The Expanse Recap: Cascade

Season 2 / Episode 10 /SyFy Channel

Last week’s episode, “The Weeping Sonnambulist,” was slow. It was a consequences episode. When a team or a plot is in full swing, it is easy to forget there are loads of non-involved people on the edges of the action, and they have opinions and impacts too. Episode 9 was all consequences as Holden (or maybe Amos, who can say) dropped a bullet in the belly of a belter in the name of protecting him. Irony, ah irony, you’re a bitch. That’s the kind of consequence you get when you’re out playing fast and loose by your own rules, or as the beltalowda lady said:
[quote_simple]”So go save the world if you think you can; I’ll settle for helping a few of the poor souls who have to live in it.”[/quote_simple]
doomed couple
Ep 9 is also where Avasarala meets Bobbi Draper for the first time. Ah, Roberta “Bobbi” Draper. I’ll save you the “Why I love Bobbi” commentary (it is long), but just watch this woman move. She’s built like a fighter (Frankie Adams the actress is a boxer IRL) and she talks like she’s just one bad day from punching you directly in the face. Or maybe one good day. She is real rap raw — while Avasarala is absolutely not, which means that their meet-up is everything you want.
where you going 1
where you going 2
Avasarala is not here for you interruptions, Martian.

Then it all wraps up with more consequences as life is discovered in the impact crater on Venus, proving that while Eros missed earth, the Miller/Mao connection may have made a bigger mess. Which is what happens when you romance an alien lifeform in the shape of a woman — a bigger mess. Who’d have guessed that a life force capable of surviving on Phoebe (a moon so far from the sun the average temp is -389 degrees) and of steering an asteroid at the edge of the laws of motion, could ALSO survive on Venus.

raise hand
Raise your hand if you guessed it too.

Ep 10 follows the split story, with the Rocinate investigating another doomed space outpost, this time Ganymede. The crew, Holden, Naomi, Amos and their newest recruit, Prax the dad/botanist, are on the hunt for Prax’s daughter Mai. Prax because he’s a dad doing a dad thing. The rest because they believe that a scientist associated with Protogen and therefore with the protomolecule may have survived the destruction of the domes and in fact had something to do with the attack that precipitated it.

Now honestly, I’m a little skeptical on the connection they’ve made here: just cause dude is an employee doesn’t mean he’s on the side of evil. And as they don’t know what Bobbi Draper saw out there when her squad got flattened, how do they know the protomolecule is involved at all? They don’t. But sometimes in television, as in life, you follow a hunch. Would I follow a hunch to a moon in orbit around Jupiter? Probably not, but that’s why I’m a writer and not a belter.

Meanwhile Draper decides she’s going on a field trip to see the ocean. It isn’t clear if she’s figured out what kind of a pawn she’s being played for, but she definitely isn’t coming halfway across the system and not seeing the water. Her single mindedness betrays a hint of an internal emotional life that we haven’t seen from her before. There’s something about the dream of Mars, and the idea of a body of water so big you can’t see the other side of it, that is worth the court-martial. And breaking out of your room with a butter knife. And a fall from a 4th story window. And a drag through the slums of future NYC. Damn. She really wants to see the ocean.
Avasarala knows that Draper is in the wind, so her personal CIA ghost goes about tracking her down for a talk. Don’t talk to Avasarala, just don’t. She will have you admitting to all kinds of shit. That’s the problem with being a manipulative power broker, even when you have good intentions no one believes you. Which is why Errinwright’s confession in the middle of the episode is so hollow. He knows what we know, that Avasarala ends people’s lives then drinks their wine and steals their pencils. We ALL KNOW Errinwright is no good, and he knows the only way to have Avasarala not be all in his ketchup is to pretend he doesn’t have any. He’s playing her. How long until his ultimate but unsurprising betrayal? Well this is ep 10 of 13, so…pretty soon.

But anyway, back to Draper, because her hero’s journey in this episode is actually interesting as we finally get to see how regular people on earth are living out in the streets.
That bad, huh?

There have been hints all along that the average Earther lives on basic assistance with little chance for advancement. I didn’t realize that meant they live in culverts and concrete bunkers. It was like Oakland in the summertime. And old girl who won’t give directions without a cut? Yo, the future sucks.

That is until the episode’s Magical Negro turns up and trades Bobbi directions to the ocean, and tips on how to walk, for some bone pills and his quick life story. It is a pretty sad story, to be fair — 40+ years to be accepted to nursing school? the future REALLY sucks — but as suddenly as he’s there, he’s gone. Poof.

Interesting that the poor on Earth have it just about as bad as the belters, except there’s air and gravity. Which leads me to question why Holden is rampaging around in space saving, I don’t know, everyone, when he could be on Earth saving Earthers. Or uniting Earthers and Belters in some kind of system-wide revolution.

Whatever, Earth is fucked. Back to the Belt.

Amos and his weapon of choice. A can of chicken.

Holden and team discover that there’s a camera jockey in Ganymede station who is trading video for food rations. They go to see him to follow the doctor’s, I mean, Mai’s trail. He’s a typical scrawny brat with all the attitude you’d expect — that is until Amos beats him down with a can of chicken spam.

Like you do.
Amos quote of the episode:
[quote_simple]I thought you said you weren’t a homicidal maniac?
What? I didn’t kill him![/quote_simple]

Cue more Amos backstory, all the facts of which support the following theories: 1) Baltimore is fucked; 3) Amos is the kind of dude who would beat you with your own arms; 2) he is also recovering, well not recovering as he isn’t getting any better, but at least a survivor of the kind of childhood trauma that even universal healthcare won’t treat. He’s pretty high-functioning all told, but eventually he’s going to go so far outside the limits that even Naomi won’t be able to reel him back in. That’ll be a bad day — or a good day for whomever he’s standing up for — but a bad day for everyone else.
Amos Prob 1
Amos prob 2

Needless to say, nothing gets your video facial recognition software running like a beat down with a can of spam. Ping! Girl found. Ping! Dark deserted section of the station. Ping! Time for the crew to go make some more poor choices.

It all wraps up with Draper and Avasarala and the ocean. Draper may be a sheltered gunner who does what she’s told but she knows evil power broker when she see one and Avasarala, wearing another one of those amazing dresses in the dirty sand, has “I’m here to manipulate you” written all over her. Draper refuses to answer any of Avasarala’s questions and tells her flat out “you’re the enemy.” Well ol’ girl, you’re about to meet the real enemy. And they aren’t wearing designer saris.

You can read all of our Expanse coverage here on the site.

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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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