The Expanse Reaches Critical Mass

Finally. In this, the penultimate episode of The Expanse, we at last get to go back in time and see things through Julie Mao’s eyes. We followed Miller as he looked into her personal life. We heard her talked about with reverence by OPA bigwigs like Anderson Dawes. We saw her apartment turned upside down by a detective who’d taken his obsession with her past the point of being “just another missing rich girl case.” And we glimpsed slivers of her life in flashbacks to her time aboard the Scopuli and Anubis. Now we find out exactly what she went through in her mission to keep Belters safe from the dangerous bioweapon she feared would be unleashed on them.


It was a mission she ended up dying for. After the Scopuli was boarded by a team working for her father, Julie was thrown in an airlock. Outside, everyone else was dying. Unknowingly infected with the virus that had unleashed itself (or been unleashed) on the Anubis. When she finally freed herself, all she could do was hide the virus-ridden ship on the side of a remote asteroid and head for Eros on one of its shuttles. By then, she’d contracted the deadly bug herself. We saw what it eventually did to her when Miller and Holden showed up at the Blue Falcon hotel.


The discovery of Julie’s body caused Miller to come unhinged (like, more than usual). After leaving room 22 behind he sets off on a rampage across Eros, determined to—actually, it’s hard to say what Miller’s end goal is. Answers? Justice for Julie? Revenge? Whatever the case he’s determined to punch whatever face gets in his way, including Holden’s.


On Earth, Chrisjen Avasarala is looking for some answers of her own, making a pilgrimage to the Anchorage Island home of her recently deceased friend in the guise of saying a final goodbye. Alone in the former ambassador’s office, she pockets three pencils she finds in his desk drawer. One of them hides some revelatory information.

Then, as Naomi and Holden argue about when to leave Eros, an explosion in the docks makes their choice for them. The station goes on lockdown due to the resulting radiation breach.


Working in concert with Miller, Holden discovers that the explosion was planned and the citizens of Eros appear to under the threat of complete eradication by whoever has taken charge of the place. But the discovery comes at a price—for their efforts, the two men are rewarded with exposure to a massive dose of radiation. Are they, as Holden guesses, dead meat? And who’s responsible?

Fred Johnson’s big announcement would indicate that all signs point to Earth. He claims, based on the information he recovered from Lopez’s flight suit data chip, that the stealth ships that attacked the Donnager and the Cant were Earth-built. What we’d like to know is where Julie Mao’s father and that devastating virus fit into the picture.

The Expanse Episode 9 By the Numbers

0: Survivors from the Anubis now that Julie Mao is dead

5: Good guys trapped on Eros after the dock explosion

6: Lights smashed by Julie at the peak of her illness

2: Men who’ve betrayed Julie—her own father and, it seems, Anderson Dawes

3: Office items swiped by Chrisjen Avasarala from her dead friend’s desk

1: Episode left to answer our questions and tie up all the loose ends