To say things are picking up in The Expanse’s third episode, “Remember the Cant,” would be an understatement. As the dominoes start to fall from Holden’s transmission, back on Earth Chrisjen Avasarala shows that interests of Earth are her main priority above anyone and anything else. Back on Ceres, Miller gets deeper entrenched with Julie Mao’s disappearance and begins to suspect this is far more than just another rich girl gone rogue.
If you haven’t caught up, spoilers ahead.
Adam: ZOMG Avasarala actually did something! All right, I’m being a little hyperbolic, but as the character has mostly been relegated to providing exposition, up to this point, I’ll lead by saying that it was nice to see her be politically ruthless and contribute to the story with the manipulation of the Earth ambassador to Mars that revealed Mars definitely wasn’t behind the destruction of the Cant. I found the scenes between her and de Graaf affecting, and definitely the best stuff the show has done with the character so far.
What did you think of Avasarala’s arc in this episode? Are you more interested in the character now?
Cher: Oh, she did something, all right. I think the political drama aspect is finally starting to catch up, so to speak. I’m interested in her because she seems a bit cutthroat. But I have a feeling I won’t like her very much as the show progresses for exactly that reason. Then again, politicians are never my favorite archetype.
Speaking of people I don’t like, the head Star Helix is right up there.
Adam: Wait, you don’t like the character, or you don’t like the actor? For me, she’s playing the part of the harassed police captain to a tee -- every maverick detective needs one. I’m just waiting for her “You’re a loose cannon, Miller!” speech.
I feel like this episode did some serious world-building. We got Havelock’s lessons in the Belter’s language, the first appearance of the Mormons, and some quality time with a few members of the Knight crew (Holden’s multiple parents! Alex is Martian Navy! Naomi might be OPA!). The producers have said they felt like they needed three episodes to get the show’s universe across, so I’m guessing we can expect to see things start to move. In particular, it looks like Ceres is a powder keg -- riots, OPA threats, the whole shebang.
Which storyline in this episode made you most excited to see what happens next?
Cher: I don’t like the character, which means the actress is definitely doing her job. The show feels like it’s starting to find its groove a bit, and we’re getting to know a little more about the characters and all the moving parts at play.
That being said, pretty much every character has so many layers to them. Like we learn a bit about Holden’s past, about Naomi’s overqualifications, which make her seem suspicious, and about Alex’s military past. But every one of those things just adds more drama and more friction between everyone. Which is also makes them all a bunch of hypocrites. I guess life on an ice hauler is the place people go when they want to get away from their former lives.
It’s also interesting how the Martians are painted as villains right off the bat. Their arrival is a bit like the Empire boarding Leia’s ship in New Hope and Cpl. Dookie (that name cracks me up because I’m clearly immature) is giving me serious General Hux vibes. Oh wait, you didn’t see The Force Awakens yet, so that reference is totally lost on you.
I also like how we are seeing a different Havelock than what I remember from the books. This one seems more like he wants to belong. It was somewhat endearing seeing him and Miller bond over playing a prank on their boss with the Mormon and his relationship with the Belter prostitute. It’s pretty obvious he has a bit of a crush on her.
Even though we’re getting more into the whole backstabbing politics of Earth, and Miller is getting further into the Mao case, I’m still mostly invested in what’s happening with Holden and crew. And I really want to find out what Mars’ angle is/was with the interrogations. Talk about stirring up sh*t.
Adam: See, I didn’t see the Martians as villains. Imposing, maybe. But it pretty quickly became apparent that they’re grasping at as many straws as anyone else. Cpl. Dookie (tee hee) played the tough interrogator well, but he obviously didn’t have much of anything. And the captain’s attempted deal with Holden makes it obvious Mars really doesn’t want to get into a shooting war with Earth.
Ok, let’s talk about the episode’s biggest shocker: Havelock getting skewered. Without getting too much into spoiler territory, that’s a pretty big departure from the books. Were you as bowled over by that as I was?
Cher: Completely. And I like that they’re changing things up from the books a bit while still maintaining the overall integrity of them. I think that’s a real challenge shows have when they’re adapted from books, and so far, despite being only three episodes in, it seems like they’re handling that well.
I’m pretty curious what happens next with Havelock. Aside from Avasarala being brought into the story much earlier, he’s been the most obvious change from the books. Clearly it’s for a reason, and I want to see how this plays out.
What did you guys think of Episode 3? Let us know in the comments.