The Expanse Episodes

Season

1

Episode

9

Critical Mass/Leviathan Wakes

We begin … at the beginning. About seven weeks prior to Miller coming up with his conspiracy theory involving the Anubis and the Scopuli, to be more or less exact.

We're near Asteroid CA-2216862, where the Scopuli waits to intercept the Anubis. Julie Mao is on board, telling her OPA associates, Wan and Darren, that her father's weapon (!) is on board the Anubis, and they need to seize it to insure it's not something that will be used against Belters.

The OPA trio is surprised to find that the Anubis is not a simple science vessel but a stealth ship, one that easily overtakes the Scopuli. Wan and Darren are killed by the "scientists" on board whilst Julie is thrown into a padded room to be dealt with later.

Is this starting to sound familiar? Yep, we see the Anubis destroy the Canterbury, after which Julie escapes from her cell, only to find a completely abandoned ship. She makes her way to Engineering, coming into contact with some sort of blue glowing substance … and then screams in terror at what she sees in the reactor.

Julie leaves the Anubis on Chartered Belt Asteroid BA-834024112, takes the Anubis 1A shuttle to Eros Station and checks into the Blue Falcon Hotel under the name 'Lionel Polanski.' Her calls to Anderson Dawes go unanswered … and her body undergoes a grotesque and painful transformation, as whatever she came into contact with on the Anubis is slowly but most surely killing her.

Finally, a barely recognizable Julie crawls into the shower stall, succumbing to the last phase of her condition just as Miller, Holden, Naomi, Amos and Alex bust through the door …

A heartbroken Miller and the rest of the gang make their way back to the hotel lobby, where Sematimba meets them amongst the wreckage of the shoot-out. Sematimba tells them to get out and lay low while he tries to clean up the mess, though he's soon outranked once a sinister-looking fellow named Antony Dresden and his goons arrive, claiming they're looking for Julie Mao.

In Julie's room, Dresden takes samples from Julie's body, claiming that whatever happened to her isn't airborne … "but if it's wet, don't touch it … unless you want something wonderful to happen." Dresden says there's enough gunk in Julie's body for whatever he has planned and commands his associate Rutger to tell the crew to "prepare the injections."

Dresden contacts Julie's father, Jules-Pierre Mao, breaking the news about his daughter's death but assuring him that he has a viable sample of what he calls the "protomolecule" and that the injections are being prepared. A map of Eros Station labeled "Protomolecule Evolution: Phase 2" is on display, looking a lot like the blueprint for a terrorist attack. The heartbroken Mr. Mao tells Dresden to proceed as planned.

On the streets of Eros, Holden and the gang plan to get to the Rocinante as quickly as possible, though a sudden radiation breach causes all of the ships in the station to go on lockdown. Miller theorizes that this incident was no accident and scurries off to investigate, followed by Holden, who tells Naomi to take off without him if he's not back at the Rocinante in three hours.  

The people of Eros are starting to receive injections from CPM cops, allegedly an Iodine supplement as protection from the radiation. Meanwhile, Miller's hot on the trail of Dresden, whom he recognizes from the recording from Phoebe Station. Blaming Dresden for Julie's death, Miller tries to gun him down in the street, though he's stopped by Holden. Miller attacks Holden as Dresden and his goons board Shuttle 6H to Hotebisu Station.

Miller and Holden are soon accosted by the CPM cops that were escorting Dresden, who tell them to get to the shelter. Miller shoots one of them and interrogates the other: Mikey Ko, one of the many members of the Greigas gang that suddenly disappeared from Ceres after being offered jobs by the CPM. In fact, CPM hired all the Ceres crews, mostly to set up cameras and science gear all over Eros.

Eros Station is quickly becoming a nightmare as transit pods are closed, comms have gone dark and shelters are full. As a riot breaks out, Miller and Holden use a wounded Mikey Ko as a way to gain access to a shelter … where they find dozens of Eros citizens, writhing in pain on the floor.

Just then, the room is hit with a megadose of hard radiation. Miller and Holden didn't get out in time, and now only have a couple of hours to live …!

