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Refugee Crises and PTSD: #TheExpanse Touches on Real Life Issues

Refugee Crises and PTSD: #TheExpanse Touches on Real Life Issues

The Expanse episode 7, titled “The Seventh Man,” has the crew of the Roci dealing with the refugees from Ganymede and figuring out whether Fred Johnson really has control over the OPA. Mars, in this episode, is all about Draper, who is dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after her team was murdered on Ganymede last episode. Oh, and Earth and Mars are trying to play nice…well, maybe.

Major Spoilers! Major Spoilers! Major Spoilers!

Last week The Expanse had us on edge with that damned protomolecule looking creature peering down at the severely wounded Bobbie Draper. This week we return to see that Draper survived the confrontation, but emotionally, she is a wreck. Having seen her team murdered and suffering from traumatic wounds herself, there are moments where the Martian displays obvious signs of PTSD.

The narrative of PTSD explored this week is what makes The Expanse so great. Like Star Trek, The Expanse isn’t afraid to touch on social issues and does a good job of making commentary without being too preachy. Tell your friends to watch this show!

Anyway, Draper’s superior officers spend the episode trying to determine what happened to her and her team on Ganymede. An interrogator is brought in for the task and uses the truth serum pill introduced last season. It doesn’t work too well as Draper doesn’t remember her encounter with the “seventh man” – the thing that was responsible for the assault on her team. It’s not until she’s given the serum herself that she recalls the creature we saw last episode, which results in the interrogation being shut down.

Draper has to relive the events that transpired on Ganymede.

The funny thing about this scene is that when Draper informs the Martian military that her marines, along with the UN Marines, were attacked by an otherworldly creature, they don’t appear the least bit concerned. In fact, they order her to tell the Earth government that the Martian marines fired first. What’s going on with the Martians? There’s no reason they would take the bullet for this — unless they are hiding something. Perhaps the knowledge of the sentient beings or some wild-ass experiments with the protomolecule that resulted in this creature?

Remember some episodes back, when the protomolecule scientist Dresden mentions that the protomolecule had the potential to advance human evolution to the point where they wouldn’t need space suits? And notice how Jules Mao has been missing in action the last few episodes. His last bit on the screen was him arguing with Undersecretary Errinwright about how he was going to consider another party who had their sh-t together. Well, who has their sh-t together more than Mars? Chew on that for a bit.

Anyway, the crew of the Roci spent much of the episode helping refugees from Ganymede and figuring out whether Fred Johnson still had the support of the OPA. Tycho station is chaotic during the episode, with the hungry and wounded pouring in by the ship full. While everything is in a hubbub, Johnson calls a meeting of the OPA factions, informing them that there is potential for Belters to have a seat at the UN and Martian table. Johnson suggests that Ceres Station Belter, Anderson Dawes, represent the Belt during the peace meeting called between Mars and Earth. Dawes, as we know, navigates an even grayer space than Johnson when it comes to ethics and morals. Thus, it’s not surprising when he turns what should be a unifying meeting of Belters into an anti-Earther screed. According to Dawes, though Johnson has sacrificed much for the Belters, he can’t truly understand what Belters need because he will always be an Earther first.

Dawes is a shady dude and comes off as an extremely unlikable character. His little speech puts the entire crew of the Roci at risk and delegitimizes Johnson’s position among the OPA factions. As a class that has suffered marginalization and genocide, in-fighting is the last thing that the Belt needs. Yet, this is Dawes’s purpose, to distract Johnson so that he can get his hands on Johnson’s protomolecule scientist; Cotizar. It looks like Johnson might be in the final throes of losing his grip on Tycho, but we’ll just have to see next episode.

On another note, Naomi and Holden are setting themselves up to have some real trust issues (don’t do it guys!) and Amos might have gone off on the deep end. Amos, ever the interesting character, has an interaction with a child while helping with the Ganymede refugee crisis and just can’t handle. As in previous episodes, Amos has major issues, and if Naomi doesn’t manage his behavior properly he is capable of some scary sh-t. With Naomi busy with Holden and distracted by the protomolecule, it doesn’t seem like she’s noticed that Amos is on the cusp of really losing it.

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With so many potential disasters on the horizon (protomolecule experiments; Naomi hiding protomolecule samples; Johnson losing control of the OPA; and Amos about to crack like a violent egg), the crew of the Roci better watch their backs. Things are just getting started.

Rad episode.

Catch The Expanse next Wednesday, March 15th 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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