The Expanse gave viewers a glimpse at the purpose of the Ring in last week’s episode, but “Dandelion Sky” still left me with a lot of questions. With the UNN Thomas Prince now inside the Ring, all of the solar system’s various factions are accounted for. And, representing his own sense of Quixotic curiosity, James Holden is in deeper than anyone.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 10: “Dandelion Sky” – Bad Pastor
As the UNN Thomas Prince enters the Ring we see Pastor Anna Volovodov watching the main view-screen intently. Lieutenant Nemeroff, part of the Thomas Prince’s crew, sidles up to Anna. He has fears and existential questions about entering the Ring. He asks the pastor whether God wants them to be there. Unfortunately for Nemeroff, Anna is still being selfish right now. She shrugs, says “scripture is quiet on this one,” and walks three paces away from him. Oh!! Pastor-burn!
Later we see Nemeroff in his quarters. He puts his gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger. A zero-G effect shows his floating blood. This scene was needlessly graphic, especially for an intelligent show like The Expanse, which generally tempers gore with purpose.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 10: “Dandelion Sky” – “Uh, guys?”
Naomi, trying to get back to the Rocinante, hails and hails her old ship but gets no response. The officious MCRN respond to her hails, though, and tell her that she should stop sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. As usual, Naomi doesn’t respond well to orders or threats, so she keeps on heading toward the Rocinante.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 10: “Dandelion Sky” – “It’s the end of the world as we know it, so I killed caaaaats!”
Aboard Naomi’s old ship, we see Amos and Alex watching a transmission from Holden that orders them not to follow him. He tells his crew where he’s gone, saying he has to go to the nucleus on his own, having blasted off in “Intransigence.”
Alex describes a serious existential dread, saying he fears that whatever the ring is will kill everyone. Being of as little help as he usually is in emotional situations, Amos tells the starship pilot that he hasn’t felt fear since he was five years old.
Lack of empathy aside, he at least makes an attempt at calming his shipmate down, though. Amos recalls a friend of his in Baltimore who said that if the end of the world came that she would jump off the roof of her building with her cats. I doubt that Alex was much comforted by this anecdote, but at least Amos is trying…right?
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 10: “Dandelion Sky” – “I think it must be a great big exposition thingamajigger…”
Just before Nemeroff decided to kill himself, Volovodov and the Thomas Prince’s science officer, Kolvoord, spends some time theorizing with Anna about just what the heck is going on in the Ring. Offering little insight of his own, he quickly asks Anna what she thinks is going on.
Anna zooms in on the interactive holo-display system — Kolvoord didn’t even try that? She suggests that the nucleus of the Ring is acting as a sort of immune system. Kolvoord, however, disagrees with the hypothesis that the Ring is acting like an organism, so I guess we’ll see.
“Melba,” whom we find out in this episode is actually Clarissa Mao, uses her limited technical clearance to override Thomas Prince’s systems to get all the information she can on Holden.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 10: “Dandelion Sky” – The Expanse: The Motion Picture
In a series of scenes that reminded me a lot of Spock entering V’Ger from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Holden floats on toward the Ring’s centre. A projection of Miller accompanies him for the ride, and he and the deceased detective’s projection wax philosophical.
It has been great to have Thomas Jane back on the show, if only for a little while. Not only does Miller’s presence tie this season in with the first two, but Jane’s a good actor to watch, and when he’s onscreen his performance brings up Steven Strait’s.
Miller and Holden’s conversations reveal that the nucleus of the Ring contains information about an advanced society that existed there long ago.
Miller describes humanity as a “fancy hand terminal with a trillion buttons.” He says that the protomolecule is manipulating his brain, showing him Miller and whatever else he needs to get to the nucleus and access the system. Holden argues that he believes in free will, and Miller calls him the patron saint of lost causes.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 10: “Dandelion Sky” – “Ugh, Martians…”
The MCRN has sent an intercept team, including the reinstated Sergeant Bobbie Draper, to intercept Holden before he enters the nucleus. The team has no luck communicating with him until Bobbie gives it a shot. Holden finally responds, but what he says doesn’t make a lot of sense. Shouting at Miller’s projection while talking to Bobbie, Holden doesn’t present as particularly sane. Draper agrees that Holden has lost it, and they launch themselves after him.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 10: “Dandelion Sky” – “I didn’t say ‘mutiny,’ I said…uh…”
Things aren’t going well for Captain Drummer aboard the Behemoth. Her XO, Klaes Ashford, publicly questions her orders, causing Diogo to say Ashford should be captain. Ashford tells Diogo to forget the whole thing but, as Captain Drummer points out when she and Ashford discuss it later, he may have told Diogo to stand down so that when things change he could deny being mutinous, making him the obvious choice for captain.
Oh, beltalowda beratna, what felota have you got yourself into?
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 10: “Dandelion Sky” – “Don’t chomp your teeth at me, Clarissa!”
Trying to provide some actual spiritual guidance during her trip through the Ring, Anna delivers Lieutenant Nemeroff’s eulogy. She says that she doesn’t know if God wants them to be there but says she knows that God wants them to be there for each other.
After the service, Anna talks with Tilly Fagan who says she recognizes “Melba.” She tells Anna that “Melba” is actually Clarissa Mao, and Anna still on her “help each other out” kick suggests that Tilly reach out to her old acquaintance.
Tilly does just that. Confusing Clarissa’s undercover mission as a method of avoiding the fallout after her father’s arrest and imprisonment, Tilly demands to know what is going on. Unfortunately for Tilly, Clarissa is intent upon locating and killing James Holden, and doesn’t have time to chit-chat. Clarissa makes a familiar chomping motion, and whatever upper she keeps using kicks in, turning her ultra-violent and super-strong.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 10: “Dandelion Sky” – “Angels, kids, uh…handholding, come on I’m Miller over here!”
Having entered the nucleus, the “Investigator” shows Holden an access terminal and instructs him to put his hand inside. Holden demands some indication that the Investigator personality is, in some sense at least, Miller.
It tells him a story about Julie who said that angels help children who are dying by holding their hands and leading them halfway to Heaven, and that he told Julie he’d need her to hold his hand a lot further than halfway.
This is enough to convince Holden, who makes for the access terminal. Just before he has time to put his hand in, though, Bobbie and the Martians show up. They instruct him to get away but he doesn’t. They fire, but the bullets freeze in space. A weird amalgamation of shapes starts an attack on the Martians, but Bobbie’s commanding officer throws a grenade at it.
This slows everyone inside the Ring down, but Holden manages to get his hand in the terminal.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 10: “Dandelion Sky” – The Expanse: A Space Odyssey
This section reminded me of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I give serious kudos to the visual effects department for the artful and tripped-out sequence of images. Having never read the books, I’m not entirely sure what the sequence represented, but it seemed to show the ancient civilization at its end. Holden screams and falls to the floor of the nucleus.
The Expanse Season 3, Episode 10: “Dandelion Sky” – Final Thoughts
Their similarity to well-known science-fiction movies of the ‘70s notwithstanding, I really liked the visual effects in this episode. Miller and Holden’s discussions about the nature of existence were great, and it was good to finally get a general indication as to what this story has been leading up to for the past three seasons.
Like I said before, Thomas Jane is doing a great job as the reincarnated Detective Miller. His scenes with Steven Strait have been some of the best we’ve yet seen on The Expanse. I know he’s unlikely to crop up again as a regular character, but it’s good to have him here while he can be.