Wednesday, January 27, 2016

THE EXPANSE (S1E06): "Rock Bottom"

The sixth episode of Season 1 of The Expanse is called "Rock Bottom" and was first aired Tuesday, January 12th. Since that date was my 25th anniversary I did not see the episode until I got back from my Hawaiian vacation this week so that is the reason my recap is delayed.

S1E06: Rock Bottom.

The episode begins with a showdown at gun point between Fred Johnson and Holden & Amos on Tycho Station. Eventually,  we learn that Holden is willing to barter his safety for the safety of his crew by agreeing to do an errand for Johnson: take a ship out to Eros Station and investigate what happened to the Scopuli (Julie Mao's ship). 

Back on Ceres, Miller is being tortured and interrogated by Anderson Dawes and OPA muscle to find out what he knows about  Julie Mao and the Scopuli. Dawes figures out that the source of Miller's obsession with the Mao case is that he is in love with her.

Out in the belt, an MCRN ship finds a Belter ship crewed by an uncle and his nephew who are mining space rocks. The MCRN Marines board the ship and harass the Belters and we begin to see the source of the mutual animosity between Belters and Martians. There's something "off" about this scene, however. The acting of the Marines or the dialogue just simply doesn't work. After the Marines leave, the older Belter suddenly kicks his nephew out of the airlock and takes his ship on a suicide mission to hurl his space rocks at the Martian ships, and gets his ship blown to smithereens. The scene ends with the nephew whimpering all alone out in space, in a suit, with a beacon and a limited amount of air. We don't really understand why the older Belter decided to kill himself, and we are wondering if he also killed his nephew, and his reasons aren't completely clear.

On Earth, Avasarala is doing what she does best, bullying someone into giving her what she wants. This time it is access to someone else's spy on Tycho Station. While ostensibly out with her grandson at an aquarium, she threatens some dude that she can make his son's parole go away if he doesn't help her.

On Tycho Station, we see Amos and Alex having a drink in a dive bar and Amos reveals that he "grew up in places like this" while Alex reveals that flying the Rocinante was the best feeling he has ever had. We also see Holden and Naomi having a drink together (in a much nicer bar) where they toast their former crewmate, the recently deceased Shed. However, the scene ends with a guy recording Holden and Naoimi with a pretty nifty camera embedded in his pupil and we're pretty sure we've discovered who Avasarala's spy is.

On Ceres, Miller barely escapes a painful death by being dumped into an airlock when his ex-girlfriend shoots the OPA muscle who were trying to kill him. He finally was able to access the information that Julie Mao obtained from the data broker and now he knows that some kind of bioweapon was involve din the incident at Phoebe Station. As soon as he confronts the head of Star Helix with his big news she cancels all his access accounts, deletes his files and fires him, demonstrating that she was completely under the control of Anderson Dawes' faction of the OPA.

Overall this episode was significantly less coherent than the previous episode and the direction of certain scenes (Especially the one where the MCRN Marines bully the Belters, the private tete a tete between Holden and Johnson on the Roci and the interrogation scene between Dawes and Miller) were all problematic.

  • The interactions between the crew were highlights (we discovered pieces of the backstory of both Amos and Alex; saw Naomi and Holden enjoying each other's company and saw the crew really start to gel together
  • The scene on the ice hauler was puzzling (only after I read recaps did I realize that the nephew on the ice hauler was the same kid named Diogo who was busted by Miller stealing water back on Ceres but then sent packing with a warning.
  • There was something really wrong with some of the spoken dialogue in this episode (especially the scenes I mentioned above) which lacked authenticity in the acting, I felt.

GRADE: 7/10.

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