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"Paradigm Shift" is the sixth episode of the second season of The Expanse. Overall, it is the sixteenth episode. It aired on March 1, 2017.

Synopsis Edit

Earth and Mars search for answers in the aftermath of the asteroid collision.

Recap Edit

137 years ago, back when Mars was just a colony under UN control, an engineer named Solomon Epstein was tinkering with the jalopy of a space ship that he owned. Initially, just trying to marginally improve fuel efficiency, Epstein hits the drive button and immediately begins traveling far faster than he ever imagined. Narrating the flashback, Epstein says his discovery changed everything.

Back in the present, the UN Security Council is grappling with what Eros has done. Colonel Janus thinks it was a test of a new Martian fuel drive, a notion that Avasarala scoffs at. Whatever it is, Janus says, Eros represents the "greatest technological leap since the Epstein drive." They plan to send a team to Venus to investigate.

Holden sends a message home to his mother telling her he's okay and how proud he is of his crew (especially Naomi). Later, he and Naomi continue to debate over whether or not they should destroy their sample of the protomolecule.

Holden and Naomi stand in front of the rest of the Rocinante crew and make the big announcement that they're seeing each other. After a pregnant pause, Amos and Alex erupt into laughter and say that Alex lost the bet. Amos is surprisingly cool with all of this.

Alex then pulls Holden aside to point out that 30 of the nukes that Earth sent have not been shut down. Where are they now? They see that they've been caught by a giant space net.

137 years ago, Epstein's fuel-burning breakthrough was great for mankind but kind of terrible for him, as he's now speeding off into space at g-forces that will surely kill him. He tries to reach the panel to turn off the burners, but he can't.

Avasarala has dinner with Dr. Michael Iturbi, who was present at the earlier UN meeting. The two of them seem to have some kind of romantic history, but she shuts that down quickly. He asks Chrisjen to find a way to get him onto that transport to Venus. He offers to be her eyes and ears there if she does.

On Tycho Station, the Roci crew gets a heroes' welcome. They see that Diogo has already begun evangelizing Miller as the hero to the Belter masses.

Holden and Naomi speak to Fred Johnson about the 30 missing nukes. Fred doesn't so much see it as a problem because he's got them. Holden thinks they ought to jettison the missiles and tell Earth and Mars about the protomolecule. Fred counters that the nukes can be good bargaining chips, and as for the protomolecule, the safest thing they can do is keep Earth and Mars in the dark.

Alex, enjoying his hero status, chats up a lady but runs afoul of her jealous ex. This starts a brawl, but Amos shows up out of nowhere and beats the ex down.

137 years ago: Epstein makes a last-ditch effort to signal his wife, but he can't reach the signaling device. Things are looking grim.

After Fred tells Holden that he's going to need to pick a side as things escalate, Naomi goes to see Fred as well. She thinks they should tell the people everything about what Miller and Julie did on Eros. Not the protomolecule stuff; just how an Earther/OPA member and a Belter came together to save humanity. That story has value. Fred eventually agrees.

Later, the Roci crew debates whether they should destroy their protomolecule sample. Alex says they should give it to Mars, which earns him a heap of side-eye from Naomi. Ultimately, Naomi drops her objections and concedes to Holden and Amos that they should eliminate it. Naomi shows Holden a simulated launch of the torpedo containing the Protomolcule; however, unbeknownst to Holden, the torpedo remains dormant, inactive and immobile. The torpedo's rocket exhaust is shown glowing briefly without leaving its location.

137 years ago, Epstein is about to die - of a stroke, most likely. But he voices over about his discovery and how it would allow Mars to finally break free of its colonial limitations, travel out into space, mine the asteroids, and colonize the Belt.

Avasarala finally confronts Errinwright about Mao. She says they need to know what Mao knows and cut a deal with him. Avasarala goes off on Errinwright, saying that she will threaten to ruin Mao's family if they don't bring him forward.

On the Roci, Alex comes upon Amos defacing the Martian flag (erasing Deimos, since it's not there anymore) and starts an argument with him. He's still mad about the bar fight and Amos treating him like some damsel in distress. Amos matter-of-factly says he does see Alex as weak and in need of protection. Alex objects to that assessment.

Naomi gives Drummer a hand in disabling the countermeasures on the pilfered nukes. They bond some more over their common Belter experiences.

