The Expanse | Season 3 | Episode 12: “Congregation”
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“I’ve killed better people than Tilly Fagan.” Clarissa Mao – The Expanse

All the ships in the flotilla are now circling the alien station. Aboard the Rocinante, Anna Volovodov (Elizabeth Mitchell) speaks to a hostile, but restrained Clarissa Mao (Nadine Nicole). Anna: “It’s not going to work, you’re being pumped full of blockers.” Anna wants to talk to her about Tilly. Clarissa: “I’ve killed better people than Tilly Fagan.” Anna slaps her. Amos Burton (Wes Chatham) is ready to kill Clarissa; Anna stops him. Anna: “We’re not going to kill her.” Amos: “This one won’t be grateful to your mercy.” Anna; “It’s not about her, it’s about us.” Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) gets the transponder working again. They all think that James Holden (Steven Strait) is being held at the Behemoth. Naomi plans to go over there to see Holden and drop Clarissa off in their brig. She plans to leave Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar) back on the Roci. Alex disagrees and thinks they should all go. Alex: “I’ve just got my family back.” Naomi: “Whole team.” Alex: “Whole team.”

A Martian officer, Captain Lucas (Yanna McIntosh) questions Holden, but he won’t talk until he knows his crew is alright. Klaes Ashford (David Strathairn) goes to talk to him. He gives Holden some half-truths about the crew and persuades Holden to talk. Ashford: “Tell me what happened on that station?” Holden: “It was like seeing a whole civilization all at once… billions of them. Strange, bright minds. Not human. They created [the protomolecule]. The made the station, this [void] space. We’ve had it all wrong about the protomolecule. It’s not a weapon. It wasn’t sent to kill us. It was just trying to build a road… and now it’s trying to report in.”   Ashford asks to whom.  Holden: “It doesn’t matter. Everyone it could talk to is gone. Something killed them. It tried to stop it. Burned whole solar systems like they were cauterizing a wound. Only it didn’t work. We are in a graveyard. We need to get out of this place and never come back.” Ashford looks disturbed; Ashford tells Captain Lucas, “That man is seeing ghost, he is insane.” They question Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) who was on the station with Holden and knows him. Bobbie: “Holden is not insane. When we were down there, it opened its door and protected him. Whatever this place is he is somehow in contact with it.” Ashford: “Will he help us escape.” Bobbie: “I believe he would if he could. But this thing has its own agenda.” Ashford: “I don’t think it’s safe to assume Holden doesn’t either.” Lucas orders Bobbie and her squad to take Holden to the brig. Ashford wants them to turn in their weapons. Bobbie is strongly against that. Captain Lucas: “In this fucked up alien place, we’re all on the same side. Stand down.” Bobbie and her squad hand over there gear to a smirking Diogo (Andrew Rotillio).

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Camina Drummer (Cara Gee) is laid up with a crushed spine. Doctor: “Regrowing a spinal cord is a delicate procedure even under the best circumstances” Drummer: “My people are dying and I’m supposed to lie here?” She sends the doctor away and spots a Mech suit on a table. She decides to put it on so she can become mobile again.

“Hey, I’m Jim; what are you in for?” James Holden – The Expanse

When the Rocinante crew boards the Behemoth, they turn their weapons over to Diogo. Naomi tells them that Clarissa is dangerous so they agree to place her in the brig. She demands to see Holden but Diogo arrests her instead for desertion. Diogo: “No, you coming with me. You traitor.” Amos: “Okay, I’m going to need that gun back.” Naomi demands to speak to Drummer but finds out that Ashford is in charge now. Bobbie and her Martian detail are escorting Holden to the brig. They want to kill him again. Bobbie: “We’re taking him to the brig, now everybody shut the frig up.” Ashford shows up to talk to Naomi. Naomi: “Your lapdog told me I’m under arrest.” He attempts to smooth things over. He assures Naomi he didn’t mutiny against Drummer, that they in fact helped each other before she was hurt. He’ll let Naomi see Holden if she works on stabilizing the grid. Naomi consents and gets to work. Clarissa goes to the brig, and receives a friendly welcome. Holden: “Hey, I’m Jim; what are you in for?” Clarissa starts laughing wildly in frustration.

On board the Thomas Prince, Kolvoord (Chris Owens) asks Commander Kumus (Sean Baek) to take him to the Behemoth with him. Kumus asks why, Kolvoord has a plan for trying to get out of the Ring but he needs the Behemoth’s large laser. On board the Behemoth, he explains to Ashford that he wants to use the Behemoth’s laser tight beam to send a message outside the Ring for help. The Behemoth has the only tight beam powerful enough to get through. Ashford gives his permission. The tight beam fails because they can’t get through the Ring’s distortion. Kolvoord comes up with a new plan. Explode a small nuke near the nucleus of the Ring. He hopes it will help them get through the distortion, or at least give them some info they can use. They explode the nuke but it doesn’t have any obvious effect.

