The Expanse S5E02: Churn

(If you missed my Episode 1 or have watched all three episodes already aired, I have linked at the end to the threads)

So, as I was watching Amos’ return to Baltimore, I gotta say that a lot of what I was looking for were any nods, however subtle, to the most important show to come out of Charm City. And there’s plenty here which felt like Wire references, but probably weren’t. The drug deals? That’s right out of the short story of Amos’ background, “The Churn.” But that little blip of a police siren coming from the drone? Definitely felt like a nod to The Wire.

5-0! Comin’ up y’all, time out!

But I needn’t have looked too hard, because who should show up in the very next scene but Ervin Burrell himself, Frankie Faison! I’ll admit I didn’t recognize him through the door at first, but when he said “Timothy” with that rumbling melodic baritone, there was no doubt.

Amos’ storyline has such a wonderful, quiet melancholy about it. We get more pieces to the puzzle that is Timothy, by way of Charles. That Timothy along with Lydia, the woman whose death has brought Amos back to Earth, were prostitutes before Timothy became muscle for a crew. That there’s someone named Erich who owned the apartment Lydia stayed in with whom Timothy shared history. We see things we already know, that Amos is casually

The scenes on Mars don’t have enough Bobbie for me, as if that were even possible, and I do have to say that I was a little bit disappointed that they paint her argument with Alex last time as basically her projecting her anger on him. I mean, that’s there yeah and it’s not like she was totally in the right but still. Alex was also being an insufferable Pollyanna when he had no clue as to what she was dealing with. Ah well.

Bobbi-deficient or not, the Mars story was interesting this time out was interesting for the way it introduces Admiral Sauveterre. Giving a lecture to a class of Martian military cadets, the show stays with his lesson and close-of-semester lecture for a whole three minutes. It’s a pretty crazy thing, to have a completely unknown character take up so much uninterrupted screen time by way of “hello.” The theme is basically “what’s up with Mars now that everything’s different.”

And hey! Freddie Lounds!

The rest of the episode was divided up between Holden trying to save reporter Monica Stuart,; Avasarala wishing her daughter would stay with her on Luna, and trying to get some traction within the government to figure out what happened with that ship over Venus; and Camina Drummer apparently gone pirate out among the Outer Planets.

And it’s all fine. It’s fine. The Holden story felt a little bit like treading water; a sudden kidnapping to keep critical information from him for another episode, with a last minute rescue for Monica (and isn’t that the weirdest thing for her kidnappers to do with her? If they wanted her dead, why not kill her? If they wanted her for another purpose, what the hell? I admit, when I first saw her tossed apartment, I thought she’d set it up herself. If not for how very near death she came, and how her survival was mere chance, I’d still suspect it). Whoever said that “I saw a button and I pressed it” is the most Holden that Holden has ever Holdened was right.

The framing in this show is outstanding. I do with Ashanti dressed like her mom though.

The Avasarala storyline is probably the more effective just because she’s the closest to getting at what the audience already knows: That Marco Inaros has flung a whole bunch of hidden asteroids towards the inner solar system. She’s also the one with the person with the most to lose on the largest target in that part of the ‘Verse: Earth. Her putting the pieces of the puzzle together, while we’re looking at the image on the box, as it were, combines to infuse all of her scenes with a subtle but palpable sense of dread.

For 25 years we’ve been dying slow down there. Dry docks rusting and piers standing empty.

We’re left with Amos Burton, on the Baltimore waterfront, making a phone call to Chrissy, saying he’ll need her help to get one final meeting before he leaves Earth for good. All around him are the people who, unlike him, and unlike those in the rocket blasting off in the background, will never go up the well. Instead, like the dock tough whom Amos warns off at the end, or Erich who commands wealth and comfort like a latter-day Stringer Bell, they all remain caught in the Churn, when the jungle tears itself down and builds itself into something new.

That’s a bleak thought to end on, but there’s a happier thread here with Amos. Unlike “Exodus,” where Amos was all too eager to deal out violence to the extortionists on his shuttle, his anger is no longer all-consuming. He let the corner boy go with a quip, “I thought we were friends.” He calmly stares down the dockyard kids letting them know he’s no one to mess with while not triggering the violent confrontation he certainly could have.

One supposes Lydia wouldn’t have wanted him to.

Spoiler Space Eps 1-3

Episode 1: Exodus