On the shared UN/MCR moon of Ganymede, Bobbie Draper and her marines patrol the border zone. While in a communication blackout, they spot gunfire on the UN border line. Suddenly, the marines' comms are jammed, and six marines appear to the charging at them. There's weapons fire everywhere, on the surface near the domes and among the ships orbiting overhead. Everyone in Draper's unit gets gunned down, as does her commanding officer. Draper's the only one left to see the approach of the attacking figure - and it looks alien.

Cast Edit

Main Edit

Co-Starring Edit

  • Andrea Drepaul as Caitlin
  • Andrew Rotilio as Diogo
  • Briana Templeton as Belter Waitress
  • Carlos Gonzalez-Vio as Cortazar
  • Colin Glazer as Val's Husband
  • Conrad Pla as Colonel Janus
  • Laura Tremblay as Belter Hottie
  • Stephen Farrell as Scientist
  • Ted Jefferies as Grimy Belter
  • Tracey Ferencz as U.N. Advisor
  • Vanessa Matsui as Val

Guest Starring Edit


Solomon Epstein: [voiceover] Mars had been a colony for a long time, and it was filled with the best scientists and technologists humanity had to offer. We were ready to govern ourselves and start a new nation of our own, but everything we built, or mined or made, was still the property of old Mother Earth. I was a fusion-drive engineer. My wife, Caty, wanted to start having babies, like all good Martians do, but I convinced her that we should buy a second-hand yacht for me to tinker around with instead. She liked to indulge me. I'd been modifying the engine to boost fuel efficiency. I wasn't expecting much, maybe four percent better, tops, and I was taking it out for a test run....My name's Solomon Epstein. And I changed everything.

Colonel Janus: The consensus, is that Eros was a test of a new Martian zero-inertia drive. They've been pumping R&D into that project for over a decade. It's the single most plausible explanation. It is, of course, possible that it was something else. Like a massive relativistic field generator o ...
Chrisjen Avasarala: Or some other bunch of science words you string together?
Colonel Janus: The one thing we do understand is that Eros was a wake-up call. Whatever it was, it's clearly the greatest technological leap - since the Epstein Drive. And if it is a weapon, given the depleted state of our missiles, it's a weapon that will conclusively tilt the balance of power in favor of Mars.

Sadavir Errinwright: Where are we on the impact site mission?
Colonel Janus:We've commandeered a civilian survey vessel and are refitting it with our best sensors and probes. We're also reinforcing the hull to allow us to get closer to the surface. If there's anything left of Eros down there, we'll find it. We'll be on our way to Venus in a week.
Sadavir Errinwright: I'll expect regular updates from you personally.
Colonel Janus: Understood, sir.
Sadavir Errinwright: Next on our list of shit, we need to clean up. One hundred and fifty missiles we launched.
United Nations Advisor: So far, sir, we've confirmed abort on 121 missiles. Tracking has been very difficult, but we're confident we'll be able to account for all the rest in short order.

Solomon Epstein: [voiceover] Way better than I ever expected. Fuel efficiency was through the roof. A hundred times better than anyone had even thought possible. A once-in-a-generation breakthrough. And that was the whole problem. See, a high-G burn hurts like hell. I felt like someone was standing on my chest. It was getting harder for me to breathe or talk. Shut down main drive. Not that talking would have made any difference. The acceleration was making my body so damn heavy, it was getting hard to even move. Oh, that was bad enough, but it wasn't the worst part. Because the most dangerous thing about being in a high-G burn is that if it goes on too long, it'll kill you.

