SPOILER ALERT-Do not read if you have not seen Episode 310 of The Expanse
Quote of the Week- “You’re the patron saint of lost causes kid.”
This episode was directed by David Grossman and written for television by Georgia Lee.
In Dandelion Sky all the pieces (Earth, Mars, OPA, Rocinante) were finally in the slow zone inside the Ring after the entrance of the Thomas Prince. Holden, directed by Miller, has left the Rocinante to head toward the station at the center of the slow zone. Miller has accompanied Holden the entire way and, in contrast to the past, he has engaged in conversation with Holden the entire time. However, they are not alone as a squad of Martian marines are following Holden to the station.
Although Holden and Miller talked to each other, it was not clear if this was truly Miller, a hallucination, or some hybrid Protomolecule creation. Holden asked Miller the quintessential question all heroes ask: why me? Miller did not have a satisfactory answer for him.
Meanwhile, on the Thomas Prince, they have just entered the Ring. Anna was filled with a sense of awe and wonder. Unfortunately, everyone aboard the ship did not feel the same as she did. One of the crew member, Lt. Jordan Nemeroff (Matt Bois), felt the lizard brain fear of the unknown which he could not shake. While Kolvoord (Chris Owens), the chief science officer aboard the Thomas Prince, and Anna were in awe of the beauty and the magnitude of what they found in the Ring; Lt. Nemeroff was filled with fear. In all probability, this is how humanity will view its first encounter with an alien species both with awe and fear. But, there will be, in all probability, another reaction.
Aboard the Behemoth, Ashford and Drummer continue to clash. Diogo tells Ashford he should be captain. Ashford admonishes him for his statement. Later, Drummer correctly guessed what Ashford had told Diogo. She was not fooled by him. In fact, she told him that she believed that a mutiny was in the works and he would “reluctantly” take charge after the mutiny. With all the beauty and the fantastic science of the Ring, Ashford and some of the Belters could not rise above their petty squabbles and power plays to truly appreciate their place in history.
The same was true for Clarissa Mao. She was so caught up in her insane revenge plot, that she could not appreciate the magnitude of the discovery and its place in human history. It would be nice if humanity would rise above itself in extraordinary circumstances but history has shown that has not been the case. Lt. Nemeroff’s reaction of fear and eventual suicide might actually be the majority response of mankind to discovering that we are not alone in the universe. Perhaps, the best response was Tilly’s.
Tilly’s (Genelle Williams) response was pragmatic. She made jokes, while still being in awe of the Ring. She also continued to wheel and deal while she adjusted to the changing environment. Tilly also fulfilled a key plot point which played out differently in the novels. In both the novel and this episode, she recognized Clarissa Mao. However, she did not confront Clarissa in the novel as she does in the show nor did she show any compassion in the novel as she does in this episode.
What the scene did reveal more than anything else was the self-destructive nature of Clarissa. When Tilly showed her compassion, she attacked her. She craved the attention and love of those who have no respect for her but tries to destroy those who try to help her. Fortunately for Tilly, the events on the station stopped Clarissa from killing her.
On the station, Holden has demanded proof that the action of completing the circuit on the station will not destroy everyone that he loves. He demanded proof that it was Miller and not some Protomolecule hybrid using him to destroy mankind. Finally, Miller related what happened on Venus and how Julie held his hand because he was so afraid. Holden then realized that it was indeed Miller. The scene used the haunting music from Home where Miller confronted Julie and died in her arms. It was a beautiful moment that was ruined by landing of the Martian marines in the station chamber.
The marines did not understand why Holden was there and demanded his immediate surrender. Holden continued to try to complete the circuit when the marines fired on him. The station froze the projectiles and immediately reacted by growing a tentacle. The marines went into combat mode upon seeing the tentacle and threw a grenade. The grenade destroyed the tentacle but escalated the response of the station. The station froze the motion of every ship in the slow zone. It grabbed the marine, who threw the grenade, and levitated him before disassembling him in the same way it had done the Arboghast. As the marines watched in horror, the station first dissolved him before it absorbed him. Miller told Holden it was time to complete the circuit. Holden placed his hand in the mechanism which completed the circuit and began a miraculous journey for Holden.
For the fans, who are true hard science fiction aficionados, the scene after Holden completed the circuit was reminiscent of the scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey but grander. In this visually awesome sequence, Holden was taken on a journey through the history of the Protomolecule that spanned interstellar distances and billions of years of time. The magnitude of what Holden witnessed overwhelmed him and he collapsed as he withdrew his hand.
Holden’s journey was a truly awesome! The visuals were stunning as they gave hint of the magnitude of the journey through space and time as the viewers witnessed the scope of the what the Protomolecule truly is. This is why The Expanse is the best show on television. It reminds the viewers of the greatness and foibles of humanity while showing the possible wonders of the universe. *Minor Spoiler* Holden’s journey through the history of the Protomolecule gives a hint about the fate of the builders of the Protomolecule. Miller also talked about the absence of a response from the builders. Hopefully, if the series concludes with the novels, the fans will get to see the builders on screen and learn what eventually befell them.
Note: The original title of the novel Abaddon’s Gate was Dandelion Sky.