The Expanse looks to shift dynamics as the season approaches its climax with the penultimate episode, “The Monster and The Rocket”.
In the episode, “The Hunt for the Protomolecule hybrid is on, while Avasarala and Bobbie walk into the lion’s den”.
On last week’s episode, Martian Marine Bobbie Draper was relieved of her position and requested asylum from the UN. Meanwhile, Avasarala and Errinwright put pressure on the family of Jules-Pierre Mao to draw him out. This plan was successful but now Mao wants to meet Avasarala in what is very likely a trap. Fortunately, based on the episode description it looks as though Bobbie will be coming along to provide some muscle.
This show has not really had a central villain in the traditional sense. Scientists and political agents have meddled with extraterrestrial elements beyond their control or understanding for political advantage. Errinwright was a primary antagonist but with his recent turnaround we see that he was merely doing what he thought was right to protect Earth.
The Protomolecule has proven incredibly dangerous but not necessarily malevolent. It is more a force of nature to be survived but one that can also be manipulated for nefarious aims. Now it appears that Jules-Pierre Mao is emerging as the main villain at this point in the series.
What makes Mao so tricky is we don’t know enough about him to truly understand all of his motivations. Therefore we don’t know what sort of trap or agenda he has planned for his meeting with Avasarala. He has worked with Earth and now Mars but to what end? Are his motivations financial or a grasp for power? Or does he simply want to push the boundaries of science with no regard for the consequences?
Although it seems so, we also don’t know for certain that he is the head of the snake. In “The Monster and The Rocket”, while some of our heroes will be confronting Dr. Frankenstein, others will be hunting his monster.
At the end of the last episode the Roci crew split up, potentially changing the dynamic of the show moving forward. Amos and Naomi are going to help people escape Ganymede on the Somnambulist. Meanwhile, Prax, Holden and Alex set out to hunt the Protomolecule hybrid.
The hybrid took out well armed and well trained squads of UN soldiers and Martian Marines with little difficulty. Our hunters may find that man is not, in fact, the most dangerous game.
These elements combine for what should be the type of tense episode The Expanse specializes in. Not to mention there is still the wild card that is the Eros wreckage on Venus. This will undoubtedly play some sort of role otherwise there would have been no reason to continue this thread following the destruction of Eros and Miller’s sacrifice.
I do not know how this seemingly disparate situation will factor in. But I suspect what happens on Venus may change our understanding of the Protomolecule and how we view it.
Here is a clip from the episode:
The Expanse airs Wednesday’s at 10/9c on Syfy.