An old friend returns and begins to drive Holden insane. Meanwhile, tensions escalate as the fleet approaches the Ring
In last week’s episode of The Expanse, the giant, squid-like object that was launched from Venus formed a massive ring on the edge of the solar system, and a Belter named Manéo decided to fly through it to impress a girl. Manéo became the first casualty of the Ring. This week, in “It Reaches Out,” Holden (Steven Strait), and only Holden, continues to see Miller (Thomas Jane) when other members of the crew aren’t around. Miller repeats a story from when he was a detective on Ceres and doesn’t appear fully aware of where he is or what’s going on. It reaches out.
Holden starts to snap when he’s unable to find anything medically wrong with himself, and Amos (Wes Chatham) catches him screaming at an empty room. (What? That’s perfectly normal.) Unsure of what to do, Amos goes to Alex (Cas Anvar) after learning that Holden has scanned himself for traces of the protomolecule 35 times despite coming up negative every time. And it reaches out. Holden uses video footage recorded by Monica (Anna Hopkins) to conclude that Miller first appeared when Manéo activated the Ring.
On the UNN Seung Un, Melba (Nadine Nicole) cleans up Ren’s body to avoid being discovered, and she finishes planting her bomb (or bombs?). Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell) notices that Melba is upset when she arrives back on the UNN Thomas Prince and goes to check on her. Melba says she’s fine and goes to detonate the explosives she planted on the UNN Seung Un, destroying it. And it reaches out.
The Rocinante begins broadcasting a falsified message from Holden claiming that he destroyed the UNN Seung Un for the Belt and that the Belt claims ownership of the Ring. On the Behemoth, Naomi (Dominique Tipper) pleads with Drummer (Cara Gee) not to fire on the Roci after Ashford (David Strathairn) says that shooting down the ship will be the only way to convince the UNN that the OPA isn’t responsible for the destruction of their ship. And it reaches out. After Miller gives Holden a clue about what to do, the Roci heads for the Ring and decelerates as it approaches to hopefully avoid being crushed by fatal g-forces. Both the missile and the Roci are grabbed by the Ring, and they begin to move towards the unknown.
Are you strapped into your crash couches? We certainly hope so because it’s time to discuss “It Reaches Out.” Let’s meet our guests for the week!
Gaius Greene (@GaiusGreene) – Lover of nature, SF, fantasy, history, mythology, and too many other things to list. Writer-in-waiting.
Bean (@Rebell117) – Just a guy who likes spaceships, whether they be from the mind of James S.A. Corey or Jeff Bezos (sorry Elon!). Also likes video games, they allow me to fly spaceships myself. Father of 2 cats.
MJ (@MjLupin22) – Aspiring artist, world traveler, coffee lover
Pirate (@OaktownPirate) – Da Pirata im rowmwala ere wowk, Belta ere kori (“Pirate is a bartender at work, Belter at heart”)
Belinda (@Jetcitygirl1) – Love sci-fi, animals, the universe, underdogs and The Expanse!
1. A version of Miller is back and he’s started driving Holden crazy. What are you thoughts on the scenes with Holden and Miller? Did Thomas Jane and Steven Strait manage to sell them convincingly?
Gaius Greene (@GaiusGreene): All of the Miller and Holden scenes were outstanding, and I’m glad he’s back to “investigate things.” Definitely convincing of conversations between 2 guys who both aren’t “all there.” Also, by the end, their combined “insanity” comes together and makes some kind of sense, like 2 pieces of a puzzle. And the Roci was saved. Maybe.
Bean (@Rebell117): Wow, this episode was all kinds of crazy, wasn’t it? Besides the fact that that craziness was excellently written and directed, most of all it was the performances by Thomas Jane and Steven Strait that made this episode really stand out in my opinion. Thomas Jane’s performance really got me when he was talking about getting built and killed over and over again. That really made me depressed a little! And Steven Strait performance was a 180 from his usual collected calm self which was naturally very enjoyable to watch as well.
MJ (@MjLupin22): First of all, I’m so happy to have Thomas Jane back! This was one of Steven Strait’s best episodes. He really pulled off the disbelief and confusion of Holden seeing Miller. Also, the writers helped us to understand what the investigator really is with just a few lines of dialogue.
