The Expanse Recap: “Doors and Corners, kid. That’s where they get you.”

By Michael Pea

SPOILER ALERT-Do not read if you have not seen the AMAZING season two premiere of The Expanse.

The season two premiere is brilliant! It delivers everything any fan could possibly want. There is action, romance, conspiracies, deaths, space battles, assassination attempts, betrayal, and an extrasolar incursion into our solar system from some alien civilization. It is absolutely mind blowing!

The two-part premiere is so seamless, it is hard to believe it was written by two different writing teams.The first episode was written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby, who wrote the first episode of the entire series. It is called Safe. The second episode is called  Doors and Corners. It was written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who are more commonly known as James S.A. Corey, authors of the books series upon which The Expanse is based. .

Bobbie W. Draper

The two episode arc  of season 2 begins at the time where season one stopped. However, the focus shifts to Mars. On Mars we are immediately introduced to a new character, Bobbie Draper. She is training with her squad of Martian marines. Bobbie is established as remarkable soldier as she leads her team to a new record on the combat simulation course. She is also revealed to be a true Martian who wants to see the day when the terraforming of Mars is complete. Bobbie is informed that her squad will ship out with the Scirocco to investigate the loss of communication with the station on Phoebe. Phoebe is where is the initial research on the Protomolecule took place. However, Mars does not know this.

Sadavir Errinwright, Undersecretary for the U.N., meets Jules-Pierre Mao, father of Julie Mao, at Jules’ lavish estate. Jules and Sadavir discuss the Protomolecule and the weapons research on Phoebe.  Jules tells Sadavir he has sacrificed his daughter so he has no sympathy for any of Sadavir’s complaints. Jules tells Sadavir to stop the Martians from reaching Phoebe, even though it has been scrubbed. As a result of the meeting with Jules, Sadavir later uses the security council meeting to push for sending Earth ships to intercept the Scirocco.

Chrisjen has agreed to be the face of the U.N. in accusing Fred Johnson, the head of the Outer Planets Alliance (OPA), of building the stealth fighters. She goes on camera with her accusations. An OPA faction attempts to assassinate Chrisjen because of her news appearance. She escapes the assassination attempt but hires a special security guard/spy as a result of the attack. It is clear that Chrisjen has her own agenda.

The Rocinante travels to Tycho Station to report to Fred.  On the ship, the crew opens the safe, which has a cryogenic container that they took from the Anubis. It contains a sample of the  Protomolecule. They shoot the sample into an asteroid field instead of destroying it, as it could possibly be used to make a vaccine in the future. Naomi and Holden get to know each other in the biblical sense. The tension between Miller and Amos erupts into an epic fight.  Naomi prevents Amos from killing Miller, but not before we see how crazed Amos can be. The look he gives Miller is frightening.

Phoebe Research Station

The Earthship UNN Nathan Hale and the Martian ship, Scirocco, meet in space. The Martian ship opens fire. Chrisjen, with the help of the U.N. fleet admiral, advised  the Secretary General to wait until the Nathan Hale commander could report back to them. They were correct in their supposition: the Scirocco was firing on Phoebe, which it destroyed. Although Chrisjen has managed to stop open war, she has to give up the destruction of the station on Deimos. The fleet admiral disagrees and is forced to resign.

Chrisjen and Admiral Souther

Later, Chrisjen finds the admiral in a bar and engages him in a heated conversation. The admiral reveals to Chrisjen the true story of Fred Johnson and the destruction of Anderson Station. U.N. Command had lied to Fred about the Belter insurrection on Anderson Station. The Belters were negotiating for better treatment of their children. These communications were never forwarded to Fred. In fact, the UN Command kept him purposely in the dark so that he would destroy the station, as he believed it was full of terrorists. Fred did not know that the Belters had surrendered until after he returned to Earth and was hailed a hero. Fred never revealed that the U.N. Command had lied to him, but he became head of the OPA because he knew the harm Earth could and would perpetrate against the Belters. Chrisjen decides she has to contact Fred.

Alex decides to make peace among the crew and has an emergency meeting in the galley, where he serves lasagna. Amos and Miller make peace.When they arrive at Tycho Station, the crew reports what actually happened on Eros. They explain to Fred that the tapes they recovered from the Anubis reveal the Protomolecule to be extra-solar in origin. They convince Fred to send an assault team to the Spin Station monitoring the Protomolecule on Eros. Fred knows this is Anderson Station all over again. The Belters are victims but Earth is trying to blame them. Fred knows he must reveal the truth of the situation.

Miller and Diogo in the boarding Pod

The Guy Molinari, captained by Fred Johnson, and the Rocinante lead an assault on the Spin Station. Among the assault team that Fred has recruited is a young Belter, Diogo. In the first season, his drunk uncle spaced him. Then the uncle sent a net of rocks hurtling toward the Martian ship that had been hassling them. Also Miller caught Diogo stealing water in the first season. Now Miller agrees to watch over him.

Spin Station

When they arrive at the station, Alex, through some incredible flying, manages to defeat the stealth ship guarding the station and disarm the station’s defensive cannons. Once on board, the assault team kills most of the scientific team except one scientist. They capture Dresden, the scientist we first met on Eros. He is the one who withdrew the Protomolecule from Julie Mao. Dresden explains to Fred, Miller, and Holden the possibilities if they can harness the power of the Protomolecule. He believes the Protomolecule could rewrite human DNA. He also reveals that the Protomolecule was aimed for Earth! Fortunately for mankind, Saturn’s gravity caught the Protomolecule. Dresden offers Johnson, Holden, and Miller anything they want if they will let him proceed with his research into the capabilities of the Protomolecule.

After hearing what Dresden offers, Fred counters with an offer of his own. Fred will allow  him to continue his work if Dresden gives Fred access to all of his data and names all of those responsible for the Eros experiment. Holden stands there, horrified by what he is hearing. Miller shoots Dresden several time before he walks away. The show ends with this shocking conclusion.

The episode  answers many questions but, as with any complex story, it asks so many new ones. This is what is revealed during this episode:

  • Undersecretary for the U.N. Sadavir Errinwright is fully in bed with Jules-Pierre Mao.
  • Avasarala barely manages to prevent war between Earth and Mars.
  • The origin and proposed use of the Protomolecule is explained.
  • We learned why Anderson Station was really destroyed and why Fred became head of the OPA.

But, of course, the brilliance of the  show is that it leaves us asking for more…

  • Will Sadavir Errinwright destroy Chrisjen Avasarala?
  • What about the relationship between Miller and the crew of the Rocinante?
  • What about Miller and Fred Johnson?
  • What will become of the Protomolecule sample?
  • What about Eros? What will happen to it?
  • Will Mars and Earth eventually go to war?

But with all these questions, there is none larger than those which surround the Protomolecule. The discovery of the Protomolecule has set all this intrigue in motion. Where will it all end? Season Two promises to answer all these questions. Join us on the forum as we talk it all through.


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.