The Expanse: The One-Eyed Man

"One of us needs something to go right."

Sorry this review took so long. Got all caught up with real life matters.

Despite my previous reservations about the addition of the death slugs, I'll happily admit that they did result in one terrific episode, probably the best of the season so far. Even Avasarala's storyline, which has been trying my patience all season, was great.

ILUS

As Murtry rather unoriginally pointed out, Holden is now the ruler of this visually challenged kingdom. But that crown lies uneasy on his head. In truth he's more carer than king, forced to look after an entire hospital full of patients by himself with very little rest. He also has to play undertaker for all those who have fallen victim to the death slugs, either because they foolishly wandered off or because they finally gave into the despair. This has taken a massive physical and psychological toll on him, he's probably only a day away from a complete mental breakdown, but it has taken an even heavier toll on Amos.

This whole experience has taken him right back to his childhood in Baltimore, where he was kept locked in a basement, trapped in the dark and very likely sexually abused. It got so bad that he actually tried to kill himself. It was heartbreaking seeing Amos like this, he was practically feral when Holden found him, yet it was also heartwarming because we got to see just how much Holden cares for him too. They may have got off to a rocky start back in season one, what with threatening to shoot each other an' all, but there's no question that Holden and Amos think of each other as family and as the Fast & Furious have repeatedly taught us, there's nothing more important than family.

I'm glad that the solution to the blindness was something preexisting and had nothing to do with Holden's connection to Miller and the protomolecule, but I did find it a bit unlikely that it took them this long to figure it out. Did Okoye really never think to ask Holden if he was taking any medication? That's like one of the most basic questions you ask. How did the cancer drugs not show up in any of his blood tests? Whatever, it was all worth it in the end just to see Holden smile again. He desperately needed this win. Thankfully, it wasn't the only one.


ROCINANTE

Naomi, Alex and Lucia put their plan to save the Barb into action and, against all the odds, it went off without a single hitch. I've honestly got so used to seeing things go disastrously wrong (on this show and others) that seeing something go completely right for a change was a massive shock, but a very welcome one. Although I am worried about what Murtry has planned with that shuttle. Is he going to attack the Barb or the Roci? Destroying the Barb would leave the Belters destitute, but getting rid of the Roci means he just needs to kill Holden and Amos then he can do what ever he wants to all the Belters. Whatever he's scheming, I really hope it fails because I want these guys to have this victory and keep it, not have it snatched away from them in the next episode.

EARTH

Word of the Pizzouza's destruction has spread and is no doubt having the effect Marco wanted. No one is blaming him for blowing up the ship and killing all those people, instead everyone is blaming Earth and Avasarala for what happened, even General McCourt, who proposed the marine strike in the first place. He has some nerve calling her reckless for going with one of the only two options he gave her. If he felt so strongly that the marine strike was a bad idea why didn't he say so before she gave the order? Sounds to me like he's trying to absolve himself of any blame and distance himself from his current boss just in case Gao wins the election.

This entire election plotline is very reminiscent of the one from Battlestar Galactica's second season. In both cases the challenger was offering a more optimistic message with grand plans for colonisation of a newly discovered world, while the incumbent was more pragmatic and cautious and willing to use some seriously dirt tactics to win. It remains to be seen whether Avasarala will actually go as far as Roslin and rig the election in her favour. She's already sunk pretty low in this episode, using her own son's death to score some political sympathy, much to Arjun's fury, before leaking footage of protomolecule machines on Ilus to get everyone to stop talking about dead marines.


MEDINA STATION

There were so many wonderful Drummer/Ashford moments in this episode, like her punching Fred for leaking the intel about Marco to the UN and Asford backing her decision to spare his life, even though we know he disagreed with it, but my favourite was Drummer's speech about the Inner's pride in their long and bloody history of colonial expansions, which carried extra weight coming from an actress of First Nation decent. I just adored that entire scene and it really cemented Cara Gee and David Strathairn's place as my favourite double-act on the show.

Sadly, I sense this will be the last time we see these two together. Their final scene together felt like a goodbye. I mean, it was a literal goodbye, but there was definitely an air of "We're never going to see each other again" about it, especially with all the little callbacks to their first meeting like Drummer asking permission to come aboard when she already was and the bottle of booze. Yeah, I hope it isn't the case, but I really wouldn't put money on Ashford coming back from this mission alive.


MARS

Like everyone else in this episode, Bobbie was dealing with the fallout from a recent disaster. The only difference is she didn't realise there even was a disaster until now. She's known something was wrong for a while now, but it wasn't until this episode, and her talk with Esai, that she finally realised just how doomed her home planet really is.

Mars is dead and the Ring killed it.

No one is going to stick around and spend a lifetime terraforming a planet when their grandchildren will probably never live to see the final results. Not when there are thousands of worlds out there with breathable atmospheres they can live on right now. Once the blockade is lifted and people start pouring through the Rings en masse, Mars will effectively become a ghost town. Esai knows this, which is why he is willing to take a dubious job with a big payout so he and his family can get out now before the rush starts. But Bobbie's right, this latest job just smells iffy. When someone offers to pay a lot of money for a mysterious package to be transported, it's usually because they intend to pay you in lead not gold.


Notes and Quotes

--After a long absence Miller is back, but he seems to be glitching. Is all the dodgy tech on Ilus corrupting his programming?

--Fred Johnson is also back and he's got a new hairdo.

--Gold acting stars for Steven Strait, Wes Chatham, and Shohreh Aghdashloo, who were all pretty amazing throughout this episode.

--David has been accepted into Mars' terraforming project. Once that would've been cause for celebration, but now Bobbie knows he's just become another Sisyphus, doomed to spend the rest of his life forever pushing that rock up the hill.

Drummer: "I drink when I'm angry, not when I'm sad."

Holden: "Amos. Amos, look at me. As long as we're still breathing, we're alive. I can't lose you."

Drummer: "The Mormon pictures in my office always made me laugh, celebrating the pride of the Inners, a history of coveting another's homeland and killing to take it."

Esai: "Mars died the moment they discovered those new worlds."

Fred: "It's good to see you."
*Drumer punches him*
Ashford: "You promised to hold your temper."
Drummer: "I did."

Holden: "Good news is now contagious."

Four out of four much needed wins.

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

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