Pirate (@OaktownPirate): Da Mila ta showxa fo da Dzhuli, “Sili milowda mebi na gonya decho, dédawang gonya (interesting)”. Sétopelesh da kong: Séteshang Interesting. (Miller said to Julie, “If we don’t die, that will be interesting”. Next stop: Interesting Station.)
Belinda (@Jetcitygirl1): Those scenes with Miller and Holden were played perfectly! Thomas Jane was amazing as always and this was Steven Strait’s best episode to date! Brilliant!
2. Drummer was boxed into a corner towards the end of the episode, which caused her to fire on the Rocinante. Do you think she made the right call? Could she have done something different or was firing on the Roci her only possible move given the situation?
Gaius Greene: Drummer made the necessary call under those particular circumstances. If she hadn’t, the Behemoth would’ve been annihilated, and then another System-wide war between the Belt and UNN (and maybe also MCRN) likely would’ve followed. Yes, firing on the Roci was pretty much the only available action – or at least I can’t think of any other options.
Bean: Absolutely! I truly believe that Drummer also knows that this is a false flag, but she had not choice but to comply. The alternative is taking an unfinished warship into battle, potentially not only endangering the Belter fleet and themselves but also the very existence of their new nation only moments after its inception. Though she might not 100% believe in it herself she is however 100% loyal towards the idea of this new Belter nation I believe. Naomi is too obviously, but she was too emotionally connected with the target of that missile lock to make a rational decision about it I think.
MJ: Drummer made a tough yet necessary decision. Whether she believed Naomi or not, the UNN ship was ready to fire a missile at the Behemoth. Unfortunately, you’ve got to make those kinds of decisions as a captain in order save the most lives. (Reminds me of the trolley problem from The Good Place!)
Pirate: Sili im na ta du tung ere da Roci, desh deng fo wow. Wamotim. (If she didn’t fire on the Roci, there would be war. Again.)
Belinda: I think Drummer did the only thing she could. It’s obvious she knows exactly what Ashford is up to, but is conflicted on how best to deal with him or Naomi. Looks like mutiny is queued up on the Behemoth!
3. Melba was forced to literally clean up her mess after brutally killing Ren last week. That experience appears to be haunting her enough that it’s impacting her performance on her ship. Do you think Melba genuinely feels bad about killing Ren? Or is something else going on with her?
Gaius Greene: Yes, I think Melba feels bad about it because he was nice to her and a helpful guy. And on the ride with Stanni from the UNN Sueng Un, she said, “Ren’s a decent man. More than I can say for most of the people I’ve met here.” Per a conversation she had with Ren, this was her first job like this (electrician on a ship). I kinda wish we’d gotten to know him a little better before his “exit.”
Bean: I wasn’t sure she survived last episode to honest! Glad she did though, because does she have some explaining to do! I mean, she is clearly very traumatized by her actions. Is it just that the her dedication to the cause (whatever that may be) outweighs her concept of not killing people? Or could it be possible that she is doing all this under duress? Whatever her motivations may be, it’s clear that she is involved with this overarching false flag operation, so I’m very interested in seeing where Melba’s arc will eventually lead her!
MJ: I do think Melba feels remorse for killing Ren. Though she seems to have it out for the crew of the Rocinante, I’m sure she feels guilty for the unnecessary taking of Ren’s life. Ren showed her kindness which I don’t think she was expecting. Melba also seems to also have something going on physically that we don’t know about yet!
Pirate: Da Melba ta showxa, “Kéradzhang to ta du mowteng vedi?” Im tenye peng da kori foriya fo Ren. Amash da Melba na kang gif pasa fo Ren fo sétop da wowk im. (Melba said, “Why did you have to look?” She has real heart-pain for Ren. But Melba can’t allow Ren to stop her work.)
Belinda: Melba is definitely already haunted by what she did to Ren. But nonetheless, she seems committed to her plan. Whatever that may be… Spoilers: Nadine Nicole gave an amazing performance!
4. Naomi continued to be torn between Drummer and Ashford’s stances in this episode. However, she appears to have bought into the concept of a united Belter nation. Do you think she’ll be able to bring Drummer around to that point of view or do you see them continuing to clash? If it comes down to it, will Naomi side with Drummer or Ashford? Or will she find another way?
