SPOILER ALERT-Do not read if you have not seen Episode 307 of The Expanse
Quote of the Week- “ For we have arrived at a dawn of a new era.”
This episode was directed by Ken Fink and written for television by Naren Shankar.
With each new episode this season, The Expanse has achieved a higher level of excellence. To say that this episode is awesome is honestly an understatement. Delta-V was written by Naren Shankar, who also wrote Paradigm Shift. Paradigm Shift coincided with the start of book two, Caliban’s War. Therefore, it is only fitting that Naren Shankar wrote Delta-V, whose storyline begins with book three, Abaddon’s Gate. This episode expertly sets the stage for what happens to humanity when it finally discovers what the Protomolecule really is.
Delta-V introduced three new and very important characters: Klaes Ashford (David Strathairn), Monica Stuart (Anna Hopkins), and Melba Koh (Nadine Nicole). This episode also saw the return of fan favorites Diogo Harari ( Andrew Rotillo) and Miller (?) (Thomas Jane). It also revealed that the Protomolecule had created a giant Ring beyond the orbit of Uranus.
Anderson Dawes sent Klaes Ashford to be the executive officer of the Behemoth. Drummer, the captain of the Belter flagship, the Behemoth (formerly the Nauvoo) has history with Ashford. From Ashford’s interaction with Drummer and one particular crew member, his relationship with them was not pleasant. There was an incredible amount of tension between Drummer and Ashford, even before she learned that he had brought Diogo with him aboard the Behemoth. This infuriated both her and Naomi, since Fred had neglected to tell them that the OPA had granted Diogo amnesty.
The animosity between Drummer and Ashford came to head when Drummer wanted to mete out Belter justice to a drug dealer and drug supplier. Ashford intervened and stopped Drummer from spacing the supplier. She gave the crew amnesty if they left all of their contraband in the airlock by the end of the shift. After that time period, Ashford interrupted Drummer and stated that they would be found and prosecuted, not spaced. Drummer was not happy with this new policy but Naomi convinced Drummer that it was a good idea. Naomi explained that Belters in the future would become a nation of laws, not of customs or Belter justice. Neither Naomi nor Drummer were on the Behemoth in Abaddon’s Gate. Also, in the novel, Ashford was the captain of the Behemoth. What this means for the later episodes is unclear but viewers can be sure that it will only make the story more interesting.
One of the other new characters was Monica Stuart. She and her cameraman came aboard the Rocinante to film Holden and the crew as they headed toward the Ring. Monica deliberately tried to provoke the crew with belittling and intrusive questions. It appeared that she assumed that this line of questioning would provide insight into their characters. When Monica brought up a crime boss in Baltimore, who had the same name as Amos, Amos clearly did not want to discuss it. For readers of the novels and the novella, The Churn, Monica went to a very dangerous place as Amos has a very big secret involving Baltimore. The other new character was Melba Koh.
Melba appeared to be a mid-grade technician, who accompanied other techs from the Thomas Prince to replace parts on one of the supply ships in the UN fleet. Once Melba was onboard the supply ship, she planted a bomb, which the senior tech discovered. Melba used some type of advanced implants to give herself superhuman strength. She killed the senior tech before she collapsed beside him. Melba has many secrets and later episodes this season will reveal to viewers who she is and why she did what she did. Familiar faces return with the new faces in this episode. One of them is Anna.
Avasarala asked Anna to go aboard the Thomas Prince as her envoy as part of the religious delegation. Anna ostensibly agreed to go because Avasarala promised to generously fund her clinic. The reality was that Anna could not refuse to go on a journey to confront the first concrete evidence of alien intelligence in the universe and the resultant issues it raised about faith. Of course, none of the major powers had a clue that a hot rod Belter named Maneo would change history.
There is a symmetry to this episode. It opened and closed with Maneo (Zach Villa). Maneo was a crazy, love sick kid who piloted his hot rod spaceship, the Y Que, in a dangerous gravity assist around Saturn to increase his speed and to make a name for himself. He did this to impress his girlfriend back home on Ceres. She had grown tired of his frequent absences and took up with his brother. In order to win her back, he decided to crash the blockade around the Ring.
He piloted his craft through the Ring at a very high speed. As the first person to go through the Ring, he would become famous. His girlfriend sent him a time delayed message that if he made it through the Ring, she would welcome him home properly. He, and everyone else in the System, was in for a big surprise.
Naren Shankar, the writer of this episode, talked during an earlier interview about how he wanted to see the scene from the book where a Belter attempted to traverse the through the Ring at high speed in the television show. [Minor spoiler] Once the ship passed the spatial membrane created by the Ring, the ship entered the region that will become known as the slow zone. Well, the viewers had the chance to see what happens and it was gruesomely awesome! Human flesh is not designed to make such an instantaneous transition from high speed to almost zero in no time. The Y Que entering the Ring also triggered another event.
Aboard the Rocinante, as the Y Que entered the Ring, Holden saw what appeared to be Miller sitting on his bed mumbling incoherently. For the readers of the novels, it was not clear if Miller would be back since there had been some changes between the novels and the series. Now, the fans can be reassured that Miller has returned, or has he? Only future episodes will reveal the truth. Here is a clue: The Protomolecule is not what you think it is. Also, the biggest question should be, where are the builders of the Protomolecule?
Please help The Expanse find a new home by supporting the #SaveTheExpanse campaign by signing the petition at Change.Org. They have already secured over 120,000 signatures. Another way, to help save The Expanse, is to go to this website, https://savetheexpanse.org/, to discover what you can do to help. For more information about the fan efforts to save the series, here is a link to a previous article, Save The Expanse Campaign Takes Flight. News broke this week that Amazon Studios is in serious discussions to acquire Season 4 of The Expanse.