The Expanse: Winnipesaukee

“Business first. Tearful reunions later.”

It's not a real season of The Expanse until Amos gets shot.

EARTH

Amos and Clarissa, along with Erich and his crew, have made their way to Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. All the rich people have fled taking their shuttles with them, but luckily for them there is still one there. Too bad it is, as we say here, knackered. It's a good thing then that their group includes two trained spaceship mechanics otherwise they'd be knackered too. All this downtime allowed for some good old fashioned character bonding. Clarissa, ever the philanthropist, explained to Erich why it is right to help people even if there is nothing in it for you, while Amos and Hutch talked about how you can never truly start over because a place like Baltimore will always be with you. One of the great things about this show is that it'll always make time to flesh out even minor characters like Hutch.

Things quickly took a turn for The Walking Dead when the local private security firm turned up demanding they hand over all their food and their helicopter. Erich and Amos were all ready to kill these wannabe Negans, but Clarissa steps in to play peacemaker, which I think was probably the right call. If they'd gotten into a shoot out with those rent-a-cops then and there they could've lost people, people like Amos who they just cannot afford to lose. If Amos had taken a stray bullet to the head they would've been well and truly knackered. Sending the rent-a-cops on their way kept them all alive and gave them the time they needed to fix the ship. Naturally, this happens to coincide with the rent-a-cops returning and attacking them in full force. After all, this is an action drama series and it just wouldn't do to have them simply repair the ship and leave without any fuss. Plus Amos needed to get shot as he does every season. This one didn't seem as bad as the others. He at least didn't lose any fingers.

THE ROCINANTE/THE SCREAMING FIREBIRD

I might as well lump these two in together since it was basically the same scene. They all got Naomi's altered message, pondered what it could mean, but still raced to get to her as fast as they could.

LUNA

Well, this plotline certainly turned out to be unexpectedly relevant. Pastor went ahead with the attack on Pallas which resulted in many deaths as well as Chrisjen and most of his cabinet members resigning in protest and calls for his removal from office. This would've been extra eerie if this episode had aired three weeks ago. Compared to the present, though, The Expanse is positively optimistic about how the majority of a government would react to their leader committing war crimes. History has unfortunately shown that nations will often rally behind their leaders, even unpopular ones, after they are attacked and give them carte blanche to do whatever they want to their enemies.
While this was happening Chrisjen finally got news she's been dreading. Her beloved Arjun is dead, his name now amongst the many on Luna's holographic memorial. But she has no time to properly mourn him. Those opposed to Pastor are pushing for a vote of no confidence and looking to her to replace him and be Secretary General again. This all went by far too quickly for my liking. In the space of about three scenes we went from Chrisjen resigning in protest, to Delgado congratulating her as the new Secretary General. Earth just changed leaders again and it feels like we missed it.

THE PELLA

Marco is not happy to discover that Naomi is alive and working to ruin his plans to destroy the Roci, which is fun to watch. Less fun to watch is how he breaks the news to Filip. Ever the manipulative bastard, Marco comes to his son all apologetic and tells him that his mother is alive, framing it so she's abandoning them again and killing Cyn in the process. What a colossal shit he is.  

THE RINGOS

With all his well laid plans falling apart, Marco orders the Ringos to join up with some other Free Navy ships and destroy the Roci. This sends Drummer's bullshit detector into overdrive. She knows this plan makes no sense, and that Oksana knows more about it than she's letting on, and she's not going to put up with it anymore. She's fed up of losing people she cares about, she's fed up of taking orders from the man responsible, and she's fed up of being lied to by someone she loves.
It would've been so easy to paint Oksana as the bad guy here. She's going behind Drummer's back, she's working with people we hate, and she helping to kill people we care about. But she's doing all of this to ensure the safety and survival of her family. She doesn't know Naomi or anyone on the Roci. They're all strangers to her and not worth endangering the people she loves over. She knows that they're not really Marco's allies. They're his prisoners and as long as they remain good, well behaved prisoners they'll be safe, but if they turn against him they're as good as dead. Except for Serge, who will be actually totally dead. Marco won't hesitate to kill him on the spot if Drummer betrays him. As long as he's Marco's hostage there's nothing they can do but be loyal members of the Free Navy. That's how Oksana sees it and she wants Drummer to see it that way too.

Poor Drummer. She's just stuck on the Kobayashi Maru and there's no way for her to change the conditions of the test. If she follows Oksana's lead and remains loyal to Marco someone she loves will die. If she betrays him someone she loves will die. No matter what she does she's going to lose someone she loves.

