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Protomolecules, Asteroid Spaceships, Extrasolar Love, and Damned Good Writing: #TheExpanse 2×05 Is Everything!

Protomolecules, Asteroid Spaceships, Extrasolar Love, and Damned Good Writing: #TheExpanse 2×05 Is Everything!

It always comes back to Earth…doesn’t it?

Wow! This episode should have totally played out on Valentine’s Day because it was all about the love. Between Chrisjen and her husband, the whole thing that played out with Miller and (redacted), it was really hard not to tear up due to the feels. Space romance, extrasolar bodies, crazy good special effects, excellent writing, and wonderful acting — you’re missing out if you haven’t tuned into The Expanse. Get with the program fools! Hahahaha!

Major Spoilers! Major Spoilers! Major Spoilers!

Episode 5, titled “Home,” picks up where it left off the last episode: with Holden, Naomi, Amos, Alex, Miller, and Johnson flabbergasted that Eros dodged their battering ram of a spaceship, the Nauvoo. When Miller inquires how this could have happened (he’s on Eros and watched as the Nauvoo sailed by), the response he gets is marred with confusion and sprinkled with fear (courtesy of space bae — hehehe!). Eros, powered by the protomolecule, is flying through space like the Millennium Falcon.

Meanwhile, the protomolecule inhabited asteroid catches the attention of Earth who fearfully try to figure out how the huge space rock has suddenly started acting like a spacecraft. Chrisjen with her cool head owns the situation, shooting down assumptions that Mars is responsible for the asteroid’s propulsion. When Eros lays in a course for Earth, the UN military is frantic and proposes blowing it out of the sky with their planetary defenses. Chrisjen advises that Mars, who has kept mum during the entire incident, be informed that Earth isn’t targeting them.

During the Eros crisis, Chrisjen is unfrazzled and gives Undersecretary Sadavir Errinwright major side eye. Errinwright, for his part, is freaking the f@ck out, drinking tall and beautiful bottles of liquor while desperately trying to reach Jules Mao, who by this point is MIA. Curiously enough, Errinwright isn’t remorseful about his previous dealings with Mao and the protomolecule and fails to inform his government about his involvement. Errinwright is a straight up coward, and if would be satisfying to see Chrisjen slap the living hell out of him after usurping him of his position of Undersecretary.

Earth’s government ends up shooting over 100 of their warheads at Eros, which is cruising towards Earth at top speeds. In pursuit is the faithful Crew of the Rocinante, who are strapped in and pumped full of serum allowing them to temporary contend with the Gs associated with flying at high velocities. With the potential doom of the cradle of humanity on the horizon, Johnson, the Rocinante, and Earth agree to work together to defeat the Eros threat. Earth cedes guidance capability of the warheads to Johnson, who must use the Rocinante’s targeting laser to direct the warheads to Eros.

Chrisjen, who has convinced Earth’s Government to trust Holden and his crew, orders an evacuation of Earth’s population using a lottery method. Though she has the opportunity to leave her planet, she stays behind. Chrisjen loves Earth and is willing to go down with it, to stand at its helm with those not fortunate enough to win the evacuation lottery. She talks with her husband about her decision, and the love and respect between the two are enough to make your throat feel like a sad frog and your eyes burn with salty tears.

While Chrisjen is saying her goodbyes to her husband, Miller is experiencing Eros’ station to its fullest. Eros, which is unaffected from traveling at high velocities, is swirling and pulsating with the glowing blue beads of the protomolecule. Intent on bringing his bomb to the core of protomolecular activity, Miller is haunted by sing-songy voices. He eventually picks out the voice of Julie Mao. Julie, who was the first victim of the protomolecule, died on Eros last season. Miller, who has always had an infatuation with Julie, realizes that the center of all the protomolecular activity is The Blue Falcon, the hotel in which Julie died. Miller surmises that the protomolecule has incorporated Julie’s consciousness into its evolutionary process, and it’s her consciousness that’s flying the asteroid home to Earth.

Miller informs the crew to back off from Eros. He tells them that if they continue chasing Eros, the G’s will kill them and that Eros will most likely dodge the warheads. The Rocinante complies, and it’s up to Miller to convince Julie to redirect the asteroid. He finds Julie, her body blue and glowing, floating and tethered to protomolecule appendages. She is sleeping, her hair a voluminous cloud. Miller wakes her and explains what has happened. He tells her she is controlling the asteroid and that she has the power to redirect it, even suggesting that she fly it to Venus. Miller senses that she is afraid of what will happen to her, and tries to comfort her.  

It’s always been hinted throughout The Expanse series that Miller is in love with Julie. Miller respects how Julie, an Earther, would fight and sacrifice herself for Belters. He is in love with the strength of Julie, with her goodness, with her grit, and need to help the marginalized. That’s why (at least it’s suggested by the series – you’d have to tweet the authors of The Expanse book series) when Miller removes his space suit, inhaling clouds of the protomolecule, it seems like his story has come full circle. And as he and Julie share a kiss and he rests his head on her chest like he’s finally come home (hmm), it doesn’t feel cheesy or inappropriate. It just feels right and even more fitting when Eros (which means romantic love) plummets through the atmosphere of Venus, exploding on impact.

For those that are reading this without watching the show: WATCH The Expanse, folks! Bear the first few episodes of Season One and recognize that though they are a bit slow and full of complex political world-building, this is a show that will eventually blow your socks off. There hasn’t been a proper science fiction show on the SYFY network since Battlestar Galactica.

There hasn’t been a show in the genre that features so many people of color and writes women as multi-layered complicated characters. Sure, this last episode has a woman being pursued by a man that wants to save her (which is a trope), except in the end, it seems like Julie is Miller’s savior. Miller, who was aimless, disconnected from his people, and unhappy when we first met him, finally finds himself through the process of searching for Julie. And when he and Julie finally meet, it’s more about them facing the unknown together than the hero saving the damsel in distress. Just watch it and see for yourself.

Catch The Expanse next Wednesday, March 1st on the SyFy network.

Jahkotta Lewis is a professional archaeologist, an amateur astronomer, and an aspiring writer. When she is not documenting Pacific Island archaeology, she spends her days hiking through native forests, spelunking within the depths of an active volcano, and watching/reading all things fantasy and science fiction. Follow her on Twitter @jahkotta

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