When things get real, of course, Draper and her Martian Marines are front and center.
Episode 6 of The Expanse, titled “Paradigm Shift,” visits the aftermath of Eros crashing onto Venus. Though we don’t actually go to Venus, we see how Earth, Mars, and the rest of the players in the solar system are dealing with the unexpected behavior of the protomolecule asteroid, Eros.
Major Spoilers! Major Spoilers! Major Spoilers!
This episode starts off with some background on the Epstein Drive (the technology allowing for efficient intersolar travel) and takes us on a trip into the past to meet inventor Solomon Epstein. This portion of the episode isn’t terribly exciting; however, it might shed light on the origins of the protomolecule. Epstein, who met his demise hurtling into the farthest reaches of space, could have alerted whoever sent the protomolecule to Earth’s system, making him responsible for the mess the solar system is in. Wouldn’t that be ironic? Humankind’s technological advancement being the culprit of its possible demise.
Fast-forwarding to the present, the crew of the Roci is taking some time to recover and contemplate the events that transpired the last episode. Holden and Naomi bond over Miller’s sacrifice and their disagreement in regards to each other’s ideologies has dissipated. In fact, the bond between the two seems to have strengthened to the point that Holden informs his mother that he’d like her to meet Naomi one day (aww!). The crew is also informed of Naomi and Holden’s relationship during a crew meeting where Holden nervously tells Amos and Alex that he and Naomi are an item. This seems to be done in part to make sure that Amos is ok with the union, as he has proved to be sort of a psychopath in previous episodes. Amos, as it turns out, is cool with the relationship, having taken up a bet with Alex that Naomi and Holden were already together.
On the topic of Amos, his issues with social cues and empathy are further explored this episode. Amos has a tendency to fight a little too hard, to answer questions too honestly, and does things that are perceived as inappropriate. He can be a scary guy. This doesn’t mean that he is evil. Amos is, as Naomi puts it, different and extremely loyal to his crew. He believes that there are bad people that need to be stopped; there are people that are meant to be followed, and there are people that need protecting. After watching both seasons, it is clear that Amos will follow Naomi to the ends of the galaxy, while he sees Alex as needing protection, and the protomolecule as the evil thing that he needs to destroy. This insight into Amos’ mind is very helpful in understanding the character and why he is so loyal to Naomi.
Naomi Nagata continues to show that she will do what she thinks is right no matter the consequences. After Holden figures out that Johnson (who stole 30 UN warheads during the Eros incident) is sniffing around for samples of the protomolecule in hopes that he can understand it and control it, the crew makes the decision to destroy the specimen they hid in the asteroid field in the beginning of the season. Naomi doesn’t quite agree with this decision, informing the crew that it is likely that research has continued on the protomolecule at hidden science stations. She wants to make sure that they have an ace in a hole, a means in which they can create a vaccination against the protomolecule should it resurface as a weapon. So, when the time comes to plot a course for the sample to fly into the sun, Naomi plots a faux course while the real sample remains hidden in the asteroid field.
On the topic of asteroids, Chrisjen and the UN are still trying to figure out what or who was behind the Eros incident. She brings in a specialist (an old head hottie) who convinces her to let him join the expedition to Venus to see what became of Eros. Chrisjen shines in this episode, throwing out verbose threats as gracefully and forcefully as an Orchestra conductor. During a meeting with Errinwright, she threatens to destroy Jules Mao’s family, slipping in curse-filled threats that shake the Undersecretary’s calm façade. Errinwright better watch his back because Chrisjen is coming for him!
Speaking of political decisions, the Martian government has its Marines patrolling Ganymede; a shared agricultural station for Mars and Earth. The two planetary government’s interests are separated by a patrolled boundary while their warships police the skies. When the Martian warship drops out of communication range and Draper notices activity on the UN side of the moon (UN Marines charging towards her team), she rallies her marines. In the ensuing firefight (which happens off-screen, Bummer!) the team is killed, and Draper is injured. When she awakens, her armor damaged and her oxygen escaping her mask, an anthropomorphic creature, the color of the night’s sky, bathed with cupules of that damn protomolecule blue, is standing over her. What is this thing?!?! Is it another experiment gone awry, or the first wave of an alien invasion? This isn’t answered in the episode, but things just got real in the solar system. Forget about what the protomolecule infested Eros is doing on Venus; forget about the petty bickering between Mars and Earth. The real threat to Earthers, Martians, and Belters might have just revealed itself.
Catch The Expanse next Wednesday, March 8th 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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