During the last episode of The Expanse in “Rock Bottom” we found out that Colonel Frederick Lucius Johnson (Chad L. Coleman) had helped our heroes our heroes, James Holden (Steven Strait), Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper), Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar), and Amos Burton (Wes Chatham) become the Cool Kids of Tycho Station.
Colonel Johnson provided our heroes with a retrofit of their MCRN Frigate warship to appear to be a humble “gas freighter”, sending them down the “Middle of the Road” to avoid having the MCRN delving into new aspects of their mission to ascertain the answers about who attacked the Canterbury that lead to the destruction of the MCRN Donnager.
Additionally, our other favorite characters, Detective Josephus Miller (Thomas Jane) and Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) also find themselves in the “Middle of the Road” on a journey to find answers to enigmas, all pushed to The Expanse “Middle of the Road” by the nefarious Colonel Johnson! Hence our feature Music News Series video is none other than The Pretenders “Middle of the Road”, sung by rock legend Chrissie Hynde, who wrote and released the top twenty hit song in 1983.
In “Windmills”, our Cool Kids head out to deep space to locate the only survivor of the Scopuli, one Lionel Polanski who has been last scene on Eros, an S-type, near-Earth asteroid approximately twenty-one by seven by seven miles wide in size. Eros is the second largest near-Earth asteroid, in effect a huge rock where mining for precious minerals has been underway for some time.
Before sharing our thoughts about “Windmills”, kudos are due the creators for retaining the adult, or “salty” language from the novels where appropriate to the context of the story arc. Critically, if the television adaption had omitted this adult “flavor”, The Expanse would, in the opinion of this editor, have been severely lessened.
The Expanse features a fourteen plus rating in Canada, known as the “Watershed” time after 9 PM. In the United States such language is virtually forbidden on broadcast television outside what is known as the “Safe Harbor”, often included only on cable channels after 10 PM at night.
Many countries including the United Kingdom (England) have similar “Watershed” restrictions for over the air broadcasting of adult language and content, a time when children should be in bed.
In the opinion of this reviewer such restrictions are appropriate. However, considering the language I hear from children as young as eight to ten years of age would have resulted in a good washing out of the mouth with soap when I grew up in the twentieth century!
Specifically, the song, “Hypnosis Theme” by Wax Tailor, featuring Marina Quaisse in “Windmills” are of that nature.
The song, heard when Detective Miller (Thomas Jane) seeks out Anderson Dawes (Jared Harris) in his local bar hangout, is indeed hypnotic and quite enjoyable. We hope that you agree that Clinton Shorter music selections have added great meaning to the adaptation of The Expanse to television.
We have included the “cleaner” version for your enjoyment embedded below. Since our web site is available 24/7/365, even to those not of an adult age, we felt it inappropriate to include the official music video release of the same song which requires an adult login to view on most web sites we know due to the graphic nudity included.
Perhaps as interesting is the relationship of the twenty third century United Nations and private property rights. In Windmills, we will be treated to an interesting analog to current events at a farming collective, where Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) meets one of the parents of one of our heroes and learn much more back story about life on certain parts of what in present day is known as the Unites States of America.
Chrisjen’s own journey is based upon information obtained by a spy at Tycho Station in the previous episode “Rock Bottom” that leads to answers and more questions!
The excitement is non stop in “Windmills” as we will learn more about the top secret activities of the Mars Congressional Republic Navy (MCRN) in the areas beyond the control of the United Nations sphere of influence, and the OPA machinations of Anderson Dawes. All of this is accomplished with very quick fades and cuts back and forth between deep space, Ceres, and Earth!
All of this makes “Windmills” another episode worthy of a GOOGLEPLEX of A PLUS’s for outstanding science fiction entertainment, faithfully following the work of the genius author creators James SA Corey adapted for television by Naren Shankar!
Miller is making entries in his personal log and sending a message to his lover and savior, Octavia Muss (Athena Karkanis).
The pain on Miller’s face is quite clear as he struggles to comprehend just what the hell has happened that resulted in his current predicament!
Despite being terminated as a detective with Star Helix Security, Miller refuses to throw in the towel regarding his search for Julie Mao (Florence Faivre), one of the keys to unraveling the destruction of the Canterbury, the Donnager and the mystery of the Scopuli.
Miller, although hitting what appears to be Rock Bottom, is intent on restoring his career by locating and saving Julie Mao. Miller sincerely believes finding these answers will help him save his reputation and his stature at Star Helix.
They learn that the foolish actions of the crazed “Belter” from the “Rock Bottom” episode who had rammed an MCRN Patrol Ship with asteroids has placed the Martian Congressional Navy fleet on high alert, that “Mars has gone ballistic” as Alex shares with the crew after scanning the regional broadcasts that have been transmitted all over the solar system!
While scoping out the lines of demarcation and patrol routes they must attempt to cross, hopefully unhindered, Amos, Alex, Naomi and Holden discover that someone or something is transmitting from inside the “Roci”.
