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"Pyre" is the eighth episode of the second season of The Expanse. Overall, it is the eighteenth episode. It aired on March 15, 2017.

Synopsis Edit

Naomi tracks down signs of the protomolecule; Fred Johnson's control over the OPA collapses.

Recap Edit

A survivor of the Ganymede attack wakes up among his fellow refugees. They're on a rescue ship in the Belt, and there aren't enough supplies to go around. The man, Dr. Praxidike Meng, is looking for his daughter, Mei, who was at the clinic in Sector 4 during the attack. He sees a familiar face, Doris, who tells him that Sector 4 was destroyed, implying the death of Mei.

On Tycho Station, Diogo is in custody for helping Anderson Dawes escape with Cortazar. Fred Johnson grabs Diogo by the throat and leans on him for information, but Diogo is defiant. He tells Fred to go back to Earth, 'his real home'. Holden demands to know how Dawes was able to escape. It seems that he had some kind of inside help, thus a traitor.

Dawes sends a message to Fred, accusing him of lying about having destroyed the Protogen weapon (the protomolecule sample). Dawes chalks this up to Fred's Earther nature. The Belters, Dawes says, refuse to be under anyone's thumb. He pledges to hand Fred's secret weapon over to his fellow Belters.

On the rescue ship, Meng and Doris lament their refugee status. It is stated that it will take a generation to rebuild Ganymede. Doris proposes the notion that Mars could use a couple agritechs like them. Meng is reluctant, but agrees. Doris thinks they could start over together and touches his hand, but Meng pulls back.

On Tycho, Naomi secretly checks on the location of the protomolecule torpedo she hid out in space. She briefly considers sending it to Ceres, but reconsiders.

In some secret corner of Tycho, a group of Belters, including rabble-rouser Staz and Edin, listen to a intercepted feed of Dawes' message to Fred Johnson. They seem especially interested in this weapon Fred kept from them.

On the refugee ship, the Earth-bound and Mars-bound ships are affirmed to have arrived. Meng attempts to board the ship for Mars with Doris, but the Belters in charge won't let him because he's not an Inner by birth. They say goodbye through the door, and it looks okay, until the Mars-bound refugees are suddenly shot out of the airlock! "Inners wreck Ganymede," says one of the guards as Meng looks on in horror.

Naomi and Drummer are checking the exterior antennae on Tycho for signal records of Cortazar's communications so they can find out where the protomolecule is. While they do, Drummer tells Naomi about how she and Dawes found Fred on Ceres and recruited him. Drummer tearfully expresses her loyalty to Fred. The women then find out where the protomoleule signal was coming from: Ganymede.

Dr. Meng ends up on Tycho station, still in a daze from what he has seen. He tries to report the crime the Belters on the refugee ship committed, but he doesn't even know the name of the ship he was on. There's nothing the doctor can do about it.

Holden and Naomi put their heads together to figure out how the protomolecule ended up on Ganymede. They find a Protogen connection in one Dr. Lawrence Strickland, a pediatrician in a clinic on the station. They see a photo and identify one of the men with Strickland as a survivor on Tycho station: Dr. Meng.

While Fred and Drummer have a disagreement about refugee placement, Staz leads a group of Belters to storm the control deck, aided by Edin, who appears to be the Tycho crew member leaking information to Dawes. Fred and Drummer are taken captive as Staz demands the stockpile of nukes.

Holden and Naomi find Dr. Meng among the refugees and grill him about Strickland. Meng says Strickland is merely his daughter's pediatrician, though he also calls him a "gifted geneticist." Naomi takes Meng at his word, and in searching the footage from Ganymede, they see Strickland take Mei out of the clinic. Meng, realizing his daughter might be alive, begs Holden and Naomi to take him with them.

Staz threatens to kill people if Fred keeps stonewalling him. Staz prods Drummer to join them, but she refuses. So Staz shoots her in the gut!

