With the remarkable episode “Home,” we reach the heart of Season Two, and a major turning point in the series.

While I believe the discussion should be open to “series-thus-far” spoilers, please use spoiler tags when referencing future events from the novels.

Directors: Jeff Woolnough, Robert Lieberman, Breck Eisner, David Grossman, Mikael Salomon
Writers: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Georgia Lee, Robin Veith, Dan Nowak
Adapted from the novels by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (as James S.A. Corey)

Cast of “Home”
Thomas Jane as Joe Miller
Steven Strait as Jim Holden
Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata
Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala
Chad L. Coleman as Col. Frederick Lucius Johnson
Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal
Wes Chatham as Amos Burton
Frankie Adams as Roberta “Bobbie” Draper
Florence Faivre as Julie Mao
Shawn Doyle as Sadavir Errinwright
Byron Mann as Admiral Nguyen
Nick E. Tarabay as Cotyar
Cara Gee as Col. Johnson’s Second in Command
Brian George as Arjun Avasarala
Alden Adair as Staz
Andrew Rotilio as Diogo
Carlos Gonzalez-Vio as Cortazar
Conrad Pla as Colonel Janus
Eli Martyr as Onudo
Ethan Hektor as Young Miller
Jonathan Whittaker as Sec-Gen Gillis
Kataem O’Connor as Young Sematimba
Tracey Ferencz as U.N. Advisor

Premise

The proto-molecule transforms Eros into something else—and then heads towards Earth. As Earth reacts to what they believe is a Martian weapon, Johnson’s people and the crew of the Rocinante take multiple desparate steps to prevent disaster.

Eros returns to mother.

High Points

While I remain indifferent to many of the characters, I was taken in by their sacrifices and complex reactions in “Home.” Joe Miller faces death more than once, long after he know his odds actually will run out at some point. The problematic Chrisjen Avasarala— one of my favorite characters— faces a range of dire circumstances with nervous grace.

I liked Miller’s meeting with the transformed Julie Mao (I will put aside for the moment questions of whether Proto-Molecule-Julie is Julie or something else with Julie’s memory and personality), and the heartbreaking but logical direction that encounter took….

Low Point

…I could have done with fewer of the blatant fairy tale princess quest/ sleeping beauty references.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6

Effects: 6/6 While some of the larger-scale effects look too much like CGI, I’m going to give them full points this time for what they attempt, and the number of times they succeed. The designs of the ships (interiors especially) look plausible, and “Home” features a surreal quest into Eros.

Acting: 5/6 The show features strong central performances.

Emotional Response: 6/6

Story: 6/6 The disparate storylines that caused some difficulties in the first season cohere brilliantly in the second.

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6

In total, the first half of The Expanse, Season Two, receives 37/42

Additional Points

Anyone up to writing crossover fanfic where “Bobbie” Draper is a descendant of her namesake from Mad Men?