The Expanse, ‘Immolation’: SAVE THIS SHOW

Well, dear readers, it has been quite the week. Literally, the day after last week’s episode, lovers of The Expanse had their worlds shaken when SyFy made the baffling and short-sighted decision to turn down The Expanse for a fourth year. This came as a shock not only to the audiences, but of course, the cast and crew, all of whom felt confident and certain that The Expanse was safe and comfortable for at least a few more years. It’s still not totally clear what happened but I feel pretty confident assuming it’s all about money and cost, a bitter pill to swallow when you remember that SyFy can scrape together the cash for no less than six Sharknado movies.

But, we are not going down without a fight, and there is still time to save our show. Keep tweeting and sharing and retweeting. Sign the petition, email Amazon and Netflix and show your love for the series. Watch the shows live, or DVR and watch within three days. Buy episodes on streaming services, and for UK fans unsure of how they can help, the first and second seasons are on Netflix right now.

There is still a chance, this much has been made clear, but we need to show potential investors that this show is worth fighting for.

With that out of the way, let’s dive right back in to where we left off last week; The Roci crew, plus Bobbie ,have made landfall on Io and are about to breach the station in the effort to save little Mei from her horrible Hybrid fate, but even as they do, Admiral Nguyen has gone basically insane with power and launched the existing Hybrids into the midst of a space battle between him, UNN and MCRN forces. Back on Earth, Anna was sent the recording of Errinwright’s damning ‘I couldn’t be guiltier if I had strangled the people of Eros station with my own bare hands‘ message, though we are yet to see just how exactly she will use it to kneecap the bastard.

So, in short, shit has gone OFF.

Back on earth, the Secretary General/Prez has heard Nguyen’s now forty-minute old message, claiming Souther has mutinied, and with the unavoidable delays in contact, there is no way of knowing how things have progressed. An additional message confirms the King destroyed another UNN ship and the whole room reels at the baffling series of events unfolding.

We get a quick few flashes of the absolutely spectacular, breathtaking space battles taking place above Io while our helpless and, you know, rather busy Roci crew looks on in abject horror. They don’t have time, frankly, to watch the end of the world, because they are trying to save a tiny piece of it, which Amos is facilitating by forcing open the door to the station. Bobbie reports the launcher is reloading another full salvo of the Hybrid housing pods, so Holden messages Alex and orders the pilot to blow the pods out of the sky. With the Roci grounded Alex’s capabilities are limited, and while he manages to destroy a few, he’s out of ammo almost at once, leaving dozens more to slam into the many ships — and pass by the gathered fleets. The gang realises the pods are stealth tech and Chrisjen, onboard the Roci, realises the pods will be going to Mars. Like on Eros, the Protomolecule infection will spread and in Mars’ domed, contained cities, no one will escape. Amos gets the door open and our kids rush inside, Holden rationalising that the pods launched from Io, so the means to shut them down must be inside.

Speaking of, some security guy is telling Mau and Strickland about their visitors, who they think are a Martian assault team. Mau sighs that it’s over, and starts giving orders about how to peacefully surrender but Strickland, in all his bug-eyed, Mad Scientist glory, insists they have a chance to escape in their own ships, suggesting they use the kids as human shields to avoid the Roci or another ship just blasting them out of the sky. Wow.

Mau agrees, though even he looks a little disturbed by this. Strickland has more ideas to buy them time and he visits with Katoa, in whose eye we see an image of the surface of Venus. Strickland wakes up his little pet, lamenting the waste, but, he shrugs, this is what Katoa was made for.

Elsewhere on Io, Bobbie is leading our strike team and directs the gang towards life signs, while her suit feeds back video to Alex, Naomi and Chrisjen, on the ship. The team boards an elevator and quickly breaks into a sort of nervous conversation about the comfort of Bobbie’s suit, and growing watermelons in boxes. Naomi thinks they’re oxygen starved, while Chrisjen recognises their nerves bubbling over for what they are. The elevator stops suddenly, and can I just say I will never get sick of how Bobbie just casually walks into direct gunfire with this vaguely irritated look on her face? For all Prax’s cold demeanour, and comfort at firing back, he’s still a tactical disaster, in case you were wondering. The enemy men are killed, and our team continues.

Back on The Roci, Chrisjen is tense — perhaps concerned that she’s the VP of planet Earth, and right now is observing and sanctioning the technically wildly illegal raid on a privately owned station, by a gang of wanted fugitives. Or perhaps it’s because of the war in space overhead, which she asks Alex and Naomi to show her on another screen. They bring up a video feed of one of the ships, which is now a glowing blue mass, fully infested by Protomolecule.

Chrisjen reels.