THE CHETZOMOKA

Things continue to get steadily worse and worse for Naomi. With no food or water, she's been forced to rely on the dirty frost on ship's pipes to survive. It isn't good for her, but it hasn't done anything to dull her ingenuity and resourcefulness. She was able to rig that helmet into a makeshift display that let her know how close her rescuers are. She still has no way of letting them know the ship is a trap, but she clearly has a plan. We don't know what it is yet, but I'm sure it'll be good.
Ch-Ch-Changes

--A lot of changes have been made to the Drummer/Michio Pa storyline, but it's difficult to talk about them since this plot has been mostly pulled and reworked from Babylon's Ashes and I want to avoid any spoilers for books the show hasn't covered yet.

--The shuttle that Amos and co commandeer was called the Zhang Guo not the Reveta Bowers.

Notes and Quotes

--Pastor had some nerve telling Chrisjen she needs to be less emotional and more rational when he was reacting to the Pallas attack like a kid who's been allowed to play with fireworks.

--Every week the credits have been updated to show the progress of the Free Navy fleet. They're obviously heading to take the Ring. The UN admiralty thinks they and the Martians can hold it, but can the Martian ship there be trusted?

--Even if Naomi wasn't on board the Chetzemoka, Marco's plan would still fail since the Screaming Firebird is going to reach her first.

--I think as well as prioritising her family's safety, there is also a twinge of jealousy to Oksana's actions. She made a point of getting Drummer to admit that she loves them as much as she loves Naomi. She clearly does not like the hold that Naomi Nagata has on Drummer's heart.

--The Expanse always delivers when it comes to its action scenes. Doesn't matter if they take place in space or on the group, they are never anything less than exciting.

--Since Clarissa is a pilot is she now going to replace Alex next season? I'd certainly prefer her to Bull.

--The security company was called Pinkwater, which was an obvious reference to Blackwater.

--I love that Clarissa, who once went under the alias Melba, hasn't worked out why Amos calls her Peaches.

--I'm not surprised Chrisjen offered Delgado a position on her cabinet. He might've been the driving force behind the attacks, but he's still the only true friend she has on Luna and she would want someone there unafraid to give her honest advice, even if she chooses to ignore it. We also finally heard the end of his joke. It was lame and rather racist and I doubt it was ever funny.

--Is Hutch dead? I couldn't tell if Amos was patching up her wounds or just securing her corpse for transport.

--Anderson Dawes was mentioned as still being in charge of Ceres so he hasn't fallen victim to any Free Navy assassins. I wonder if they're still hoping to get Jared Harris back for the final season.

Chrisjen: “You son of a bitch.”
Delgado: “Nice to see you, too.”

Amos: “Not yet. Whatever's causing the reactor shutdown, it has to be mechanical, electrical, or software.”
Erich: “Oh. That just means there could be one of anything that exists.”

Drummer: “Don't treat me like a child. I've earned the truth. Marco killed Klaes Ashford, and I sat on my hands and played nice with him so you would be safe. He killed a woman I loved, and now he wants me and mine to murder her friends. And I go along again. How much shit do I have to eat before you treat me with some respect?”

Chrisjen: “If we continue to attack civilian targets...”
Delgado: “The way Inaros did to us?”
Chrisjen: “Is he our role model now?”

Clarissa: “If we decided to include everyone in our tribe without demanding that they prove we need them, maybe people wouldn't have thrown rocks at us in the first place.”
Erich: “Oh, Jesus Christ. Where did Timmy find you?”
Clarissa: “Serving a life sentence for multiple homicides.”

Two and a half out of four wannabe Negans
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Terrific review again, Mark. The Expanse is a dense show and I don't watch every episode multiple times (although I probably should) and there's always stuff you discuss that I enjoy reading about.

For example (and I'm being facetious) I had completely forgotten the Melba thing and couldn't remember for the life of me why Amos was calling Clarissa "Peaches." :)

You're right that Chrisjen's return to being Sec Gen happened way too quickly in a dramatic sense. It most certainly would have been more realistic if it had taken more to make it happen. It doesn't even matter that all of us fans would have made her the Sec Gen in a New York minute.

Mark Greig said...

Billie, I think they definitely waited too late to get this story going and then had to wrap it up fast because the finale was just around the corner.

Mark Greig said...

Programming update: the review for the finale is probably going to be delayed while I deal with real world matters.