By Christopher Robin Negelein
(Here Be Dragons and The Monster and the Rocket)
The Expanse is still doing a great job of coupling episodes that set up the dominos and then watch them fall. With the cast so big and so spread out, though, the actual plots of each individual character is small, but the great acting and tense moments have glued us to the screen.
Holden has completed his transformation from goody-two shoes to a Captain Ahab with the discovery of a protomolecule hybrid running around on the surface of Ganymede as the cliffhanger for Here Be Dragons. In The Monster and the Rocket, he chases the creature into the wrecked dome with Roci. Pushing his ship and pilot, Alex, to point of mutiny, he’s already lost Naomi.
After seeing Holden get darker and darker, she took Amos and went back for redemption at the Weeping Somnambulist. It comes not to her personally, but in reestablishing her faith in her people, the Belters. Despite her best engineering efforts, the ship only has air for 52 people. Everyone tells her to give up on the 300 refugees outside and buckle up. She refuses up to the point of tranking Amos so she can tell the refugees the dire situation.
Their answer to her is “Belter life is hard, and we do the hard things.” The refugees select the children and a few women to be saved. Even the muscle guy who was promised passage for crowd control gives up his seat.
Poor Amos, he’s guy finding out that his simple code and hard core loyalty is not up to the task of the complex mess his friends are in. In Here Be Dragon’s he’ll bait Holden to get the paladin to admit he’s become just as pragmatic. But he’s still there for his friends, even diving for a grenade to toss it back into the protomolecule lab where they using the stuff on children to make super space marines.
That one of them maybe Prax’s daughter puts even more stress on the crew.
Avasarala has her hands full, she may be getting closer to getting Mao to admit his guilt in the whole fiasco, but you don’t get to be a intersolar CEO by just rolling over. Even though she goes to meet the man with Cotyar and Bobby at her back (who get to bond over military service until Cotyar admits that he got Avasarala’s son killed), Errinwright has gone rogue back home.
Facing a hearing that will ruin his career and shame him in front of his young son, (a great scene where actor Shawn Doyle shines) he’s convinced himself that he’s the victim and forces Mao to consider a deal. Kill Avasarala and come in from the cold. Thus The Monster and the Rocket ends on the cliffhanger of a literal Mexican standoff between Mao and her.