She’ll be way more upset than she already is when she realises the King is infected too and on board, Cotyar is still strapped to a bed. A UNN marine rushes into his bay, followed by a ProtoZombie. Aided by Cotyar they fend the monster off in Low G until the young woman is able to shoot the guy in the head, and babble wildly about how it spread around the ship. She realises Cotyar is restrained just as he realises she is infected, and has to break it to her she has the same thing that killed Eros. Our young new friend vents her grief by shooting the restraints off Cotyar. He asks for help stopping the infection spreading. though she’s already hopeless, not even sure what the war is about in the first place.

Later, Cotyar, alone, dons an emergency vac suit and creeps through the eerie ship. In the Low G, the many casualties float, but are pinned in place by their gravity boots so Cotyar is walking through a weird, standing tomb.

On Io, the team has reached a branch, and Bobbie sees that up ahead they are approaching the Katoa hybrid. She sends the boys off to find the kids, and rushes straight off to fistfight the giant, blue killing machine, Amos gazing after her like he’s just found a kindred spirit. On Comms, Chrisjen warns Bobbie off, but with an order that Chrisjen shut the fuck up, Bobbie goes to war. YAAAAAAAAAAAS BOBBBBBBIIIIIEEEE!

On Earth, they’ve learned about the stealth pods, and while the Earth council is mostly baffled, Errinwright looks disturbed by how suddenly things have escalated.

Elsewhere, Anna considers her options and then goes to find Prez, reminding him of a time when he let a group of his own supporters be shot during a protest, because he needed martyrs to further his cause. It’s why they parted ways years before but this time she’s not going to walk away (… even if you walked away the last time Anna you … probably should have told somebody?!). This time she’ll make sure the right thing is done and with that, shows him the message.

On Io, the boys find the offices and the childrens dorms — abandoned now, and all the more creepy for the forgotten toys and signs of children. They find evidence Mei was there, and continue their search. Meanwhile, Bobbie is leading the Hybrid on a merry chase, keeping it after her while she works her way back to the surface of the moon.

Holden has tracked the kids on the way to the ships, so fixes things to delay their own launch. Amos and Prax rush off after the kids, and Holden learns the launch controls for the pods are on board the King. He spots Mau on cameras, and runs off to intercept the man behind all this. Alex, meanwhile, with Naomi races for the Razorback, intending to board the King and shut down the remaining pods. And outside, Bobbie and the Hybrid finally start exchanging blows, but the fight doesn’t last long when Bobbie is tossed from a high height and smashes into the ground. Oh, no. Oh, Bobbie.

‘Fuck with my speech, will you?’

On Earth, the President does not have a giant security detail as he invites Errinwright into his office to show him the message. Erringwright’s total, eerie calm should be a clue something is amiss, and he launches into a tirade about how Prez is influenced by the last person he spoke to (not unlike a certain Commander in Cheeto from the real world), and how Erringwright has saved the man from myriad political blunders over the years. He claims all Prez is really concerned about is how he will be viewed through the lens of history, as opposed to say, doing the right thing in the moment. Errinwright argues his case, to Anna interestingly, but Prez gives his old friend one last chance to say something in his defence. Errinwright lands a pretty decent blow; ‘I fought to save earth. You fought to save yourself. The planet deserves better than you’.

He’s taken away by guards and Anna,tearfully beaming with pride approaches her old friend, content that all will be well and the world is again put to rights. But, Prez … well. Calmly, he explains how the war will go on. Millions will still die. And, it’s okay, because it’s all on Errinwright, now. He turns away while Anna’s face falls, as her heart visibly breaks.

On Io, Strickland and another doctor lead the surviving kids to the space docks, and learn they’re locked out of the ship’s controls. They hear gunfire, so Strickland suddenly decides to leave the children in the airlock. His terrified companion thinks they can use the children to trade for their own freedom and he ‘Yeah, totally!s’ her until she turns away, and he can murder her just as OH, SHIT YES, Amos and Prax arrive! Oh, yes!

Strickland tries for about a half second to lay the blame on the woman, then recognises Prax at once, and starts to realise how neck deep in shit he really is when Prax, from behind a huge gun, asks after his daughter. Strickland turns to open the lock and my good god, Terry Chen’s face is incredible as we see his reaction to what is behind the door. It is very clear Prax had fully accepted his daughter was dead as his face breaks and he calls to his little girl, who peeks out from behind the others and rushes into her father’s arms, and EXCUSE ME, YES. I AM CRYING. I AM ABSOLUTELY SOBBING. He holds her and cries, and Strickland calls the other children forwards to safety and OOOOH, AMOS. KICK HIS ASSSS, AMOS!

In spaaaaaaaaaaace Alex and Naomi find a way into the King, as back down on Io, Holden catches up with Mau and his security guy. And then just Mau, as Holden executes the nameless henchman without a word of warning. Mau recognises him as Holden explains it’s just blind good luck finding him here, and Mau tries to make his case that he’s trying to stop the events on Venus. Mau, dude, read the room. Holden would eat your eyes right now if you didn’t need them to get off the damned station.

