TL;DR – An episode where we delve into Amos’ past, and my heart breaks a little
Churn Review –
We dive straight back into the second episode of the season which continues to build the tension for the potential coming disaster. However, this episode is more of a character piece as we get to see what motivates many of our cast of characters.
So to set the scene, in the first episode Exodus we focused on all the crew going their separate ways as they flew to different parts of the Solar System. Amos (Wes Chatham) landed on Luna and after chitchat with Chrisjen (Shohreh Aghdashloo) made the trip back to his home on Baltimore. Alex (Cas Anvar) arrived on Mars and faced a frosty reception from everyone including Bobbie (Frankie Adams), and Naomi (Dominique Tipper) made her way to Pallas Station. This departure left James (Steven Strait) all alone on Tyco Station, which was the perfect time for Monica Stuart (Anna Hopkins) to arrive with tales of intrigue. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
While this was an episode focused mostly on character development, which was not to say there was no plot moved. Throughout the episode, we get three little hints that would give someone pause if they joined the dots. The first is on Tyco Station when Monica obviously stumbled into something that people didn’t want her to find, and James finds her place ransacked and her missing. I liked that they gave Monica a little bit more agency over her rescue than appeared in the books, also I just caught that the chief of ops is called Bull (José Zúñiga) which I am sure will excite some fans that were sad that he had not appeared earlier.
On Mars, Bobbie lets Alex on what she has been doing and how far the rot goes up the chain of command. But Alex cannot believe that Admiral Sauveterre (Tim DeKay) could be involved, so he goes to meet him, and while his aid Lt Babbage (Lara Jean Chorostecki) seems friendly the admiral is concerned that Alex is there. Finally, after a public dressing down by Nancy Gao (Lily Gao), Chrisjen starts to put the pieces together as to what could be going wrong.
Our first character moment goes to Camina Drummer (Cara Gee), who we have not really heard from since she went her own way at the end of Season 4. Since then, she has put together a crew and a ship and is stamping her name as the chief pirate of a certain region of the Belt. She has no compunctions in stripping a cargo ship bare of its cargo, but she will not space the crew, something that sets her apart from others. I wondered how Drummer was going to fit into the season in my Primer, especially as Bull is filling in her role from the books on Tyco. But from here it looks like as I suspected that she would be following some version of Michio Pa’s storyline, which has me interested indeed.
The next and main thrust of the story comes from Amos and his trip back to his hometown of Baltimore. Why he left has always been shrouded in mystery, indeed even the name Amos Burton is suspect. Here we got to see more of his life form the past, how he could effortlessly work out who is who, and which person could take him to where he wanted to go. Our first emotional touchstone comes from when he meets Charles (Frankie Faison) the partner of his late mother figure Lydia (Stacey Rosa). At the start, he is not sure if Charles has something to do with her death, but the moment he realises she died peacefully and he is the last part of her left his demeanour changes in an instant. Throughout this time, he sees a boy with a broken face and a woman off to the side. We soon learn that these are memories of him as Timmy (Cole Pollock) and Lydia. Knowing what we know of Amos’ early life, my heart broke watching two broken people try to come to each other’s aid.
In the end, do we recommend Churn? Of course. This emotional pause is what the early part of the season needed because I have a feeling we are not going to get such a moment again anytime soon.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Expanse
Directed by – Breck Eisner
Written by – Ty Franck & Daniel Abraham
Created by – Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby
Based on – The Expanse by James S. A. Corey (Ty Franck & Daniel Abraham)
Production/Distribution Companies – Alcon Entertainment & Amazon Studios
Starring – Steven Strait, Cas Anvar, Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham, Frankie Adams, Cara Gee, Keon Alexander, Jasai Chase-Owens & Shohreh Aghdashloo with José Zúñiga, Michael Irby, Sandrine Holt, Frankie Faison, Lily Gao, Tim Dekay, Stacey Roca, Anna Hopkins, Bahia Watson, George Tchortov, Lara Jean Chorostecki, Nazneen Contractor, Jacob Mundell & Chad L. Coleman