In true The Expanse style, this week’s episode featured several different subplots. Although it wasn’t always clear where each story-line was going leading up to this episode, by the end of “It Reaches Out” just about everything folded together. The only item left on the back burner was Amos’s secret identity as a former Baltimore mob boss. Last week’s introduction of Melba and the annoyingly sexy documentary film crew paid off, and viewers also got another look at the dear departed Detective Miller. And even though Holden doesn’t, I like Miller’s hat.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 8: “It Reaches Out” – Melba, Skull Crusher
Melba awakes on the floor of the Seung Un next to the battered corpse of Ren. She shows some remorse at having brutally murdered a man who was nothing but kind to her, and then she gets to the grisly work of hiding his body. A suitable compartment is found, but Melba can’t manage the job of moving the large man inside. Taking another hit of whatever it is she took last episode, she easily shoves him most of the way in. Then, she crushes his skull with her bare hand.
The skull crushing was a bit offside for me. I guess the claim is that his head wouldn’t fit in the compartment but, if so, that wasn’t made clear. Instead, it just looked like Melba performed her act of skull compression in a mad rage. Either way, the point is made: Melba is a mite unstable when she’s on whatever futuristic upper it is she’s on. After cleaning up the bloody aftermath of her crime, she finishes connecting the bomb and heads back to her transport.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 8: “It Reaches Out” – “Watch your doors and corners.”
Holden isn’t looking so good. He appears exhausted, and his recurring visions of the late Detective Miller aren’t helping matters. On a trip to the coffee machine, which is again operational, the dead detective appears again. Unfortunately, though Miller has a lot to say, none of it makes much sense. In an effort to understand what’s going on, Holden asks Miller if he’s trying to talk to him, but instead of a response from Miller he hears the calming voice of the Rocinante’s documentary filmmaker Monica.
She demands that Holden not keep anything from her and somewhat ham-handedly declares that she is an expert in cognitive psychology. Holden agrees to be honest and slowly backs away from the rather intense filmmaker.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 8: “It Reaches Out” – Old-time Religion
Back aboard the UNN Thomas Prince, we see Pastor Anna Volovodov sitting at a table with other religious luminaries. A middle-aged man waxes philosophical about the ring, and a woman to Volovodov’s right mentions that her family funds the man’s megachurches that now pepper the African continent. Leaving this bit of clumsy exposition, though, Anna gets up when she notices that Melba, also aboard, seems sad. In truth, Melba is plagued by guilt over the murder and subsequent skull-crushing she did.
The pastor/doctor meets Melba in the hall and asks her if there’s anything she needs. Melba considers for a moment but puts on a tough face, says no, and walks away.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 8: “It Reaches Out” – Aboard the War Church
Manéo’s actions in last week’s episode have planetary governments scrambling. Because Manéo was a belter, the governments of Earth and Mars are both concerned that Manéo was acting under orders from the OPA. This is of particular concern because Manéo’s wild ride apparently activated the ring.
Aboard the OPAS Behemoth, Ashford, Drummer, and Naomi discuss the optics of a rockhopper activating the ring. They predict that if anything bad happens then Earth and Mars will blame the belt. If anything good happens, though, Earth and Mars will be there to take credit and start a war over it. And, in the spirit of ratcheting things up, Anderson Dawes and Fred Johnson have apparently informed Secretary-General Avasarala that any attempt to turn the Behemoth back from the ring would result in retaliation.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 8: “It Reaches Out” – Eye in the sky, hands on the pry…bar
Amos finds Cohen, the blind cameraman, snooping around the command deck. Amos reprimands him, but Cohen deflects by saying that he takes walks when he can’t sleep. As Amos escorts the flirtatious cameraman off the deck, we see that he has hidden a pry bar in the collar of his shirt.
Holden has retired to the med-bay and is repeatedly scanning himself for signs of a stroke and any traces of the protomolecule. After several negative scans, Miller reappears, but a sleep-deprived Holden can’t figure out what the Miller is talking about. Miller keeps mentioning his days as a detective on Eros. He is specifically concerned with an unlicensed brothel and how a rookie didn’t understand how to clear rooms.
Holden lashes out, screaming at the dead detective to make sense, and Amos shows up just in time to witness the outburst. A concerned Amos asks if Holden is alright, and Holden ensures him that he will let Amos know if anything is wrong. After Amos leaves, Holden views footage of his “conversation” with Miller but finds that the footage shows that he was apparently talking to himself.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 8: “It Reaches Out” – “Man! I’m handsome when declaring war!”
Holden meets with Monica and realizes that the first time he saw Miller coincides with the moment Manéo crashed into the ring. We also see Cohen putting his recently acquired pry bar to use. He removes a silicon chip and replaces it with one he has on him. He then replaces the compartment cover and continues being a weasel.
We also see Melba aboard the Thomas Prince activating the device she stowed away aboard the Seung Un. The Seung Un explodes and, much to Holden’s surprise, a transmission bearing his likeness appears and claims responsibility for the explosion. The transmission states that the ring belongs to the belters and demands that Earth and Mars withdraw or suffer the consequences.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 8: “It Reaches Out” – “Hey, I used to date that guy!”
Back aboard the Behemoth, Ashford pressures Drummer to fire on the Rocinante while Naomi refuses to believe that Holden is to blame. She warns Drummer that she’s falling into a political trap, but Diogo and another guard restrain her. Drummer eventually decides to fire, but the Mormon ship malfunctions as the torpedo leaves its bay.
Things are tense on the Rocinante. Holden denies that he’s responsible for the transmission, but Amos wonders. After all, Holden’s mental health is in pretty serious doubt because of all the yelling at no one stuff. Holden demands time alone to think, and a reluctant Amos allows it.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 8: “It Reaches Out” – “Go into a room too fast, kid, the room eats you.”
Sequestered in the airlock, Holden tries to reach Miller. Luckily, Miller appears at the last possible second, looking damn good in that hat. In a previous appearance to Holden, Miller described himself as a tool that investigates and called Holden a tool that moves. In that vein, Holden pleads with Miller saying that he can’t take him anywhere without a ship. Miller mumbles his typically obscure phrase, “Go into a room too fast, kid, the room eats you.”
Holden realizes that this must be in reference to the speed of his ship. He orders Alex to outrun the Belter torpedo until they get closer to the ring, at which point they should slow almost to a stop. The Martian pilot acquiesces, and after withstanding some very heavy G-force, Holden regains consciousness and finds his ship intact. A shot showing the exterior of the Rocinante shows that the torpedo and ship are frozen in place.
It’s hard to say whether time has slowed or some force from the ring has stopped the torpedo’s impact, but either way the ship and crew are safe…for now.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 8: “It Reaches Out” – Final Thoughts
This was an exciting episode with lots going on. Serious kudos to the writers who manage to weave so many seemingly different story-lines together so that they actually pay off. One wonders who is in league with whom, but one thing seems clear: Melba and Cohen are working for the same faction.
Based on the awkward exposition aboard the Thomas Prince, though, I’m led to believe that the same concern funding these megachurches in Africa is also funding Melba and the sneaky film crew’s efforts.
It was great to see Tom Jane acting his hat off in this episode. I’ve been missing him this past season, and the ultra-seriousness of Steven Strait’s character worked well with Tom Jane’s existential flippancy. You know a show is good when you can’t wait for the next episode, and The Expanse continually leaves you wanting more.