The Expanse: Subduction

"Naomi, we need to see if we can figure out how to turn off what I just turned on."

Just as it looked like things were about to really kick off on Ilus, everything calmed down, until the end where it looks like things might kick off again. Hopefully this will not become a pattern.

Meanwhile, back in the solar system, things are continuing to move at what I'm generously going to describe as a steady pace.

ILUS

I'm having a really difficult time getting invested in the conflict between the Belters and Murtry's goon squad. I think the problem is that there's not a single trace of ambiguity here. The whole thing is completely biased towards the Belters. Even though they almost certainly blew up the shuttle, they are being framed as just a bunch of innocent settlers, decent people pushed to the extreme in defence of their new home. The other side, however, are nothing but murderous thugs. Well, Murtry is, I'm not sure about the rest because they've utterly failed to register as characters.  Besides Wei and Dr. Okoye (who is really kinda neutral), the rest of the RCE team are just a bunch of glorified extras.

Not that the Belters are much better. The only ones we've really gotten to know are Lucia and her family and they're all fairly bland and trapped in a depressingly familiar storyline about not wanting the daughter to leave home so she can follow her dreams. Hell, this entire storyline is depressingly familiar. We've seen this exact kind of scenario played out before dozens of times in numerous Westerns and sci-sfi shows, and so far The Expanse isn't really doing anything new and interesting with it.



EARTH

I honestly don't think the timeline of the various plotlines are really syncing up this season. The Roci crew have been on Ilus for two days at the most. And yet in that time Avasarala, who has been getting regular updates on what is happening there, has managed to go to Mars for what must've been the shortest state visit ever and returned to Earth to deal with one of her cabinet members resigning to stand against her in the upcoming election.

There's just no way she'd manage to do all that in such a short space of time. I know the Epstein drive enables ships to travel faster, but not that fucking fast. Just getting back and forth from Mars should've taken her at least a week or more. All this could've been easily avoided if they'd just had all of her scenes take place in the embassy on Mars, or on a UN ship in orbit. Apart from the scene where she gets Nancy's resignation letter, there was no need for any of these scenes to take place back on Earth.

MARS

To the surprise of no one, David's boss (a corrupt cop of all things) wants compensating for all the money Bobbie cost him by wrecking his poorly hidden drug lab. And to show he means business he's kidnapped David, which seemed to go completely unnoticed by the kid's barely there parents. Honestly, what's the point of sending Bobbie home to be with her family if they're going to be such non-entities? Even David, who has had the most screentime so far, is little more than a humanoid MacGuffin for Bobbie to chase after.

I'm starting to think she would be better off working for Bad Lieutenant and his crew. Sure, this storyline has the potential to be really tedious, but it could also potentially pull Bobbie towards another character in need of a plot boost. The Belters they are selling military tech to have to be connected to the ones Drummer and Ashford are chasing. After all, having multiple characters investigating the same thing from different angles is one of the things we've come to expect from The Expanse. I just hope these two plot threads do eventually converge this season and Bobbie and Drummer finally get to have a scene together.



Notes and Quotes

--Seems a common activity for Martian school kids is building a battleship. That's frightening.

--According to Naomi, the best universities are on Luna and Mars. I guess the Ivy league has lost its prestige by this point.

--Amos and Murtry did the classic Western thing of silently staring at each other across an empty town.

--Gao cheating to get into an apprentice program is mild compared to some of the things current world leaders have said and done. I seriously doubt that will be the game changer Avasarala is hoping it will be.

--Even though she's the only scientist on the planet, the Roci crew ain't sharing with Okoye how they know so much about the Ring Maker's tech. Probably because it is fucking insane and difficult to believe.

Holden: "Amos, keep a lid on the situation."
Amos: "Okay, you want me to shoot Morty?"
Holden "No, I don't want anyone to shoot anyone."

Okoye: "How did you get there so quickly?
Alex: "Uh, 'cause we're celebrities?"

Avasarala: "Everyone gets a pony and a blow job. She sounds like she's running for fucking prom queen."

Two out of four humanoid MacGuffins.

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

5 comments:

magritte said...

I agree with you about the Ilus and Mars plotlines needing more character development. To be honest, the show has always tilted toward the Belters, but usually they manage to represent a few human beings among the inners. Amos has been good this season, though and I'm enjoying getting more shirtless Wes Chatham this season.

Matt Weiss said...

Hi Mark,

This review is perplexing. I am watching this episode for the 3rd time and still enjoying it, maybe even better than the first time around. There are so many great moments in it as a stand alone piece and also how it fits into the larger story arc.

Honestly it may be one of my favorite episodes in Season 4...

Rob said...

Something that really bothered me about this episode was Holden firing the torpedo. At the end of season 3, he made the speech about not just destroying something because we don’t understand it, yet that’s exactly what he does in this episode. Him constantly going back and forth in these situations really irks me. I love the show but his character is kind of a letdown for me.

Onanymous said...

Avasarala mentioned that the waiting list for the apprentice program is a decade long, so maybe jumping the line is a bigger deal than it would seem?

Billie Doux said...

Amos and Murtry did the classic Western thing of silently staring at each other across an empty town. Definitely my favorite scene in this episode.

Naomi, stop being so stubborn. I'd really rather you didn't die.