“Bad boy” Amos, who takes no crap from anyone is sent to investigate.
Low and behold, the Rocinante has a stowaway. The troublemaker is none other than Chrisjen Avasarala’s new spy the less than affable Kenzo (Elias Toufexis). The Expanse fans will recall that we were introduced to Kenzo in a Tycho Station bar last episode in “Rock Bottom” snooping on our heroes!
Kenzo is soon found by Amos. Both are in spacesuits. Kenzo is no match for beefy Amos who smashes and cracks Kenzo’s helmet face plate open against a bulkhead. Kenzo’s transmission is stopped and he is quickly taken by Amos to the bridge for interrogation and later imprisonment in an airlock aboard the Rocinante.
The collective area is private property, indicating that the United Nations is respecting farming collectives and has not yet been able to take control of everything on Earth in the twenty third century, and in fact appears to be afraid of the farming collectives area as a whole. The area is something akin to the patriots of Bundy Ranch where the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) attempted to use Gestapo tactics to stop ranchers from their constitutional rights to simply graze cattle as provided under settled law established over 150 years ago.
At this point, it is worth noting that it appears that the United Nations is the dominant governmental structure on Earth in the twenty third century. It would also appear that nations such as the United States have virtually ceased to exist. While this aspect of the story arc is true to the book series, it is not much comfort to present day well educated inhabitants of Earth who know that the United Nations is currently a vile cesspool of corruption and nefarious activities in its own right!
Chrisjen is being monitored overhead outside the property line and is warned to not proceed. Chrisjen tells the pilot to not interfere or face “Basic rations” within 30 days. The pilot that brought Chrisjen immediately agrees to cooperate.
On a mission of her own, based on her spy Kenzo’s data, Chrisjen is met by Elise Holden (Francis Fisher), birth mother of our hero James Holden!
Segue to Ceres Station where Miller heads for the shipping docks and a local bar. Here he taunts the local OPA who is unaware he has been fired. When he is confronted by Anderson Dawes, the man who tried to have him killed, Dawes calls him his guest, offers Miller a drinks and reveals to all that Miller is no longer an employee of Star Helix.
The OPA thugs back off as Miller and Dawes verbally spar about recent events including the dispatching of two OPA operatives instructed to kill Miller.
However, Dawes is duly impressed with Miller’s newfound passion and determination to seek justice. Dawes even compliments Miller stating “you might be a true Belter after all”.
Dawes continues to educate Miller with his philosophy “Maybe you haven’t lost everything yet”. Dawes continues to retort to the former detective. “When you do, you’ll know your way home. And it will welcome you.”
Back on Earth, Chrisjen Avasarala is welcomed, somewhat reluctantly, by Holden’s mother, Elise. Chrisjen’s purpose is to obtain insight into James Holden’s character. Chrisjen, at this point, is unaware that our hero Holden had nothing to do with the destruction of the ice freighter Canterbury or the MCRN Donnager.
However, Chrisjen suspects that Holden may be the terrorist from a “cult of political extremists” cultivated at the collective who is responsible for bringing TPTB to the brink of war in our solar system. Viewer must realize that Chrisjen is not playing with a “full deck” (of cards) since her only verifiable information about Holden is a twenty some minute recording obtained via Kenzo, her spy on Tycho Station.
An MCRN scout ship is now vectoring which demands the Rocinante’s bill of lading and flight plan. Bad news! MCRN regulation “A066” is invoked by the officers about the approaching scout ship. Our heroes are about to be boarded!
Kenzo is taken by Amos to an airlock. Kenzo claims he can be of great assistance if only given a chance. Amos says he will be back, whereby Kenzo promptly begins disassembling circuit boards to boast his transmission back to Earth. It appears that our troublemaking stowaway is part cybernetic, capable of reading the circuit diagrams with his computer enhanced eyes!
During the broadcast, many fans on Twitter wanted Amos to simply release Kenzo into space. This editor was among those voting yes for Kenzo to be “Lost in Space”! As we will find out shortly, it is a damn good thing Kenzo was kept alive!
Back to Ceres Station we observe Miller breaking into Julie Mao’s apartment. Miller receives a message from his friend and former colleague Inspector Sematimba (Kevin Hanchard) who calls him an “ass_ole”. Sematimba informs Miller that the missing ship Anubis’ shuttle is currently accumulating up dock fees on the asteroid and to watch his step on Ceres.
As he prepares to leave the apartment, Miller finds Julie Mao’s necklace and takes it with him. Miller returns to his own apartment, where he collects a bunch of local casino chips. Apparently this is Miller’s stash of graft and bribes from his entire career on Ceres Station.
Surprisingly, we have witnessed Miller refusing booze recently and in another uncharacteristic gesture, Miller hangs up his trademark Fedora hat on a wall peg, signifying that he is leaving his former life behind. Miller heads to his favorite casino to exchange the chips for credits.
