Emotions soar high in this week’s episode ‘The Monster and the Rocket’, as we see political assassination, high-level betrayal and a last minute rescue.
The Monster and the Rocket Recap
On Earth, Undersecretary Errinwright has a heart-to-heart with his son. Afraid of the oncoming Eros hearings, he imparts lessons like “listen to your heart”. Fearing he won’t be available for long, he still tells his son that everything’s gonna be okay.
Holden, Alex and Prax aboard the Rocinante finds the escaped Protomolecule hybrid in the AG dome. While Holden wants to kill it, Prax is not fond of the idea. He argues that it could be his daughter. To avoid detection by MCRN patrol, Alex hides Roci within the planet scenery and they lose sight of the hybrid.
Errinwright shows his medal to Avasarala and asks to give it to his son, but she reassures him the Eros hearings could go in his favor. Avasarala also tells him about her upcoming meeting with Jules-Pierre Mao. Believing that Mars will use the Protomolecule to destroy Earth, Errinwright asks her to make peace with Mao to stay in the game.
On Ganymede, Melissa, the captain of the Weeping Somnambulist, is trying to herd refugees into her ship. Amos and Naomi approaches her with an offer to fix the Somnambulist. Naomi takes over a man who is doing more harm than good while repairing the ship.
Avasarala along with Cotyar and Bobbie prepares to leave for the meeting with Mao. She’s nervous about the flight and Cotyar teases her. Avasarala tells Bobbie she is a bargaining chip for the Martians and has been taken off the board for now. She also says that she expects them to get her out of any shit that goes down. On Earth, Errinwright signs what seems to be a suicide note and picks up a vial which appears to be poison.
As the Rocinante crew searches for the hybrid, Alex has to maneuver through pretty tight space. Intent on destroying the creature, Holden open fires on it. Prax again argues and they miss the target.
On Ganymede, Melissa is having trouble controlling the crowd. Amos tries to help but things get ugly and they ultimately have to shut the doors. Amos, who is still bleeding, needs a shot of painkiller. Melissa informs Naomi that the air refill station has been shut down. There are over 100 refugees but they only have air enough for 52 people. Naomi says they can take off with 100 and then send the overflow to the Roci when they rendezvous, but Melissa isn’t keen on the idea. Besides, the Martian ships have jammed their comms.
In an attempt to negotiate, Martian defense minister Korshunov meets with Errinwright in his office. Errinwright says that Protomolecule is a game changing technology and there can’t be peace if only one of them have it. Korshunov makes the case for new technology to shave a century off of their terraforming efforts. He further argues that ‘one of us has to lose’.
The unrest on Ganymede grows. The big guy whom Melissa hired for crowd control in return for a first class seat is also turning on her. On the ship, Amos tells Naomi that Melissa is right and they can’t open the door.
During the discussion, Korshunov suddenly fells to his knees. Apparently, Errinwright poisoned him with an enzyme that can be tailored for a particular Martian causing them to have a heart attack. Meanwhile, Avasarala along with her aides reach Mao’s ship which looks very elegant. Jules-Pierre Mao soon joins them.
As the Roci crew continues to search the AG dome for the hybrid, Alex notices the MCRN ship Karakum’s sudden disappearance from radar. While Holden theorizes that it might have gone stealth, Alex thinks someone blew it up. On Ganymede, there are explosions outside possibly from Karakum’s debris. Amid crisis and panic, Melissa tells Naomi to prepare for take-off.
Mao demands Avasarala to exonerate his family and un-freeze its assets. He further says that he will act as middle man and provide balanced access for the Protomolecule to Earth and Mars.
Suddenly, he receives a video message from Errinwright, who announces Minister Korsunov’s death and the destruction of the Karakum over Ganymede. Errinwright threatens to destroy Mao and also turns on Avasarala telling her that she betrayed him. He orders Mao to return to Earth alone and possibly kill Avasarala while cleaning up the mess he created. On completion of the message, both sides draw their guns and Mao exits.
On the Somnambulist, Naomi wants to try talking to the refugees. Amos tries to stop her, but she tranquilizes him. As soon as Naomi opens the outer door, the crowd rapidly busts in. The big guy tries to choke her out, but she tells him they can only take 52 people on the ship. He agrees to help, and they manage to get the Belters to put their women and children onto the ship first. Naomi offers the crowd-control guy her place on the ship, but he pushes her onboard saying,”You’re not finished yet.”
The Roci continues to maneuver inside AG Dome when the hybrid appears. Prax wants to go make contact, but Holden says no. Alex receives an open message that the Somnambulist has taken off and is breaking Martian rules in the process. While Holden is still adamant to kill the hybrid, Alex says they need to rendezvous with the Somnambulist and defend it.
The Somnambulist gets a final no-fly warning, and then the Martians fire a torpedo at the ship. It’s about to destroy them when the Roci suddenly intercepts and neutralizes it. More targets are now locked on the Roci, but Holden gets on an open channel warning them about Rocinante’s high-powered arsenal. The Martians remove target locks.
Melissa tells Naomi they did well as the Somnambulist and the Rocinante fly off together. However, we see that the hybrid somehow got onboard before it left Ganymede.
The Expanse "The Monster and the Rocket" Review
In the penultimate episode, Errinwright did something that most of us wouldn't have expected. In a single stroke, he not only turned the tables on Avasarala but also put the leash back on Jules-Pierre Mao. Not to mention the fact that he crippled Mars by killing its defense minister and destroying Karakum.
Cornered, it'll be interesting to see how Avasarala comes out of the situation. And will Mao just follow Errinwright's orders or try something of his own? Although Naomi boldly tried to save all the refugees, in the end they were able to pick up only 52 people. For the rest, future doesn't seem so bright.
Following the trend, this was another solid episode. With an unexpected stowaway, there'll definitely be action inside Rocinante in the next one.
The Expanse returns next week with the season finale titled "Caliban's War".