The ships in Ring space deal with the bloody aftermath of the rapid deceleration caused by the alien station
After a Martian Marine attacked the Ring Station with a grenade in last week’s episode of The Expanse, the station retaliated by setting a new speed limit in the space around it, causing a rapid deceleration of all objects. Bobbie (Frankie Adams), after noticing the speed limit change, returns to the MMC drop ship with the unconscious Holden (Steven Strait) and the rest of her team. They learn that their ship has sustained heavy losses and that all ships in Ring space have also sustained similar losses from the sudden deceleration.
Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell) was lucky enough to be strapped in for a nap when the UNN Thomas Prince was slowed down and only sustained minor injuries. She goes about helping to care for the wounded. Anna finds the injured Melba (Nadine Nicole) and learns from fatally wounded Tilly (Genelle Williams) that Melba is actually Clarissa Mao and that she wants to kill Holden. Before Anna can stop her, Clarissa leaves the Thomas Prince and heads for the Rocinante.
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Meanwhile, on the Behemoth, Drummer (Cara Gee) and Ashford (David Strathairn) are pinned in place between the Mormon farming equipment that Drummer was converting into a probe. Moving the equipment in either direction would crush one or the other, leaving the two with a difficult dilemma. After attempting multiple methods to escape and call for help, Drummer moves the farming equipment enough to allow Ashford to escape but crushes herself in the process. Due to blood pooling and clotting in zero-g, Ashford orders that the drum on the Behemoth be spun up to create spin gravity to help treat the wounded. He extends an offer of support to the other ships in Ring space.
Naomi (Dominique Tipper) narrowly escapes from her flight controls exploding on her ship thanks to the Ring Station slowing it down and heads for the Roci. She finds both Alex (Cas Anvar) and Amos (Wes Chatham) to be seriously wounded. After Naomi reunites with her family and helps patch them up, Clarissa cuts her way into the Roci and attacks her, looking for Holden. Just as Clarissa is about to kill Naomi, Anna stuns and knocks Clarissa out, having followed her from the Thomas Prince. Back on the MMC drop ship, Holden regains consciousness and tells Bobbie that he’s seen “the end of everything.”
Between learning about the perils of injuries in zero-g and listening to Belter pirate songs, “Fallen World” gave us plenty to sink our teeth into. So let’s meet our guests and discuss the episode!
Gaius Greene (@GaiusGreene) – Lover of nature, SF, fantasy, history, mythology, and too many other things to list. Writer-in-waiting.
Belinda (@Jetcitygirl1) – Love sci-fi, animals, the universe, underdogs and The Expanse!
Carlos (@carlostk1) – #TheExpanse contributor and member of the #ScreamingFirehawks
Pirate (@OaktownPirate) – Da Pirata im rowmwala ere wowk, Belta ere kori (“Pirate is a bartender at work, Belter at heart”)
Ann (@AnnAbuse37) – #TheExpanse superfan, devoted member of the #ScreamingFirehawks and #MurderSnuggles fan club.
1. “Fallen World” dealt heavily with the ramifications of zero-g. In particular, the treatment of serious injuries in a zero-g environment. How well do you think the episode did with that side of things? Were you surprised by some of the medical problems that can arise in a zero-g environment?
Gaius Greene (@GaiusGreene): I can’t say from a medical or technical perspective as I’m not a doctor, and to be honest I haven’t really thought about the consequences of an injury in a zero-gravity environment before. But I do know that blood clots and blood collecting in one or more parts of the body is a very bad thing to have and can be deadly even with medical care in an Earth normal gravity environment (look up “DVT” and “PE”).
Belinda (@Jetcitygirl1): I’m a complete nerd for any zero-g scenes inside the ships! One of my favorite things about the books is all of their zero-g descriptions of movement in the ships. I thought they did a great job with it except I always want more!
Carlos (@carlostk1): I’ve always wondered about that but I never considered learning the truth about it from a TV show. I’m no doctor but I’m willing to bet that the writers are correct. The Expanse is more than just a sci-fi show. It’s brain food.
Pirate (@OaktownPirate): Dewe da livit da belta; tɒchu inyalɒda, unte da kuxaku im tili wanya decho kɒmang. Imim na ta du manting fo du livit ere kuxaku. (Such is the Belter life; slaves to the Inners, and space wants to kill everybody. Mankind was not built to live in space.)
Ann (@AnnAbuse37): I’ve read the books, so I remember the descriptions of medical issues compounded by zero-g — but it’s a completely different thing to see it brought to life. I think the episode knocked it out of the park — and even having read the books, I was still surprised, especially by little details such as Tilly’s tears.
