The Expanse Recap — “Reload”

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Season 3 / Episode 4 / SyFy Channel

Reload is an appropriate title for this episode, it is a pause from a few events to allow some consequences, to occur. However, in some cases, those consequences just turn the juice up higher. This is also a slightly slower episode after the rush of the first few, which is to be expected. Is this a return to some of the features of season 2 that I didn’t like (a.k.a. Holden the moodiest white guy in space)? Let’s see…

Space with the Belters


As you may recall, Johnson of Tycho station has sent his ever-capable second in command, Drummer, off to recapture the L.D.S.S. Nauvoo. She goes out and does just that, with a consummate crew of salvage professionals, even if in some senses the space here between “salvage” and “pirate” is thin. There’s a lot of salvage piracy in this episode, now that I think of it.
This interlude does a couple of things.

  1. it shows why Drummer is the best.
  2. it gives us a refresher on the Nauvoo, how big it is, and how much of a difference it can make to Johnson’s war effort.
  3. it allows the show to demonstrate their command of science/physics.

These are all good things to keep in mind as the season progresses. I do hope Drummer gets to stay in the game as long as possible.

The Roci


Speaking of pirates, the crew of the Roci is cruising the debris field of a recent space battle, looking to pick up some gas and ammunition. This kicks off a moral conversation among the crew. Alex is feeling his Martian-ness today, and wondering if any of these people were friends of his (friends he left back on Mars when he, you know, ran off to find better things to do like fuck around on an ice freighter, but I digress). Holden is reluctantly for the salvage mission. Naomi thinks it is perfectly practical. And Amos? Well Amos continues to be Amos:

“Dead people don’t need their stuff.”

True Facts. Real Life.

Throughout the mission, Holden and Naomi keep trading heavy glances, which means that that ship is being retrofitted like the Nauvoo and about to set sail once again. Much to my dismay. They’ll be kissing again soon.

Meanwhile, Bobbie and Avasarala are chillin. Avasarala looking awfully hot in a racing jump suit. (Shout out for sexy older women everywhere!) They’ve got communicators now, but no contact off ship. Avasarala determines to push Holden off the fence, which given his past will only take a slight change in gravity.

The crew decides on the Kittur Chennamma as their target and gets to business. This is a mainstream sci-fi show featuring a ship named after a revolutionary Indian queen from the days of British Rule. Let’s just take our regularly scheduled pause and appreciate the diversity of cultures that The Expanse delivers.
On the Kittur, Holden et al. find the ship is out of water and therefore oxygen and air. But it is fully loaded on ammo and fuel, so things are looking up…until they’re not. They soon find 3 survivors, clearly kids, barely hanging on. They’re taken directly to The Roci.

U.N.N.

Pastor Anna is treated to a front row seat of what kind of ambitious puppet the SecGen is and what kind of class-A motherfucker who pulls the strings Errinwright is. It isn’t a surprise to us, we know who Errinwright is. This speech shatters Anna as she realizes that her words, her moral certainty, has been twisted to justify a full-scale assault and “re-colonization” of Mars. Errinwright does make one mistake: he gloats, turning to Anna and thanking her for her “help”. It seals the deal, so she really knows who’s behind all this. If he’d just kept his mouth shut, there could have been some nagging doubt, but now, she knows. And given the steely center that Anna has demonstrated thus far, he’s going to be sorry he tipped her off.

Io

The Agatha King is on the way to the secret science lab to collect the blue goo, while Jules-Pierre, who inspired by his paternal instinct has ended the experiment, bugs out with the kids. Not that evil scientist Strickland listened to that cease and desist order. Great men have to shoulder the burden of history, you know. So the experimentation continues. The experiment, our friend Katoa, is moving into the last phase and starting to see energy as patterns of light. This ends well, honest.

The Med Bay of the Roci, Now with 3 Extra Martians

Whoa my man, how’d they think this would go?
They take on 3 wounded, terrified young martian ensigns…onto their stolen Martian ship, which happens to have 2 different Martians on board who are ditching the war entirely. Holden, in his misguided optimism thinks this is a thing he can talk his way out of. The Martians aren’t really hearing that. Alex, decides to play nice.

