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…

The Expanse: A Shocking Death Brings Series Back Online

By the third episode of The Expanse, the series appears to be wandering lost in the void, there is an overwhelming need to write “lost in space” since Jared Harris has popped up in episode three. (Harris played the grown up Will Robinson – “Danger!” – in the1998 film of Lost in Space.)

The Expanse - Season 1

By the third episode of The Expanse, the series appears to be wandering lost in the void, there is an overwhelming need to write “lost in space” since Jared Harris has popped up in episode three. (Harris played the grown up Will Robinson – “Danger!” – in the1998 film of Lost in Space.) Jared, son of the late iconic Irish actor Richard, arrives as a foreman on the Belter docks spouting his lines with an accent that seems to be a mix of South African and French. Just as things begin to become mired in too much subterfuge, there is a shocking death, to rescue things.

In Remember the Cant continues with Miller’s search for the missing woman, the public reacting to Holden’s message that Mars attacked and destroyed the Canterbury and the five survivors are interrogated by their captors. As the questioning continues, and the accusations that some of the crew are OPA terrorists, the prisoners begin to turn against one another.

The UN official Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) points out that Mars did not destroy the Canterbury.  The Martian vessel commander tells Holden he needs to not only retract his false and inflammatory statement but to also  state that Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) blew up the Canterbury.  As Holden refuses, the commander shows him a “bogie” ship that has been following them since picking up the survivors. 

The Martian vessel commander believes it is coming for Naomi.

It is fairly obvious  that the OPA is pushing for war between Mars and Earth.  As Miller (Thomas Jane) turns Julie Mao into his version of a Black Dahlia obsession,  things become tense and unsettled in the Belter community and civil unrest turns ugly.  Miller’s “Earther” partner Dimitri (Jay Hernandez), who has been taking lessons in the local language from a hooker, becomes a casualty of the “riot.”

As the crowd turns violent, Dimitri goes to help his language teacher, Gia and in a shocking turn of events, the “nice guy” cop is impaled with a bolt or spear by some blue-skinned Belters.

The Expanse is struggling a bit with a lot of plot turns and information  being thrown at the viewer in a short period of time with little action. It should be pointed out that the action quotient may be low, but the violence level is satisfactory.  A blown up ship and the torturing of an OPA suspect are two examples of the less savory side of series.

Regardless of the slow pacing and the heavy plot line, the new show is interesting to watch and will hopefully reward the viewer with something more than a slow plodding storyline, peripheral violence and confusing plot twists.

The performances, thus far, are spotless. It is difficult to dislike Thomas Jane in anything and when you have the brilliant  Shohreh Aghdashloo, with  that addictive voice and delivery, it is hard to complain about the characters on show.   That said, it is difficult to warm to a science fiction series that creates new languages without a new species. 

The Expanse - Season 1
Chrisjen Avasarala, Kenneth Welsh

The “Belter” lingo, which appears to be an amalgamation of patois and a mishmash of Afrikaans and something else, is an odd touch and may be something from the books that the series is based on.  Considering that all the players in this space opera are human, albeit from different “worlds” it seems odd that a “new” language would develop.

This is, however, a world where water has replaced all money as the new currency and, like many other science fiction tales, big money (water) controls everything, regardless of which planet the corporation comes from.

Regardless of the things which confuse, or do not make any real sense, the meandering nature of the series thus far has been brought back into focus with the apparent death of Dimitri; stuck to a Belter wall by thugs.

The SyFy channel has opted to air the first four episodes via On-Demand and Hulu. This may well be to allow the series to find its feet before it airs properly on SyFy. The Expanse airs Tuesdays on SyFy and while it may be a little confusing and slow right now, it may just pick up.

 

The Expanse: The Big Empty – The Mystery Continues (Review)

In The Expanse: The Big Empty the mystery of the missing heiress continues and Miller (Thomas Jane) continues to investigate Julie Mao’s (Florence Faivre) puzzling disappearance amid water shortages and the continued rationing.

The Expanse - Season 1

In The Expanse: The Big Empty the mystery of the missing heiress continues and Miller (Thomas Jane) continues to investigate Julie Mao’s (Florence Faivrepuzzling disappearance amid water shortages and the continued rationing. The five survivors from the Canterbury struggle to stay alive and Christen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) is reprimanded for her gravity questioning of the captured Belter. 

The magic of this series thus far is the lack of necessity to be aware of the source material.  Based upon the novels by “James S. A. Corey” (The pen name of two authors; Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) the science fiction show is more mystery and political thriller than space opera.  By focussing on the “Belter” cop Miller, and his new Earth partner, along side the cold war threatening to erupt into the real deal and the plight of the Canterbury survivors, the series has a three prong attack that is interesting without having prior knowledge of the novels.

Miller investigates missing water and visits the apartment of Ms. Mao. He finds a group of  low brow street criminals who are siphoning water from a park and he learns that the missing Julie not the average “poor little rich girl.”  He also learns that she was on the Scopuli, the ship destroyed along with the Canterbury by a Martian vessel.

Avasarala contines questioning the Belter, whom she suspects of being an O.P.A terrorist, and she decides to have the recalcitrant suspect removed for “deep pain” interrogation. She believes that the man and his organization have been funded by Mars. Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) believes that the woman is overreacting and says so, along with his consternation at her total amount of power.

Errinwright believes that the “future” leader of Earth is chasing shadows:

Sadavir: “Cold War is a bloodless war.”

Avasarala believe that the “cold war is over” and that this is “something new.” With the overt actions of the Martian’s later in the episode it would appear that she is right.

As this second episode continues, it seems to be about the strong female characters in the show. Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) who steps up to take control when things get drastic on the pod, Avasarala who will, it seems, stop at nothing to prove that the Belters have teamed with Mars to escalate the cold war and, lastly, Julie Mao who kept her facial scar as a badge of honor to reflect her disdain of rank and social status, in other words as a sign of her rebellion. 

James Holden (Steven Strait) loses control of his crew when Naomi proves to be of sterner stuff and takes charge. Nagata motivates the males around her to fix the oxygen problem and the communications issue. She also gets the power sorted, albeit with a limited and short termed fix. These actions allow the surviving crew to send out a distress call.

Unfortunately the message is picked up by a Martian Naval Cruiser the Donnager. Which, as Naomi find out earlier may have led the distress beacon that they answered on the Scopuli. 

The Expanse - Season 1

 

Before the end credits roll, the “smuggler” commits suicide, Holden comes within a whisker of being shot in the back of the head, the five survivors are boarded by their rescue party and taken prisoner and after warning the captured street punk about not stealing water, Miller lets his prisoner go. Miller also learns much more about the missing woman.

With the surviving members of the “Cant” taken prisoner by the Martian Navy, it appears that Avasarala is right, the Cold War has changed into something else. The Expanse airs Tuesdays on SyFy. Tune in and enjoy the mystery and the suspense.

Scorpion: True Colors (Review)

Scorpion: True Colors (Review)

In this week’s episode of Scorpion: True Colors looks once again at the complexities of Walter O’Brien’s socially inept group of geniuses and two minders, Agent Gallo and Ralph’s mother Paige. Cabe Gallo, played by Robert Patrick continues to fluctuate between believing in the group of misfits and getting exasperated when they do not react as they should to things around them. Paige, played by Katherine McPhee is still trying to teach Walter how to be more “human” and relying on the high IQ geniuses to help her own special son, another high IQ “sufferer” who has trouble fitting in.