TL;DR – War takes a back seat this week as we explore the emotional fallout.
Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this series.
The Expanse Review –
If there is one emotion that films, TV, etc., rely on, it is pain. It is a universal emotion, so it is easy to use without any substance behind it, yet it still appears to have weight. These are the moments that hit at the moment yet make you feel hollow later when you think about it. There is a lot of death and pain in The Expanse, but as we see today, none of it is cheap.
So to set the scene, everyone is still reeling from the attacks across the system, and for the Martians, slow and steady is not the order of the day. They fly their newest stealth ships right through the portal to take Medina Station out of the equation. It is a daring attack. Bar, Marco (Keon Alexander) had made a deal and fortified all of ring space with railguns, killing the MCR fleet in moments. Meanwhile, The Roci has docked with Ceres Station as James (Steven Strait), and Naomi (Dominique Tipper) have found that the ring gates are killing ships, but James’ ultraism falls flat. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
One of the bonuses of having a crew and cast that have worked together for so long is that you get to see them work collaboratively to get the best out of every moment. There is a scene at the start between Bobbie (Frankie Adams) and Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) as Chrisjen is trying to find the ability to move on. It is a moment where she has a crisis of faith. But while this is all mentioned in the text in a certain regard, you instantly know this to be true with one look that Shohreh makes. It is a look that speaks volumes and a look I can deeply sympathise with. But for that to work, the framing, the acting, costuming, the lighting, the set design, and more all have to come together to make it land. You also see this combination in some of the newer parts of the show. On Laconia, Cara (Emma Ho) has taken a gamble, and it worked as her brother Xan (Ian Ho) is rebuilt by the machines. There are these subtleties in the performance of both actors that I would be impressed to see in those much older, and yet they nail it. The sister was happy to see her brother alive. The brother is confused and a little odd, yet grateful to see his big sister.
Honestly, this is a swan song for all our characters, and it was good to see another returning gust with Elvi (Lyndie Greenwood). Both Redoubt and Why We Fight have focused sharply on Camina Drummer (Cara Gee). Since the rocks dropped in Season 5, Drummer has been placed in an impossible situation, and with that has come casualties. The main one was her family, and the final blow was struck when Michio (Vanessa Smythe) decided to stay on Ceres with Josep (Samer Salem). What makes it hard for Drummer and, by proxy, the audience is that their reasons for staying were wholly justified and come with no malice to Drummer, even if it is a de facto separation. That pain is only amplified when Drummer returns to the Tynan and finds Naomi waiting. We know that this will boost the pain, but there is a catharsis there that can only come from a deep friendship.
There is catharsis all across the episode. Bobbie has to talk some sense into Amos (Wes Chatham), who is struggling to process James’ choice not to kill Marco. Then they might have hooked up, which would be a surprise from the Book perspective, but not from the actors who completely sell it. All season, Filip (Jasai Chase-Owens) has struggled to overcome his guilt from being a mass murderer. Watching him try to live in his father’s orbit when his father does not care has been heart-breaking, Here you can see that moment of clarity when he has to comfort Tadeo (Joe Perry) over the loss of his brother. Naomi warned him about that moment, and he saw the guilt wrought across Tadeo’s face. That moment came to pass. Of course, there is the big moment when Drummer and Avasarala meet for the first time. Two great powers were crashing together and finding a better way out.
While this was another intense episode, a couple of moments did give me pause. While I am sure it was just some odd editing, the moment with Nico Sanjrani (Joanne Vannicola) felt entirely out of place and didn’t add anything to the narrative that was not already known. Also, I left this episode a little concerned, if only because I know how much they must do next week.
In the end, do we recommend Why We Fight? Yes, completely. This is a show where every facet works together for the greater whole. I hope this is not the end, but they are at least going out in style if it is.
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 – Anya Adams
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, Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham, Frankie Adams, Cara Gee, Nadine Nicole, Keon Alexander, Jasai Chase-Owens & Shohreh Aghdashloo with Kathleen Robertson, Anna Hopkins, Joanne Vannicola, Krista Bridges, Lyndie Greenwood, Vanessa Smythe, Samer Salem, Emma Ho, Ian Ho, Conrad Coates, Andre Colquhoun, Daniel Jun, Dianne Aguilar, Hannah Gallant, Jermain James & Joe Perry