Meanwhile, on Anchorage Island in the Yukon Archipelago, Chrisjen Avasarala visits Franklin DeGraaf's widowed husband, Craig. Craig will never forgive Chrisjen for betraying Frank, though he allows her some time alone in Frank's study in order to say goodbye. Chrisjen finds three sharpened pencils in Frank's desk, which are actually data drives; on one of them, she finds the plans for an Advanced Fusion Prototype, which looks a lot like the reactor on board the Anubis

Just then, on Tycho Station, Fred Johnson sends a broadcast revealing the information found on the data cube he took from Lopez's uniform. It gives a detailed analysis of the attack against the Donnager, revealing that the attackers were advanced stealth fighters, built at the Bush Naval Shipyards … on Earth!

Back at the U.N. building, Admiral Souther tells Chrisjen that Johnson is lying, though she demands a full investigation into the fusion drives described in Franklin's data. Errinwright interrupts them, claiming that the stealth ships were indeed built at the Bush Naval Yards … but for private contractors, not the United Nations. Not only that, all the ships eventually made their way to Tycho Station over the past few years.

What private contractors, exactly? Chrisjen has an idea when Errinwright re-introduces her to his security advisor: Jules-Pierre Mao.

That night, Chrisjen tells her husband, Arjun, that he needs to go to Luna for a while, as it's not going to be safe for him on Earth much longer. It won't be for Chrisjen, either, as she suspects that Errinwright had Franklin killed BECAUSE Franklin figured out that said fusion drives were built on Earth BY Earth. She thinks her boss, Errinwright, is somehow connected to all the incidents that nearly pushed Earth/Mars/Belt to war (which we know was the setting up the Canterbury to be destroyed, and framing Mars). She begins to reevaluate her position in this increasingly dangerous situation.

Meanwhile, back at Eros Station, Sematimba has caught up with Amos, Alex and Naomi and taken them to the mech shafts, which Naomi says the OPA uses as smuggling routes to get to and from the docks (hmm!). After a series of frustrating dead ends, they eventually find the service ladder that takes them to the Rocinante. Sematimba wants to take off immediately, but Naomi refuses, saying she promised Holden three hours. Sematimba pulls a gun on her, but Amos shoots him in the back. "You say we wait, so we wait, boss," says Amos to a shocked Naomi.

As for Miller and Holden, they med themselves up to buy some time. Holden estimates they have a couple of hours before they start to melt from the inside out, so they've got to get to the Rocinante and its advanced medical facility before then. When a group of CPM thugs show up, Miller and Holden hide out in a video arcade and watch them set up a bunch of monitors, cameras and transmitters. What's going on?

After the CPM squad moves on, Miller and Holden see that the transit pods are back online. As they try to board one, they discover even more Eros citizens infected with the protomolecule. "They're spreading it deliberately, the whole goddamn station," growls Miller, realizing that 100,000 people dying from a bioweapon -- or whatever it is -- is a good way to start a war between Mars, Earth and the Belt.

Holden comes across Kenzo, whose wily ways have kept him alive through all this chaos. Kenzo tries to convince Holden to take him with him, but Holden's still sore about the treachery that almost got them killed in the lobby of the Blue Falcon — he sends Kenzo running as he empties his weapon in his direction, much to Miller's admiration and amusement.

Miller and Holden find an elevator that leads to the docks, though they have to go through a CPM squad to get to it. Donning the gear of two goons that Miller gunned down, they appeal to a group of CPM thugs that are being denied exodus from the station by Dresden's men … one of which happens to be Filat Kothari, the guy who harpooned Miller's partner, Havelock, to a wall back on Ceres. Miller's rabble rousing works and there's soon a full-on riot, during which Miller and Holden make it to the elevator … and Miller shoots Kothari in the head.

Miller and Holden make it to the Rocinante, where Miller is disturbed to see the body of his gunned-down friend, Sematimba. As Amos and Naomi administer treatment for their radiation poisoning, Alex detaches the gas hauler facade of the Rocinante, effectively rendering the clamps useless and allowing the ship to leave Eros Station … in hot pursuit of Dresden's craft.

The season ends with Kenzo wandering the rampaged streets of Eros, eventually coming across a space utterly transformed by the protomolecule. He stares in awe at the fantastical growth of fractals and nautilus spirals, thrumming with organic life. Kenzo is stalked by the protomolecule taking on a human shape before he's sucked into the ever-growing vortex …

What is this thing … and, more importantly, what is it becoming?

If you want to see all the events of this episode and learn more about the characters, locations and organizations, do it by exploring our 3D map of the Expanse solar system in The Expanse: Enter the Future.