Every show has a point of no return. It’s that episode where the plot goes into overdrive and the only option is to just binge watch the rest. There’s no doubt that CQB is that episode in The Expanse because it pays off three episodes of world-building with the narrative equivalent of a supernova. It starts out peacefully enough with Detective Josephus Miller (Thomas Jane) examining the body of a murder victim that is connected to Julie Mao’s disappearance. His exploits are relegated to the margins of this episode with the bulk of attention going to Jim Holden (Steven Strait) and the Canterbury crew aboard the martian ship Donnager. Holden shows remarkable loyalty to his crew despite the attempts by Martian interrogators to sow dissension among them in the previous episode. He refuses to turn Naomi into a scapegoat for the Canterbury’s destruction despite Captain Yao’s (Jean Yoo) insistence that Mars be cleared of any wrongdoing. Holden knows that Mars is being framed and that someone is trying to start a war, but isn’t about to let any of his friends become a sacrifice to diffuse the situation. That all gets set aside when the unknown ships they thought were members of the Outer Planets Alliance weren’t what they thought. The Donnager gets its ass kicked by an unknown force with advanced technology. The show doesn’t shy away from showing capital ship combat, which can often boil down to a lot of officers on the bridge yelling and cuts to ships maneuvering out in space, but it does well to mix much of that with the plight of Canterbury’s crew. Amidst the large battle is big trouble for Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper,) Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar,) and Amos Burton (Wes Chatham) who are all stuck in a room with leaking oxygen during the attack. With the Donnager under heavy fire, the Captain decides to task Lieutenant Lopez (Greg Byrk) with getting Holden off the ship, but he refuses to without his crewmates. The whole sequence is wrought with tension and highlighted by a semi zero-G firefight on a catwalk and a ship shooting its way out of another ship. The Donnager also brings into sharp focus the mysterious antagonists that is responsible for all the trouble. An unknown party with highly advanced tech and something to gain from starting a war between Mars, Earth and the OPA is an intriguing enemy. Their motives and just what is the extent of their powers is a strong enough narrative thread to tie together all the storylines working in this show. Amidst the exciting action set piece is some cool bits of world building. Lopez delivers an interesting scene that offers the Martian perspective on earth. The conversation makes the world feel lived in and real when you realize there is an entire generation on Mars that lived their lives under a contained ecosystem. Their limited resources have made them view earth as a myopic people due to their embarrassment of riches. Those that have never set foot on earth before see it as a society that is lazy and has little respect for their way of life on Mars. We also get some insight into the Mormons of this world and the Outer Planet Alliance leader Fred Johnson (Chad L. Coleman). Johnson is on Tycho station helping the Mormons build a generation ship that will take them to another solar system. The idea of a space voyage being a religious experience is not an angle often explored its it makes sense that the religions we are familiar with would also evolve with the times. Johnson also gets a funny scene with a Mormon that expresses doubts about his ability to lead the project given the OPA’s actions on Ceres station. Johnson responds to the threat with one of his own, telling him that his departure would mean the skilled labor building his ship would also walk. “CQB” is the best episode of The Expanse if only for the action. It comes at an appropriate time after it spent such a large chunk of time setting up the world and the growing conflict. Now that the show has gotten going, the hope is that The Expanse will be able to sustain momentum and really maintain the tension that defined this episode. See larger image The Expanse: Season 1 [Blu-ray] The Expanse is a thriller set two hundred years in the future, after mankind has colonized the solar system. A hardened detective (Thomas Jane, Hung) and a rogue ship’s captain (Steven Strait, Magic City) come together for what starts as the case of a missing young woman and evolves into a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history. New From: $21.11 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.