Title: Here There Be Dragons
Director: Robert Lieberman
Writers: based on the novels by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (as James S.A. Corey), written by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham written by Georgia Lee
Starring: Frankie Adams, Steven Strait, Cas Anvar, Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham, Shohreh Aghdashlo, Nick E. Tarabay, Shawn Doyle, Chad L. Coleman, Andrew Rotilio, Elias Toufexis, Athena Karkanis, Paulo Costanzo, François Chau
Episode length: 42 minutes
Like the proverbial watched pot, the season 2 narrative is beginning to heat up and threatening to boil for a looming finale.
There’s a payoff in sight still somewhat vague and out of focus in the haze of the quickly approaching horizon of the finale of The Expanse’s second season. The loose strings of storylines are getting tied up to a degree, setting things up for what should prove to be one heck of a season finale. Some mysteries are being explained, while the big question about the true nature of the protomolecule remains the question to be answered and what does its existence hold for the future of humanity.
I have to wonder what were they thinking, the folks that decided it would be a good idea to fool around with this stuff? It seems reminiscent of the days when scientists first realized the power of the atom and realizing its immense potential for destruction, began playing with it anyway. An insane thing to do.
Of course, since we are approaching the season’s end, revelations are coming more and more a part of each episode’s narrative some surprising and others less so if you have been paying attention. Another excellent episode, Here There Be Dragons left us with a couple of cliff hanger developments to ponder while we wait for nest week’s installment of the best outer space mystery/adventure saga currently on tv.
Here’s a recap, with some comments. (*waring, spoilers follow*)
This week’s episode pretty much picks up right where last week’s edition left off. The crew of the Roci is still searching for signs of the protomolcule while also searching for Prax Meng’s (Terry Chen), daughter Mei (Leah Madison Jung) who we finally see through flashbacks what she was doing during the battle over Ganymede. She was being led down the garden path by the elusive Dr Strickland (Ted Atherton) who is playing a part in the protomolecule experiments by absconding with children for that purpose.
The Roci crew has obtained a skeleton key card from their new acquaintance Roma who they met last week and are slowly making their way though the station’s behind-the-scenes infrastructure composed of tunnel-like passages adorned with lots of wiring.
Meanwhile, on Earth, we rejoin Draper (Frankie Adams) who is getting ripped anew one by her commander Captain Martens (Peter Outerbridge) who is being a real dick because she went off script in front of the UN inquiry. Martens is adamant in his expressions of displeasure and tells her she is no longer a Marine. Draper takes it at first and when its time to catch the transport she’s ready to go, but fate intervenes and all flights are shut down even as the transport is landing.
It was this delay that provided Draper the time to think about her situation and take action to find out the truth. She sits Martens in hi office and beats the car out of him until he offers the information she is seeking, the truth that she and her squad were a part of an experiment and that Martens was aware they were being sacrificed for what he thought was the greater good of Mars. She makes good her escape form the Martian compound but is spotted as she leads and pursued tot he short distance to the neighboring UN compound across the street where she asks for political asylum.
I almost felt like cheering Draper on when she was kicking Martens ass because he was being such a dick while he knew he was guilty all along.
This provided the episode with a brief exciting scene and a dash of suspense as Draper made her getaway, She is next seen speaking with Chrisjen (Shohreh Aghdashloo), and Cotyar (Nick E. Tarabay) telling them earthing she knows and going them Martens phone which she managed to abscond with. Of course, this will have the effect of changing the course of the entire narrative as there can longer be any doubt about Mars involvement in the protomolecule experiments and being at least partly culpable in what happened on Eros and Ganymede.
Chrisjen also speaks with Jules-Pierre Mao (François Chau) who now admits his role in the attempt o develop a weapon for Mars by experimenting to on the alien substance. he agrees to meet with her in a place of his choosing, and only under certain circumstances. I have to wonder if we will ever be told the origin of the stuff and how it came into Mao’s hands and what is the true nature of the substance? It seems as if it could be some sort of symbiotic life form.
It has been hinted at over the last few weeks, and now it is certain the object and goal of the experiments are to create some new kind of protobeing resulting in a super soldier to give Mars the upper hand in any relationship with anyone going forward.
While all this is going on we also get look at what’s been happening on Venus and the attempts to find out he what has occurred since Eros impacted the planet. On the Arboghast, Janus and Iturbi look on with concern as an MCRN ship continues to shadow them. They also continue to try to drop probes down into the Eros crater on Venus, but the probes’ signals all disappear before they reach the surface. Iturbi suggests they break protocol and drop lower before releasing their last two probes, and after some debate, Janus concedes.
They manage to achieve partial success with their last attempt and we get a brief glimpse of a landscape being transformed by the protomolecule similar to what we have already seen in earlier episodes.
Meanwhile back on Ganymede, Holden (Steven Strait), Naomi (Dominique Tipper), Amos (Wes Chatham) and Meng finally come across a group of soldiers and the female scientist we have seen earlier conferring with Dr. Strickland sitting around a table, when they refuse to surrender a sudden violent exchange takes place leaving the surprised soldiers all dead except the scientist who escapes. Amos is wounded. The crew continues their search and find a casket with a child in it that has been exposed to the alien stuff, but much to Meng’s relief, it’s not Mei.
Suddenly the door of the room they are in opens and some unseen hand tosses a grenade in, but Amos’ quick reflexes save the day when he tosses it back where it came from. This is followed by the sounds of a violent battle going on on the other side of the door, and when they open the door they find everyone inside dead and the outside port of the room’s airlock torn up as if by an extremely strong wild animal.
They discover the scientist is in the room and still alive but badly wounded, She manages to confess they have indeed been experimenting on the kids and attempting to remake the protomolecule in their own image, and like I have suspected for a couple of weeks into some sort of protobeing. She warns them there’s plenty more of the creatures that made a shambles of the room Its hard to understand how these people could ever think they would ever be able to control such a creature and what would happen if it got loose in the general public.
While all this has been going we find Alex (Cas Anvar) struggling with how he can contact the others without being blown out of the sky by the Martian ships patrolling the area, he finally comes up with a scheme that allows him to actually travel to Ganymede without bing detected. He arrives at the airlock just after the others arrive in the same spot, and together they watch one of the protobeings escape across the landscape of Ganymede Holden says they should suit up we’re going on a hunt for them.
In a surprising development Naomi says she isn’t going to go, but will return to the Somnambulist and try to help as many people to get away as possible she takes Amos with her, and just like that the Roci crew splits up leaving Meng, Holden and Alex as the ship’s remaining crew. There is an amusing bit regarding Amos getting shot, he asked why its always him that get shot and when Alex arrives he asks the same question when he notices Amos’ wound.
So, there you have it, another of the sort of episodes we have become accustomed to with this series of steady story telling interjected with well timed and perfectly allotted moments of sudden violence, that leads one to believe the sense another exciting episode has transpired. Until next week, happy viewing.