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Anna is in sickbay helping patients. Alex and Amos are helping too. Alex: “Damn. You’d ever think you’d see anything like this. Inners and Belters, side by side, helping each other.” Amos: Peace in our time? All it took was everybody about to die.” Anna comforts a patient before he dies. She takes it hard. Amos watches her. Amos: “Why do you do it?” Anna: “Because it needs to be done. I think that’s what most of my life is: seeing what needs to be done, and trying to do it.” Amos: “Mine too.” Later Anna goes to the brig to talk to Clarissa. Anna: “I thought if I came here and I looked you in the eyes, maybe I could see you as a person.” Clarissa: “Why do you care?” Anna: “I don’t. That’s what’s strange. I try to care about everyone. It’s exhausting. When Amos offered to kill you, I wanted to let him.” Clarissa: “Why didn’t you?” Anna: I keep looking for a way to care about you. I think her father was a terrible person. But a lot of people have terrible parents. And I think she’s clearly damaged person but then, who isn’t? So I’m down to, maybe she has a brain tumor, do you have a brain tumor?” Clarissa in tears: “No.” Anna: “It wasn’t mercy, um it was vanity. I didn’t want to think of myself as someone who wanted vengeance.” Clarissa: “Are you asking for my forgiveness.” Anna: “No.”

After working on stabilizing the grid, Naomi goes to speak to Drummer. Naomi finds Drummer and stares at her in shock. Drummer: “Why you never saw no one who got hurt before?” Naomi: “I sort of need a favor.” Drummer: “Favor?” Naomi: “Holden is here. Whatever happened to him on that station has to be connected with everything that’s happening now. If I can just talk to him then, maybe he can help.”  Drummer: “And I thought you came to check on me.” Naomi: “Of course I did. I can make this work.” Drummer: “I’m glad you’re back. You think he can get us out of this.” Naomi: “I don’t know? I hope so.” Drummer: “You help me finish this, and I’ll walk you down there.” Naomi helps Drummer with the Mech suit.

“And we would have saved the human race. Not a bad way to die.” Klaes Ashford – The Expanse

Well it turns out that the nuclear device they exploded did have an effect. The Ring begins charging energy. Monica Stuart (Ana Hopkins) is aboard the Behemoth giving the flotilla updates on what is happening. Monica: “So that’s the official report. The skiff detonation was intentional. Part of a science experiment. There is no official comment on the activity coming from the station.” Ashford remembers what Holden said about seeing the destruction of civilizations; he proposes to his Earth and Martian counterparts that they use the Behemoth’s laser to cut the station and the Ring itself from our system. They point out that this could cause everyone in the flotilla to die. Ashford: “And we would have saved the human race. Not a bad way to die.”


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Everyone is beginning to converge on the Behemoth. Bobbie takes Holden there for his interrogation. Ashford initially thinks that Holden is nuts, but eventually believes there is some truth to what he is saying. The Roci crew [along with Anna and Clarissa] head to the Behemoth to see Holden and to drop Clarissa off at the brig. Clarissa finally gets to see Jim Holden face-to-face, except it’s in cells across the room from each other. So close, yet so far. Ashford is in charge since Drummer is incapacitated from the machine crushing her spine. Lucky for her medicine has advanced to where they can regrow her spine. She is still frustrated she can’t help her crew, but she sees a solution, a Mech suit to help her get around. Diogo arrests Naomi for desertion, which for some reason surprises her. Luckily, for her Ashford needs her to stabilize the grid. She later sees Drummer and helps her with her Mech suit so that she can see Holden. Kolvoord comes up with the brilliant idea to use the Behemoth’s laser communication device to send a message out of the Ring for help. He later comes up with the dumb idea to explode a nuclear device near the nucleus of the Ring to clear up the distortion keeping them from getting a message out or at least gain some scientific info. Brilliant! The station doesn’t think so because it begins charging energy. The station thinks it is under attack. Ashford decides to use the laser to cut off the Ring from our solar system to save humanity. Side effect, everyone in the flotilla dies.

The episode felt like a ticking bomb getting ready to explode. All of the pieces from the back half of this season are coming together. The situation is very volatile. Anna confronts Clarissa, and it is hard for her to feel anything for this woman. Anna might feel distant from Clarissa, but she and Amos grow closer. Amos can’t quite figure her out, but he sees that she is a good person, something he can appreciate. The good will that Ashford showed in the last episode is evaporating, as he begins to confront the danger the station presents. By the end of the episode, he is willing to sacrifice everyone in the flotilla to save humanity. It’s a brave notion I feel hasn’t been though out enough. Everything is set up for the final episode. The explosion is ready to start.



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