The Expanse Recap: The Thing About Assured Destruction? It’s Mutual

It’s so great to have everyone under one roof for the coming proto-pocalypse. Thanks to Holden’s crew, Chrisjen Avasarala is on the mend and already giving orders (and when that doesn’t work, sharing intel). Between Avasarala and the crew of the Roci, the whole protomolecule conspiracy has basically been figured out—double-crossings, back-stabbings, secret programs to make proto-child soldiers, and all.

She wants to send a message to the UNN about Errinwright’s dealings with Jules-Pierre Mao and the plot to sell the protomolecule to Mars but a transmission will give away their location—and having just disabled a UNN ship, they can’t risk drawing any heat. The answer is no. Avasarala’s name will have to go uncleared for now.


Holden can’t be diverted from his mission to Io to rescue Mei so it looks like Avasarala and Bobbie Draper are along for the ride. Naomi, however, may not be. She’s been eyeing the racer the two women arrived in and wondering if she should head to Tycho in it. Holden doesn’t exactly try to dissuade her. Ouch. To make matters worse, Naomi and Avasarala can’t seem to get along.

Admiral Souther of the UNN ship Agatha King is another person Avasarala doesn’t get on with, but that doesn’t mean he thinks she’s a traitor. When her spy/bodyguard, Cotyar is brought aboard his ship, he doesn’t trust the higher-ups who label Cotyar and Chrisjen as traitors. Cotyar reveals that she is likely alive and that Errinwright is actually the traitor. It doesn’t do either man much good since the Admiral is immediately removed from his post. His ship, well, the ship that used to be his, is also heading for Io.


Things aren’t going well on Earth, either, where Secretary Gillis hesitates to fire on Mars’ weapon stores after speaking with Anna, who begs him to think about the lives that could be lost if the attack (which has an 82% chance of success) goes wrong. But then the devil on Gillis’ shoulder (aka Errinwright) shows up and convinces Gillis to attack (think of the fun memories!). Gillis gives the command to fire and all five Mars attack platforms are taken out—but not before the Red Planet can fire back at Earth, killing around two million people in South America. This is not what Anna signed up for.

But at least she has a choice. The kids on Io are being hybridized with the Protomolecule against their will—and it’s all fun and superpowers until the seizures set in. Witnessing a child going into that state, Mao has a change of heart (plus Mei reminds him of Julie, obviously) and he orders Strickland to halt the experiment. No more torturing children under his watch. What a swell guy!

5 questions we have about this week’s episode

1. Is Naomi right about Avasarala wanting to get a Protomolecule sample of her own so that Earth has some? Does Earth really not have any?

2. Will Dr. Strickland shut down the Protomolecule project now that Mao has ordered him to? He seems pretty resistant to abandon the work…

3. Did Amos really fake his own death in Baltimore? And, like, why?

4. What’s going to happen when the Roci and the Agatha King meet up on Io? Will that clash prevent Prax from reuniting with Mei?

5. Ok, really: when is the protomolecule smudge left aboard the Roci going to be uncovered? It’s making us antsy.