The Expanse Review: “It Reaches Out,” “Intransigence,” “Dandelion Sky,” Fallen World”

The Expanse continues with its fourth third and, to date, best season, as characters old and new confront a thing both terrifying and unknown. The ring may be a Big Object, but it’s not a Dumb one.

Titles: “It Reaches Out,” “Intransigence,” “Dandelion Sky,” “Fallen World”

Directors: Kenneth Fink, David Grossman, Jennifer Phang
Writers: Ty Franck, Daniel Abraham, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Hallie Lambert, Dan Nowak.
Adapted from the novels by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (as James S.A. Corey)

Steven Strait as James Holden
Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal
Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata
Wes Chatham as Amos Burton
Frankie Adams as Bobbie Draper
Elizabeth Mitchell as Reverend Doctor Anna Volovodov
Florence Faivre as Julie Mao
Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala
Thomas Jane as Joe Miller
Cara Gee as Camina Drummer
David Strathairn as Commander Klaes Ashford
Nadine Nicole as Melba Koh
François Chau as Jules-Pierre Mao
Genelle Williams as Tilly Fagan
Anna Hopkins as Monica Stuart
Brandon McGibbon as Cohen
Ari Millen as Stanni
Paulino Nunes as Reverend Doctor Hector Cortez
Andrew Rotilio as Diogo
Brock Johnson as Grigori
Chris Owens as Kolvoord
Marci T. House as Soledad
Matt Bois as UNN Lt. Nemeroff
Nabil Ayoub as Behemoth Tech
Shomari Downer as UNN Junior Officer


Character old and new converge on a ring the protomolecule has birthed at the outer edge of the solar system.

As with any ring of significance, it represents promises and dangers, and some characters, faced with the unknown, cannot hold themselves together.

Holden, of course, finds himself deeper into the mystery than anyone.

High Points

The show has hit a streak unimagined in the first season, with one excellent episode after another. “Fallen World” contains a strong hard SF subplot, where space puts two characters (who, of course, have issues between them) in a tight situation that appears to have no good resolution.

Throughout—but most especially, in “Fallen World,” science and imagined technology have credible effects. And while the writers haven’t been as bloodthirsty as George R.R. Martin, it has been made clear that no character gets a guarantee of safe passage.

Low Point

The powers-that-be would, of course, go after Holden. Given his reputation and the technology these people use, however, it strikes me as a little odd that so many people immediately believe the frame job. We’re almost at the point now where such a video could be faked.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 We’re watching an adaptation, and the ring itself, a product of an incredibly ancient civilization, recalls many past SF odysseys.

Effects: 6/6 While some shots work better than others, these episodes contain an incredible number of strong effects, delivered weekly.

Acting: 5/6

Emotional Response: 5/6

Story: 6/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6

In total, these third-season episodes of The Expanse receive 35/42

3 replies on “The Expanse Review: “It Reaches Out,” “Intransigence,” “Dandelion Sky,” Fallen World””

  1. You know, the low point wasn’t quite as low for me. Yeah, it seemed to defy belief. But upon reflection, I think it’s distressingly realistic. Which may be enough to make it a low point on its own. I mean, who wants distressing realiism in a TV show?

    Anyway, that frame job was *good*. Emotions were riding high after the explosion, and that’s with the heightened tensions already in place at the Ring. Further, with the long lightspeed delay to get any information from Earth or Mars and the need to appear to act in the face of obvious provocation, and the distinct lack of other suspects, and the fact that most of the PTBs out there really don’t know much about Holden other than that he is a wild card that seems to be involved in everything of any importance lately….

    Even if it is a bit of a stretch, I do give it something of a pass because it does cut through the stalemate and moves the plot meaningfully forward without spending another three episodes on the politics while everyone stares at everyone else warily.

    • It wasn’t a dealbreaker for me. But at the point in technological history we’re seeing, a video that has not been authenticated should have about as much plausibility as a social networking rumor has now, and….

      Okay, maybe you have a point.

      • Depressing, isn’t it?

        But here’s the thing. The video was identifiable as originating from the Roci and, as far as anyone else was concerned, the Roci was keeping deliberate radio silence. The saboteurs planned the frame well. That makes it a bit better than unsubstantiated social networking rumous.

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