THE EXPANSE – Season 2 Episode 9 SPOILERS
Amos takes it upon himself (quite rightly) to tell Prax about the protomolecule. “He’s helping us out,” Amos says when Holden finds out. “We should be straight with him.” Amos is rapidly becoming the voice of ethics in this series. (It’s sort of like what happened with D’Avin in the second season of KILLJOYS.) Holden fails to learn from this, and his refusal to include potential allies in his plans results in tragedy later in the episode.
After Holden and the gang hijack a relief ship and head for Ganymede, Alex (Cas Anvar) takes The Rocinante and hides in a crater on Cyllene (Jupiter XLVIII [order of discovery] ) and monitors the progress of the mission from there. Long range sensors must be pretty good to watch events on Ganymede from that distance (about 22 million kilometers), but if Holden and Prax take longer than a few days to do what they need to do, The Rocinante will need to move, or lose sight of Ganymede when it moves behind Jupiter.
Meanwhile, the U.N.S. Arboghast (possibly named after James Arboghast, designer of a font named Ganymede) arrives in orbit around Venus and finds a Martian ship already there. After a discussion of the Drake equation (Avasarala’s spy is optimistic about the possibilities of finding alien life, but Colonel Janus is not.) the crew spots what appears to be an immense vortex full of organic compounds at the Eros crash site.
Bobbi Draper arrives on Earth and testifies about what happened on Ganymede. Avasarala skillfully manipulates the witness into revealing some of what actually happened. (Is Avasarala a lawyer? She has excellent cross-examination technique.) Avasarala now knows about the guy without a vac suit, and her inside guy on The Arboghast lets her know about the Venus vortex. Holden knows about none of this stuff.
Prax tells Holden about his daughter’s genetic disorder, and continues: “She would have died if we’d been anywhere else. But Ganymede has a natural magnetosphere; that’s why everybody goes there to gestate. Pediatric care is state-of-the-art.” It is true that Ganymede has its own (relatively small) magnetic field, and that might provide protection from the moon’s quite high radiation levels in some geographical areas, but Callisto, which orbits outside of Jupiter’s radiation belts and has only 1.25% of Ganymede’s radiation levels, would seem to be a much safer place for gestation.
The protomolecule seems to be altering Venus the same way it changed Eros. When proto-Venus communicates, will it use the voice of Miller, or Julie Mao?
Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, wrote an article for the Washington Post titled The best show about international relations on television right now is on — wait for it — Syfy. “Unlike Firefly,” says Drezner, “the politics on this show are the text and not the subtext. The possibility of conflict, both interpersonal and interplanetary, is ever-present…The Belters and Martians are distinct cultures because they grow up in different environments from Earth — lower gravity and such. And their complaints about Earthers — a civilization that despoiled the one planet in the system with a blue sky — seem particularly trenchant.”
Peter Williams (Santichai Suputayaporn) is Pony Macfarlane in HERO, a film inspired by the life and times of Caribbean war hero, judge, and diplomat Ulric Cross. The film explores not just the life, but also the times into which the man was born. “It’s important to tell stories that illuminate the history of Caribbean people,” writer/director Frances-Anne Solomon told the Trinidad Express. “These were not the stories we were told at schools — we learned about queens and kings because the narrative was colonial…[Cross] is a man who is almost 96 and his life spans the whole of the 20th century. He was a war hero; he was also a lawyer, an attorney general in the Cameroon at one point and a high court judge.” A trailer is available on Vimeo. HERO will be released in Canada on 4 September.
Valerie Buhagiar‘s latest feature film, IT’S HARD TO BE HUMAN, is a surreal drama in which God kicks his teenage daughter Agnes out of heaven and refuses to let her back in until she learns empathy. (The story was inspired by Strindberg’s ‘A Dream Play’) “It’s going to be beautiful,” Buhagiar says of the film, “and hurtful, and funny, and musical and rich with metaphors and images but most of all full of love. It’ll punch you in the heart and make you see things a little differently.” IT’S HARD TO BE HUMAN is currently in post-production, and should be released later this year. — Buhagiar is also co-creator (with Steve Singh) and director of the upcoming webseries LIFE COACH, a comedy about a recently separated single mom (played by Rachel Wilson) who decides, despite a complete lack of training, to become a Life Coach. A trailer is available on YouTube.