The Expanse brought the fourth episode of its third series, “Reload.” It continues the good track record from last week, and on certain fronts, things finally start to move.
As the episode starts, Fred’s assistant secures the Navoo, the huge Mormon ship they used to try and attack Eros last season. Pinus Contorta is heading to a Martian ship debris field to resupply because they are out of ammunition. Everyone feels bad about robbing the dead. Well, everyone except Amos, naturally.
Chisjen and Bobbie discuss how they need to push Holden to become more involved in the war. Also how Chrisjen wearing a Mao suit is like wearing the skin of her dead enemy. Considering it’s probably Julie’s old suit, I wouldnt put it quite that way. Meanwhile, Dr. Meng is considering how bad the things Mao does to children are.
Holden and company find survivors on the Martian ship they’re salvaging. They take them to Pinus, and the Martians first assume they have been rescued by their own and are relieved. When they realize who exactly they are with, their view changes rather rapidly. To everyone’s sheer astonishment, Dr. Strickland didn’t respect Mao’s order to stop the project and keeps Mei’s friend in the experiment.
Ana helped the Secretary General write his speech, but he changed it according to what Errinwright the Devil told him, so now she is forced to watch him urge war. Chrisjen finally talks Holden into sending her message—to Ana—by reminding him that the next nuke could fall on Montana. Back with the Pinus, the Martian survivors attempt to take it over, but the crew—with Bobbie’s significant help—manages to stop them.
Ana prepares to go home to her lovely wife after she told the Secretary to piss off, but then the message from Chrisjen arrives. Speaking of whom, Chrisjen shows the recording of Errinwright to the most reasonable Martian survivor and instructs him to have his commanding officer hear about it and then call a particular UNN general. They let the Martians go, and Alex thanks Bobbie for her help.
Finally, Mao does another about-face regarding his decision about the future of the protomolecule program when he realizes that Mei’s friend is talking to the rest of the protomolecule. Also, Mei’s friend killed his nurse and tore her to pieces, but apparently Mao sees no danger in that.
Good job! The amount of drama has been steadily decreasing, but what was present this week actually worked pretty well. You get a team of Martian soldiers on a stolen Martian ship in the middle of a war, of course they’re going to try and take it back. In fact, my chief irritation here was how the Pinus crew seemed pretty oblivious to that option. On the other hand, Alex proved himself to be a cinnamon roll, as ever, by trying to be friends with them. Aww. I really want to see more of this guy.
Speaking of Alex, we finally got friendly interaction between him and Bobbie! I’m still a little irritated we had to wait this long, but hey. Better late then never. Plus, Bobbie’s interaction with the Martian survivors was actually fine. Friendlier than with Alex until now, in fact, which is a bit of a paradox. But I’ll take it.
Chrisjen continues both being awesome and looking damn awesome, this time in the Mao suit. Even more so when you imagine it as the skin of her enemy.
I’m markedly less thrilled with Ana’s role so far. The ending gives me hope it will improve soon, fortunately. But still, so far it was mostly “being sad because bad things happen.” That was irritating. Especially the way Errinwright very obviously baited her and provoked her, and she seemed to buy all of it. It was extremely satisfying to see her spit in his face, or near enough, towards the end.
That brings us to Errinwright. He is becoming more and more evil. Downright sadistic. The way he led Ana to sit right in the center at the UN so that she had front stage for her ruined speech left me irritated. I mean, why? Why would he feel the need to do something like that when he was torn about his villainy about two weeks ago, in-universe? I get that he would despise Ana for being a risk to his manipulations of the Secretary, but this is fast becoming a caricature not a character.
And while we are on the topic of bad guys. I know I praised what they were doing with Mao last week, but this week I’m taking it back. How many times are we going to watch him change his mind? Are we supposed to be thrilled again next week when he feels another twinge of conscience? That whole thing was pointless and only took time off our screens. We all knew Strickland was going to continue the research right from the start. But something sensible could have been done with Mao. It seems the opportunity will be missed.
Also, if it took the Protogen experts this long to realize the protomolecule was communicating, while Holden and company knew it all along, they are really, really slow. These are supposed to be top level scientists, I don’t buy it.