The crew of the Rocinante is back out on their own this week and as always, things aren’t going smoothly. The bright side is, now that we’re seven episodes into the series, all of this hardship is finally adding up to enough conflict to make me actually care about the surviving team. This is also a surprisingly easy episode to recap because for what feels like the first time The Expanse isn’t trying to do a million things at once, but does still manage to maintain three different story lines. This is promising! Let’s jump in.
On Earth, Chrisjen has found Holden’s mother and we get to see an interesting mash up of characters. This is probably the most time we’ve ever spent with Chrisjen, (I’m still not sure I entirely understand her role in Earth’s politics so I’m just going to keep calling her by her first name) but we use the time to get to know Holden a little more since this episode visits his childhood home. It turns out he was raised by a commune of sorts who wanted him to lead their losing fight against some political element or another, but eventually his mother couldn’t stand it anymore and sent her son off into the universe, which landed him where he is now. Chisjen’s interest in all of this is learning more about the Rocinante’s not-quite-a-captain to see if he is at all the strategical mastermind in anything that’s been happening and whether or not he’s worth keeping around. Of course, in the time it takes her to get this information someone else decides that Holden isn’t worth the risk and sends a “black ops” crew into deal with him, but it doesn’t look like we’ll see the fallout from that until next week.
And of course, from here on out things should always be at least a little exciting for Holden himself. This week he’s dealing with finding Chrisjen’s spy, learning to live with Amos as part of his crew and an incoming Martian check-in that could mean the end of the Rocinante before it even really gets going. It’s nice to finally see the crew working together, both in getting the codes they need to get Mars off their scent, and in the handling of their new prisoner. They don’t always (okay, very rarely) agree on much but they are developing a cohesive dynamic, which is always a plus and arguably a must-do when it comes to shows like this one where it’s all too easy for the characters to get lost in the scope of the plot.
Just a quick check in with Detective Miller this week as he’s still dealing with the fallout from both his OPA encounter and losing his job. So our favorite detective with the world’s worst hat is leaving his home base after trashing Julie Mao’s apartment in order to head for yet another new location.
We’ll see how all of these plot points start to reconnect come next week’s episode, but I’m absolutely rooting for that to happen. The Expanse no longer feels as disjointed as it once did, and the characters are finally growing on me, but there’s still a long way to go before this really starts to feel like a story that needs to be told.