2. The alien station changed the speed limit in the slow zone to cause all of the ships to rapidly decelerate. With the speed limit drastically reduced, it will take months for the ships in the slow zone to exit the Ring. How do you think that problem will be solved? Will Miller play a role? Or will they find a way to get the station to no longer see them as threats?
Gaius Greene: a) Either they’ll find a “fix,” or there will be a permanent new speed limit they’ll have to deal with. b) I think we haven’t seen the last of “Investigator” Miller, who is a pretty cool cat. More Miller, please! c) If they find a way to get the Ring Station to be inactive – or at least “nice” to humans – there’s a good chance Miller will be involved with the recent change in the Ring Station’s TOS (“Terms of Service”).
Belinda: I think there’s enough ingenuity between them all to get everyone where they need to be, but not without some conflict and sacrifice. I’m hoping Miller will help poor Holden out! Dan Nowak wrote, Jennifer Phang directed, and Bret Culp VFX did a great job with this adaptation!
Carlos: This is a very interesting dilemma everyone is facing. But then again, so was figuring out a way to stay warm during the winter before fire. Whatever they come up, with I’m sure Miller will give them a clue. I believe Holden has all the answers, but his brain is still mush after his vision.
Pirate: Da Mila im ta shɒxa, “Vedi fong bap unte kuwang; dépelesh imim ge to.” Da Holden im ta vedi walɒda walɒda bap. Sili to na kang go bek, vedi fo we fo unlock walɒda bap. (Miller said, “Watch the doors and corners; that’s where they get you.” Holden saw a lot of doors. If you can’t go back, look for a way to unlock some doors.)
Ann: I don’t think Miller is gone yet, and I think whatever happens our proto-liason, Holden, will play a key role. The combined power and talents of the Roci crew is likely to be integral, including Alex’s lasagna.
3. Drummer and Ashford were forced to begin working through their differences due to both of them being pinned by heavy machinery. Assuming Drummer survives, do you think those discussions will help smooth over the tensions between them? Or will Ashford exploit Drummer’s injured state to fully seize command of the Behemoth? And should they have a karaoke night?
Gaius Greene: a) Drummer better survive! As for “smoothing things over,” it looks that way, but we’re talking about Ashford here. At least once before he told Drummer he thinks he should be Captain. He also just seems like an all-around skeevy kind of guy to me. b) I can easily see Ashford exploiting Drummer’s injuries, her likely absence for recovery time, and/or death to seize control of the ship. He’s already called himself “Captain,” even without knowing if Drummer will make it. An ambitious man is Ashford, and I do not trust him. c) ABSOLUTELY they should have a karaoke night! Give us some Belter karaoke night scenes, please!
Belinda: I think things will always be push-pull with Drummer and Ashford but I LOVED their scenes together as well as that epic sing along! By the end of episode I think it was pretty clear he now considers it “his” ship, no matter what.
Carlos: That scene did not play out the way I hoped. I wanted Drummer to squash Ashford like a bug then hang his carcass on the bridge with a sign that says “Mutineer.” I guess they’ll play nice now that they’ve bonded with karaoke. More karaoke? I’ll pass on that but at least it’s better than Klingon opera.
Pirate: Detim mang imlɒda kom casi fo ando decho wang wit, im kang du kopengting. Detim da bosmang kapawu im incapacitated, imim du da X.O. fo bosmang kapawu. Bera…kemang tenye pasa fo shɒxa sili da bosmang kapawu im incapacitated o na? (When people come close to dying together, it can create friendship. When the Captain is incapacitated, the X.O. becomes Captain. Only…who gets to say if the Captain is incapacitated or not?)
Ann: I don’t yet fully trust Ashford, although he moved me to tears. “Our ship, a Belter ship, has gravity…” and inviting everyone to bring their injured to the Behemoth. I don’t remember his exact wording, but it was definitely the best of Belter culture brought to life. I can’t help but worry that his lesser nature will eventually reveal this was a long play power grab.
4. Naomi finally reunited with Alex and Amos on the Rocinante! What are your thoughts on those reunions? Did Naomi’s reunion with Amos go as you expected it to?
Gaius Greene: a) In re: Alex: Of course Alex was listening to country and cooking at the time the Ring Station basically said, “STOP!” I think Alex is severely concussed (been there, done that), and Naomi probably thinks he’s just talking nonsense when he mentions Miller. In re: Amos: Good ol’ Amos. First thing he says is, “You changed your hair,” which gave me a chuckle. b) In the med bay, Amos asks her if she’s there “to help or…to stay.” She tells him she’s back to stay because she realized her real family is the Roci crew. He just says “Okay.” I’m not sure he’s forgiven her yet. He did say “some things don’t get fixed” that one time.