Prax is asking Mau if she is okay, and she reports that Katoa was made blue and sick. Prax has to ask the horrible question, if Mei was hurt like Katoa and then Mei asks her dad why he didn’t come for her. But, she loves him and they hug again, and then Prax introduces his daughter to Amos, calling our man ‘My best friend in the whole world’ and if that didn’t leave you a mess, Amos’ surprised face at the description will wreck you. I am not okay, you guys. Mei is handed over to Amos, and he gently takes her hand as Prax, with cold eyes, returns to Strickland. Amos, knowing what is up, hurries the kids around a corner as Prax advances on Strickland and backs the man up into the air lock, ignoring his lies and whispered claims he never hurt Mei. Prax takes a long moment to draw, long enough for Amos to return and whisper to Prax that he is not ‘that guy’. Prax sobs and heads back to the children, and Amos turns to Strickland and reports ‘… I am that guy’.

And then Strickland’s head gets shot clean the fuck off, and I’ll be damned if I’ll pretend to feel bad about it.

That was amazing. I’ve been waiting for that scene from the books for a long time now and holy shit, they nailed it.

On the King, Naomi and Alex have made it to the bridge and find Nguyen is, somehow, still alive and claiming the pods can’t be stopped.

As if to suggest ‘can’t be stopped’ is not an expression our gang is familiar with we cut to Bobbie, on the surface of Io in a damaged suit, still struggling to get back in the fight. She has wounded the Katoa Hybrid, but he advances on her and straddles her, a giant thing who can probably easily rip her suit to pieces. Bobbie wonders what it’s waiting for when suddenly the monster looks towards the stars as if seeing something Bobbie can’t. That’s all Bobbie needs — she raises her arm and fires the mini gun mounted on her wrist, destroying the thing’s brain. Finally, she can call for an evac.

On the King, Alex and Naomi are trying to hack the pods as Nguyen monologues about how Mars super totally sucks and honestly, I want Alex to rip the man’s helmet off and let the pressure change finish him off. Naomi hacks one pod, but isn’t sure she can get to the rest soon enough. They’re interrupted, by Cotyar! Who … wait, is he … is he infected?! Oh no, no, no, NO! NO!   He’s sending a message to all ships to divert them away from the King, which he’s rigging to blow up to contain the infection. Chrisjen sees his message and begs Naomi to open a line, but Naomi reports he’s locked out incoming messages.

Chrisjen watches as Cotyar, says his last, as if he knows she’s watching, but he can’t come up with anything. Unaware he’s damning Mars, Cotyar blows the reactor. At the last minute we see they managed to turn on the transponders, but back on the Razor, they contact Holden, and Naomi rationalises that Mars wont be able to target every pod in time.

However … Fred Johnson can.

Holden takes a second before asking if he heard right, and Naomi makes the case that they’ll save Mars, and might even end the war if they can avert this attack. They all agree, and then we bounce over to Tycho, where Fred gets Naomi’s message. Naomi’s approach is smart as she appeals to Fred’s politics as well as his good heart, by framing it as a way to help the Belt finally gain some ground, the right kind this time.

Then we cut to an astonishing montage:  Alex carries Bobbie into the medbay; Mau is presented to Chrisjen; Prax tucks Mei into bed in his cabin and off Tycho, his arsenal of (stolen from Earth) nukes races in to action.

In their shared cabin, a nude, coital Naomi and Holden lovingly embrace. In space, the nukes find their targets and the pods are destroyed.

It may all be for nothing. Because on Venus, the Protomolecule Event has reached a new stage; some … thing, some great giant blue mass is rising from the surface of the planet. In the galley of the Roci, Amos feeds the other kids(d’aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw), and watches the feed of the ProtoSpaceJellyfish in quiet terror.

SAVE. THIS. SHOW. That was absolutely spectacular ,and if this show doesn’t get saved by somebody, somehow, I will just steer this planet right into the sun. YOU HEARD ME.

I could talk for hours on how amazing that was, but I will leave it here because we have a mission. This show must be saved. This show can not end.

Get to your keyboards. The Work Can’t Be Stopped.

Nadine Morgan

Nadine Morgan is really terrible at the ‘About You’ part of life. Nadine developed her reviewer skills writing epic facebook rants about the details script supervisors forget and trying to explain why Carol on The Walking Dead broke Lizzie by accident. Nadine loves TV, film and books but she wishes someone would pay her to be the continuity editor. She can be found on Facebook and in her forest garden and if she’s not yelling at her TV she’s trying to convince a cat to be an Instagram model and refusing to let 90's fashion die.

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