THE EXPANSE – Season 3 Episode 10 – SPOILERS
After the Thomas Prince passes through The Ring, Science Officer Kolvoord (Cris Owens) and Anna Volovodov (Elizabeth Mitchell) notice that Jung-Espinoza’s ship, an MCRN probe, as well as the torpedo that the belters fired at the Rocinante are now in orbit around Ring Station, equidistant from one another. (Their configuration looks like they are orbiting at Lagrange points.) Volovodov also notices a purple glow surrounding the orbiting objects and suggests: “Maybe the purple glow is like a cyst. When you get a splinter, your body builds around it, isolating it. Infections can develop cysts. Maybe it’s interpreting these objects as threats, and that’s how it isolates them.”
The torpedo’s engine is still burning, the probe is still sending back data, and both of them are in stationary orbit. Kolvoord deduces from this that an object that exceeded the speed limit inside the ship would not be slowed. (What happens to the exhaust gasses from the torpedo’s engine? Do they accumulate inside the “cyst”?)
Meanwhile, Miller is busy explaining more stuff to Holden. It turns out that the protomolecule is what’s left of a civilization that disappeared a couple of billion years ago, but that’s not the important part. There is this exchange where Miller talks about how things work:
HOLDEN: “After all the shit we’ve been through, I’m starting to wonder if I’m cursed.”
MILLER: “Yeah, why’s that? ‘Cause out of the whole human race, you’re the one flying through the mysterious alien artifact with a dead guy?”
MILLER: “You’re just following your program. Just like me.”
HOLDEN: “Program? I always had this crazy notion about free will.”
MILLER: “Then how come it is that every time there’s a clusterfuck shit-storm situation in the universe, there’s James Holden, shrugging his shoulders, saying, ‘How the hell did I end up here?'”
HOLDEN “You’re really pumping me up for this mission.”
MILLER “You’re the patron saint of lost causes, kid. Stop running from it.”
Holden is the only child of a genetic collective consisting of eight parents, and DNA taken from all eight was artificially combined to construct him. Holden went to space to avoid being what he was designed to be. He was supposed to inherit and help preserve one of the last remaining areas of undeveloped wilderness on Earth, but his birth mother, Elise, explained to him that he could not win that battle. So Holden’s dismay at the notion that free will is an illusion is understandable.
The Martians arrive at Ring Station and attempt to use force to apprehend Holden. (There are four of the Martians and Holden is unarmed and apparently alone, so why they didn’t just walk over and grab him is something of a mystery.) Bobbi Draper tries firing some bullets which stop in mid-flight. (They do travel about a meter before stopping, so had they been fired at point-blank range, they might have been effective.) Then, when some of the alien machinery becomes active, Lieutenant Mayer (Simu Liu) panics, and tosses a grenade. Immediately, Mayer is disassembled (like the Arboghast was), and the Thomas Prince and Naomi’s skiff are enveloped in the purple haze that Volovodov likened to an encystation. (We do not see the Rocinante, or any other vessel, affected in this way.)
In an amazing bit of synchronicity, Tilly Fagan (Genelle Williams) is, at nearly that exact moment, attacked by the genetically enhanced Clarissa Mao (Nadine Nicole) whose cover she has blown. When the purple glow surrounds the Thomas Prince, the two women are propelled upward (relative to the ship) by the sudden decrease in velocity and this likely saved Fagan’s life, because otherwise Mao would certainly have killed her, just like she killed Ren on the Seung Un. (The episode ends before we find out for sure if Fagan survives.)
Lieutenant Jordaan Nemeroff (Matt Bois) becomes so terrified of what The Ring represents that he kills himself. He does this after unsuccessfully asking for help from a preoccupied Anna Volovodov. This event seems completely unconnected to the rest of the story.
After all this, Holden completes the circuit that Miller wants him to complete and gets a huge amount of memory dumped into his brain as a consequence. From what is visible in this episode, it’s hard to tell what it all means, but Holden sees a large number of portals, each with a star system at the center. Three of the portals wink out, and then a beam of energy is directed through one of those remaining, destroying the star system at the other end. Holden screams and collapses.
Terry Chen (Prax) will be Zhang Lin, Lee Berger’s friend in China, in FOREIGN SKIES, a four-part miniseries based on “Chimerica“, a play by Lucy Kirkwood that begins in China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 as photojournalist Berger (Alessandro Nivola) captures a piece of history. Some twenty years later, he is covering an American presidential election marked by debate over cheap labour and the outsourcing of jobs to Chinese factories. He becomes obsessed with a cryptic message left in a Chinese newspaper and embarks on a quest to discover the identity of the man in the photo. Sophie Okonedo (HOTEL RWANDA) is also in the cast. The series will air on Britain’s Channel 4. No release date has been announced.
Cris Owens (Kolvoord) was Jeffrey Spender, son of the cigarette-smoking man, in twelve episodes of THE X-FILES. (He also appeared as the young Carl Gerhard Bush Spender in two Season Four episodes.)
Sara Mitich (Gia in “Back to the Butcher“) is Shirley, Sal Frieland’s lover, in Andrew Niccol‘s ANON, a science fiction thriller set in a near-future world where there is no privacy or anonymity. Private memories are recorded; everyone continuously broadcasts identifying metadata; and crime almost ceases to exist. In the process of investigating a series of unsolved murders, Sal Frieland (Clive Owen) encounters a young woman (Amanda Seyfried) who broadcasts nothing. She has no identity, no history and no record. Sal’s superiors quickly become more concerned about countering anonymity than solving the murders. ANON can be streamed on Netflix (US).