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The Expanse: Jetsam

"Alien planet, ke? See a lot of weird shit fo first time."

Things escalate on Ilus when Holden pulls a Holden.


The Roci was sent to Ilus because they are the ones with the most experience dealing with protomolecule tech. But experience is not the same as expertise. None of them has a firm understanding of just what this stuff is or how it works. They're not scientists, they're pilots and engineers and... Holdens. They have no better understanding of how this technology works than anyone else on Ilus. In fact, the only one who does is Miller and that's because he currently is this technology. He's the closest thing they have to an expert, even if he is something of an unreliable one. He comes and goes as he pleases, his advice is often cryptic, he's clearly working to his own agenda, and he tells a lot of boring stories about his time on Ceres. In spite of all this, Holden still puts a lot of faith and trust in Miller. Mostly because Miller has information he desperately needs, but I also think a part of him hopes that this really is his old friend back from the dead. Which is likely why the protomolecule brought Miller back in the first place.

The protomolecule operates by infecting other life forms and reprogramming them to serve its primary purpose, which was to build the Ring and open the door for its makers. But when it called home no one answered and it wants to know why. However, it obviously wasn't designed for such a task. It's a builder, not an investigator. And so it did what it was designed to do. It infected a life form and reprogrammed it to serve its purpose. Except this time it decided to be crafty.

First it built itself an Investigator by plucking Miller out from all the other ghosts trapped in the machine so he could solve the mystery of what happened to its creators. But that wasn't enough. Investigator Miller is limited in what he can accomplish. He's software, not hardware. The protomolecule still needed a human agent to carry out its will.

It chose Holden for a multitude of reasons.

The first and most obvious is because his ship still has a slob of protomolecule under the decking. That's gotta make two-way communication a lot easier. Out of the entire crew, it picked Holden because he was the one with the strongest connection to Miller. Which is probably why it gave the Investigator so much Miller-ness. Enough to convince Holden that this was the man he knew, but not so much that it was unable to control him. But most important of all, it chose Holden because, well, he's an idiot.

James Holden is the epitome of a dipshit who means well. His driving characteristic has always been that he wants to help people. He's not the kind of guy who can just sit back and do nothing when someone is crying out for help. His failing is that he doesn't always stop to think if he should or if this is the right way to do it. So when when the ghost of his old buddy tells him to flick a switch in a billion year old giant alien machine he doesn't ask why, doesn't ask what it does, he just stupidly flicks the fucking switch.

And now the plant is going haywire and shooting lightning all over the place.

Well done, Jimmy boy. Against Avasarala's advice, you really put your you know what in it and made the situation on Ilus even more messed up than it already is. I hope this has taught you a valuable lesson about putting not too much faith in holograms only you can see and hear. Not all of them are trying to put right what once went wrong.

Holden's foolishness isn't the only thing causing problems on Ilus. Murtry is on the warpath, convinced the Belters blew up his shuttle and based on the current evidence he's probably right. I'm not sure how I feel about Murtry. Burn Gorman is a good actor, and he plays slimy bad guys very well, but so far the show hasn't really given him much to do besides be so obviously evil I'm surprised they didn't give him a moustache to twirl.

While Holden and Murtry were taking turns throwing fuel on the dumpster fire, Naomi was literally struggling with the gravity of the situations. Her body just isn't taking to the gravity drugs. Her bones and muscles are fine, but her heart just isn't in it. She needs to slow down or she is going to die. So of course she does the exact opposite and swears Alex to secrecy because it wouldn't be a season of The Expanse if there wasn't at least some disharmony on the Roci.


Avasarala pulled a Nixon and went to China. I'm not sure what the purpose of her state visit to Mars was, we didn't exactly get into the politics of it all, it was really just an excuse to get Avasarala and Bobbie back together again. And then tear them both apart. Avasarala knows how glorious Bobbie is so it is understandable that she would want her on her side again. But she bungles her sales pitch. If she'd approached Bobbie privately with a job offer there's a good chance she would've said yes. Instead she pulled her in front of the entire Martian hierarchy and embarrassed her by reminding them all who she is and what she did. Bobbie is a loyal Martian. She loves her planet and she hates that she had to betray it in order to expose the protomolecule conspiracy. She doesn't want to be reminded of that. Not by someone she considers a friend and certainly not in front of a room full of people who already see her as a traitor and Avasarala's pet Martian. Although I get her reasons for turning Avasarala down, I do wish she'd said yes because Bobbie as the Secretary-General's No. 1 operative is preferable to seeing her get caught up in her nephew's feeble attempt to break bad.


A colony ship stuck in the blockade has been attacked, its crew spaced and sent hurtling into the Ring, which made for a striking, if horrific, image. The UN wants the OPA to find those responsible because they can't do it themselves (the war has depleted their fleet) and because they still see Belters as nothing more than a glorified servant class there to do their every bidding. The Ring has changed a lot of things, got Earth, Mars and the OPA all working together for the first time towards a common goal, but Ashford is right, it isn't going to wipe away centuries of prejudice and oppression overnight.

As with the Chrisjen and Bobbie storylines, it feels like the writers are just giving Drummer things to do in order to keep her busy until she can be pulled back into the main story. The only difference is I can at least see how they are going to do that with Drummer. Thanks to some detective work by Ashford, they discover that the one responsible for these attacks is Marco Inaros, an infamous OPA faction leader and Naomi's ex. The man who took her son from her. Since they've been teasing this character for a while now, I have a feeling this is going to be some drawn out set up for season five. I'm not expecting Naomi to get back from Ilus until the season finale and can't see them concluding this storyline without her. It's not ideal, but I prefer it to pointless filler, which is what I'm worried the Bobbie plot will become.

Notes and Quotes 

--Michael Benyaer has replaced Brian George as Avasarala's husband, Arjun.

--There's a six hour delay in transmissions from Ilus and Earth.

--Nancy Goa, the Home Secretary who clashed with Avasarala in the previous episode, has resigned. I suspect a leadership challenge is coming.

--Oh poor Alex. He meets a woman he likes, gets his flirt on, offers to take her out for a drink and then gets introduced to her husband and daughter.

--I loved that Amos refused to call Murtry by his actual name. It was also somewhat adorable how he traded bullets for booze and a bedroll so he could sleep outside.

--I'm sure there's nothing Admiral Souther would've hated more than being memorialised as Chrisjen Avasarala's "dear friend".

Avasarala: "Sometimes I fucking hate being right."

Dr. Okoye: "You know how Belters are. If they can't use it, it doesn't exist."
Naomi: "Yeah, you got us totally figured out."

Cop: "Demolition Tech Third Class Roberta W. Draper."
Bobbie: "I prefer Bobbie."
Cop: "Formerly Gunnery Sergeant Roberta Draper of the Martian Marine Corp."
Bobbie: "Before that I was centre on my basketball team."
Cop: "Dishonourably discharged for repeated acts of insubordination."
Bobbie: "No, they moved me to power forward."

Ashford: "It sends a message that peace cannot change a century of anger overnight and that there are Belters who still know how to hate."

Holden: "First day on a planet. How was it?"
Naomi: "Terrifying. Exhausting. Glorious."

Bobbie: "David's out, for good. And next time there won't be a next time."

Three out of four well meaning dipshits.

Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig


  1. Oh Holden, Holden, Holden, Holden. What more can I say? ;)

  2. I always love Avasarala's outfits, but now I just really, really want her space yacht.


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