Gaius Greene: It’s possible she could bring Drummer to her view, but I think clashes between Naomi and Drummer may continue because Naomi gave the protomolecule to Fred Johnson. Drummer did not like that, and I wouldn’t be surprised it if she hasn’t forgiven or forgotten yet. I think Naomi would side with Drummer if it came down to it. Naomi is very good at finding “other ways” – that is, workable solutions to many various problems.
Bean: I’m starting to think that if push comes to shove Naomi may eventually side with Ashford now. They are both romantics and staunch believers in the new status quo of being a nation. But I am, however, not too worried about too much friction for now, because I do believe in Drummer’s loyalty towards the cause. Besides, they obviously can’t afford to be fighting among each other now that somebody is trying to set them up!
MJ: I haven’t quite figured out what Naomi really wants. She is an idealist so I think she’d go with Ashford in that regards. Drummer doesn’t seem to be too pleased with her situation so I’m not really sure why she agreed to captain the ship. It’s all still confusing!
Pirate: Mi wanya da Drummer fo xalte wit da we da belta da “old-school.” (I want Drummer to hold with the “old-school” Belter way.)
Belinda: Naomi seems to be right where she wants to be. So far, in the show, she’s never been afraid of doing what she thinks is best or walking her own path. I think she will do that here too. She may disregard Ashford AND Drummer for what she believes.
5. Amos witnessed Holden talking to Miller and initially reacted rather calmly. But later in the episode it was revealed that he checked Holden’s auto-doc logs. Did Amos go too far when it comes to invading Holden’s privacy or did he make the right call given the potential severity of the situation? If Holden finds out, do you think he’ll be okay with what Amos did to try to help him? Is Amos in a unique position to understand Holden’s apparent and sudden psychosis?
Gaius Greene: No, Amos did the right thing. He did just see Holden yelling, “My blood is CLEAN! You’re not here, which at least explains the STUPID [FRAKKING] HAT!” at two different chairs. What Amos did was for the safety of their ship, the crew, and their “guests” from the press. Well, maybe not the “guests.” An insane captain does not a good captain make. See, e.g., “The Caine Mutiny.” I think Holden would understand, even if he didn’t like it. Not sure he’d be able to understand what it’s like seeing people who aren’t (apparently) there and talking with them. As far as I know, seeing people isn’t something Amos has experienced. A lot of other things, but not that.
Bean: Well, he did tell Holden that he could talk to him And when he refused to do so he just had to check for himself I guess. Though under normal circumstances obviously very unethical, I do believe that these extraordinary circumstances allowed these extraordinary measures. And Holden better be okay with it, since he has condoned stuff from Amos that was a whole lot more unethical. It would be hypocritical of him to start complaining now, in my honest opinion.
MJ: At this point, the crew’s lives depend on Holden. It was an invasion of privacy but given the situation it makes sense. I think Holden would understand because Amos wants to make sure everyone is safe on board the Roci. Amos has a lot of world experience. He would be able to understand what Holden is going through because of his own traumatic history.
Pirate: Mi pensa da Amos im mebi ta go tu lowng wit dédawang. (I think Amos maybe went too far with that.)
Belinda: Amos is the perfect person to be looking after the Cap. And I have a feeling that Amos’s invasion of privacy just isn’t going to be that important in the grand scheme of things!
6. The Rocinante broadcast a message from Holden at the end of the episode. Holden claims that he didn’t record it and Naomi backed him up on the Behemoth. Is the cameraman responsible? What do you think he’s trying to achieve? Is he trying to start another war? Or has Holden actually started to lose his mind and the cameraman simply took advantage of it?
Gaius Greene: Almost certainly because he changed that card on the Roci. Anyone’s guess what he’s up to at this point, really, but starting/restarting a System-wide war seems most likely at this point. Not sure if Holden’s really lost his mind, but I think Camera Guy’d happily take advantage of someone if somehow to his benefit. Same goes for Monica. I don’t trust either of them. They’ve gotta be up to something. Camera Guy and Monica both strike me as manipulative, devious, and entirely untrustworthy. They’re both probably up to no damn good.
Bean: I think we’re dealing with a well coordinated false flag here. Though obviously involved (I mean he has plenty of footage of Holden to create a fake version of him), I don’t think that Cohen is pulling the strings. So I’m left wondering, who is? Could Errinwright be directing events from behind bars? Is Dawes maybe involved? And what is the ultimate end goal of this operation? Once again, I can’t wait to see where this arc goes!
