The excellent excitement of The Expanse continued in the second episode of this superb science fiction saga! Our grade for The Expanse remains a well deserved solid A PLUS as we described in our review of the pilot episode “Dulcinea”, and in our analysis of episode two “The Big Empty”.
In the third episode of the outstanding scripted series of The Expanse, the visage is much like observing an onion being peeled back slowly to reveal that the political landscape of the future is much like the lessons of the past, apparently not yet learned here in present here on Earth.
The five shuttle Knight survivors from the Canterbury disaster, Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal, Wes Chatham as Amos Burton, Steven Strait as James Holden, Paulo Costanzo as Medical Tech Shed Garvey, and Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata will soon be interrogated under orders of Captain Theresa Yao (Jean Yoon), Lieutenant Lopez (Greg Bryk) and Corporal Dookie (Jordan Van Dyck) senior members of the MCRN crew aboard the Donnager.
The interrogations, including forceful methods, and mind reading drugs, will attempt, albeit unsuccessfully, to turn each of our heroes against the others to identify whom may be linked to the hijacking of the Scopuli and obliteration of the ice freighter Canterbury by nuclear device.
This development of convincing our five heroes that Mars was not involved occurs none too soon since as the message sent by James Holden (Steven Strait) in the previous episode “The Big Empty”, was not successfully jammed by the MCRN Donnager.
Holden’s message, although incorrectly pointing the finger at the Mars Congressional Republic, leads to a dangerous outbreak of riots and mayhem on Ceres station where the water supply is becoming dangerously low due to the failure of ice freighter resupply.
In “Remember The Cant”, several fabulous veteran actors, including entertainment legends Jared Harris (Fringe), Jane Moffat (Alphas), Greg Bryk (Bitten), Diana Bentley (Warehouse 13), Lola Glaudini (Criminal Minds), Martin Roach (Falling Skies), Kenneth Welsh (Stargate Atlantis), Brian J. Graham (Warehouse 13) and many others, all of whom add to the growing adventures leading to season one climax, episode ten, aptly named “Leviathan Wakes”.
“Leviathan Wakes” is actually the first science fiction novel in The Expanse series. Written in 2011, the science fiction novel was created by gifted the team known as James S. A. Corey, the pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.
“Leviathan Wakes” is followed by Caliban’s War, Abaddon’s Gate, Cibola Burn, and the recent June 2015 release of the latest novel in The Expanse series, Nemesis Games. This rich tapestry of science fiction will no doubt provide more than enough material to span the next decade on Syfy and The Space Channel in North America!
That is if we the viewers will properly support this superb scripted series!
Of great interest, and to the delight of the admirers of The Expanse, the cast, crew and creators of this fine entertainment product gleefully took to Twitter to share Behind The Scenes photos, fun facts and reveals about where the adventure of The Expanse is headed.
In the opinion of this editor, the tweet by The Expanse Producer Benjamin Cook was perhaps the most revealing of all in response to a WormholeRiders tweet “Why would Mars blow up an ice freighter” (the Canterbury)?
Benjamin Cook’s answer “@WormholeRiders how much do you know about WWI? 😉 #TheExpanse” is key to understanding the motivations of the looming war in our solar system in the future, and the state of unrest in our world today, particularly the threat of terrorist acts by the malevolent ISIS currently sweeping planet Earth.
Having been a straight A student in human history though my high school and college years, for those unfamiliar with the machinations that started World War One that ultimately led unresolved conflicts and World War Two, the OPA (Outer Planets Alliance) in The Expanse is an analog to understanding not only what happened on Earth over a century ago, but what is happening on our fair planet today.
In the story arc by the genius writing team of James S.A. Corey, brought to our screens in conjunction with Naren Shankar. The OPA began as a benevolent group, an organization that started its existence a labor union, or perhaps an advocacy for the oppressed workers in “The Belt” or Outer Planets.
Created to champion the interests of inhabitants of “The Belt” based on Tycho Station, referred to as “Belters” in The Expanse, find themselves often in direct conflict with the governments of the inner planets of the United Nations on Earth and the Mars Congressional Republic.
Unfortunately, like many unions on Earth today which have become corrupt institutions, many seeking only to extort money in the form of “union dues”.
