Director: Mikael Salomon
Writers: based on the novels by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (as James S.A. Corey), written by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham written for television by Dan Nowak
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 title, “Cascade”, refers to the effect that not having even one ingredient of what it essentially needs, leads to a tipping point that inevitably leads to the death of an entire botanical eco-system.
“It’s dead, and it just doesn’t know it yet” is how Meng refers to the once flourishing botany system on Ganymede that he loves and is obsessed with. It left me wondering if it was meant as a metaphor for what is waiting in store as part of the near future for humanity which seems to be doomed by its own selfish, paranoid choices.
This week’s episode of the show was full of revelations while showing off all of its main themes, of mystery, mistrust, and the resulting tragedy that never seems too far away, while dividing its time between Earth and Ganymede. There were some interesting developments in both locations. While we were denied any further updates on Venus, and what is going on there.
The show went about its business in its usual matter-of-fact manner while quietly dropping a few plot bombs along the way in the manner it has gotten me accustomed to. It was another great understated episode that left me pondering questions it left in its wake regarding the greater mystery involved and where its narrative is really going.
Here’s a recap, with some comments (*Warning, spoilers follow*)
The Rocci crew continues its foray into Ganymede station in search of Meng’s (Terry Chen) daughter, during which an unlikely rapport is developing between the good doctor and Amos (Wes Chatham) who tells Meng he is not murdering maniac and then does something shortly after that seems to demonstrate that he is. The contrast between the two could not be more sharply defined than it is as they continue to spend time together.
The depiction of the station shows massive amounts of damage while showing the tragic effects on a population in shock with a few people doing their best to help. The crew continues their journey trying to track down Dr. Strickland, who may know the whereabouts of Meng’s daughter and whether or not if she’s alive.
Back on Earth, the two diplomatic teams meet together again to finalize the details of their accord. Meanwhile, Draper (Frankie Adams) is thoroughly dressed down for failing to stick to her script by her commander, Captain Martens (Peter Outerbridge) who is very upset she mentioned the proto-being she encountered on Ganymede. He informs her she will be returning to Mars the next day, and meanwhile, is more or less confined to quarters. Draper has a dream though of seeing the ocean while she is on Earth, and finds a way to escape the confines of her rooms, and goes on an odyssey in search of her dream.
Also on Earth, Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) confesses his involvement in the protomolecule experiments in conjunction with Jules-Pierre Mao (François Chau) and hands over everything he has to Chrisjen regarding the experiments, of which the resulting disaster on Ganymede was one of.
The idea of a proto-being that can withstand exposure to the airless surface of Ganymede is an intriguing one. I have to wonder is this the desired result of these experiments? Creating a sort of super-soldier from exposing people to the stuff? And what does that mean for the future of humanity once this super soldier species grows in numbers?
Draper’s escape does not go unnoticed and causes a fuss on the part of the Martians which does not get missed by Cotyar (Nick E. Tarabay) who, of course, informs Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) who employs him for just this sort of thing. They manage to track her movements and manage to rendezvous with her just after she arrives at the ocean shore.
Chrisjen attempts to tell her the truth regarding the experiments and the Martian government’s involvement in them, even showing her an image of the proto-being she saw on Ganymede. But Draper refuses to believe anything she says and pretty much calls her a liar. The conversation is cut short because the Martians will arrive soon and Chrisjen cannot be seen by them there.
We are treated to a short visit with Alex (Cas Anvar), who is still hiding out on board the Rocci alone and going a little crazy with boredom. He hears some bad news that Ganymede is being quarantined and any ships approaching or attempting to leave will be fired on without warning, leaving him with no way to pick up the others should the need arise.
Meanwhile back on Ganymede, Holden (Steven Strait), Naomi (Dominique Tipper), and the others have tracked down a sleazy local named Roma (Steven Yaffee), who has access to recordings of video feeds who trades certain supplies in exchange for tracking people down who are missing. He makes the mistake of being arrogant and uncooperative until Amos smashes him in the head with his favorite treat, canned chicken, a few times and holds a gun to this head when he suddenly sees the advantages of being more helpful.
He actually succeeds in finding evidence of Meng’s daughter being taken by Strickland to one of the outlying areas of the colony before the attack that destroyed most of it, ending the episode on a note to be hopeful for a pleasant outcome for a change.