Belinda: It was really great to see Naomi back on the Roci! Honestly, Amos and Naomi’s reunion went as expected for me. She hurt him really bad and totally betrayed his trust. It was a touching scene nonetheless.
Carlos: Naomi feels bad for leaving. Helping (as she put it, her family) out is the only way she’ll feel better. Amos is like a grumpy child. He’ll come around to loving Naomi like a sister again.
Pirate: Da kapawumang Da Roci imalɒda na xaltewitmang. Da Amos till du Amos. Nating tili du suchok wit gova im. Im ta vedi ting deting finyish bek im detim im ta maliwala. Im finyish vedi kɒlting. Kɒlting im the Churn. Mang kom, imalɒda go. Bera the Churn im fo sémpere. (The Roci crew are not huggers. Amos does Amos. Nothing messes with his head. He has seen things that broke him when he was a child. He’s seen everything. Everything is the Churn. People come, they go. Only the Churn is eternal.)
Ann: Naomi’s home! Naomi’s home! Seriously though, the reunions went exactly as expected. And Amos? That was MurderSnuggles speak for, “Oh God, I’m so happy to see you, I love you, I’m sorry I was an ass! Never leave me again!”
5. Ashford ordered the drum of the Behemoth to be spun up to create spin gravity and help treat the wounded. He then extended an invitation to the other ships in the slow zone to bring their wounded to the Behemoth to be treated. Do you think that offer of help will start the process of the getting those from the Inner planets to see Belters differently? Or will things simply go back to business as usual once the ships are safely outside of Ring space?
Gaius Greene: a) It should. They should already be thinking differently about Belters since the OPA (via Fred Johnson) were also involved in saving Mars (and possibly the entire System) from the protomolecule-human hybrids. b) Human nature being what it is, and looking back through recorded human history, I could easily see things going back to the status quo ante once they’re all out of danger and the “magic” of the new relationship between Earth, Mars, and the Belt wears thin.
Belinda: I loved seeing the drum spun up and Ashford inviting everyone on board to heal! It could be a defining moment for him. “Could be.” But he is a radical and has his own vision for the Belters’ future.
Carlos: This can go so many different ways. I think it was a genuine gesture of friendship on Ashford’s behalf. I don’t believe the Martians will see it that way. Their mindset is still on the mission of retrieving Holden and they’re fixated on that this whole mess is still a military operation. So much can go wrong and I love it.
Pirate: Keting beltalɒda tili shɒxa? “Detim da belɒt im ere da wɒl, sasa kemang to xalte wit?” Xitim desh belɒt ere da wɒl da kɒmang, beltalɒda unte inyalɒda. Amash beltalɒda Oslo tili shɒxa wamoting; “Da mang na gonna share imalɒda walwala. Unte sili milɒda mebi kɒl welwala, kɒmang gonya decho.” To wanya du livit ere kuxaku, mɒsh du wɒk fo du kɒmang séfesowng. Unt fo beltalɒda na anyimal. (What do the Belters say? “When the blood is on the wall, do you know who you hold with?” Now there is blood on everyone’s walls, Belters and Inners. But Belters also say: “Those who will not share are Uncle Toms. And if we are all Uncle Tom, everyone will die.” You want to live in space, you must work to save everybody. And because Belters are not animals.)
Ann: Regardless of how Ashford’s invitation is received — and you can see that some of the Martians are being real jerks about this, but I guess that highlights their higher levels of militarization compared to other groups — nothing will ever be the same again, and that is wholly because of the Ring.
6. Despite everything that’s happened, Clarissa is still hellbent on making Holden pay. After cutting her way into the Roci, she attacked Naomi. Were you expecting Anna to come to Naomi’s rescue? What do you think the crew of the Roci will do with Clarissa now that she has directly attacked them? Should she be worried about a not so gentle encounter with the cold vacuum of space?
Gaius Greene: a) No I was not expecting to see Anna on the Roci. I was expecting Amos, or perhaps Bobbie, to be the one to save Naomi from the violent Ms. Clarissa Mao. b) Amos might want her to show him how to “un-f–k” the ship, and then kill her and toss her body out of an airlock. Alex will cook her some Mariner Valley lasagna and want to know why. Not sure if Naomi will want to space her or try to understand her (in one or more past episodes Naomi said she had been involved in something for the OPA and “people died”). Holden will want to know why she did it and hand her over to the authorities.