To be clear, the idea of unions is often a good thing. The bad news is their susceptibility to corruption. This is the problem plaguing unions since their creation by humanity long ago.
In the future of The Expanse, the OPA has now taken to terrorist acts to achieve its hegemonic aims. The OPA is located on Tycho Station with a telling banner logo of a split circle.
The Outer Planets Alliance (the OPA) may be loosely described as a socialist movement. According to The Expanse story arc, the characters of the OPA are merely sympathizing with “The Belters”. However, if an open minded person studies human history, so called social movements often are cover for creating a new hegemony.
Conversely, the OPA would be described as a malevolent terrorist network (like ISIS, seeking their own hegemony, This, according to the establishments of the United Nations on Earth and the Mars Congressional Republic.
Study these similarities in human history, and you, the admirer of The Expanse, will begin to understand what drives humankind to the extremes of behavior that become the existential manifestations that have threatened peace and prosperity in the past, the evil ISIS criminal terrorist circumstances of the present, and of course, the future of humankind as represented in the outstanding Space Opera known as The Expanse!
Remember The Cant:
The episode begins on Ceres Station with Holden’s message sent last episode displaying on a huge view screen accusing the Mars Congressional Republic for the destruction of the Canterbury, something we will learn later is not correct or true.
The message Holden sent in a moment of panic has now stoked growing hatred between “The Belt” and the Mars Congressional Republic, ultimately resulting in the aforementioned rioting on Ceres, as well as murder and mayhem across the population on the deep space station.
Meanwhile, as the situation begins to boil over on Ceres Station, Detective Miller continues his search for Julie Mao, even though Captain Haddid (Lola Glaudini) ordered Miller to drop the case, this as a result of the destruction of the Canterbury.
The OPA is not recognized by Mars Congressional Republic or the United Nations on Earth who view the OPA as an unsanctioned, unruly, rag tag political group who claim to be fighting for “The Belt”. Dawes denies all knowledge of Julie Mao (Florence Faivre) and her being on board the Scopuli.
One Lieutenant Lopez (Greg Bryk) uses a series of intimidation tactics to break down the camaraderie that they have developed as survivors.
These tactics include some sort of advanced drug that allows the MCRN to read the thoughts of the person being interrogated!
Captain Yao (Jean Yoon) brings Holden and the others to the bridge of the Donnager trying to convince some of them believe that Naomi might be an OPA sleeper agent who helped destroy the Canterbury.
Captain Yao shows Holden an incoming image of an incoming ship she believes is being sent to extract OPA asset Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper)! As a former Martian Congressional Republic Navy man himself, Alex (Cas Anvar) appears to believe the theory about Naomi.
Back on Earth, Mars ends up being cleared of any possible involvement in the destruction of the Canterbury, thanks to Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), who manipulates her old friend and colleague, Franklin DeGraaf (Kenneth Welsh), the United Nations Ambassador to Mars.
Chrisjen has lied to him earlier about so called secret intelligence that the stealth ships that destroyed the Canterbury came from Mars. Self serving Chrisjen has tricked her old friend Franklin. She has him tracked and his communications tapped. His communications with Mars sources prove that no Martian stealth technology was stolen. Our ruthless Crisjen Avasarala is finally convinced the Mars Congressional Republic was not involved in the destruction of the Canterbury.
The penalty paid for Franklin Degraff exposing Mars secret weapons facilities? Franklin DeGraff is banned from Mars for the rest of his life in a poignant scene when he severs all ties with his former friend, Chrisjen, who offers “We may have stopped a war”.
The episode ends with two starling reveals. First, we have learned that Mars did not destroy the Canterbury, “Someone who’s trying to start a war,” says Chrisjen.
In the last scene of the episode, Detective Dimitri Havelock (Jay Hernandez), Millers partner, is confronted by OPA skin head street gang members.
Havelock is skewered on the wall by a huge spike like nail gun, and left for dead as they snarl “It’s just beginning” … “Remember the Cant”!
We look forward to seeing you back to our dedicated The Expanse series review site soon and hope you enjoy our evaluation and analysis of the this outstanding science fiction drama program!
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