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THE EXPANSE Recap: We Can’t Afford to Be Enemies Anymore

THE EXPANSE Recap: We Can’t Afford to Be Enemies Anymore

Fair warning: this recap includes spoilers for The Expanse that may turn your leaves yellow—don’t say we didn’t warn you ahead of time!

The hunt for Dr. Strickland (Ted Atherton) on Ganymede has become a long-term endeavor. Holden (Steven Strait), Naomi (Dominique Tipper), Amos (Wes Chatham), and Dr. Meng (Terry Chen) left behind the grieving widow on the ship they’d hijacked to search the big board of lost and dead before heading toward the pediatric unit. Meng walked through his old work, the once-beautiful grow room turned limp and dry and worthless, filled now with a triage of wounded people.

Amos blithely struggled to vocalize that he was the right amount of psycho for a hunting job that needs muscle, and that animal nature reared its meaty head first when the crazed, squirrelly Basia (Ryan Blakely) attacked Dr. Meng for what he felt was the abandonment of his daughter. After heaving some deep breaths, Basia pointed them in the direction of a potential scam artist named Roma (Steven Yaffee) who has been helping people find their lost loved ones using security camera footage.

In an unsurprising twist, it turns out that shipments of food haven’t been making it to the starving people of Ganymede who need it most, and many of them have turned to eating plants on the station. The problem? The plants have no nutritional value. They were only natural air-scrubbers to aid in food production.


The Expanse Meng

The four teammates all get together again (just in time to see a naked girl rush out of Roma’s quarters), they met the Bizarro World Miller who’s all cock and no walk. Dude only accepted chicken as payment, but Amos bashing his head in with canned goods seemed to change his mind. Once again, Amos is plagued by having to play the heavy (and loving it).

With the security camera scan on full blast, Naomi challenged Holden holdin’ her back (sorry) as Amos beat Roma’s head in, recognizing that they’ve lost little bits of their humanity along the way. Similarly, Amos defended his actions to Dr. Meng (and to himself) by recognizing the need to fight the types of people who would exploit little girls like Dr. Meng’s daughter into sexual slavery. Some people deserve to be punished.

Dr. Meng also scienced the shit out of the station’s yellowing flora, ascertaining that the powers that be must be using distilled water instead of the proper mineral solution on the plants. If they kept it up long enough, a major failure would lead to a cascade of failures, mirroring the things-constantly-going-wrong plot structure of The Expanse‘s seasons. Rather than jumping into action to enact a science-y plan to save the most important food station in the system, Dr. Meng joylessly remarked on the nature of simple complex systems (it’s always the thing that goes wrong three things before the catastrophic failure that gets you) before declaring that Ganymede is dead already. In other words, don’t invite Dr. Meng to your birthday party.

As for finding Mei, Roma actually came through, discovering her and Dr. Strickland at the edge of a unit, leaving through a door into another sector where cameras aren’t allowed.

The Expanse Cascade

While they hunted for Mei, Gunny Draper (Frankie Adams) hunted for the ocean.

Still in the midst of negotiations with Mars, Errinwright (Shawn Doyle), Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), and Nguyen (Byron Mann) weighed whether Draper may have snapped under the pressure of her traumatic battle on Ganymede where she lost her entire crew. Regardless of their armchair psych assessment, it was clear to all of them that something during the battle bothered her, and her superiors ordered her to hide it. So far throughout this show, Avasarala’s super power has been seeing right through people, and Errinwright seems to be picking up the skill. He noted that Mars was using peace as a distraction, and, for once, Avasarala agreed.

“Cascade” marked the beginning of an incipient relationship between the two adversaries. They found themselves on the same page, with a common goal (with one checking Draper’s armor and the other her service record). Errinwright confessed his belief that Ganymede was yet another test for yet another Mao-built weapon and admitted working with him. As if Avasarala didn’t already know.

Their argument–one brewing for more than a season–ended with strange complicity from Errinwright, who expressed remorse and responsibility for his role in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Is this the contrition necessary to give their relationship a fresh start?

The Expanse Cascade Avasarala

Martens (Peter Outerbridge) raked Draper over the coals, interestingly crediting the same theory about her snapping from pressure. How little faith he has in his charge.

Perhaps pushed too far, Draper enacted a daring escape plan where she pulled a window pane off the wall with a butter knife, then proceeded to fall off a building after getting spooked by a seagull.

Draper’s subsequent stroll through a ragged marketplace offered new insight into what life is really like on Earth for some at the bottom. Scrounging and desperate, unwilling to be helpful without compensation. Fortunately, she met Nico (Milton Barnes), who was willing to trade her bone density meds for directions to the ocean with a mind to barter them for a month’s worth of medication for the slum’s children. She learned a darker side of Earth’s social stratification, he helped her find the horizon, and they both shed some of their biases about the monsters living on the other world.

The simple quiet of Draper arriving at the ebbing ocean was a gorgeous juxtaposition of what she had to go through to find it. She fell. Off. A. Building. All that for a glimpse of big water and toes-full of sand that Avasarala takes so stunningly for granted. Avasarala showed Draper the weapon on Ganymede, trying to prove to her that her team was set up as a sacrifice during a trial run. Did Draper believe her? It’s hard to say, but the seed of doubt was planted.

And, in what seemed like a totally different episode, Alex (Cas Anvar) got drunk, did some low-gravity ballet and uh-ohed at a No Fly Zone that is bound to complicate their escape. When one thing fails, five more things are bound to go wrong.


  • We really let Earth go, huh? Yeesh.
  • Was it the same seagull Draper saw upon arriving on Earth? If so, what’s its problem? Why does it have it out for the Gunny?
  • Should Alex really have getting schnackered and dancing on the ceiling? What if Holden and the gang found Mei and needed transport during his bender? Come on, Alex. Get it together.

How bad do you want those anti-grav boots? Scale of one to ten.

Images: NBC/SyFy

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