The Expanse Recap — Dandelion Sky

Season 3 / Episode 10, “Dandelion Sky” / Syfy

Episode 9 left us all floating. Alex and Amos are alone on the Roci with no idea what’s going on. Naomi is on her way, but alone as well and unaware of what’s happened on the Roci in her absence. Crazy rich woman Melba (real name Clarissa Mao) seems to be the only person who’s got a direction, and that direction is to ruin James Holden’s life. Oh, and Holden? He’s literally floating, having left the Roci and taken off towards the nucleus of the bubble under the direction of ProtoMiller. Beltalowda, no one has any idea what’s going on. The disorientation and conflict is fantastic. I think we’re out of the lull of the season and off to a manic climax. Let’s go.

The Roci

Alex and Amos receive Holden’s good bye message, telling them that he’s off following ProtoMiller’s directions. Oh, and that he loves them.

The Void

Holden has most of his conversations this episode with ProtoMiller while floating through space. The visual impact is, frankly, underwhelming. ProtoMiller gets in quite a few info-dumps while they’re out there, however. In the first one, he tells Holden what we already know: that Holden has an almost-predestined ability to be in the center of any shitstorm that the solar system can gin up. The only person who’s constantly fighting this fact is, actually, Holden. Everyone else wants him to be a hero. Why doesn’t he want to be one?

As much as it annoys me that the most basic white guy in the galaxy is OF COURSE the hero instead of any number of more interesting and qualified other characters, I also agree with ProtoMiller. Holden should just grab the sword and save the princess or whatever. Continuing to pretend like he isn’t special is just wasting everyone’s time.

The UNN Thomas Prince

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Finally, FINALLY the Earthers are going through the ring. I’ve said it before, but how each faction goes through the ring tells you so much about their cultural personality. The Martians go through it to enforce the law. The Belters slam into it in the name of love, then speed in definitely thereafter. The Earthers? Lawd. Slow and steady, unimaginative and uninspired. The only people on the ship who aren’t terrified and just want to go home are Tilly; the heiress who can pull some strings, and Rev. Anna, who’s just in awe of the universe. She’s hoping to see God’s handwriting in the book of nature as they journey through the ring.

Rev Anna’s metaphysical moment is interrupted by this guy: Nemeroff from the First Methodist Church of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He desperately wants to talk about God, destiny, the meaning of the ring. Blah Blah Blah. All his talking is really harshing the Rev’s datascreen watching, so she swats him away like you wave off your partner who is talking during the Cavs/Warriors game. Yeah yeah, God loves you and so do I. Now, as we all know, God don’t like ugly. This will come back on Rev Anna as sure as Methodists are on time every Sunday morning.


THE EXPANSE — “Dandelion Sky” Episode 310 — Pictured: Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata — (Photo by: Rafy/Syfy)

She’s in space. The Martians threaten her, that’s their M.O. She tries to talk sense, but no one out here needs any sense.

The Martian Drop Ship

Flip to the Martians about to follow Holden to the center. Of course, Bobbie Draper is on the drop ship. Her fellow Marines don’t quite believe in her loyalty, but she traveled with Holden for a while after all and has good things to say about him and his crew. Bobbie’s not here for some noobs questioning her resolve, though. She hands out that trademark stare and the Marines keep their further opinions to themselves.

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Draper does try to talk to Holden herself, but she quickly susses out that he’s either 1) not alone or 2) absolutely out of his gourd. Either way, they have to hurry to intercept.

The Roci

Now left to their own devices, Alex wants to fly away and Amos wants to start shooting at the Martians with everything they have left. With no one left to hide behind, their personalities shine through. Amos despite his usual behavior, proves himself a motivator and a leader without having to threaten to break Alex’s knees.
We also find out that while Amos is as freaked out as Alex is, Amos can’t feel any fear. What’s up with that? *files that away for later*

The Thomas Prince

The Earthers are just here at this point to do some explanatory chitchat about fields and speed limits and experiments. Melba the Murderous uses her tech know-how to find the Roci, but finds out she can’t get there before the Martians do.

The Behemoth

THE EXPANSE — “Dandelion Sky” Episode 310 — Pictured: (l-r) Cara Gee as Drummer, David Strathairn as Klaes Ashford — (Photo by: Rafy/Syfy)

Unsurprisingly now that Naomi is gone, Drummer and Ashford are at each other’s throats. While Drummer is trying to pull together some probes, Ashford is talking mutiny. His boyos are up for it, but he tells them to keep their mouths shut. He has his own plan.

