Saturday, December 14, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Expanse' - People Continue to Doubt the Information Shared by Those in Positions of Power in 'Oppressor'

Amazon's The Expanse - Episode 4.05 "Oppressor"

As tensions on Ilus reach a boiling point, Holden reveals a secret. Avasarala debates Nancy Gao, while an emergency on the Roci forces Alex and Naomi into action.

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.

"Oppressor" was written by Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck and directed by Jeff Woolnough

There is an inherent distrust in the world. People are weary of information being presented to them. They don't know if they should believe it. It could just be a fanciful story in order for someone else to manipulate them into reacting. It could also be the honest truth that has lethal consequences for those who choose to ignore it. This is such a complicated subject matter that is incredibly timely and relevant. There is a spread of misinformation in the world. In this particular universe, the Belters have been subjected to oppression for so long. They don't take anything that representatives from Earth or Mars say at face value. They just see the powerful once again trying to exploit what they have. They have to maintain a certain power structure even though it has frequently been built on the backs of millions of people to the success of a select few. Murtry is trying to honor the members of his team who were killed during their landing. That was a terrorist attack. Lucia was in on it. She just didn't want anyone to get hurt. The others were much more willing to embrace those lethal tactics in order to send a powerful message. The oppressed believe that violence is the only way to show strength. That may only further perpetuate the cycle of abuse though. The various sides of the system distrust each other. They embrace otherizing. One side simply cannot empathize with the concerns of those standing on the opposite side. It's tribalism that grows incredibly toxic until blood is spilled and lives are lost. There is a significant consequence to all of this. Lucia feels immense regret. She may be safely aboard the Rocinante in orbit. However, she no longer feels worthy of living. She should be dead just like all the other terrorists Murtry has killed. Naomi and Alex can save her life. They succeed in doing so. But all of this ultimately has to present as a choice amongst the people. A person cannot firmly decide how another should live. That is an abusive relationship that will only further spiral out of control. Alex and Naomi certainly make the decision to save Lucia. However, it's up to her to decide how to live moving forward. This was a dark and tragic moment in her life. It almost ended it. She might be able to come back. And yet, there is uncertainty about her daughter now that she is missing. That is clearly a mystery that everyone should treat much more seriously than they are right now. Of course, they are all incredibly busy at the moment because both sides are drawing their weapons and hunkering down. Holden believes that everyone needs to evacuate the planet immediately. He believes his word should be trusted. But he hasn't done anything to earn the trust of the people currently living on Ilus. The fellow members of the Roci crew have earned that respect. It comes from their extension of honesty and genuine actions to help the settlers. Meanwhile, Holden has been aloof because he views himself as having a much bigger mystery to solve. He is aided on this journey by the protomolecule. Everyone is instantly weary of the tale he shares about what his life has become. It's crazy for him to outline it in such a direct way. He hopes people will take it seriously. He understands the protomolecule better than anyone else in the system. However, this may only further prove the point that he is the one who has endangered the lives of everyone on the planet. The protomolecule may have been dormant on Ilus until he showed up. And now, islands on the other side of the planet are heating up and eventually reach the levels of nuclear meltdown. That's an ominous final image. It may show that it's trivial to embrace these territorial squabbles. However, it's meaningful for the people striving for a sense of legitimacy in the world. Holden wants to be honest. He doesn't know where to start. Avasarala wants to remain in power but doesn't care what voters think of her. It's a precarious situation all around because of that inherent distrust of the system and the way that things have always been. But again, the world isn't changing. The old fights are still occurring. That could be problematic for the season. Instead, it shows just how seriously the show takes its focus on humanity and what may be lost if the existential threat from the protomolecule isn't addressed sooner or later. These are big, profound questions the show continues to ask while knowing that it's much more difficult to actually find a way to change hearts and minds. Everyone is complicated and everyone is stubborn. That can lead to either triumph or disaster. Right now, a standoff amongst humans may be averted by an alien threat. That may be good but it also showcases how there is still so much yet to be understood in the known universe.