Title: The Seventh Man
Director: Kenneth Fink
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 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, and more
Episode length: 42 minutes
The Expanse is a lot of things, action, adventure, and suspenseful thriller, but first and foremost its a mystery.
Last week’s episode of The Expanse segued from the mystery of Eros into a new mystery so smoothly it was hardly even noticed. The events of what happened on Ganymede quickly became the new focus of the show and this week’s episode pursued those events more thoroughly.
The usual suspects were all involved on Earth, in space with the Martians, and on Tyco with the Belters, and the crew of the Roci. The Seventh Man spent the majority of its time with Roberta ‘Bobbie’ W. Draper (Frankie Adams), the new poster child for PTSD in the series after her traumatic encounter with whatever that was that happened on Ganymede.
While the show has moved on from Eros, it is still dealing with the aftermath of that event and the response to it by everyone involved, and one of the big questions in this week’s episode is what happens next.
The events of the show are happening so quickly, one after another, the different factions are having trouble keeping up with how to respond to them, at least for the most part, there are a few who are emerging as being both decisive and ready to act in the wake of what’s been put on their plates.
There is a lot of discussion going on, of course, a conflict of philosophies and politics to determine what is the best approach towards taking advantage of the moment both in favor of and how to prevent all out war from occurring. It was another great episode, rich in drama, that saw the emergence of a villain and those who have humanity’s best interests in mind.
Here’s a recap, with some comments (*warning, spoilers follow*)
The show picks up right after the attack on the Martian patrol on Ganymede, and we find Draper being found and rescued by her fellow Martians. She’s in bad shape, broken both physically and mentally by her ordeal. She is shown battered and wrecked lying on the ground taking in what she can, shattered remnants of body armor, other wreckage, and oddly some beets giving the landscape a surreal nature. her suit is still leaking air, and spraying blood and there’s even some blood snowflakes drifting around her location to remind us of the deadly encounter that just took place.
Back on the Martian ship Sirrocco she is interviewed by the officer in charge of her debriefing, Lieutenant Commisioner Thorsen (Clé Bennett) who at first seems most interested in getting the facts about what occurred, but it soon becomes apparent he is steering her to answer his question in a way that has already been determined to fit a story her fellow Martians want to hear.
The main sticking point involves how many Earther marines were approaching her position, and the other mysterious humanoid figure she saw just before losing consciousness. Thorsen tells her at one point there should be no more talk about the thing she saw or the drone she remembers hovering over her position. She is told she is going to be sent to Earth to testify in front of the UN and it becomes apparent that’s what she is being coached for.
There is also the question of how many soldiers she saw approaching her position and it seems there were six or seven. In one flashback we get to the truth of what happened, the soldiers weren’t attacking the Martians, they were fleeing a seventh figure and firing their weapons back at it, not the Martian patrol. While the show hasn’t said as much, it seems there is an obvious connection between the protomolecule and the mysterious figure on Ganymede.
Meanwhile, in a brief visit back on earth, the usual figures are discussing what to do next. As always, Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), has a firm grasp of the situation and the answer for what would be the best course going forward in her relentless and heroic pursuit of a peaceful accord between all parties involved.
Back on Tyco we find the crew of the Roci helping to hand out essentials to the serving refugees from Ganymede. they are almost comically dirty and especially haggard versions of what we have become accustomed to seeing on tv.
Col. Frederick Lucius Johnson (Chad L. Coleman) has called an assembly of Belters to present his ideas for what’s next for them going forward and his proposal to use the missiles he has as leverage in any future dealings with Earth and Mars. It is the classic stuff we know as the begins of fascism an appeal to nationalistic type feelings and the crowd’s tendency to see themselves as Belters rather than humans.
He is soon interrupted by Anderson Dawes (Jared Harris), The labor boss from Ceres who it turns out is much more of a politician than Douglas is , he continues to fan the flames of Belter nationalism while taking over the gathering with his own take on things.
Jim Holden (Steven Strait) joins the conversation and is the only one there who does not seem have an interest in the situation based on a love of power and having an agenda other than what’s best for everyone going forward. he is passionate and what he says makes sense. Dawes while appearing to agree with both Douglas and Holden makes it clear he has his own ideas about what should be done next going forward.
He pays Holden an visit afterward on the Roci to feel him out in terms of whether he can use him for what he has in mind, and when it looks he can’t he leaves. Holden appeals to Naomi (Dominique Tipper), about how its only going to work if they all join forces or its not going to work for anyone
The thing is Holden’s trust in Naomi is based on an illusion because as we know she kept the sample of protomolecule instead of destroying it. and that’s something, I suspect, that’s going to play a big role in the series narrative going forward.
Dawes is emerging as a classic villain in the narrative who obviously has his own agenda that has little regard for anyone or anything he doesn’t care about. He is seen going around whispering in the ears of several people, he’s a natural born politician, devious and maipulative. He’s well suited to play the role of the devil’s advocate, and Harris plays the part well making the character believable. He’s the most pragmatic of all it turns out. Using flattery to convince Diogo (Andrew Rotilio) to act as a distraction, as he grabs the crazy scientist Cortazar (Carlos Gonzalez-Vio), and goes off in search of more protomolcule which he knows is the true source of power in the post Eros universe.
So we are left to ponder who, or what, was that mysterious humanoid figure seen by Draper on Ganymede? Will The crazy scientist Cortazar actually be able to locate more of the protomolecule? If he does will it turn out to be the stuff Naomi left stashed near the asteroid? What will be the repercussions if Dawes does succeed? Will the solar system got to war? That’s a lot of mysteries to think about until nest week and the last six episodes of this season. Good stuff from Syfy.