With that info in his pocket, Ashford finds Drummer doing Nagata’s job. He tries to commiserate with Drummer’s decision to let Naomi go — who wants a chief engineer around who doesn’t want the job? Drummer sees through all that and calls him out on his bullshit. She knows he talks dirty to her face in front of the crew, so they can see her being disrespected. So they start thinking themselves that she should be replaced. Then when she’s gone, he’s all good words for the captain. Is all a set up, yeah? All to make Ashford look like the honest straight talker who is “forced” to take over when the mutiny comes. Drummer’s not going to stand for it.

Drummer has really become one of my favorite characters. Her reluctant, and yet competent, approach to what’s going on around her is just too perfect. She’s bitterly cool, and yet not emotionless. She just gets the job done and doesn’t buy into a lot of the bullshit going on around her. I’m here for Cara Drummer, forreal forreal.

The Nucleus

Landing on the sphere, Holden insists that ProtoMiller tell him what’s going on. ProtoMiller blabs some about a records room and reading the files. It does become clear that in fact, ProtoMiller doesn’t know much more than Holden does. Does that mean that the chunk of Protomolecule in our system has been here so long, they lost touch with the homeworld? That they’re…stranded?

Inside the sphere, ProtoMiller gives Holden more information. ProtoMiller has to admit that he doesn’t exist and can’t touch things. He’s just an illusion, created by the Protomolecule to communicate with Holden. Holden doesn’t take too kindly to that, no matter how obvious it may be to you and me. ProtoMiller needs Holden to open the lock and reveal the records.

Rev Anna Learns A Lesson

What we all predicted from his intro in the opening scene did come to pass for poor Nemeroff from the First Methodist Church of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He dies by his own hand while “cleaning his firearm”. Rev Anna is shocked. She’s slapped by the realization that he was reaching out while she was too busy stargazing. She writes a stirring eulogy for his service about attending to each other no matter what else is going on around them. Is it obvious to everyone listening that she’s talking to herself, or maybe just to us?

THE EXPANSE — “Dandelion Sky” Episode 310 — Pictured: Nadine Nicole as Melba Koh — (Photo by: Rafy/Syfy)

What else is obvious is that Melba is so far gone on the psychosis charts that almost nothing can bring her back. She’s methodically trying to find away off the Thomas Prince and on to the Roci. She has to get to Holden and his crew, for whatever the next part of her plan is. Standing in the way of that is debutant Tilly, who recognizes Melba from their old drinking and being rich days on Earth.

Tilly, under the recommendation of Rev Anna and her “reach out to save someone else” sermon, makes contact with Melba. She offers to help her hire a good lawyer. This is what rich people say when they can’t say anything else, but Melba’s too far gone for the law. With one tick-tock of her tooth, she’s on that shit again and ready to tear Tilly the Rich Girl with the Heart of Gold into little floating pieces. She’ll regret it though, afterwards. That makes it ok, right?

THE EXPANSE — “Dandelion Sky” Episode 310 — Pictured: (l-r) Nadine Nicole as Melba Koh, Genelle Williams as Tilly — (Photo by: Rafy/Syfy)

The Circuit Room

Inside the Nucleus, ProtoMiller takes Holden to the records room, where a pillar reveals itself. A pillar with a gap in it. Holden’s job is to stick his hand in that gap and complete the circuit. Holden doesn’t fall for it right away. He instead decides to antagonize ProtoMiller to try to get more answers, which works about as well as you’d expect. ProtoMiller ghosts him, just in time for the Martian Marines to arrive and try to stop Holden by force.

The Martians are there to take Holden into custody. Bobbie tries real hard to play the diplomat, but Holden is too far gone. He can’t explain. He can’t sum up. He can only follow ProtoMiller’s directions and stick his hand in the mystery hole. Of course, because they’re Martians, they start shooting to stop that. The Protomolecule, which they’re standing in the middle of, isn’t having none of that. It disassembles the most aggressive Martian down to his bones and freezes the others in their tracks.

With the opportunity, Holden sticks his hand in the gap. Everything goes more than a little 2001: A Space Odyssey. Leaving Holden unconscious and alone inside the nucleus and all of us with a collection of images from which to interpret, what? Everything?

I’m hanging by a tether line in space here, waiting for next week’s episode. It is gonna be fantastic!

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  • L.E.H. Light


    Editor, Writer, Critic, Baker. Outspoken Mother. Lifelong fan of sci fi/fantasy books in all their variety. Knows a lot about very few things. She/Her/They.

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