While “Back to the Butcher” was admittedly a slower episode than the last few, somehow it managed to be my favorite yet. Yup, it happened. The Expanse seems to be growing into a show worth watching. Good timing too, as it has now officially been picked up for a second season. Taking a step back to breathe and actually get to know some of our characters seems to have made a big difference and I’m finally excited to see where this show goes next!
Once again, the four surviving crew of The Canterbury find themselves on a new ship and with no idea what happens next. They’re invited to Tycho station by Fred Johnson — who we met last week — but Naomi isn’t thrilled about the idea. Her reasoning seems a little thin, mostly like a way to add tension to the episode, but the background we get on Johnson as a result is interesting all the same. Eventually, surprising no one, they decide to head to Tycho because there’s literally no where else to go. They do end up renaming their ship/shuttle in the process though, which was a nice touch. Say hello to the Rocinante. Hopefully naming this ship means it’s actually going to stick around for a while.
As for that background on Fred Johnson, throughout the episode we got to see a few flashback scenes from yet another space station. A group of miners and their families are under attack. They tried to rebel after their kids began getting sick and their employers refused to help or claim responsibility. When they attempted to surrender afterwards and things started going south, they were ignored and slaughtered by the one and only Fred Johnson, aka The Butcher.
Things with Detective Miller have slowed down a bit too, and again in a good way. This was the first episode where I felt sympathetic to his character rather than just eager for the mystery he was tracking to pick up. He’s still on the trail of Julie Mao, and also dealing with the fallout of the attack on his partner. I do still wish this would pick up as every episode seems to add a tiny piece of the puzzle to the point where we’re losing track of what the bigger picture is supposed to be. This week we met a data broker and spent a little time with both Havelock and Octavia, the latter of which finally seems to be coming around to Miller’s way of thinking.
All in all, a much needed slower episode that, while still not progressing the plot all that much, did manage to convince me to absolutely come back next week to see where the story is headed next.