The Expanse: Rock Bottom – Death Times Three (Recap/Review)

In The Expanse, Rock Bottom death strikes three times during the episode

The Expanse - Season 1

In The Expanse, Rock Bottom death strikes three times during the episode. At least one character came dangerously close to becoming a fourth fatality, when  Det. Miller is almost taken out by tow of Anderson Dawes’ people. The Belter cop is saved at the last minute by Octavia Muss, who shoots the couple who were trying to snuff out the Ceres detective. Later in the episode, an asteroid miner becomes casualty number three when he challenges the MCRN.

The UN Security Council officer  Christen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) pushes to get the Tycho spy to look closely at Fred Johnson (Chad L. Coleman).  On Tycho, Holden and Amos stand off the Colonel while Naomi and Alex set up an offer that Johnson cannot refuse. 

Miller is questioned by Dawes after his people kidnap him and Anderson reveals that Filat Kothari was let go when the cop expressed no interest in getting the man who nailed his partner to a wall.   As Dawes interrogates Miller, Lida and Kaipo, the two who took the cop,  tase the detective and in the end, the information that the detective found in Mao’s apartment is not not discovered by the OPA rep.

Anderson (Jared Harris)  tells Miller (Thomas Jane) the real story of what happened to his sister Athena; he murdered the girl when her sickness got worse and could not be treated.  After relaying this information, Dawes tells Miller that it is possible to cry so hard that tears can turn to blood.

Dawes then sentences the cop to death.

Lida and Kaipo shove the detective into an exit shaft, but before Miller can die, Octavia shoots the two and rescues her colleague. The asteroid miner shoves his nephew out of his ship and flies a suicide mission to prove a point. This is death number three.

Miller shows Muss the information he discovered in Mao’s apartment. The recovered drive shows that the scientists on Phoebe Station discovered something alien, powerful and worth killing for, or in their case, dying for.  The detective shows the information to his boss, Captain Shaddid (Lola Glaudini).

Once the captain learns of what Miller has uncovered, she asks whether there were any copies made of the drive he found and puts it into her safe. She then eradicates the detective’s files and fires him. Miller realizes that Dawes has “bought” the Captain. She has the former detective  escorted out of the station and threatens to have Miller shot if he refuses.

The Expanse - Season 1
Miller fired by Captain Shaddid

Back at Tycho, the Butcher of Anderson Station makes a deal with Holden and his small crew of survivors. They agree to get someone for Johnson and he will help them in return.  Although it does look like someone else is keeping an eye on the small band of Cant refugees.  As Naomi and Holden have a few drinks, someone is recording their activities.

More backstory is revealed about Alex (Cas Anvar) and Amos (Wes Chatham) and the crew find out that the earther Holden logged the distress call on the Cant and Amos is annoyed to find the Naomi knew this. 

By the end of this episode of The Expanse, the survivors take their renamed ship (the Martian Corvette) out of Tycho dry dock and Miller’s future is uncertain.  It is clear though that Fred Johnson is an enigmatic character that both the UN and the crew of the Rocinante  are right to doubt his motives.

The Expanse - Season 1
Chad L. Coleman as Colonel Frederick Lucius Johnson

The Expanse airs Tuesdays on SyFy, tune in and watch this mystery/thriller and see where Miller and the Cant survivors head next.


The Expanse: Back to the Butcher (Recap/Review)

In the Expanse: Back to the Butcher, the only person not upset at the attempted murder of Havelock is his partner Miller.

The Expanse - Season 1

In the Expanse: Back to the Butcher, the only person not upset at the attempted murder of Havelock is his partner Miller.  The five survivors from the Donnager vote on whether to take Fred Johnson’s offer of help while Det. Miller continues his obsessive hunt to learn more about Julie Mao’s disappearance.

Anderson Dawes offers up the man who skewered Havelock to a wall  as an offering to Miller. This is an attempt to forge an allegiance with the Ceres cop and there is also  a history lesson in why Fred Johnson is known as the Butcher of Anderson Station.

As pointed out by IGN this episode was a real change of pace from the previous all action shoot-em-up and explosive episode CQ8.  That is not to say there is no violence, far from it.  The video footage of Havelock (Jay Hernandez) getting “nailed” to the wall is shown, after being uploaded by the perpetrator and  added to that violence the destruction of  Anderson Station is shown. 

Sidenote: One of the more beautiful/horrible images is that of the lead miner; Marama Brown (played by Billy MacLellan  who played Lt. Bebe in “Defiance”) clutching his little girl while their dead bodies float through space;  past the UN Marine ship.

Miller (Thomas Jane)  is under a bit of stress. A scene in the Ceres version of a subway where the power stops momentarily shows how paranoid he is becoming about the issues on The Belt.  Another character in the show comes under stress of a different sort when Earther  survivor from the Cant and Donnager, Jim Holden (Steven Strait),  learns he  has become the poster-child  for revolt after his pronouncement that Mars blew up his ship.

Meanwhile back on Ceres, despite being almost literally handed the man who skewered his partner to a wall, Miller appears to destroy the information given  to him by Dawes (Jared Harris) before going in to learn more about where Julie Mao was really headed.

Once the detective finds what he is looking for he leaves and is abducted by a man and woman team who bag his head and tase him.

This episode moves things along nicely and allows a bit of backstory to show just why Nagata (Dominique Tipper) distrusts Colonel Johnson (Chad L. Coleman) so much.  After learning the fate of the striking miners and their children, the viewer feels much the same as Naomi.  This does not stop Nagata from being talked into heading to Tycho and Johnson by Amos (Wes Chatham) later.

The Expanse with ‘Back to the Butcher’ also shows the further deepening of Miller’s obsession with Mao, up to his asking his source whether the man had been sleeping with her, and it is apparent it has nothing to do with money.  Octavia Muss (Athena Karkanis) suggests that this is the reason Joe is not avenging her partner’s near death, but she is way off the mark. 

Several things are obvious by the time the end credits roll. Miller is in trouble, Nagata is disturbed by her decision to let Johnson help, Holden gets his coffee and the viewer learns that life is very cheap on The Belt and 11 years ago the UN Marines, in the guise of Col. Johnson,  thought so too.

The Expanse airs Tuesdays on SyFy. Tune in to see why this series has already been approved for a second season.

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…

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