Friday, December 13, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Expanse' - Theats on Ilus Come From Both the Ecosystem and the Human Settlers in 'Subduction'

Amazon's The Expanse - Episode 4.03 "Subduction"

New alien threats emerge on Ilus as Naomi battles health challenges on the planet. Bobbie searches for a missing person on Mars. Avasarala faces a new challenge in the UN.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Amazon's The Expanse.

"Subduction" was written by Dan Nowak and directed by David Petrarca

Civilization is starting anew on Ilus. However, the remnants of the previous civilization still exist and are actually quite strong. Avasarala is running for re-election as Secretary General of the United Nations. That may be a race all about ideology for the future of humanity. Avasarala is more cautious because she knows the fate of the human race will be decided on how to handle the expansion of the known universe. Meanwhile, her new opponent believes that the Ring should be opened up to anyone who wants to explore the great unknown. Refugees from Ganymede have already made that choice for themselves. They traveled to Ilus in the hopes of colonizing the new planet. In fact, it may become a lucrative deal for them. It just may take awhile in order for that wealth to start flowing. More importantly though, the oppression and strained relationships from the former world still play a significant role in starting this new society. The protomolecule doesn't care about any of that. It simply needed Holden to reconnect a crucial connection so that it could examine what exactly happened on this planet all those years ago that wiped out its original inhabitants. That is a scary prospect because it's clear the protomolecule can ravage the entire ecosystem of Ilus in seconds. Lightning bolts are continually hitting the ground. New structures are coming out from the surface. All of these ecological changes may have dire consequences for the settlers. The settlement is in the path of the lightning strikes. After being hit, they are without power and the resources to get things back up and running. Meanwhile, the new protomolecule structure may be moving at such a brisk pace that it could wipe out the settlement before the people can evacuate to a safe area. That leaves Holden with no choice but to send a torpedo at it. He feels used by Miller once again. He feels left in the dark and at the mercy of the protomolecule that has much larger plans for the universe. It proves again and again that it doesn't really care about humanity. Humans may not even care about each other. It may all be about trying to remain in power and control of any given situation. Again, the protomolecule can destroy this planet. It can foster a new era of growth. However, it does so with a complete indifference to the organisms now living here. It rebuilt a sustainable connection because of the human interface Holden now provides. That connection proves to be vital over and over again. There is no trust within that relationship though. Holden cares about the people of this planet. He wants to protect as many of them as possible. He knows how dangerous the protomolecule can be. As such, it feels like he is operating on a much larger level of trying to maintain sustainability for Ilus. He honors what the refugees are trying to built. He's not trying to take that away or corrupt it for his own purposes. He simply operates with information that isn't wildly known. He and his team may not always be willing to share that right away. They do so out of a sense of protection knowing the devastation the protomolecule has already caused. Murtry may operate as nothing more than a cold blooded killer who dictates everyone follow his orders because he believes his power is more legitimate than any claim a Belter can provide. It's absolutely horrifying but he is a serious and lethal threat as well. The Belters try to rise up against him. However, he simply has the resources to overpower them again and again. It's brutal to watch. He presents himself as someone who wants peace. However, he may just corrupt the ambitions of what is possible on this new planet. Ilus has become the identity of this place. And yet, the system at large may be trying to invalidate that discovery by ripping away any contribution provided by the Belters including its name. Referring to the planet as New Terra is a way to articulate that immediately. Those who see the planet as Ilus have a respect for what the Belter refugees want to do here. It can just come at a cost because of the forces at play that no one else entirely understands. But there are so many failings of humanity that also stand in the way of civilization thriving once more. Some times, those threats are clear. A person has to stand by their convictions no matter what even though it may lead to their deaths because of the imbalance of power and control. Those rules are changing. However, this season shows just how slow it is to change the minds of people who have grown accustomed to a certain world order.