Episode Recap of “Home” – Season Two – Episode Five
SPOILER ALERT-Do not read if you have not seen episode five of The Expanse season two.
What has happened? Eros moved! It appears the Protomolecule is not interested in being destroyed.
Episode Five, Home, opens with Eros speeding up and headed toward Earth with the Rocinante in pursuit. Miller is still babysitting the damaged bomb on Eros and Earth has gone to a war footing. Earth decides to try to launch nuclear missiles at Eros in an effort to destroy it. Miller wants to use the damaged bomb to destroy the Protomolecule from within Eros. He begins a journey into the interior of Eros with the damaged bomb.
Miller, at this point, is on the quintessential hero’s journey. Who or what will he find when he reaches the end? This is the truly amazing power of The Expanse. It juxtaposes the intimate drama of one man on a quest to redeem himself against the cosmic drama of the changes wrought by the Protomolecule.
Eros/Protomolecule has decided it does not want to be blown up. It goes into a stealth mode. Fred and Holden must convince Earth to give control of the missiles to Johnson since the Rocinante crew has a visual of Eros. This visual confirmation is the only way to “paint” Eros as a target for the Earth missiles. Avasarala plays the key role here. It is her assurance regarding Fred Johnson and Holden which gives the Secretary General the confidence to turn over control to Fred.
But Eros does not want to be attacked or caught, so it increases its speed. In order to keep up, the Rocinante crew has to take the special drug cocktail to withstand the high G acceleration necessary to keep pace with Eros. Yet if the Rocinante maintains this level of high G acceleration, even the drug cocktail will not stop the crew from being injured or dying.
Meanwhile, Miller continues to move closer to the heart of Eros. The changes, which the Protomolecule has made to Eros, are truly awesome and fantastic to behold. Miller continues to hear the volume of the voices increase. Finally, one voice is heard above the rest: the voice of Julie Mao.
Miller determines that the primary voice coming from Eros is somehow a manifestation of Julie Mao. The voice mentions the Razorback, which Miller remembers is the name of Julie’s racing boat. Miller deduces that Julie/Eros believes it is in a race and thus wants to beat both the missiles and the Rocinante. Miller convinces Holden to stop pursuing Eros, which saves the crew from the crushing high G burn. Then Holden is able to convince Fred Johnson to call off the missiles.
By this point, Miller has almost reached the center of Eros. We see the stunning beauty of what the Protomolecule has become. As Miller navigates through this fantastic forest, he says his goodbyes to the crew of the Rocinante. He knows he will never leave. But, in the midst of his final farewells, Miller sees the sparrow from the first season transformed into a part of the transcendent world of the Protomolecule. The fluttering sparrow leads Miller to the heart of the Protomolecule. Miller’s journey is almost at an end.
When Miller reaches the center, he finds something that is both Julie Mao and something far greater. Again, the brilliance of the writing for this episode is evident in the intimacy of this moment when Miller sees the transformed Julie. As Miller converses with her, it becomes clear why she is headed toward Earth, she just wants to go home. Miller, in one of the most touching scenes in the series, explains to her she can’t go to Earth. Miller has a moment where he considers letting the bomb explode, but decides against it. If Julie/Eros could avoid the Nauvoo and fly in a stealth mode, could she survive a thermonuclear explosion as well? Miller does not want to discover the answer so he continues talking to Julie/Eros. She just wants to go home. Miller convinces Julie/Eros that to go home would be to destroy the people she loves. He suggests Venus as an alternate destination, since Julie is unable to stop Eros. But he tells Julie/Eros she doesn’t have to be alone. He promises to stay with her. There is no doubt that he truly loves her as he takes off his gloves and helmet. He holds and kisses her hand. Whatever happens, will happen to both of them. Miller kisses Julie/Eros in a final embrace that will be his final resting place. Miller’s journey is over. He is a man who had to enter an alien world to recapture his humanity.
The episode ends with Avasarala watching the night sky from her rooftop. Eros changes course. Diogo gets a tattoo. Drummer brings Fred a cup of coffee. The crew of the Rocinante drink a toast to Miller. Eros crashes into Venus. Because of Miller’s sacrifice, life goes on for billions of others.
Home is the most emotionally moving and satisfying episode of the series. The sacrifices our beloved characters are willing to make and do make are truly moving. The scope of this episode is astonishing. We see a man end his journey when he rediscovers his humanity in the embrace of an alien wonder. We also see his ultimate sacrifice to save Earth and possibly humanity. Folks, it does not get any better than this.
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