Season Two-Episode Eight- Pyre “Have You Seen My Daughter?”
SPOILER ALERT-Do not read if you have not seen episode eight of The Expanse season two.
Before we start a review of episode eight, I want to remind readers we are now in book two of the series, Caliban’s War. The television show deviated from the book with respect to Bobbie. In the book, we know exactly what happened to Bobbi. In the previous episode, The Seventh Man, we only see what Bobbie remembers. Additionally, there are other major changes. Neither Cortazar nor Drummer are in Caliban’s War. Cortazar is in the novella, The Vital Abyss, while Drummer appears in the later novels. This season, like last season, has combined and changed elements from the novels and novellas.
Pyre opens with an idyllic scene on the farms of Ganymede with Prax and his daughter, Mei. The next moment chaos reigns as the solar mirror crashes onto their station. When Prax recovers consciousness, he is on a refugee vessel. He is told by a colleague that his daughter, Mei, was killed when the mirror collapsed. Later, the refugees are told they are being separated between those who are going to the inner planets and those who will be staying in The Belt. Prax initially decides to go to Mars but a Belter prevents him from joining the inner planet group. The group going to the inner planets is spaced by the Belter crew. Prax and the remaining refugees dock at Tycho Station.
On Tycho, Fred Johnson receives a communication from Dawes. Dawes talks about taking Johnson’s secret (the Protomolecule) and sharing the information with the Belters. Dawes’s speech inflames the Belters.
Meanwhile, Naomi and Drummer are trying to discover if Cortazar was right about another Protomolecule sample. While they are reviewing the antenna data to track the Protomolecule location, Drummer gives Naomi background information on the relationship between Dawes and Fred. Dawes took a broken man he found in a bar and made him a force for The Belt. This story is related in the novella, The Butcher of Anderson Station. For Naomi, there is the constant fear that her failure to destroy the missile will be discovered.
Fortunately for Naomi, the data from the last antenna gives them the location of a different Protomolecule sample: Ganymede. This leads the Roci crew to review data on the Ganymede personnel to determine who worked for Protogen and the right background to work with the Protomolecule. They discover a Dr. Strickland. They connect Prax and Dr. Strickland via photo recognition. After searching among the refugees, Holden and Naomi find Prax. From Prax, they learn that Strickland was Mei’s pediatrician. Holden realizes this does not make sense. Why would a Protogen geneticist such as Strickland be working as a pediatrician? They review Ganymede security tapes of Mei and determine Strickland left with the Mei before the destruction of the station. Mei is still alive!
**SPOILER ALERT- During the interrogation of Prax, Naomi says something which points to a later major development in the novels. It also harkens back to something Naomi said in the first season.**
But, life is never simple in The Expanse universe. The Black Sky Faction takes Tycho Station command center in a coup in order to get the missile launch codes from Fred Johnson. Johnson, to his credit, refuses. The Black Sky Faction starts to kill people in the command center. They injure Drummer, but she and Johnson still refuse to help. One of the Belters attempts to hack the launch codes which triggers an alarm.
In the meantime, Amos is a mess. When he finally returns to the ship, he and Alex get into a fight. Alex manages to stop Amos before he hurts Alex. While they are coming back to their senses, a sensor alert tells them someone is trying to launch the missiles. They notify Holden who launches a rescue mission.
The Roci crew cuts the oxygen to the command center and breaks into the command center. They regain control of the command center. In the process of removing Drummer for medical help, Drummer grabs a gun and shoots the Black Sky Leader, who shot her. She also shoots the traitor, who let the Belters into the control center.
Holden has decided to go Ganymede to stop the spread of the Protomolecule. He agrees to take Prax with them to find his daughter. Johnson refuses to let them leave unless Holden agrees to bring a Protomolecule sample back to him. Holden says no. Johnson tells Holden he need not come back to Tycho then. The Roci is on its own.
I believe we have an answer regarding the attack on Ganymede. The Protomolecule is on Ganymede, something without a vacuum suit attacked the Marines, and a Protogen geneticist is working secretly on Ganymede. I think we can safely say there has been some genetic modification done using the Protomolecule on humans! One mystery partially solved but we do not know how or why it was done. We do know that children are involved.
The biggest issue and question for me is when will Naomi tell Holden that she did not destroy the sample? When has a relationship survived keeping secrets of this magnitude? Also, how many secrets is Naomi keeping? What is happening to Amos? Has he resolved his identity issues? How will Prax fit into the crew? Will he have the same fate as the last new crew member? What about the Roci? They have no home base now that Johnson has told them not to return to Tycho.
As I said previously, The Expanse will give us one answer while teasing us with 10 more questions. This is why The Expanse is so compelling. It has combined all the elements of the novels and the novellas to create something new which is incredibly complex and exciting. We have only touched the surface of what The Expanse will reveal.
Late breaking news about The Expanse. It has been renewed for a third season!
Milowda du ámolof fo The Expanse!