"Cascade" delivers the episode I wanted last week and does it very well. The Expanse Season 2 Episode 10 begins with the crew of The Rocinante arriving on Martian-occupied Ganymede station and starting their search for Mei Meng and Dr. Strickland.
Prax Meng: "How many people have you killed?"
Amos Burton: "I’m not sure."
Prax Meng: "You’re not sure?"
Amos Burton: "I’m not a homicidal maniac… Holden and Naomi, they’re not like me. They’re better. I’ll watch you back, but they’ll find your little girl."
As Amos Burton (Wes Chatham) and Prax Meng (Terry Chen) hunt for answers, Prax begins to realize there is a serious problem with the Station's air-recycling system. Like the man-sized Bed Bug problem that killed all those Marines wasn't enough reason to sell your condo on Ganymede.
The Rocinante crews' search ultimately leads to a "man" named Roma—a sleazy, young opportunist, who trades his access to the station video records for food and supplies.
When he proves difficult to barter with, Amos responds appropriately, striking the man repeatedly in the head with a Spam-like can of chicken. Roma agrees, at gun-point, to help find young Mei and her Dr. Strickland free-of-charge.
James Holden: “I would have stopped him before it went too far.”
Naomi Nagata: “Every sh*ty thing we do makes the next one that much easier, doesn’t it?”
While the station video records are being searched, Prax takes a deeper look at the air-cleaning system currently running on Ganymede. As a botanist, he concludes the hydroponic-based oxygen recycling method will experience a cascade failure before long.
Amos Burton: Yeah, but Ganymede is the most important food station out here. They’re not just going to let it collapse.
Prax Meng: This Station is dead already. They just don’t know it yet.
The search of surveillance network finally results in video footage of Dr. Strickland and a female with Prax’s daughter Mei safely leaving the recorded area of the station.
Back on The The Rocinante, Alex Kamal’s (Cas Anvar) super-fun zero-gravity drinking game is interrupted by notification that the space around Ganymede Station is being closed by Martian authorities.
On Earth, the UNC and Martian delegates finalize the terms of the peace accord without further testimony from Sergeant Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams).
Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) calls for a deeper study of Sgt. Draper’s Body Armor, previously turned over to Earth by Mars. Knowing the proto-molecule work by Jules-Pierre Mao (Francois Chau) as he does, he tasks the scientists to search for “exotic” biological traces.
Technician: We did find traces of various plant materials, but again, that is consistent with the account—she was found in the wreckage of the Ag-Dome...
Sadavir Errinwright: I’m not talking about soybeans, I mean exotic biologicals— anything that shouldn’t be on Ganymede.
Technician: Sir, I’m not sure what you’re getting at… We did a pretty thorough analysis....
Sadavir Errinwright: I don’t want pretty thorough, I want you to go over every goddamn molecule on that armor and tell me if there’s anything you missed!
Errinwright and Undersecretary Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) meet to discuss Sgt. Draper’s encountered on Ganymede. He informs her of his belief that Ganymede was the result of weapons-testing by Mao for Mars, based on the same technology that wiped out the population of Eros.
Errinwright confesses to colluding with Mao to weaponize the extra-solar “protomolecule”, first discovered on the Martian moon Phobos.
Sgt. Draper is reprimanded by Captain Martens (Peter Outerbridge) for her revelations during earlier testimony. After being told she will be confined to the embassy until her departure, Draper decides to look for a way to break open the secure windows of her room.
After no small amount of trouble opening the window, Bobbie manages to get herself outside but is still 4 floors off the ground. Getting to Earth from there involves what I assume is a bad day for any student of Parkour. But she gets right up an makes a run for it!
In search of the Ocean, Sergeant Draper must adjust to the Earth environment and experiences life on Earth among the majority underclass. Bobbie’s escape from the Martian Embassy draws the attention of Earther spy Cotyar (Nick Tarabay), who reports to Undersecretary Avasarala.
The Sergeant finally fulfills her dream of seeing an ocean for the first time. While enjoying the moment, she's approached by Cotyar and the Undersecretary. They show her evidence—a file entitled “Project Caliban – Protomolecule Phase 4 Hybrid”-- that describing the creature Draper fought, and asking for her help.
But convincing her isn’t going to be that easy—the Sergeant was raised to hate Earthers and is not quick to accept the deaths of her squad, and the subsequent destruction of 3 domes on Ganymede, were the results of Martian weapon testing.
I was happy with this episode from start to finish. I can't give it a 5/5 because it lacked the kind of sci-fi action and effects we know this show can really deliver. But it was a smart, well-produced and well-acted episode across the board. The action was brief and jarring, but perfectly suited to this stage of the story being told here.
What about you? Any hopes for this season with only three episodes to go? (Hoping Bobbie & Amos will meet, marry and make super-tough angry babies?)
Jeff Reid is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.