Chrisjen Avasarala:I asked you to that meeting to hear your opinion.You barely said a word.
Michael Iturbi:In that room, my opinion would have only made me less popular than I already am.
Chrisjen Avasarala:You have a different theory about Eros?
Michael Iturbi: Different, yeah. More like radical.
Chrisjen Avasarala: This is not a time to keep these things to yourself.
Michael Iturbi: The problem with Colonel Janus, as a scientist, I mean, his personality disorders are obvious, but his problem is that he lacks imagination. It's true. He can only conceive the world in terms of things he's already seen.
Chrisjen Avasarala: His job is to explain science to politicians.In that regard, it's a useful skill.
Michael Iturbi: But it's of no use here. Eros Station was under quarantine, the result of a mysterious bio-weapon unleashed by Mars, which Mars believes was unleashed by us, which we did not Did we?.
Chrisjen Avasarala: We did not.
Michael Iturbi: Ah, I never doubted that for a moment. Suddenly, Eros, the entire asteroid, moves In a way that practically defies every single known law of physics. Now, Janus thinks that means there's a new Martian weapon, some staggering breakthrough on an incredible scale of a technology they've been pursuing utterly unsuccessfully for years.But ask yourself this question Does it make any sense at all that Mars would want to test their ground-breaking technology in a bio-hazard zone, that they themselves created?
Chrisjen Avasarala: I suppose not.
Michael Iturbi: So what if this bio-weapon isn't a bio-weapon after all? What if it is responsible in some way we can't yet fully understand, for Eros moving? I believe Eros was infected by an entirely new order of technology, something from somewhere else, somewhere beyond the reach of our species.I believe the Eros incident was our first contact with alien life.
Chrisjen Avasarala: I have a file with 900 pages of analysis, and contingency plans for war with Mars, including 14 different scenarios about what to do, if they develop an unexpected new technology. My file for what to do if an advanced alien species comes calling? It's three pages long, and it begins with, "Step one: find God."
Michael Iturbi: I need to get to Venus. You can pull the strings and get me on that ship.I will be your eyes and your ears, I'll be your own private back channel to everything we find, unfiltered by Janus and Errinwright. Please, let me prove I'm right.

Alex Kamal: This is all the telemetry on the nukes the UN launched against Eros.
Jim Holden: They detonated them after they lost target lock. That makes sense.That's what the abort codes are for.
Alex Kamal: Yeah, except nearly 30 of them kept on going, long after all the others aborted.
Jim Holden: Where are they now?
Alex Kamal:That's the million-dollar question.Well, I got no clue. The Roci lost track of 'em when we were chasing Eros.
Jim Holden: Oh...
Alex Kamal: Right? Megatons of thermonuclear ordinance, state-of-the-art guidance systems, and, somehow, 30 of them didn't get that self-destruct message. They just kept on going. Who knows where. Kind of an unsettling thought, don't you think? Yeah, it is.

Fred Johnson: You'd think helping to save Earth would balance things out, but the Mormons don't think like that. They've filed a lawsuit over the Nauvoo against the Tycho Corporation and myself. Basically, I'm in some deep shit.
Jim Holden: Well, we have one more thing for you to worry about.These aren't rock-hopper mining nukes. These are planet busters. Designed to evade the best defense systems.If the wrong person picks 'em up, it could be a problem.
Naomi Nagata: Especially if they're smart enough to remove the countermeasures.The missiles could be re-targeted, and sent right back at the Inners, or anyone else in the system, for that matter.
Jim Holden: This doesn't seem to be bothering you. Why is that?
Fred Johnson: Because I've got the missiles.
Drummer: After the UN gave us guidance control, our techs were able to lock out some of the abort codes and override the drives.We scooped 'em up and brought 'em back to Tycho, inside gas freighters and ore ships.We could use some help removing the countermeasures.
Jim Holden: What are you planning on doing with them?
Fred Johnson: Nothing. Sometimes that's the best plan of action.
Jim Holden: The only thing those weapons are good for is first strike.
Fred Johnson: Hell, they're good for a lot of things.They can be used as deterrents, or a bargaining chip.
Jim Holden: Earth and Mars are still in the dark about the protomolecule. We need to tell them everything we know about it. We need to tell everyone.
Fred Johnson: And exactly what should we tell them? That it's alien technology that we barely comprehend? That would cause a system-wide panic.Until we get more information, we need to keep this under wraps. Eros changed everything. Earth and Mars are scared. And whenever that happens, Belters always lose. Our first priority is to protect ourselves. And that means, we're gonna take advantage of every edge we've got.

Jim Holden: There shouldn't be any teams.
Fred Johnson: That's a beautiful dream, son. And I hope I'm around to see it come true. But in this world that we live in, in order to survive, you have to pick a side.

Solomon Epstein: [voiceover] At the rate my drive was burning, my fuel was going to last for weeks, which I have to say was amazing. Aside from the fact that I'd be dead long before then. The only thing I could do was to try to signal for help. Even though I couldn't talk, Caty would realize that I was in trouble. She'd figure out a way to help me.It was my only hope. My last chance.

Naomi Nagata: I think we should let people know about Miller and Julie Mao.Not all the details, nothing about the protomolecule, just about them. A Belter and an Earther who was an OPA member, that sacrificed themselves to save the cradle of humanity. The Inners need to hear that.
Fred Johnson: You're going to turn them into a story.
Naomi Nagata: A love story.Might help cool things down a bit.
Fred Johnson: Because narrowly avoiding an extinction-level event, apparently wasn't enough.
Naomi Nagata: I want people to know about Miller.He was a good man.
Fred Johnson: He was a pain-in-the-ass, suicidal ex-cop, who got the job done. Okay, I'll do it.