Now this is where Alex really gets on my nerves. Dude left Mars, abandoned his family, and ran around on an ice freighter for Bast-knows-how-long, leaving everything behind of his own accord. Because he needed to find himself, okay sure. It happens. But as soon as he thinks he’s going to die, he calls his wife looking for forgiveness. As soon as he sees some other Martians, he tries to play like they’re all on the same team. He’s so sad they’re dying. He’s so happy to feed them belter food. Alex, y’all ain’t on the same team, my friend. YOU LEFT THEIR TEAM. If you were “one of them” you wouldn’t be riding around with the Roci. It is all part and parcel of the weakness of Alex’s personality (and the strength of the writing of the show) that he *believes* he’s a part of anything he wants, without having to pay the price that goes with belonging. The Martian ensigns, including the brown skinned one who barely has any lines, rightfully treat him like the asshole pretender he is and kick the shit out of him.

This contrasts sharply with Bobbie’s behavior towards the Martian ensigns. She *knows* she left them behind, that they are no longer part of the same squad. She doesn’t pretend they are all friends, but she does demand her respect, which they give. Bobbie has no illusions about what she’s doing, while Alex is drowning in his illusions daily.

On the Deck of the Roci, Now with 3 Extra Martians

Once the Ensign squad throws the beating on Alex and tries to take over the ship, things get a little tense. Holden earns a broken nose taking down the silent brown skinned guy. He then, with blood dripping down his face, looks the Smart Guy and the Blond Woman in the face and says, “Yo, you’ve got 3 minutes till Amos gets here, and when he does, you’re going to be eating that belter food through a straw. Let me tell you what he did to this one guy with a can of spam…” But before Amos can show, Bobbie comes in. Ah, Bobbie.

Give me a minute to talk my shit about Bobbie. One of the many many things I like about her portrayal is that she’s a tough woman who moves her body like a person who’s used to punching the everliving shit out of things. Tough women are often waifish, quick and lithe like Black Widow, or they’re tough because they are mothers, lovers, wives. Bobbie is tough as shit because she.just.is. When she walks in a room, grown ass dudes look down. When she squares up, trained soldiers step back. She takes one look around the deck, utterly unafraid, and just her presence changes everything.

Smart Guy takes one good look at Bobbie and makes his call: “Yo, look at her suit. She will shove that gun All.The.Way.Up.Your.Shit.”
Bobbie says: “I don’t want to have to do that…”
Implied, “but I will”.

They settle it all up pretty quick after that.

The 3 Martians are dropped back on the Kittur with enough water, air, and fuel and a message for their high command. Off they go!

Holden Back on his Bulls**t Again


Avasarala gets a hold of Holden’s ear and bends it, saying the one thing no self respecting save-a-hoe can resist: Don’t you want to be the hero your mother thinks you are?

No. I want to live. And if my mother knew what kind of hero you’re trying to get me to be, she’d tell me cut out all this foolishness and go get a job. My mother didn’t raise a hero. She raised a survivor. But Holden’s mom? Well, she had 7 men to put up with, so there’s no telling what she had to put up with on the daily. (Bast wept.) So Holden? He falls for Avasarala’s story like the sucker he is, and lets Avasarala tight beam their evidence to Pastor Anna at the U.N.N. the hope is that Anna will show the evidence to the SecGen and get Errinwright a one-way ticket to prison.

Now I’m not a genius, but I can tell that the SecGen is a bit too far gone with Errinwright to have this whole plan go off without a hitch. Maybe he surprises me and finds a spine, but I think all the self-congratulatory backpatting the SecGen has been doing has permanently bent it. He may have to beg/borrow/steal one.

Meanwhile, Anna just wants to go home. But now that she knows what’s what, she can’t turn her back on the truth. Integrity is a helluvathing.

Speaking of integrity…

Io, With the Protomolecule

Surprising no one who has ever seen a horror movie, Katoa goes full bloodbath on his nurse and um…disassembles her. Now here’s the weird part: This make Jules-Pierre want to continue the experiments! Like… weren’t you trying to save the children like 5 minutes ago? But now that you know you’re 100% for sure that feeding them blue goo turns them into tools of an utterly uncaring alien, NOW this is a good idea? This is how your daughter got got, Jules-Pierre. I hope she comes back for you with a vengeance.

Oh and that ship?

Holden and Naomi share one of their weird supposedly passionate glances at the end of the episode, and they smile at each other. They’re going to be kissing again by the end of next episode. Ick.

We’ll be covering all of The Expanse so come back weekly for new recaps and other news under the The Expanse tag.

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  • L.E.H. Light

    Editor/Reviewer

    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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