The Expanse: CQB – Shocking Death…Not

Okay, so somewhat amazingly, Dimitri Havelock, the earther partner of Miller, survived being skewered by a large metal pole, shocking death was not, at least yet, on the cards for Jay Hernandez’s character in the last episode.

The Expanse - Season 1

Okay, so somewhat amazingly, Dimitri Havelock, the earther partner of Miller, survived being skewered by a large metal pole, shocking death was not, at least yet, on the cards for Jay Hernandez‘s character in the last episode.  Still there was enough edge of the seat action, regardless of Havelock’s living through being literally pinned to the wall, to make this episode enjoyable. 

Some of the action was a bit signposted, the Martian commander was a tad too confident that the mighty Donnager was going to kick the approaching bogies’ butt.  Despite this the scene in the holding cell, with Naomi, Kamel, Shed and Amos was damned impressive. That sudden  heavy metallic clank, or if one goes by the closed captions on the episode “Thunk” where the suddenly headless corpse of Shed sits upright,  with the cell’s atmosphere rushing out and blood drifting up and  out the new hole was a show stopper.

Almost as impressive is the Miller “autopsy” where Thomas Jane’s character re-inserts a probe into the leg of a mystery dead man, who was, apparently, a successful career criminal, repeatedly. After the third, or fourth time Miller shoves the probe into the dead man’s leg, Octavia Muss (Athena Karkanis) gives the detective a look. 

“Well, it’s not like I’m hurting the guy…”

The action on the MCRN counterbalances Christen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) laying on the roof watching falling stars (meteorites) streaking across the night sky.  Avasarala’s  grandson joins her and relates that Appa says she should not  be on the roof. After a brief discussion about meteors, asteroids and dinosaurs, Avasarala tells her grandson:

“I worry about people who throw rocks.”

The Expanse - Season 1

On Ceres, Miller is unaware that his partner has almost died.  He is still looking for answers in regards to Julie Mao. After attempting to contact Havelock a few times and not getting any response, he leaves a message and asks Muss to keep it between them.

On the MCRN Donnager the Martians are getting their a**es handed to them on a plate. Whoever these ships are that have attacked the larger vessel, they have very advanced technology and powerful weapons.

It is interesting to note that the “Latter Day Saints” aka Mormons have been mentioned twice. In the episode before Havelock gets stuck to the wall, there was a humorous moment where a Mormon standup comic is given the cops’ commander’s number to ring about tickets. (Havelock tells the comedian his name is Captain Shaddid and to “keep calling the number” given.)

One of the episode’s  highlights had The Walking Dead‘s Chad L. Coleman, aka the late Tyreese Gibson, as Col. Frederick Lucius Johnson. The colonel has a tense moment with a Latter Day Saints’ rep who questions his attachment to the OPA.  Coleman looks a little different from his TWD days, and does not carry a hammer, but that look of danger is still there, even if the rep did not pick up on it.

The Expanse CQB spends  a good bit of time destroying the big Martian ship and apart from the show’s makers having sound in space, the noises inside the vessel were impressive. The show has, from the start, given an ambiance that literally screams space, although they let the side down  bit with the space noise of the external battle, i.e. outside the Donnager.

While this series has, thus far, been more about the missing woman and the cold war threatening to become the real thing, this episode moves everything up a notch and we get some real battles and, as mentioned above, a real show stopper of a sequence in that holding cell.

The Expanse - Season 1

We have finally learned what all the fuss has been about Phoebe, all charred remains in the ice tunnels and computer cores destroyed and no one to blame the action on equals everyone pointing fingers.  The Martians seemed pretty determined to pin the action on The Canterbury or the OPA.

The episode ends on an impressive footrace  to escape the doomed Mars vessel, a lot of gun fire, near misses and loss of gravity kept things interesting. The fact that Alex (Cas Anvar) appears to have wildly exaggerated his role in the Martian militia, adds an amusing spin on  Holden and his remaining crew members fleeing the Donnager.

Sadly, the Mars commander murmuring that she “didn’t think we could lose,” failed to be too heart wrenching for the viewer as it was obvious that the woman was miles too confident in the vessels capability to blow the bogies to pieces.  While we do not feel too deeply for the commander there is obviously another player in the game, apart from Earth, Mars and Ceres.

Not having read the source books, The Expanse is based on the novels by “James S.A. Corey,” my money is on the Latter Day Saints. The rep, in the scene with the colonel, implies that this group has lots of money and resources.

The series airs Tuesdays on SyFy and the first four episodes have been aired on Hulu and on demand.  The Expanse may not be high “space opera” but Thomas Jane is always worth a watch and the plot thus far is entertaining enough to keep viewing the science fiction program. Tune in and see if Detective Miller finds the girl…

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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