Recap: The Expanse – The Monster and the Rocket

By Miclpea

SPOILER ALERT-Do not read if you have not seen episode 12 of The Expanse season two.

Quote of the Week-”You people are sh*t magnets.”

Episode 12 opens with Errinwright having a serious talk with his son, Jefferson, as they walk together. Errinwright gives him heartfelt advice, which seems to be a precursor to some future fateful act by Errinwright. It is a precursor but it will be one we did not expect.

Errinwright meets with Avasarala before the Eros Incident hearings. He gives Avasarala one of his medals to give to his son if the hearing goes against him. Avasarala refuses the medal and reassures him that things will work out for him. She also tells Errinwright that Jules has reached out to her. Errinwright encourages her to meet with Jules. He convinces Avasarala that she is the only one who can persuade Jules to surrender and help Earth.

Shawn Doyle as Secretary Errinwright

As Bobbie and Cotyar prepare to leave for the meeting with Avasarala, Cotyar challenges Bobbie on her loyalties. Bobbie’s response is simple; she never betrays one of her own but she will walk through anyone who betrays her or her own like a door. This satisfies Cotyar. On the ship, which is scheduled to dock with Jules’s ship, Avasarala is clearly uncomfortable flying. At the same time, Cotyar and Bobbie kid each other like old comrades who have seen battle together.

Meanwhile, Errinwright meets with the Mars Minister of Defense, Korshunov. The meeting is under a flag of truce and truth-telling with a glass of expensive Scotch. Errinwright reveals to Korshunov that he knows about Mars’ weapons testing of the Protomolecule on Ganymede. Korshunov defends it as a means to an end. As Korshunov expounds on how the Protomolecule could speed Mars terraforming, he falls to the floor, clutching his chest. Errinwright explains to Korshunov that he has poisoned him with a genetic enzyme which can be tailored to kill a specific individual. In this case, the Martian Defense Minister is the target and the genius aspect of the enzyme is that it leaves no trace.

Frankie Adams as Bobbie Draper, Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala, Nick Tarabay as Cotyar 

In orbit, Avasarala, Bobbie, and Cotyar arrive at Jules’ ship which is a beautifully appointed, opulent yacht. Avasarala, in her usually inimitable fashion, demands that Jules get down to business. Jules lays out his plan. He and Protogen will control the Protomolecule but share his company’s research with Mars and Earth. Avasarala is not having it and as she prepares to lay down the law with Jules, she is interrupted by a call from Earth. The call is from Errinwright. He informs them that the Korshunov is dead and that he has ordered the destruction of a Martian ship orbiting Ganymede. He also instructs Jules to deal with him and only him. Errinwright orders Jules to return to Earth to get back to work on the Protomolecule. Avasarala is left stranded on Jules’s yacht. Unfortunately, Errinwright is back in a big way. War looks to be inevitable at this point

On Ganymede, the situation is worsening. The station continues to fail. Naomi and Amos return to help Melissa restore the Weeping Somnambulist. Melissa wants nothing to do with them but Naomi eventually convinces Melissa to let her help. The current technician, who is trying to fix the ship, is only making matters worse. Naomi orders him to step aside as she begins to work.

As Naomi is repairing the ship, Melissa gives her some bad news. The station air processing unit is shut down. They will be unable to fill the air tanks of the Weeping Somnambulist. The ship only has enough air for 52 people and the crew. Melissa says they can’t open the door even to take on board the 52 people because everyone will stampede the door.

The news only gets worse on Ganymede. One of the Martian ships orbiting Ganymede is destroyed and the debris from the ship falls onto the station. The Weeping Somnambulist has to depart before the station makes it impossible for them to go. As the Weeping Somnambulist prepares to leave, Naomi sees the weeping mothers with their children. She can’t leave them so she makes a fateful decision. She wants to talk to them and explain the situation. Amos tries to stop her. Naomi has to give him two shots of a tranquilizer to knock him out.

When Naomi exits the ship, she encounters Melissa’s enforcer, Champa. He had bartered a seat on the Weeping Somnambulist by agreeing to control the crowd. Champa attacks Naomi and accuses her of lying to him and the people of the station. Naomi explains there is only enough air for 52 additional people. Naomi promises to let Champa take her spot if she helps him get the children, young women, and young men aboard the ship. He agrees.

Gugun Deep Singh as Champa, Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata

Champa, in one of the most profoundly moving speeches of the season, explains the situation honestly and succinctly to the crowd. He reminds them that they are Belters; they are tough, resilient people who are survivors. The Belters always knew the risks of being in space and faced it willingly. It is time they remembered who they are. They agree and allow the children and young people to board. Champa, in a truly touching moment, tells Naomi to take his spot since her work is not done.

The Weeping Somnambulist takes off and attempts to pass through the Martian blockade. The Martians tell them they will be destroyed if they do not return to Ganymede. Both Melissa and Naomi tell the Martians they cannot return because of the failing station. The Martian response is to fire a missile at them.

During all of the action on Ganymede and Earth, Holden has been relentlessly pursuing the Protomolecule creature on the surface. He forces Alex to follow the creature into the tangled debris of one of the destroyed domes. This maneuver endangers the ship, which alarms Alex. He tries to tell Holden it is possible that the creature is leading them into the debris purposely. Holden refuses to listen. Prax tries to reason with Holden by reminding him that the creature was a child who has undergone a horrible change. It has to be frightened. Again, Holden refuses to listen to reason. He yells at Alex for stopping to avoid Martian detection. Alex tells Holden they can stop or the Martians will destroy them. They stop.

The obsession to prevent another Eros has driven Holden past his ability to reason. Clearly Holden, with his hero complex and his own case of PTSD, feels responsible for Eros. He is tired of feeling helpless and destroying the creature is his way of not feeling helpless. He should learn from Naomi. He might try helping and saving people instead of trying to destroy something he does not understand.

Alex interrupts the pursuit with news that the Weeping Somnambulist is being challenged by the Martians and will probably be attacked by them. Alex tells Holden he needs to protect his family (Naomi and Amos). This brings Holden back to reality and closer to the person with whom Naomi fell in love.

The Rocinante intercepts the missile headed toward the Weeping Somnambulist. Holden has Alex target all the orbiting warships. He tells them if they fire on the Weeping Somnambulist, he will immediately engage and destroy them. They allow both ships through the blockade. Alex cannot believe or understand why they were let through the cordon. Holden tells him it is because they want to save their ammunition for each other. In the closing scene, there was a blue, glowing something in the hold of the Rocinante. Alex was right. The creature led them on the chase to double back and board the Rocinante!

The show that is always full of surprises does not disappoint us in this episode. We had been led to believe that Errinwright had repented and was looking to redeem himself. Instead, he kills the Martian Defense Minister and ups the ante. Holden’s obsession with his white whale seems to have been broken, at least, for the moment. The Belters showed more humanity than either Earth or Mars has done. We still don’t know what is happening with the Protomolecule on Venus. Avasarala, Bobbie, and Cotyar are stranded on Jules’s ship in space.

The setup for the season two finale is truly thrilling. There are so many issues to resolve while we are still waiting for the biggest revelation: what is the Protomolecule doing on Venus? I think we need some of that high acceleration juice because clearly, we are doing a high G burn to the end!

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I love going to conventions around the US. I'm an ardent fan of all things science fiction and especially The Expanse. I write for Friends of CC and I have written a science fiction script with a friend.