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The Expanse: Azure Dragon

“Don't worry your pretty little head. That's what I'm here for.”

Damn, did this episode just race by. I had to check the clock when the end credits started playing to make sure 45 minutes really had passed by. It was surprisingly fast paced for what was essentially still a set up episode, although a much stronger one than 'Strange Dogs'.

LACONIA

We learned more about this little girl, met the rest of her family, and got a few more titbits about what the hell is happening on Laconia, but it still isn't clear how this is all going to connect to everything else. I can understand why a lot of viewers are finding this particular storyline a little frustrating as it is taking up time from what is already a shortened final season, is so removed from everything else that is going on, and centred around a completely new character. Still, I think it is a good idea to keep this storyline isolated to the cold open so it doesn't get in the way of everything else that happens during the episode.

ROCINANTE

Chrisjen's big plan was not to destroy the spotter ship, but to capture it and all the data it holds. Which is riskier, but ultimately more rewarding. The Roci crew get this job instead of the regular military because they are the main characters. No way a mission of this importance would be given to a bunch of nobodies. Of course, the in-universe reason is because they are an independent ship and therefore more expendable, but I like to think it is also because Chrisjen knows how good these people are and has faith in their ability to accomplish this kind of mission.
Missions like this are great for bringing people together. Bobbie was finally back on the ship and it was wonderful to see her working with the crew again. All her little interactions with Amos were just terrific. Despite nearly choking on her own vomit, Holden finally accepted Clarissa as part of the crew when she stepped up and took Naomi's place after she was crippled by a really bad panic attack.

One of the main failings of Babylon's Ashes is that it had so many POV characters (nineteen in total) that 3/4 of the Roci crew got very little attention. More time is given to Filip's brooding bullshit than to Naomi's pain or whatever Amos felt about any of this. Which is why I'm happy to see that the show is making up for that by putting the focus back on the crew and taking the time to explore all of the shit they are going through, like Naomi's PTSD. What she experienced last season was truly horrific and it's good to see that the show isn't just going to shrug it off.

ZENOBIA

So it looks like we're going to be getting Chrisjen and Monica as sparring partners this season. I've said before that Chrisjen is someone who always works best when she has strong screen partner, someone who gives as good as they get, and Monica definitely fits that bill. Not sure how I feel about this job she has for Monica, though. It's typical of Chrisjen's “Earth must come first” mindset that she thinks the solution to this conflict is to make Belters feel bad about killing Inners rather than address and deal with all that reasons Belters hate them in the first place. That is exactly that kind of thinking that got them into this mess in the first place and if they don't change now this conflict will just drag on for generations to come.

THE RINGOS

The Free Navy may have united the majority of the Belt under its flag, but the old divisions and grievances are still there. Marco often relies on his charisma and good looks to win people over. When that doesn't work he resorts to manipulation and intimidation. Many were forced to sign up at the barrel of a rail gun and remain resentful towards him. Marco knows this, and because he's clearly a very petty and vindictive person, he just makes the situation worse rather than better, giving all Free Navy's shit jobs to the people he doesn't like, and don't like him.
Drummer hears all this and smells opportunity. Opportunity to get some much needed supplies, opportunity to recruit some willing allies, and opportunity to finally stick it to Marco "perfect hair" Inaros. But can she really trust her new partner? I hope so because I rather like Walker and want to see him and Pirate Queen Camina Drummer working together to rip off the Free Navy. And now is the ideal time for them to strike since their enemy is about to get very, very busy.

CERES

By taking the Azure Dragon intact, the Roci has essentially ended the siege of Earth, allowing its fleet to mobilize and get everyone out of the holding patterns they've been stuck in so far this season. Marco knows his enemies will be coming for Ceres and for him. He puts on a brave face, but it is easy to see the panic behind all the bravado. For all his talk about missing the fight, he was obviously hoping to avoid open war for as long as possible, perhaps even altogether. I'm sure he was secretly hoping that if he threw enough rocks at Earth they'd eventually give in and he wouldn't have to prove to all his followers that he really is the brilliant military strategist they all think he is. Well, that time has passed and he's now got to put his money where his overworked mouth is.

Ch-Ch-Changes

--The battle with the Azure Dragon was a little longer and also involved robot drones. Bobbie was pinned down by a magnetic trap and out of action throughout it.

--Monica was actually working with Holden on a series showing what the lives of Belters were like, the exact opposite of what Chrisjen asked her for.

--Unlike Yoan, the Ceres security officer that Filip shot did not die. Even so, he was only released on the condition that he never return to Ceres.

--Chrisjen stayed on Luna and it was the not so dead Fred who led the coalition fleet.

--The UN supply guy talking about how great it is everyone is working together while using a racial slur for Martians feels like a stand-in for one of Holden's dads, who does the same about Belters while Naomi is right there.

Notes and Quotes

--Cara and Xan are played by siblings Emma and Ian Ho.

--The One Ship short with this episode centres on Chrisjen and features her granddaughter, Kiki. This feels a little inconsistent since it has previously been established that Chrisjen only had grandsons. There's never been any mention of her having any granddaughters. Book Chrisjen had two granddaughters and Kiki was her least favourite because she reminded her too much of herself.

--I know I didn't really talk much about Filip's storyline, but that's because I am just struggling to care about it enough to have anything substantial to say.

--Glad to see Michio is staying put for the time being. With the Free Navy spread across the entire Belt there really is no safe port where Marco's people wouldn't find her.

--Everyone thinks Marco is annoyingly pretty.

--I know the press usually follows a political leader around, but I find it a little unlikely that Monica would just have the run of a battleship during war time.

Monica: “Wow. You give a really good guilt trip.”
Chrisjen: “I practice a lot when I'm alone.”

Walker: “Marco Inaros, he doesn't like me. I intimidate him. Sexually.”

Amos: “How do I get one of those suits?”
Bobbie: “You'd only hurt yourself, peewee.”

Marco: “I love him.”
Rosenfeld: “That word means different things to different people.”

Three out of four pretty little heads.

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

2 comments:

  1. I know we're unlikely to get it, but I'd love to see Bobbie and Amos interacting for the rest of the season.

    And my word, Marco Inaros is so despicable. I agree that it's difficult to care about Filip.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your opening quote was my favorite moment in an episode I enjoyed a lot. But Bobby is taller than Amos and he IS pretty.

    ReplyDelete

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