Belinda: Claire has a lot to answer for but I think Anna going after her shows that this could become an interesting relationship. I’m wondering if Anna and Naomi are safe from her yet? R.I.P. Tilly.
Carlos: I did not see that one coming at all. When Clarissa fell I stood up and yelled, “The power of Christ compels you!” I wouldn’t worry too much about the crew harming Clarissa. Except Amos. He loves spacing people.
Pirate: Mi na ta vedi dédawang ando kom! Da Anna im da féwamang da mosh voyu ere da Ríngupelesh. Ere da kapawumang da Roci ando du kuxaku da Clarissa… dédawang deng fo da we da belta. Gonya du mɒteng walɒda walɒda popcorn fo da épisot da kong. (I did not see that coming! Anna is the most gangsta pastor in Ring space. About the Roci crew spacing Clarissa…that would be the Belter way. I’m gonna need lots of popcorn for the next episode.)
Ann: I was absolutely surprised Anna followed Clarissa! And so grateful, to be honest, things were looking way too grim for our Queen, Naomi. While I would love to see Amos take the lead with “dealing with” Clarissa, sadly, I think cooler heads are going to prevail.
7. Holden told Bobbie that the Ring Station showed him the “end of everything.” What do you think he meant by that? Is just the station a threat to the solar system or is there a larger threat that has yet to be revealed?
Gaius Greene: a) Maybe the end of the system. Maybe the end of humanity as a species. Maybe the end of the universe. Maybe, maybe, maybe. The history and intentions of the makers of the blue goo are still largely unknown at this point. b) From having read the books I know what happens in general (there are some differences between the show and books, which is fine with me). All I’ll say is there is a LOT more to come, and I can’t wait to see it play out on-screen!
Belinda: Knowing the books, I’m a little uncomfortable with this spoiler territory. But there seems to be massive possibilities at this point! It’s going to be very interesting!
Carlos: The vision that Holden experienced was visually impressive and I hope he can figure it all out before it’s too late. I’m sorry but the second part of your question I can’t answer without spoiling anything. Season 4 should answer that.
Pirate: Desh da ansa fo da case ke, o bera da clue da kong ke? Da Holden im ando shɒxa asilik im bek fong wa acid trip. (Is that the answer to the case, or merely the next clue? Holden is talking like he’s back from an acid trip.)
“Fallen World” brilliantly addresses the problems associated with treating injuries in zero-g, reunites part of the Roci family, and leaves us with an ominous warning
A huge focus in “Fallen World” is on the ramifications of sustaining serious injuries in zero-g. Many space-based sci-fi shows gloss over the perils of space travel, including the problem of internal bleeding and blood clotting in zero-g. The Expanse, on the other hand, makes such critical matters a major part of its storytelling. Right from the start, “Fallen World” asks an important question. How do you treat serious injuries in space? The unfortunate answer is you can’t unless you can generate spin gravity. Broken bones and similar injuries take priority and the best that can be done for internal injuries is to ease the passing of the injured. It’s a simple concept but “Fallen World” takes it and runs with it, shaping it into a highly compelling plot point.
Can we stop for a moment and praise the visual effects team once again this week? Yes? Good, because seeing the drum of the Behemoth fully realized in all of its 2 km glory is an amazing sight to behold. It had been established in previous episodes that the Behemoth is a, well, behemoth but the true scale of the ship had never fully been captured quite like it is in “Fallen World. Much like the Ring and the Rocinante, the Behemoth is a character of its own and seeing it spun up like the Mormons intended is downright breathtaking. Book and show only fans alike will likely gasp in awe at its beauty. Have we mentioned how beautiful it is?
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What’s better than giving Cara Gee a lot of screen time? Having her share her screen time with the equally talented David Strathairn, of course! Whenever those two actors are put in the same scene together, their characters come alive in a way that outshines everyone around them. While we may not want to buy an album of the two singing Belter pirate songs, we’d happily watch many more scenes of the them together. And that brings us to another point. Is Drummer going to survive? She isn’t looking all that great. It’d be a huge shame if she’s killed off. It would be a fitting end for the character but then we’d be denied of more Drummer and that would be bad for everyone (but especially for Drummer herself).
The Expanse continues to surprise and wow us each week, and “Fallen World” manages to do that in new and unique ways. Much like the books, the science is always front and center in this show but it does it in a way that keeps us glued to the screen and wondering just what will happen next. It makes the physics of space travel exciting and accessible and it consistently helps make the show stand above the competition in the genre. And whatever Holden was shown by the Ring Station, we strongly suspect that it will create sweeping changes going forward.