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The Expanse - Intransigence + Dandelion Sky - Double Episode Review

It speaks to the quality of The Expanse that the show can be so darn engrossing despite two relatively uneventful episodes.

'Intransigence' was basically a set-up for 'Dandelion Sky,' with a large chunk of the episode spent on flashbacks to Melba's past, where viewers find out she is Clarissa Mao, daughter of Jules Pierre-Mao, and on a revenge-fueled quest.

Clarissa being daddy's little girl seeking revenge against Holden for persecuting her father is a bit of a groan-inducing, overused characterization trope. Though nonetheless, actress Nadine Nicole has done a wonderful job expressing the pains of this woman who has lost pretty much everything.

There is some humanity to Clarissa, as we had seen most especially with her guilt of killing Ren, and that does make for a compelling antagonist, all daddy issues aside. However, so far, her character has not had much to do other than walk around brooding and giving the evil eye to her crewmates on the Thomas Prince, while scheming her dastardly plans.

Clarissa's storyline will for sure boil up to something explosive as this season winds down (that of which book readers know), though the build-up has been, for the most part, monotonous the past couple of weeks.

Elsewhere on the Thomas Prince is Pastor Anna, whose story has felt detached from the rest of the show. Granted, it is refreshing to look at this ring through a theological perspective, though at the same time, the show could have omitted her character and still not miss a beat. Meanwhile, more popular characters from the book have been omitted.

Anna's storyline had a little bit more weight in 'Dandelion Sky.' In the opening moments of the episode, the Pastor, in awe of what she sees, brushes away her fellow Earther who tried to console in her his fears of what this rings means. The poor lad would eventually kill himself, leaving Anna feeling guilty and pondering what if she had just stopped to talk? What if she had done her job servicing congregants, instead of being caught up in all of the wonder and awe of the science?

What is heartbreaking for her character though is that when Pastor Anna does stop to give advice in an almost act of redemption, it is that advice that could potentially kill a woman. Confronting Clarissa was not exactly the wisest move for Tilly - none of them could have known - but boy does things not look good for Tilly upon the ending of 'Dandelion Sky.'

Despite a lag in pacing with Clarissa and Anna, The Expanse continues to be thoroughly engrossing due to the storytelling and the main storyline of this ring and the mystery surrounding it.

Holden and Miller have undeniable chemistry, and it has been a joy to the see the proto-Miller communicating with the poor Rocinante captain who just always seems find himself in the middle of every cataclysmic event.

In 'Intransigence' the crew of the Rocinante were basically sitting ducks, getting accustomed to the speed limit of the slow zone, with Mars, Earth, and Belter ships on their tail. Suspenseful, yes, but it wasn't until 'Dandelion Sky' when we see true progress with Holden deciding to make the jump to the centre hub in the middle of this zone.

It is great to see Bobby being used in 'Dandelion Sky.' In the book, Holden wonders if Bobbie is on the Martian ship, but we never get to see her. Her inclusion in the show as one of the group of Martians that follows Holden into the hub was a welcome addition. I assume we will see more of Bobbie as she most likely takes Holden back to her ship, which is always a positive.

Just as Holden leaves the Rocinante, it seems Naomi will be returning. Though Naomi had not much to do last week in 'Dandelion Sky,' her journey was the heart of 'Intransigence'.

The enigmatic Ashford advises Naomi about the pitfalls surrounding nostalgia and dwelling on her time spent with the Inners. However, his warnings resulted in the exact opposite.

The scene with Naomi and Drummer was heartbreaking, there is a clear bond between these two Belters, despite their differences in allegiance, and Drummer telling Naomi that she underestimated her, before unexpectedly letting her go her own way, was a very emotional moment. There was also something foreboding about this scene. Drummer is now left alone with an unpredictable Ashford and his crew, not to mention, who knows how the overall situation within the ring will unfold for all parties - this interaction could very well be the last dialogue between Naomi and Drummer, which made their scene even more emotional.

If Drummer does die she at least won't go out with a whimper. The moment Drummer riled up the crew of the Behemoth during 'Intransigence' was profoundly uplifting. Cara Gee has been killing it as Drummer, a character who, might I add, does not appear in the books until much later.

Another diversion from the books is the use of Naomi. I like how they are keeping her apart from Holden. The last thing we need is romance, as it would be too distracting from everything else that is going on - this is a science fiction show not a romance show, after all. This diversion from the book of having Naomi away from the Rocinante, only to return after Holden leaves was a genius move on the writers part.

Still on the Rocinante though was Amos and Alex who did not have much to work with the past couple of weeks. It must be said, however, that Amos' deadpan humour continues to be a joy. The man clearly is incapable of consoling an individual and for good reason as he hasn't felt fear, and probably other emotions, since the age of five. Amos' reassurance that Alex will probably die, but at least he won't die alone, wasn't exactly assuring and Alex' hilarious reaction proved that.

Other humorous moments was Alex checking up on Holden in 'Intragience', as we hear Holden screaming for Miller behind closed doors, and Amos' hilarious treatment of Monica and the blind traitor. The Expanse continues to find time for subtle, light-hearted moments amidst the chaos and does not take itself too seriously, which works well for the show.

And how about that last moment? I don't know how much sense non-book readers can make of it, but the visuals were undeniably breathtaking. For book readers this was an anticipated moment finally seen on the small screen, for those not familiar with the source material, this is a scene that is either confusing in the most frustrating way or intriguingly puzzling. All I can say is that The Expanse has left us one heck of a jaw-dropping cliffhanger as we head into the next episode, 'Fallen World.'

Intransigence - 8/10
Dandelion Sky - 8.5/10


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