Wednesday, March 22, 2017

REVIEW: 'The Expanse' - Avasarala Has Questions for Bobbie as the Rocinante Heads to Ganymede in 'The Weeping Somnambulist'

Syfy's The Expanse - Episode 2.09 "The Weeping Somnambulist"

Bobbie becomes a political pawn in the struggle between Earth and Mars.

Holden and his crew definitely see themselves as the heroes of this story. They are the ones who know the full truth of what is happening in this universe. Of course, they don't have all the information that the audience does. We saw what happened on Ganymede Station and all the fallout that comes from Bobbie being the only survivor. We know there is so much more going on with the protomolecule. And yet, Holden and his crew take it upon themselves to get to the bottom of this mystery no matter what the cost may be. They can justify any action as long as it benefits their mission. Holden still wants to maintain a sense of righteousness. He's counting on Naomi to make sure he doesn't lose himself in this ever changing world. And yet, their actions don't always come across as heroic. In fact, their actions in "The Weeping Somnambulist" lead to a number of devastating moments. They believe they are doing good but in fact they only lead to more pain and suffering for others. Of course, they still have to press onward with the mission. But it's clear that death and destruction is following them around as they try to understand what is going on in this world with the protomolecule.

The Rocinante always provides the crew with reasonable cover as a Martian ship. They are able to get places they normally can't because of that identity. It's been a valuable resource. It gives them the ability to take over a ship with humanitarian supplies headed towards Ganymede. The Rocinante can get many places but it probably can't get past that blockade around the station. This other ship can because it has the supplies for the relief effort. It's an easy cover for the crew to use. They maintain their sense of noble righteousness throughout all of it as well. And yet, the couple who run this ship know better. Holden is just manipulating the situation to his benefit and doesn't ultimately care about what happens to the people along for the ride. He doesn't stand in the way of them delivering food and the other supplies. And yet, it's because of Holden that the husband is killed by the end of the episode. He and Amos have to go running into action when it seems like this couple will be killed. Their intervention is what really gets the husband killed though. That's yet another death that they will have to live with. Right now, they can justify it by wanting to do the right thing and be good people. And yet, they will forever be tainted in this woman's mind as the people who ultimately got her husband killed.

Meng is in a similar position. He knows next to nothing about the Rocinante crew. They were interested in him and provide him with hope that his daughter is still alive. And yet, they also have him as a prisoner on the ship. He can't send a message to his friend's family letting them know she's dead. He's locked away in a corner of the Rocinante. The crew isn't being that forthcoming with answers. When they do finally reveal their plan to him, it seems incredibly risky and dangerous. It seems like they'd have to be really lucky just in order to survive. And yes, the Rocinante crew has been lucky on a number of occasions. They've managed to survive this long somehow. But the longer they stay alive, the longer they become corrupted and willing to do anything just to protect the system from being forever changed by the protomolecule. That's still their core objective. But it's also abundantly clear that the mission is corrupted them in ways that they can never come back from. Meng and his daughter may be reunited. Holden and the crew are helping him with that endeavor even though they really don't care one way or the other.

The other major story right now is the peace summit between Earth and Mars. It's fascinating to see Mars put forth a story that has them taking all of the blame for what happened on Ganymede. They've forced Bobbie into telling a version of what actually happened on the ground. They find a scapegoat to blame it on. They do all of this in the hopes of avoiding war with Earth. That's what the leaders are trying to do. They aren't trying to suppress information for personal gain. They know more happened on the ground at Ganymede. And yet, no one is taking Bobbie seriously. They just want her to stick to the official story because her tale is crazy. They don't want anything to spark this war into action. Of course, Avasarala knows better. She is able to see the manipulation happening in front of her. It's a little predictable in that way. Mars presents this story. The audience knows better and it's rewarding to know that Avasarala sees more as well. Her questioning of Bobbie can only go so far though. Bobbie is still a Martian soldier. She is committed to the cause. Telling the truth would be a massive betrayal. She hates Earth. So, why should she risk her career just to tell the truth to an Earther? But she still provides enough of a tease for Avasarala to know that something unexplainable happened on Ganymede just like it happened on Eros.

Progress is finally made on the Earth mission to explore the wreckage of Eros on Venus as well. It's just a slight tease of what's to come. But it's thrilling nonetheless. It highlights that there is still distrust between Avasarala and Errinwright. They are still playing with each other and not telling the full truth. There both have contacts on the ship headed to Venus. But more importantly, this hour reveals that Eros didn't burn on Venus like everyone was led to believe. In fact, it is still evolving because of the impact. It's quite the visual to behold at the end of the episode. It created this massive crater on the planet. And yet, it's still growing and developing. That's a significant reveal. It basically confirms that Miller and Julie aren't gone from the show just yet. No, they aren't actually seen again. But the fact that things on Venus are more mysterious than ever before is basically confirmation that they will continue to be important on the series. They won't be the same characters as before. Those versions died in the crash. Whatever is revealed with them will be the next stage of their evolution. Seeing how that ties into everything happening on Earth, Mars and Ganymede should be very exciting. The protomolecule really has changed everything. There is simply no going back now. Everyone is truly realizing that.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Weeping Somnambulist" was written by Hallie Lambert and directed by Mikael Salomon.
  • Anderson Dawes isn't seen at all in this episode. When last seen, he was seemingly headed to the peace summit on Earth to make the belt seem like a legitimate government in this system. But with the scientist, he perhaps may have different plans now. Or maybe it's just taking him longer to arrive.
  • It's fascinating to see how Martians need to prepare themselves for landing on Earth. They've grown up in vastly different environments. Bobbie was trained to withstand Earth's gravity. But it still wears a toil on the body. Something that the Martian scientists have created pills to avoid on a daily basis.
  • Of course, Bobbie doesn't want to be numb to her first glimpse of Earth either. She chooses not to wear sunglasses when she arrives. She chooses to look at the birds flying overhead. Plus, she opens the window to the view of the cityscape. It may not be what she envisioned or wanted. But it's her reality nevertheless.
  • It's understandable that Holden doesn't want to be forthcoming with Meng because he doesn't know if he can trust him yet. But it's also important to see that Amos doesn't see things the same way. In fact, he's the one willing to talk with Meng about what's really going on.
  • Meng also reveals that his daughter has a genetic condition. One where she has only been able to survive because of the unique living situation on Ganymede. She's also survived for as long as she has because of the doctor Holden is searching for. Perhaps he's doing more with her than Meng was led to believe.
  • The brief glimpses into the lives of the people on the ship bound to Venus probably weren't all that necessary. It was just important to know that they've arrived and learn that things aren't what they appear. Plus, Mars has its own ship there as well that is keeping a safe distance but making sure it learns everything about this disaster too.