Title: Caliban’s War
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Writers: based on the novels by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (as James S.A. Corey), written by Naren Shanker
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
The proto-being stops by the Roci for a snack and things get interesting in an eventful season finale.
Naturally, my anticipation was high for the season 2 finale of the best outer space adventure series on tv, and it did not disappoint. The show narrowed its focus to three fronts; the Roci, the immense luxury yacht of Jules-Pierre Mao, and the exploratory team on Venus.
The episode managed to tie up most of its loose ends, leaving just enough shrouded in mystery to whet our appetites for more and craving any hints at what to expect next season, The episode did a masterful job at building suspense while making us wait to see the outcome of events regarding one of the main characters and what his fate would be in a countdown type scenario designed to manipulate our emotions in the most sadistic manner.
It was another great episode that included a cameo of Adam Savage descending to Venus.
Here’s a recap, with some comments (*Warning, spoilers follow*)
Naomi (Dominique Tipper), and Amos (Wes Chatham), return to the Roci after the narrow escape from doom onboard the Somnambulist and Naomi thanks and congratulates Alex (Cas Anvar) for being such a good pilot. He blushes with pleasure at the recognition of his skills that he has been working on while everyone else was running around chasing the protomolecule.
Soon after that, they discover they have a stowaway, the protobeing they have been hunting has somehow found its way on board and is in a cargo hold. Holden (Steven Strait) and Amos don pressure suits, and armed for bear, go down to kill it , they get off a burst of fire at it that seems to get its attention, but doesn’t seem to slow it down much when it retaliates by tossing large storage container at them, which hits Holden and pins him to the bulkhead. Holden orders Amos to escape leaving him alone with the deadly creature.
Surprisingly the creature shows little interest in Holden and instead starts banging away on the deck plating. It turns out its trying to get to the ship’s reactor for the stuff that fuels it for a snack. The decision is made to seal off parts of the ship so they can blow it out into space. The plan has one drawback, it will kill Holden if it works.
Upon close inspection, the creature seems to have limited intelligence and seems almost as if it is driven by animal instincts. The appearance of the CGI creation was pretty cool and seriously alien and menacing. It makes no attempt to communicate, but only single-mindedly claws at the deck plating which it begins to dig up and damage. Meanwhile, Holden is slowly running out of air and it becomes a race against time to see if they can manage to rescue him somehow before attempting to blow the creature out of the ship. This works as an effective suspense building device similar to a countdown.
Meanwhile, Meng (Terry Chen) comes up with the idea of drawing the creature off the ship by giving it a more tempting target of the same stuff thats easier to get to, and it’s decided to disassemble a torpedo outside the ship on its hull and try to bait it with that. It is not explained how the creature senses the presence of the stuff, is it smelling it through a vacuum, or does it possess some other sort of senses we do not know about?
In any case, it works, the creature takes the bait and is suckered into floating in space in pursuit of it after Meng tosses it away just out of its reach. It ends up in the path of the ship’s rockets and is incinerated by them. it shows no response the rocket’s flames as they burn it to death.
Meanwhile, on Mao’s yacht, the standoff escalates into a firefight, pinning Cotyar (Nick E. Tarabay), Chrisjen (Shohreh Aghdashloo), and Draper (Frankie Adams) in a room where the only exit is blocked by Mao’s guards who begin to try to negotiate. Cotyar is wounded and bleeding out.
Draper stays level headed enough to get a display of their situation on the ship’s computer and finds a way out through a ventilation shaft, she escapes and returns dressed in a Martian power suit just in time to rescue the others. She makes short work of the assailants like a female version of Iron Man she tosses people around like dolls and walks unconcerned into gunfire. Combined with some opposition she dispatched that she ran into in the ship’s corridors, it was a pretty cool little action scene.
On another front, the exploration team above Venus decides to go in for a closer look after long range sensors detect activity in the crater where Eros crashed on the surface. As they descend the Martian ship that has been shadowing them descends past them at a faster rate and then disappears off their sensors. A crewman monitoring the crater reports it appears the crater has moved and as they continue to descend they suddenly find themselves floating in the sky with ship they are in completely disassembled into all of its parts displayed like a diagram of a kit. They look at each other in disbelief and their fate is left unknown as the scene ends. This was an extremely cool scene smothered in awesome sauce.
The episode ends with an almost epilog like segment in which Naomi makes a big speech to Holden that sums everything up pretty well regarding where things stand going forward. She tells him nothing will ever be the same now that the protomolcule is here. We can’t just wish it away she tells him. Mars has it, Earth has it, and she thinks the Belt should have it too. She confesses that she didn’t destroy the torpedo with the sample in it, but instead gave it to Johnson. He’s a much better choice than the loose canon Dawes, so she was at least that smart about it. Naomi is saying all this to Holden, but it felt like she was talking to the audience too. This is how things are and this stuff isn’t going anywhere, so for better or worse, we have to deal with it the best we can.
The final scene shows Mei Meng (Leah Madison Jung), still alive and human, in a container like the one the proto-being was in on Ganymede in a room full of rows of containers just like it. Good luck with that, humanity’s going to need all the luck we can get.