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The Expanse: Oppressor

"The artifacts on this planet are waking up."

At the end of the last episode, Holden told Murtry that he was no longer in charge here. But who really is in charge here?

Well, based on this episode, it sure as hell isn't James Holden.


Holden has essentially no power on Ilus. Being the personal envoy of the Secretary General might give him some sway with RCE (in that Murtry can't just go ahead and kill him), but it means jack shit to the Belters. As far as they are concerned Holden is just another Earther, another oppressor, trying to force them off their planet. So when he tries to take charge and get everyone to evacuate the planet before another one of the machines springs to life and destroys them, they ignore him and start taking the RCE goons hostage.

Naturally, this results in Murtry and his goons fortifying their position. They won't leave as long as the Belters are still on the planet and holding their people hostage. The Belters just won't leave at all. And absolutely no one is concerned about all the weird alien shit that is happening, which forces Holden to finally come clean about how he knows so much about all this weird alien shit.

I just loved that scene. Seeing Holden, all serious and earnest, try to explain his connection to Miller and the protomolecule to a confused group of Belters and RCE personnel was just hilarious. When you say it all out loud it really does sound completely batshit insane and, unsurprisingly, no one there was buying it. But whether they believe or not is irrelevant at this point. Islands are going nuclear. If that's not a clear sign to evacuate, I don't know what is. 


Alex has felt a little underused so far this season, so it's great that he got to take centre stage here as he struggled to save a suicidal Lucia. That sequence really highlighted how desperately in need of a proper medic the Roci is. All that advanced Martian medical tech is great, but it's no substitute for someone who actually knows what they are doing. I also loved Naomi talking with Lucia about her OPA past, which worked as a nice counterpoint to Drummer's chat with Marco in the previous episode and allowed Naomi to tell her side of the story. Some great acting here by Cas Anvar and Dominique Tipper.


The timeline for this storyline honestly does not make a lick of sense. I know I've already gone on about it, but it really is worth repeating. This is all running parallel to what is happening on Ilus, where less than a week has passed since the Roci arrived, and yet so much has happened with Avasarala in that time. Too much to be even remotely plausible. I could forgive the whacky chronology if this election storyline was at least a little bit interesting.

While it's great seeing Avasarala out of her comfort zone and off her game as she struggles with actually running for office (and Gao does get a good point in about how she's just as much a beneficiary of nepotism as she is), so far it feels like we're just going over the same talking points again and again. Nancy wants to start colonising while Avasarala wants to be more cautious. Yes, this is true of most real elections, but it doesn't exactly make for gripping drama. Thankfully, the debate was cut short by an emergency situation, but only after Gao managed to get the last word in, much to Avasarala's annoyance.

Turns out all roads don't lead to Rome, they lead to Marco Inaros. He is the thread tying all of this season's storylines together, even Ilus through his past relationship with Naomi. He's getting black market Martian weapons tech via Bobbie's associates, he's attacking the colony ships at the Ring that Drummer and Ashford are policing, and now he's used the one he said he sold for scrap to attack Earth's defences. He's obviously planning some kind of attack on Earth, and this attack was meant to test its defences rather than doing any serious damage. All his stolen Martian toys aren't enough for him to launch a full scale attack. He's looking for a weakness. Since he was going for an asteroid spotter, that suggests he's going to throw some rocks at the planet, although that could possibly just be a misdirect for something else entirely.

Notes and Quotes

--Have to say that the FX this season have been amazing. I've been watching this season in UHD and some of the shots of the Roci orbiting the planet are just gorgeous.

--Where is Felcia? Murtry obviously doesn't have her because if he did he would've said so by now. So where is she?

--I really want to know what happened in Denmark that turned Copenhagen and Tårnby into a single (seemingly flooded) city and created a gulf.

--It looks like it was really cold when they filmed this.

--Loved Naomi's joy as she floated around the Roci bridge.

--One of the RCE goons had some weird green stuff around her eye. I'm betting there's gonna be a plague outbreak soon.

--One little detail that I love is that, even after all this time, a lot of the stuff on the Roci still has Tachi on it.

Wei: "You think you could take on all my men by yourself?"
Amos: "I had a shot."
Wei: "You're so fucking weird."

Alex: "Look, do not make me tell your daughter I had to let you die. Fucking tell me what to do!"

Murtry: "You people act like I'm the bad guy here."

Three out of four stolen Martian toys.

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


  1. I really want to know what happened in Denmark that turned Copenhagen and Tårnby into a single (seemingly flooded) city

    Presumably the same thing that put New York City underwater: global warming and the melting of the ice caps. It's covered in the opening credits.

  2. I can't believe I never noticed before that Manhattan island has walls around it to keep out the water. This is what I get for not paying closer attention during the establishing shots.

  3. Personally, I absolutely love the establishing shots and the credits, but it's hard to tell exactly what areas of Earth they're using. Doesn't matter. It's fascinating.

    I mostly love Avasarala, but yeah, I'm not happy with her plotline this season. I really wish they'd given her something that would have had her with Bobbie, because I loved them together so much.


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