Jim Holden: Fred saw what the protomolecule did to Eros, and now he's going to squeeze every ounce of information out of Cortazar's head to figure out how it works. He wants to control it.
Naomi Nagata: Fred's trying to protect the Belt.
Jim Holden: Or so he claims. It's too dangerous to leave our sample out there anymore.We have to destroy it.
Alex Kamal: Here's another option.We can give our sample to Mars.
Naomi Nagata: What?
Alex Kamal: Think about it. They're the only players in this whole goddamn game that didn't do any of the bad stuff.
Amos Burton: They nuked Phoebe.
Alex Kamal: No.They saw something real nasty going on down there, and they just wanted to keep Earth out of it.
Amos Burton: Or keep what they found there a secret.
Alex Kamal: You don't know what the hell you're talking about as usual. Anyways, Mars has the best scientists in the system. If anyone can think of something good to do with that shit, it's them.
Naomi Nagata: Since when has Mars done anything that wasn't in the interests of Mars?
Alex Kamal: They saved our lives, for starters.
Jim Holden: If any side believes they have a strategic advantage by using the protomolecule, then eventually someone will.And then we're going to have another Eros or worse. The only way to prevent that is to destroy it. All of it. While we still can.
Naomi Nagata Dresden wasn't working alone. Do you seriously believe we've got the only remaining sample in the system?
Jim Holden: We just might.When Dresden's people lost the Anubis, it stopped the project dead in its tracks.Which tells me, protomolecule samples aren't easy to come by.We vaporized the Anubis.Phoebe, the original source was destroyed.We broke Dresden's station down to the bolts, nothing was there.And Eros burned up in Venus.We're this close to getting rid of it, once and for all.
Amos Burton: We should kill it.Drive it into the goddamn sun.
Jim Holden: It's the only way.

Solomon Epstein: [voiceover] Sooner or later, it happens to us all.Me, you, everyone we love.Maybe you see it coming.Maybe it surprises you.But in a sustained high-G burn, what usually kills you is a stroke. Lying there, on my death bed, all I could think about was "What happens next?" I'd never give Caty a child.But she had the plans for my drive. They'd make her rich for the rest of her life. Because with my drive, the Epstein Drive, Mars would be able to move outward. Mine the asteroids. Colonize the Belt. And remake the Solar System. My drive would give us the edge we needed to finally break free from Earth. And build a new world for ourselves. That's the wonderful and terrible thing about technology. It changes everything

Sa'id: Those UN grunts are definitely loaded for bear.

Chrisjen Avasarala: You in the mood to talk?
Sadavir Errinwright: What about? About the friends we choose to keep.
Chrisjen Avasarala: Like Jules-Pierre Mao.
Sadavir Errinwright: He's a good man, Chrisjen.
Chrisjen Avasarala: Maybe he was, once. But it's quite clear now that he was involved with Eros.
Sadavir Errinwright: We have no proof that that's the case.
Chrisjen Avasarala: His own daughter was working with the OPA to stop him.
Sadavir Errinwright: So you really believe that he was trying to destroy the Earth? Is that right?
Chrisjen Avasarala: He was playing with powers he couldn't control. Have you had any contact with him?
Sadavir Errinwright: No, I have no idea where he is.
Chrisjen Avasarala:We need to know what he knows.You should convince him to come in from the cold.
Sadavir Errinwright:How am I supposed to do that?
Chrisjen Avasarala:He trusts you.And if he helps us, he can keep a semblance of the life he's always known
Sadavir Errinwright:You're really willing to cut him a deal?
Chrisjen Avasarala:Yes. And for anyone who could help us understand what we're dealing with.We both know how the world works.When the stakes are this high, many things are possible.
Sadavir Errinwright:I can reach out to his family.

Sadavir Errinwright: He has two sons, and another daughter that he adores.They'll be able to reach him.Maybe they can help him turn himself in.
Chrisjen Avasarala: Good. And, please, let them know that if they can't I will rain hellfire down on them all.I will freeze their assets. Cancel their contracts. Cripple their business. And I have the power to do it, because I am the fucking hero who helped save Mother Earth from the cataclysm that Jules-Pierre Mao unleashed.Tell his children that government is more powerful than any corporation.And the only reason they think it tilts the other way is because we poor, public servants are always looking for some fat, private-sectors payoff down the road. But I'm not looking.And by the time they can pull the strings to force me out, it'll be too late. Their family will be ruined. Their mother, the children, their children, all of them, pariahs. Outlaws. Hunted and on the run for the rest of their days until we find them, and nail each and every last one to the wall. Make sure you tell them that.

