The Expanse (2016) – Critical Mass, and Levithan Wakes

The final two episodes of the first season of The Expanse aired together on 2 February, 2016. The first part, Critical Mass was written by Robin Veith, Dan Nowak, and Naren Shankar. Leviathan Wakes, which was the title of the first novel in the series, was penned by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby.

We go back to just before the beginning of the series, and follow Julie Mao’s (Florence Faivre) story aboard the Scopuli. We get the connective tissue that ties her in with the OPA including her contact with Dawes (Jared Harris), and the way the infection of the protomolecule not only affects the ship, which she hides (and the crew of the Rocinante tracked down), but also the way it infected the crew, and her, even as she was able to escape on a shuttle to Eros.

We then rejoin Holden (Steven Strait), Naomi (Dominque Tipper), Alex (Cas Anvar), Amos (Wes Chatham) and Miller (Thomas Jane) as they discovered her, and from there the series runs all out towards a cliffhanger climax.

As they flee the scene, regroup and try to figure out what the hell is going on, another group sweeps in (with connections to Julie’s father), with clearance to claim the entire hotel that Julie holed up in until she died from the infection. The group is led by Dresden (Daniel Kash) who knows about what happened at Phoebe Station and may have worked there under orders from Jules-Pierre Mao (Francois Chau) who tells Dresden to proceed with whatever they have planned.

And whatever they have planned is going to start happening on the locked down station that is Eros.

On Earth, Chrisjen (Shohreh Aghdashloo) deals with the fallout of some of her decisions, even as she seeks more information about what is going on, and maintaining the fragile peace between the Belt, Mars and Earth.

On Tycho, Johnson (Chad L. Coleman) releases more information about the Donnager, from the recovered chip he has, and shares with the system the plans for the stealth ships, claiming the Outer Planets Alliance didn’t build them. They were in fact built on Earth, by and for who?

This information makes all the players realize there is more going on.

The Roci crew races to get off Eros station before the infection spreads, a release overseen by Dresden, but as that plays out, both Holden and Miller are exposed to lethal amounts of radiation. They attempt to understand what is going on, even as the protomolecule is released, and they barely make their escape aboard the Rocinante, even as Miller and Holden aren’t feeling so great.

The last glimpse we get of the station as the Roci blasts her way out is Kenzo (Elias Toufexis) encountering the protomolecule and being taken in by it, even as it seems to exhibit some intelligence.

The first season gets us partway through the first novel, but these ten episodes have been a rush, and I love how the series has taken its time developing the world and the characters.

Next week, I start season two!


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