abort the pods. Gillis has Errinwright arrested, but not before he tells him off. Gillis shows Anna how self-centered he is. Bobbie kills the hybrid. Amos and Prax catch up with Strickland. Amos stops Prax from shooting him, but he shoots Strickland himself. Holden captures Mao. Cotyar destroys the Agatha King to prevent the Protomolecule from spreading further. Naomi can’t abort the pods, but she is able to turn the pod’s transponders on. She has an idea, send the transponder codes to Fred Johnson and let him shoot them down. Instead of doing it behind their back, they will all have to agree to do it. They of course do. Fred blows up the pods with the stolen UN nuclear missiles. Holden presents Mao to Chrisjen, Holden and Naomi reconcile. The Protomolecule launches a spacecraft from Venus.

For now, the good guys have won. Strickland’s brains are scattered on Io, Nguyen was blown up on the Agatha King, and his plan to destroy Mars was stopped. Mao is on his knees before Chrisjen, and Gillis has Errinwright arrested. It looks like the war between Mars and Earth will end.  Before you break out the champagne though, the Protomolecule has launched a vessel from Venus; from the frying pan to the fire. This was a great episode, it reminded me of a season finale with so many plot points from the first two and half seasons being wrapped up. Aside from the bad guys being punished, Holden and Naomi have reconciled, Prax and Mei are reunited, and Bobbie gets some closure with the hybrids. Everything wasn’t sunny, Cotyar sacrificed himself and the Agatha King. In the previous episode, Admiral Souther and his officers were killed in the mutiny. Considering how dire everything was, overall it was an upbeat ending. Both episodes were fantastic, with escalating tension throughout both episodes until the crowd-pleasing resolutions. I liked the way they used everyone in the crew in this episode. Everyone had something important to do. Maybe Chrisjen didn’t get to do that much, but everyone else did. The shot of the Agatha King with the bodies floating in the corridors was eerie but beautiful. The chase scene between Bobbie and the hybrid would not have been out of place on the big screen. Both episodes were cinematic. We have half a season to go, and I hope more after this one. [Late breaking news: The Hollywood Reporter reports that Amazon Studios is near to closing a deal to bring The Expanse back for a season 4. I hope that about the time I do my next recap the deal will be closed.]  The last episode had an A grade. Guess this episode’s grade.

Grade: A






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