Amos Burton: Hey, Alex.
Alex Kamal: What the hell are you doing?
Amos Burton: Fixing the Martian flag.
Alex Kamal: You're defacing it, Picasso.
Amos Burton: I'm making it accurate. Deimos ain't a moon anymore.It's just a bunch of rock.
Alex Kamal: That is not funny.
Amos Burton: I disagree. It makes me smile every time I walk past it.
Alex Kamal:That's because you are an ignorant asshole.Seventeen Martians died in that attack!
Amos Burton: Do you want to do something about it? Go ahead.Take a shot.
Alex Kamal: Hold on a second.Is this your messed up way of telling me you're sorry?
Amos Burton: Was it messed up?
Alex Kamal: Jesus Christ. You don't even know why I'm mad at you, do you?
Amos Burton: Yeah, 'cause I took care of that guy who was kicking your ass and I made you look weak.
Alex Kamal: Is that what you think?
Amos Burton: The way I see it, there's only three kinds of people in this world, bad ones, ones you follow, and ones you need to protect.
Alex Kamal: What, so I'm the one you need to protect? Is that right?
Amos Burton: Yeah, there's nothing to be ashamed of.
Alex Kamal: I let a breaching pod with 25 people get blown to pieces in order to protect you.I'm a big boy, Amos.I can fight my own battles.

Naomi Nagata: I'd suggest discharging the gyros first. A lot of missiles' countermeasures trickle back-up power from the guidance systems.

Media Edit

Notes Edit

  • This episode effectively marks the beginning of the book Caliban's War.
  • The origin story of Solomon Epstein and eponymous Epstein drive was explored.
  • The Ganymede incident takes place at the end of this episode.
  • The title of the episode refers to a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.[1]The five instances to which the title is referring to:
    1. The Epstein family estate licensed the drive technology to Earth, in exchange for Martian Independence.
    2. The drive itself, a revolutionary nuclear fusion reactor design, means ships can cover longer distances in a shorter period of time, using a fraction of the fuel
    3. Fred Johnson requisitioned the unaccounted ordinance, thermonuclear missiles, which would change the balance of power in the Solar System
    4. Chrisjen Avasarala offers transactional immunity to Jules-Pierre Mao in exchange for his expertise on the protomolecule
    5. The protomolecule has the ability to reshape life and man's dominion of the Solar System.
  • Gyro (or Gyroscope): a wheel mounted in a set of rings so that its axis of rotation is free to turn in any direction; when spun rapidly, it will keep the original direction of its rotation axis no matter which way the ring is turned [2]; it is this "memory" of direction that makes the component ideal for guidance systems.
  • Nuclear fusion: Process where nuclei of atoms are brought together and energy is released as a byproduct.[3]
  • Thermonuclear fusion: Using the heat and pressure from the nuclear fission reaction, process from which atom are broken apart, to drive the nuclear fusion reaction, which releases significantly more energy.[4]
  • Zero-inertia : minimal to no resistance to a change in motion [5]. With respect, to the Zero-inertia drive, it allows spacecraft to make drastic maneuvers without the gravitiational forces tearing the crew to shreds
  • Massive relativistic field generator: According to Einstein's Special Relativity Theory, as an object approaches the speed of light, time slows down, and the object can cover large distances in a short period of time, as perceived by a person outside the accelerated reference frame.[6]
  • The reason why the general consensus skews toward speed of light travel being impossible[7] is the following: A ship and it complement have a certain mass, and if the ship somehow had the energy to reach the speed of light, the energy would be converted to mass according to the famous mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc², where E is energy and it is equal to mass times the speed of light squared,and then the ship would somehow have to find the energy to move itself and the newly converted mass, so on and so forth in an ever-increasing exponential positive feedback loop (a loop which increases change).
  • Stickman: a player in any of various games (as hockey or lacrosse) played with a stick.[8]


Cast credits on-screenEdit

External links Edit

Icon-syfy-22x22 Season 2 Episode 6 - Paradigm Shift

Icon-syfy-22x22 Epstein Drive prequel

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