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THE EXPANSE Recap: Millions Will Go Hungry

THE EXPANSE Recap: Millions Will Go Hungry

Fair warning: this recap includes spoilers for The Expanse that could go to war at any minute—don’t say we didn’t warn you ahead of time!

Our eyes have been off the ball for a while. Throughout the second season of The Expanse, the specter of battle has existed mostly in the U.N. boardroom, supplanted largely by the incoming chaos of Eros. Now that the infected station has crashed into Venus (R.I.P. Miller and Mao), it’s like everyone has breathed a deep sigh of relief and remembered that, oh yeah, we were on the brink of galactic war.

At the end of “Paradigm Shift,” Sergeant Draper (Frankie Adams) and her team were attacked in a confusing blitz that left us wondering what the hell had just happened. In “The Seventh Man,” we got all the answers we wanted (well, almost all).

The attack left Draper’s entire team dead, as well as thousands of others working on the farming outpost of Ganymede, meaning millions of Earthlings and Martians who depend on its output will go hungry. Nice of The Expanse to toss a free food crisis on top of the looming threat of all-out war.

Naturally, Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) wanted to escalate. It’s his only position. Getting the upper hand once again, though, Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) successfully suggested offering the Martians a peace conference with home field advantage going to Earth. To talk instead of shoot. After all, no one on Earth or Mars seems to know what’s going on.

But the action wasn’t really back on Earth.

THE EXPANSE -- "The Seventh Man" Episode 207 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jared Harris as Anderson Dawes, Cara Gee as Drummer -- (Photo by: Shane Mahood/Syfy)

The big story was at the OPA station, and the personal story was on The Scirocco, as Draper recovered both from the physical onslaught and the survivor’s guilt clouding her mind. She was debriefed and questioned with immediately suspicious intensity, and while she described with blurred accuracy that seven U.N. Marines (Blues) initiated the attack, it’s clear that her interlocutor only cares about getting her to say that the U.N. started the fight. Still, the story didn’t sit right.

She also spoke with a chaplain who worked with her father, telling him about the drone she’d seen just before the attack (a drone which apparently didn’t show up on any of their scans afterward) and aching to remember the full event. From minute one it seemed like her chain of command was trying to snow her, and they seem more and more agitated as she recovered more details.

Ultimately, with electrodes attached to her temples, she remembered that the U.N. Marines were firing behind them, and the the seventh entity she saw wasn’t wearing a protective suit. Probably because it looked like one of the aliens from Signs trying to eat her face off her head. So what was that thing? A Protomolecule Beast? Something else?

With the big question still swirling, but the story more or less in place, Draper scored a Purple Heart, a nice bit of gaslighting, and an invitation to go lie to the U.N. about who started the firefight. Why does Mars want to take responsibility on the eve of peace talks? It’s unclear. But beware anyone who tells you “The truth is a funny thing” before commanding you to lie.

THE EXPANSE -- "The Seventh Man" Episode 207 -- Pictured: (l-r) Steven Strait as Earther James Holden, Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata -- (Photo by: Shane Mahood/Syfy)

Meanwhile, refugees from Ganymede landed at the OPA outpost along with the charismatic faction leader Anderson Dawes (Jared Harris). Welcome back! What followed was a litany of minor characters having major revelations. Amos (Wes Chatham) got into a shoving match with a 5-year-old boy and lost, sending him to speak with Cortazar (Carlos Gonzalez-Vio) about the process that permanently removed his empathy. Cortazar, fully engaged in his Minority Report mode (a.k.a. the only mode he has) described the alteration’s effect as being “like a terrible storm had lifted,” so when Amos claims not to be interested, it’s the most obvious lie of the episode. The child protecting his mother reminded Amos of himself, of losing all the people who looked after him—and now he wants to lose himself.

Racial tension also burbled as the Belt-born and their Earthling allies clashed over life experiences and emotions neither could ever fully appreciate. That extended to Holden (Steven Strait) and Naomi (Dominique Tipper) just as Anderson snaked his way through the station to suss out secrets.

That speech Dawes gave about what to do with the nukes and what the Belter position needed to be in regards to Earth/Mars peace earned at least five fire emojis. It was a fantastic dramatic moment that Harris grabbed with both fists. A thrilling exchange, an amazing back-and-forth between ideologies in which Dawes surprised everyone by seeing the firm logic of returning the missiles to Earth as an act of good faith (and to earn a seat at the peace talk table). Imagine having that many nukes and choosing to give them back. It was a stroke of tactical genius, and even the bellicose Dawes was clever enough to understand that the most powerful weapons in the universe were useless.

THE EXPANSE -- "The Seventh Man" Episode 207 -- Pictured: Andrew Rotilio as Diogo -- (Photo by: Rafy/Syfy)

Sloshing his Bane-like vocal affect around the entire station, Dawes approached Naomi and Holden to try to learn the part of Johnson’s (Chad L. Coleman) strategy, unconvinced that they didn’t find anything that could help the Belt during all their journeys, questioning what card Johnson has left to play. Then he turned to Drummer (Cara Lee) with promises of booze and nostalgia, and then Diogo (Andrew Rotilio), with a musing on the alienating construct of time based on someone else’s planet’s rotation.

This was a master, sowing seeds of trust and watching some come to immediate fruition. Diogo, hypnotized by Dawes’ speech on creating meaning and birthing legends, gives up the ghost on Cortazar, who’s also just conveniently revealed he’s getting new data from more Protomolecule out there somewhere (wherever Naomi has it hidden…and maybe somewhere else, too?). Voila! The ace up Johnson’s sleeve.

Dawes and Diogo kidnapped Cortazar from the OPA HQ, and the Rocinante gave chase with Alex (Cas Anvar) shooting their thrusters to make them a floating barge. Bad news, though. Diogo was the only one aboard. Dawes and the freaky-minded doc were already gone, leaving all the cards up in the air before a meeting that could determine the fate of billions.

SOME STRAY THOUGHTS:

  • Seems shortsighted to keep most of your vegetable farming in one area, and, oh wait, that’s what we do on Earth, isn’t it?
  • Kudos to the show for showing PTSD not as some savage lashing out, but as a profound, internal struggle triggered by memories.
  • No one, except for Avasarala, seems smart enough to avoid war. So why do I get the sinking feeling something bad will happen to her soon?

Images: NBC/SyFy

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