TL;DR – For every disaster, there is an aftermath, and we start to see some of that this week
Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime subscription that viewed this series.
Down and Out Review –
Last week’s episode Gaugamela was the culmination of three build-up episodes (well more than that if you count Season 4). An episode where you spent the whole time holding your breath not wanting to see what would happen next. But there has to be an aftermath, and this week’s episode is all of that and more.
So to set the scene, we open with the aftermath of the asteroid impacts on Earth as Amos (Wes Chatham) and Peaches (Nadine Nicole) wake up in a damaged and failing room. They were at the bottom of The Pit when the Pennsylvania asteroid hit. Which meant that Amos stayed on the planet one day too late, but it probably saved their lives. But surviving the impact was one thing. Getting out of a fortified prison when the prison guards don’t know the world has changed is an entirely different matter. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
There is a lot to unpack this week, but I want to take a moment to explore the fantastic acting we got to see, where realisation is entirely played through facial expressions. The first is Sakai, played by Bahia Watson, who put a couple of bullets in Fred Johnson’s (Chad L. Coleman) back last week. We open this week with her in a cell as James (Steven Strait) and Bull (José Zúñiga) come to interrogate her. She had planned to escape with the protomolecule, but that did not work out. In this scene, she gives nothing away to her oppressors until someone mentions the Rocinante. In that moment you can see that realisation play across her eyes as she understands what that will mean (we later learn that she has added the same code from the Augustin Gamarra to the ship, so she knows if it starts they will all die). You can see her contemplate all of this and then decide that if this is her fate, so be it, and resigning herself to death. All of this plays out in her face. We also see this latter in the episode when Naomi (Dominique Tipper) works out what they have planned and makes sure she can stop it.
One of the themes of this episode is family when there are moments of tragedy like this you want to draw together if you can. It is hard to quantify, but this episode echoes the aftermath of 9/11 in how people responded. For Drummer (Cara Gee), there are many conflicted feelings given her past and how she literally had Marco (Keon Alexander) in an airlock but let him go. Oksana (Sandrine Holt) reminds her that she is viewing the world through hindsight and that “you cannot live backward”, that they need to bring the family together to process what happened. Back on Earth, Amos has his own family of sorts with Peaches and is determined to get both of them out of The Pit because he knows all that structure of society just got literally and metaphorically blasted away.
Conversely, we get a lot of dysfunctional family moments throughout this episode. For James, this is the worst possible outcome with him desperately wanting to bring his family close, but they are all away. You can feel him trying to reach out into the void emotionally, but there is no response. Equally, on the Pella, you get Marco’s broken family specifically and the crew more broadly. Cyn (Brent Sexton) wants to make it like it was in the old days with Naomi or Knuckles, but that is all wishful thinking on his part. Also, we get to see how Marco views his son Filip (Jasai Chase-Owens) as just an extension of his plans and not as his son, something to control and not love.
In the end, do we recommend Down and Out? Yes, yes we do. I know I have said this before, and I will likely repeat this, but this has been such a solid season with every episode landing so far. There are little details like how the opening titles keep updating that show the level of care going on here.
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 – Jeff Woolnough
Written by – Matthew Rasmussen
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, Nadine Nicole, Keon Alexander, Jasai Chase-Owens & Shohreh Aghdashloo with José Zúñiga, Sandrine Holt, Brent Sexton, Natalie Brown, Bahia Watson, George Tchortov, Olunike Adeliyi, Arnold Pinnock, Thomas Mitchell & Somkele Idhalama.