The Expanse’s Return Unlocks A ‘Safe’ Full Of Secrets And Takes Us Past Dangerous Doors And Corners

The Season 2 debut of The Expanse wasted no time in delivering answers to some of the big questions the first season left us with. Like: ‘What is the protomolecule and where did it come from?’ and ‘When do we finally get to meet the TV version of Bobbie Draper?’

The very first scene throws us into Bobbie’s Martian world—a perpetual military training exercise with the occasional break to demonstrate a genuine willingness to go to war with Earth over the smallest perceived aggression. For instance, the fact that a UN ship has been dispatched to investigate what happened at Phoebe Station—a Martian-run base.


The UN and the MCRN arrive at Phoebe at the same time, narrowly avoiding war thanks to Chrisjen Avasarala’s intervention. The hawks on council insist that the MCRN is about to attack, when they were actually there to destroy Phoebe (and any clues the station might have held about the protomolecule and what happened on Eros).

The recent target of an assassination attempt, Avasarala has to tread carefully. She knows she’s being set up and must try to avoid all-out war while not revealing her hand to the faction that’s gunning for it. To that end, she’s hired her own personal spy but been forced to sacrifice an unlikely ally in the process.


Back on the Rocinante, Holden and Miller are still recovering from the massive dose of radiation they were hit with on Eros. Miller, it seems, really likes getting hit and so he picks a fight with Amos over his dead buddy (who Amos only killed because he’d pulled a gun on Naomi). Luckily, everyone makes up over lasagna and a story about a cheese heist on Ceres. Good thing, because they’ve got way bigger problems to deal with. Amos busts open the safe from the Anubis only to find it jam-packed with protomolecule.


The crew decides that the best course of action is to bury the stuff deep in space rather than bring it along to their meeting with the volatile-seeming Fred Johnson. Which was probably the right choice, seeing as the welcome they get at OPA HQ (at least at first) is pretty icey.

After Johnson’s been briefed on the the massacre on Eros, however, things change and he helps Holden and his crew organize a dangerous raid on highly guarded lab thought to be the nexus for the protomolecule experiment—now known to be some type of alien matter with the potential to be weaponized by whoever controls it (ie. Julie Mao’s dad and UN super creep Sadavir Errinwright).


When Miller, Holden, Johnson and a bunch of trigger-happy Belters land at the research facility, they find a group of non-responsive human computers who completely freak out after Miller unplugs them. They get filled full of Belter bullets. Miller is the only one with a shred of restraint… until he isn’t. After Johnson makes a deal with the lead scientist in charge of the Eros experiment—who does a decent job of making the invading protomolecule sound kind of magical—Miller kills him, in effect killing all the data and research surrounding the protomolecule at the same time.