Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Expanse Escalates Even Further

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The Expanse delivered the seventh episode of this season, “The Seventh Man,” putting us squarely in the middle of it. Here’s hoping that from next episode on, some resolutions will appear on the horizon, because for now, everything just gets more and more involved.


Bobbie wakes up on Ganymede and is saved by some other Martians.

The UN Secretary, Errinwright, and Chrisjen hear the news about the shooting. Errinwright insists on retaliation, but Chrisjen convinces the Secretary to go for a peace summit instead. She uses her credit as a saviour of Earth to do that, once again.

The Rocinante crew are distributing aid to Ganymede’s survivors. Amos sees a little child scared of him and is a little traumatised by that. He goes to speak to the mad scientist about the brain procedure he underwent. The scientist claims it was reversible at first, and offers it to Amos.

Bobbie wakes up on the Scirocco, which is under a new commanding officer now. The CO asks her what happened. As she tells him, she panicks and her health gets worse, so she has to be sedated.

There is an OPA conclave on Tycho station, where Fred Johnson tells the other bosses about the missiles he has. He wants to nominate an OPA representative to go to the peace summit between Mars and Earth. His goal is to negotiate independence. He nominates the Ceres boss as an envoy, for some reason. The Ceres boss, however, refuses peace talks as an option. Jim Holden backs Fred up. Naomi criticises him for that later, explaining it looked like two Earthers telling the Belt what to do.

Bobbie is better now, and questioned about the action on Ganymede. She claims her team was attacked by seven UN marines charging at them and firing.

Fred talks to Jim about how there is still a bit of the protomolecule out there, because the mad scientist is still getting some signal. Fred thinks the scientist can find it. Once they have it, he claims, no one will ever use it against the Belt again.

The Ceres boss talks to Fred’s deputy, who he knows from her past on Ceres. Then he talks to Diogo, manipulating him. A chaplain talks to Bobbie, and convinces her to take something to help her memory to remember the Ganymede action. She does remember, and she recalls there were actually six marines running and firing on what was behind them, the seventh man. She talks about the drone she saw, too, and about how the seventh man wasn’t wearing a vacsuit when he approached her. Which, Bobbie, that really wasn’t the only strange thing about him. It obviously seems strange enough to the Mars leadership, though, because they forbid her to talk about it as they award her a medal of honour and tell her she will be going to the peace summit. She is to tell the UN that Mars shot first.

Jim wakes up in the night and heads to the mad scientist’s cell with a gun, apparently to eliminate the danger of Fred getting the protomolecule. However, the scientist is not there. The Ceres boss has taken him and is running away. Jim calls Naomi and she and Alex pursue on the Rocinante, but find only Diogo in the ship they catch. The Ceres boss with the mad scientist have escaped.


The depiction of Belters on The Expanse is getting a little worrisome. Or, specifically, OPA Belters. It’s a little insulting when the single reasonable OPA member we see is from Earth. The Ceres boss is a slimy jerk and has been a slimy jerk from season one, yet Fred still picks him as the best option for a representative to a peace summit. Presumably, that’s because there’s no one better, but if so, that sends an extremely bad message about OPA Belters. Even Fred’s deputy I suspect of collaborating with the slimy jerk in some way. At any rate there is going to be some story about her, I am convinced of that.

So we’re left with Miller and Naomi, who are both awesome characters of course, but they are also the protagonists, so that’s a little different. Seeing more nuanced image of the OPA would help fight the Earther savoir complex more than Naomi’s speeches to Jim, as much as I appreciate them.

And I do appreciate them. It’s a good thing they brought up Jim’s white saviour complex again. Fred, at least, has been active in the OPA for a long time. But it really shouldn’t be Jim who will solve their problems. One of the things I truly appreciate about The Expanse is that when they choose to make one of its protagonist a privileged white boy, they also explore that for all they are worth, instead of shying away from it.

The wink back at Miller with Jim going to kill the scientist was excellent, too. Poor good guy Jim is being forced to choke on every one of his ideals one by one. I would appreciate it if I could see more of the effect it has on him, though.

At least Bobbie is finally getting her due. Apparently, she won’t be meeting Alex any time soon, but it does look like she could actually meet Chrisjen. That would be equally awesome in some ways. I can just see it, Bobbie disappointed in the Mars leadership, and Chrisjen coaxing her to tell her the real story.

Speaking of Chrisjen. They pulled out the “savior of Earth” again, this time among the people who are all in the know, and it makes me wonder. How did she save Earth from Eros, specifically? She saved it from a war with Mars many times, but from Eros? It wasn’t thanks to her that Miller was present, and they know it wasn’t their missiles what averted the danger. So what does she get credit for?

But back to Mars. There are some things to wonder about. First, why does Bobbie protest so much when they tell her to say she shot first? I mean, technically, she did, unless we count the zombie terminator. Her argument of “they might not have been firing at us, but they shot first” is ridiculous. Would she use an inter-UN conflict as a good reason for an act of aggression too? “They were shooting at each other, so I thought it was justified to join in”? To be clear, I’m not blaming her for shooting in that situation. But looking back at it, it was her who shot first over the UN-Mars line. Her reasons were understandable, but she did. So why the insistence she didn’t?

And on the other hand, the Scirocco commander is acting suspicious as hell, too. Why not take her testimony as it is? Sure, maybe leave out the terminator, say she was confused, but what’s the problem with “there was shooting in orbit and six marines charging and firing, we don’t clearly know at what, but our troops thought they were only defending themselves”? Earth would likely not believe them, but it could all easily be put down to a confusing situation.

It makes me wonder, did Mars have something to do with the terminator? I sure hope not. I don’t want an invading alien army, but I jut might want a Mars aggression even less.

Back on Tycho, Fred’s untenable position is finally starting to show. I expected the missiles to be the first source of conflict. Telling the conclave about them was damn idiotic, though I suppose it would have leaked anyway. But the move with the mad scientist surprised me. I also wonder why Fred changed his mind about the protomolecule so suddenly. Until recently, he was perfectly fine with destroying all of it, and now suddenly he wants to put it in the Belt’s hands. After what he just saw at the Conclave. You sure, Fred? The Ceres boss seems like the kind of man who should have it to you?

Amos’ emotional moment was a little too sudden and jarring for my liking. I am extremely curious about him, though. About his background, too, though chiefly about his present state. Specifically, where is he? Was he with the mad scientist? Is he with him now? Was he “lobotomized”? I don’t quite think he’d willingly undergo that, but if he needed to do it to pretend to be on their side? Will he be our eyes on the Ceres boss? That would certainly be interesting.

As I said at the beginning, we’re now in the middle of this season. Not much has been answered, apart from some things about Eros. That’s not a problem, but the growing ball of mystery has me a little worried there won’t be enough time to unravel it all unless they start soon. Bobbie got her due at the last possible moment to make it still work, too. Going forward, I’m most curious about Naomi, Fred’s deputy and Amos. They all seem like they will get something of a story out of this season, and I would like to know what it is.

Next episode is called “Pyre”. I assume that refers to Venus, and we will finally learn something of what happened there? Cool. Though at the moment, I am honestly more curious about Bobbie meeting Chrisjen.

All images courtesy of SyFy.

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