SPOILER ALERT-Do not read if you have not seen Episode 308 of The Expanse
Quote of the Week- “What’s with the hat?”
This episode was directed by Ken Fink and written for television by Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby
After the climactic scene last episode where Maneo flew through the ring, the crews aboard the Thomas Prince,Behemoth, and Rocinante tried to make sense of what had happened. The only fact upon which all of them could agree was that Maneo’s flight through the Ring triggered the Ring to react by becoming operational. This started the manic pace of It Reaches Out.
Aboard the U.N.N. Seung Un, Melba disposed of Ren’s (John Kapelos) body before she returned to the Thomas Prince. On the skiff back to the Thomas Prince, Melba had a Lady Macbeth moment when she spotted Ren’s blood on her hand and tried to rub it out. The guilt of killing a person who had only showed her kindness was gnawing at her psyche. This has been one of the great strengths of the series. The Expanse has made many allusions to classical works such as Othello and Macbeth to add depth to the characters and the storyline.
Later, aboard the Thomas Prince, a troubled Melba was noticed by Anna, who attempted to comfort her. Melba refused the solace offered by Anna and instead sent the signal to explode the bomb on the Seung Un, the fleet support ship. Meanwhile, on the Rocinante, Cohen (Brandon McGibbon), Monica’s photographer, replaced one of the communication chips with a new chip, which blocked communications between the Rocinante and any other ship. This new chip also broadcasted a bogus message wherein Holden claimed to have set the bomb for the Outer Planets Alliance (OPA) and he also claimed the Ring for the OPA. The explosion and the message infuriated both the UN and the OPA but for different reasons. The UN contingent was infuriated because one of their ships was destroyed. The OPA was furious because they would be blamed.
Meanwhile, on the Rocinante, Miller was back, or rather, something that looked like Miller was back. Poor Holden used every diagnostic tool on the Rocinante to check his health and sanity as he tried to understand what seemed to be the incoherent ramblings of Miller. Miller constantly referred to doors and corners, which also was the title of the Season 2 premiere. (Doors and Corners was written by the writers of this episode, Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby.)
Although Holden checked himself over 35 times for possible Protomolecule infection, what he did not realize was that while he was not infected, the ship was. Unfortunately for Holden, Miller’s return was not the only crisis with which he had to contend. Both the Thomas Prince and the Behemoth are gunning for the Rocinante after the destruction of the Seung Un.
On the Behemoth, Ashford, in response to the explosion, wanted to target and destroy the Rocinante before the UN had a chance to respond. Ashford correctly assessed and reacted to the situation. He knew that the only way to disavow any knowledge of Holden’s action would be for the OPA to destroy the Rocinante.
Naomi was the only one aboard the Behemoth who tried to defend Holden. She realized that the message had to be a fake and pleaded with Drummer not to take any action. Drummer reluctantly agreed with Ashford and ordered the Behemoth to fire on the Rocinante. Fortunately for the Rocinante, the weapons misfired, which allowed the Rocinante time to make a desperate run for the Ring.
Holden had ordered Alex to head for the Ring after he had managed to decipher and make sense of Miller’s ramblings. Holden made the connection between Miller’s appearance and Maneo’s plunge into the Ring. He deduced that Miller had been trying to tell him that they had to enter the Ring slowly to survive. The problem was that the Rocinante had to avoid the missiles sent by the Behemoth. In a brilliant piloting maneuver by Alex, they rocketed toward the Ring before doing a flip and high G burn to slow down before entering the Ring. In the final scene, this last-ditch effort appeared to work as they survived the transition into the Ring.
Melba executed a brilliant plan. By blaming Holden for the explosion, she alienated him and his crew from any friends that he might have had on Earth or the Belt. Mars wanted its ship returned, so there was no love lost there. The why of her plan is still a mystery, as well as how she recruited Cohen to sabotage the Rocinante.
This episode left every fan wanting more. With each new revelation and answered question, more questions materialized. What is Miller? Why does the Rocinante have to enter the Ring slowly? Who is Melba? Are she and Cohen working alone? Also, what, exactly, is the Ring? There are only 5 episodes left in Season 3. This season has seen the greatest departure from the books. With the current pace that they are setting, it is possible that the end of season 3 might coincide with the end of book 3, Abaddon’s Gate.
The Expanse was recently picked up for Season 4 and beyond by Amazon. Cibola Burn, the fourth book in the series, would be a perfect place to start the series in their new home. Only time will tell if that will happen.