A few moments are focused on Elise Holden. She is reticent to cooperate until Chrisjen reveals how her own son died. Elise reveals that she reared her son “Jimmy” Holden to inherit and take over the farm.
Quick scene switch to the Rocinante. With the pressure building due to the approach of the MCRN, Kenzo is taken back to the bridge and locked in a jump chair. Kenzo reveals several details about MCRN warships. Kenzo also admits that he is a spy when asked how he knows so much.
When the Rocinante is approached by a Martian scout ship with boarding platform extended, Kenzo informs the crew that “Roci”, being a former Martian Frigate (warship), the Rocinante should have a series of special code words that tell other Martian ships to back off hidden in an operatives locker. Alex confirms this with the now famous “Donkeyballs” story that hit Twitter and Facebook like a storm during the broadcast!
Octavia expresses that she was deeply concerned that she was going to find Miller with his “brains splattered on the wall”!
Miller complies with honest answers. After all, he owes his life, his loyalty, and importantly, his love to Octavia. Muss offers to come along. She wants to help and “you’re need someone to watch your back, a partner” during his journey to the Eros Station asteroid.
Miller is genuinely concerned for Octavia’s safety, knowing it will be very dangerous to pursue the Julie Mao matter further. Miller almost hugs Octavia, stating that he must “do this one alone” and “you can’t come with me”. Octavia wishes Miller good luck, turns and walks away.
This appears to be a permanent goodbye to his former colleague and lover. This conclusions is “backed up” by the story arc. Sadly the lovely Athena Karkanis is not slated to appear in further season one episodes according to available information.
In their final moments together, and for some reason not entirely clear, Elise shares that on the day before “Jimmy’s” his eighteenth birthday, she takes him to the property line and tells him to leave the collective and to get as far away from the collective “as he could”.
Chrisjen believes Elise and leaves the farm, confirming without saying so directly, under Elise’s probing questioning, that her son is still alive. Prior to leaving the collective, Chrisjen admits flat out that Holden is indeed alive.
On board the Rocinante, Amos and Alex are cutting into the operations locker while Naomi prepares to cut power to avoid the fail safes from kicking in with another great line to Kenzo “you underestimate my ability to break things”!
Amos is certain they will not make it in time and heads to the airlock to ambush and dispose of the Martian soldiers.
Holden follows Amos and points a gun at his head, claiming he will not allow the MCRN, the same people that saved them to be murdered. Amos tells Holden to take his best shot!
In the nick of time, They cut and pry open the operations locker, utters the code words adding with a “couple of Donkey Balls”, a term that sent Twitter into a flurry of hash tagged tweets during the broadcast!
The MCRN scout ship retracts the boarding platform, telling Rocinante “received and understood” and to get their “comms checked out when you hit port” and leaves the area!
The episode winds down with Chrisjen calling for her shuttle while her boss, Errinwright contacts her about “unauthorized field trips now, eh”. Chrisjen informs Errinwright that Holden “definitely has mommy issues and problems with authority, he’s almost definitely not a terrorist mastermind”.
However, Errinwright tells Chrisjen that her spy (Kenzo) has been compromised, that Holden is on a converted MCRN gunship with fake transponder codes supplied by Fred Johnson on Tycho Station. Going from bad to worse in Chrisjen’s mind, her boss has activated a black ops team to take “Holden off the board”. YIKES! In fact, Errinwright orders Chrisjen back to the United Nations. She utters only one word …. “Shit”!
The Rocinante, now clear of MCRN tracking, continues on its way to seek out the lone survivor of the Scopuli, Lionel Polanski. Holden tells Naomi to get control of Amos. If not, since Holden is the one who made the deal with Johnson, he plans to throw Amos off the ship at their next stop.
Taking our stowaway for a much needed “leak”, Holden locks up Kenzo what appears to be the brig. At this point we do not know if Kenzo is destined to take a much needed vacation from espionage, via the Rocinante’s airlock!
In the final scene, with beautifully created via VFX on Ceres Station, a transport ship leaves space dock for to Eros. Our new “Cool Kid”, Detective Miller, now firmly on the “water wagon”, sober as a nun, is one of the passengers. Miller is witnessed fondling Julie’s necklace as he prepares for the new adventures that await him on Eros in the near future!
In closing our analysis for now, we, once again reiterate that The Expanse is outstanding entertainment that should be supported by all science fiction admirers! So we suggest that everyone be sure to tune in for exciting eighth episode of The Expanse, “Salvage” on Syfy and Space Channel!
We look forward to seeing you back here at our dedicated The Expanse series review site soon and hope you enjoy our evaluation and analysis of the this outstanding science fiction drama program!
As always, thank you for visiting WormholeRiders News Agency and we look forward to seeing you on The Other Side of the Wormhole on Twitter, or visit and like our WormholeRiders News Agency Facebook company page.