MJ: I certainly don’t trust that cameraman! He seems talented enough to make a composite video from the other footage he has of Holden. I think he might be working with Melba in order to sabotage the Rocinante. We just don’t know their motivations yet – but I think we will find out soon!
Pirate: Fosho da “cameraman” im xalte wit da Melba. Dédawang da we da Melba im finyish kang du bodzha da kapawu unte “trigger” da mesach fong da Roci. (I’m confident the cameraman is with Melba. That’s how Melba could blow up the ship and triggered the message from the Roci.)
Belinda: I have too much foreknowledge about this question. Instead, I wanted to thank Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby for, in my opinion, the best book to show adaptation yet. Wow! You can tell what huge fans of the books they are! THANK YOU! And the cast’s performances? BRILLIANT!
7. The final ten minutes of “It Reaches Out” really dialed up the suspense. What did you think of those final moments? What was your favorite part? Was the Roci going into the Ring a good place to leave the episode?
Gaius Greene: Absolutely outstanding. All of it, but especially the Holden and Miller scenes. Definitely a cliffhanger of an ending!!! And I’m sure the Roci crew wants Naomi back, and right frakking now!
Bean: That sure was a cliffhanger, wasn’t it? Loved the tension and effects of those last minutes! Absolutely stoked for the next episode! I can’t wait to see what is on the other side and to find out why the protomolecule needs our beloved Roci!
MJ: I absolutely loved Holden and Amos’s interaction. Amos is incredibly loyal and trusting of Holden. They’ve been through a lot together! I thought the episode might be over when the black screen came up after they went through the Ring. Thankfully, we found out that the crew is okay! Something strange is certainly occurring on the other side of the Ring though!
Pirate: Da Investigator kang bera showxa ere “metaphor” zákomang. “Sili to go tu fash ere da imbobo, to gonya decho!” Oso… da wew im ta showxa “Na xalte wit mi” nawit wowt. (The Investigator can only talk in cop metaphors. “If you go into the room too fast, you’re gonna die!” Also, the way he said “Don’t touch me” without words.)
Belinda: I didn’t breathe for the last ten minutes! WOW WOW WOW! I started reading the books in 2012 and dreamt of seeing them on screen! I’ve been waiting since S1 for tonight’s events. The wait was worth it! STUNNING! What. A. Night.
A tool that finds things and a tool that goes places — Miller’s return is every bit as creepy and suspenseful as it should be
Where do we begin? The visual effects? They’re once again state of the art, grounded, and as detailed as we’ve come to expect. The highly suspenseful last ten minutes? The tightly written script? How about the dead detective in the room? After “Delta-V” briefly teased Miller’s return last week, it was only natural for “It Reaches Out” to begin exploring that mystery, and what a mystery it is! Miller’s return is handled brilliantly from the first moment he creepily appears to the final moment when he repeats the last line of his story to give Holden a clue about how to survive.
Both Thomas Jane and Steven Strait don’t disappoint in this episode. Far from it. The former acts like Miller while throwing in tiny changes in his behavior to indicate that something isn’t quite right. The latter becomes increasingly unhinged as Holden attempts (and fails) to rationalize and diagnose what he’s experiencing. It’s highly captivating from beginning to end and drives the episode forward at a breakneck pace. But as usual, the entire cast is in top form once again and it’s impossible to list every amazing detail of their performances here. All of the hard work every member of the cast and crew put into the episode speaks for itself, and should be experienced firsthand. Thankfully, that work won’t be stopping anytime soon.
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With so much going on in this episode, we almost didn’t even notice the complete absence of Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) and Bobbie (Frankie Adams). Their absence is understandable given how many moving parts this episode contains. The lack of those characters isn’t ultimately weakness but rather us being greedy and wanting as many of the characters as possible in the story. No doubt they’ll return in the not too distant future.
The Expanse continues to impress as the suspense and mystery surrounding the Ring intensifies. What is the protomolecule trying to achieve with Miller? What is it looking for? Where is it trying to go? What will happen to the Roci now that it’s being pulled into the Ring? These are only a handful of questions we were left with at the end of “It Reaches Out.” We can’t wait to find out where all of this goes next. It’s going to be another long week!