Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Many Shades of the Expanse

Last night gave us a new episode of The Expanse that was the opposite of last week's filler episode. Lots of stuff happened this time--really well executed stuff. SyFy already looked like assholes last week for cancelling The Expanse, they look colossally obnoxious now. In the unlikely event that someone else doesn't pick up the series, this one is destined to sit alongside shows like Firefly and Farscape. It'll cement a beloved legacy for the show while crystallising the image of the suits behind the cancelling as clueless dicks.

Spoilers behind the screenshot

Or maybe, like Gillis (Jonathan Whittaker), they'll preserve their reputation by the timely reveal of a powerful traitor like Errinwright (Shawn Doyle). I liked that scene although I didn't believe someone as cagey as Gillis would openly tell Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell) how glad he was to have someone to take the PR hit. But it was kind of worth it for the "Oh . . . shit" look on her face.

Still, she's probably better off with a guy who wants to do the right thing to look good than with the guy who apparently is committed on an ideological level. The Expanse often questions how really constructive it is to be dedicated to an ideal, to be pragmatic, or to be impulsive. One of the weaker points in the episode, Amos (Wes Chatham) with his "I am that guy" moment, executing the doctor who'd experimented on children so Prax (Terry Chen) wouldn't have to, was predictable but again demonstrated how moral purity doesn't get the job done--or possibly gets the wrong job done. But, like John Wayne in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, Amos sees there needs to be Praxes who aren't "that guy".

For some much more effective gunplay, we had Bobbie (Frankie Adams) and her cat and mouse with that poor kid who'd become a protomolecule hybrid. This sequence was way better than anything in the new Avengers movie because the action always made it clear exactly what each participant was capable of and what their motivation was. Bobbie's rear view camera on her helmet was nicely used, trusting an audience probably used to video games to follow it. And everything was coordinated so we had a sense of how fast Bobbie could move in comparison to the monster. A really effective sequence.

The action sequence on the Agatha King was pretty good, too, with that poor plucky UNN sailor (Sydney Meyer) we barely got to know. Meanwhile, Alex (Cas Anvar) and Naomi (Dominique Tipper) made it to the funkiest bridge in the galaxy.

I'm not sorry to see Admiral Nguyen (Byron Mann) go. Not so much because he's despicable as that he's more two dimensional than the villains back on Earth.

The end of the episode was good in spite of what looked like the most awkward post-coital cuddle I've ever seen on television.

I know the bunks are small but those two look like hastily stashed department store mannequins. Not much room for expanse there. I do like how consistently Holden's (Steven Strait) nose has stayed red since it was punched a couple episodes back. I love this show's attention to detail.

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