On the Rocinante, Alex finds Amos and tells him people need their help. Amos, remains detached, distant and dazed. (Many TV show fans have absolutely convinced themselves his behavior indicates that he's considering getting the Cortazar emotional suppression procedure on his brain.) After being prodded, Amos responds to Alex he doesn't feel like it. Alex pushes the issue triggering an angry retort from Amos about Alex not taking care of his family. This infuriates Alex who lunges aggressively to grab Amos. However, this escalates the situation to a dangerous level and the big man responds by dragging the Martian pilot and holding him precariously over the railing. Alex shocked and terrified, says Amos' name drawing him back to a more sober state of mind. Amos tells Alex not to make him fight "because who's gonna fly the ship?" insinuating the certain fatal outcome.

The tension is broken when Amos hears an alert leading the pair to quickly deduce there's an active rebellion in progress on the station. Prax's conversation with Holden and Naomi is interrupted as the emergency situation is relayed to them. Amos comes out of a hatch, does a flip to and make an EVA walk with mag boot and gloves on the skin of the station. He uses a cutting torch to open a section of plating and to access a valve where he kills the oxygen to the control deck. As Staz, the rebels, and Fred all begin to pass out, Fred is able to knock Staz's gun away from him.

Holden and Alex lead the charge onto the deck, where they capture the rebels. He tends to Drummer's wounds first but, as he leads her away, she grabs Alex's gun and shoots both Staz and Edin in the head. So there ends that uprising.

In the aftermath, Amos welcomes Meng to the Roci, Holden and Naomi pledge not to keep any more secrets, and Fred tells Holden that if he leaves to search for the protomolecule on Ganymede without bringing back a sample, he won't be welcome back on Tycho. Holden expresses his doubts that Fred will even be in charge when he gets back.

Cast Edit

Main Edit

Guest Starring Edit

Co-Starring Edit

  • Alden Adair as Staz
  • Andrew Rotilio as Diogo
  • Dylan Brenton as Black Sky OPA Leader
  • Grace Lynn Kung as Doris
  • Kevin Claydon as Edin
  • Leah Jung as Mei Meng
  • Tannis Bennett as Station Doctor
  • Ted Atherton as Dr. Strickland
  • Tim Post as Surly Belter Crewman


Notes Edit

  • This episode marks the introduction of Mei Meng and her father, Praxidike Meng.
  • In the books, Naomi attempts to cut off the oxygen from Behemoth's bridge in a similar matter, but is overridden by Clarissa Mao.
  • When Doris and the rest of the refugees were evacuated out of the airlock, they were seen frozen, floating outside the ship. While there is some dispute about what might actually happen on direct space exposure, there would likely be more swelling than is portrayed in the show.[1] Moreover, if such an explosion does occur, would be dependent on the elasticity or surface tension of the skin, that is how tightly the fibers latch on to each other.
  • Further proof of the phenomena of pressure differential, can be traced an application of said concept called diffusion, as in molecules tend to flow from areas of high concentration or pressure to ones that are lower, and the vacuum of space has a pressure of Zero in any unit of measure. The equations need to balance.
  • The showrunners, Hawk Otsby and Mark Fergus, both co-wrote the screenplay for the dystopian film, Children of Men, wanted to write a poignant story[2] which touched on the Syrian Refugee crisis. They saw the matter as an opportunity to examine the aftermath of displaced groups of people struggling to find safety in a place that may be hostile or outright hostile to their needs.
  • Daniel Abraham, one of the co-writers behind the Expanse novel, wrote Caliban's War way before this crisis,[2] said "It's also the Jews fleeing Germany in the ‘30s. So many of the individual beats that Ty [Franck] puts together in the [larger] world are drawn from history that it's kind of inevitable that there's a grim sort of evergreen quality to them.”
  • “Daniel [Abraham] once said of the Expanse [that] humanity packs for the stars,” Otsby notes, “but brings all their luggage and problems with them. I‘ve had that tattooed behind my eyelids since day one, so (in my mind) there is definitely an extrapolation of the Middle East refugee crisis — as well as the present tribalism — that is reflected in the Ganymede bit.”
  • The point of focusing on the issue of tribalism, is that people are complicated, there are neither purely good nor evil persons on either side of the conflict
  • A pyre is a pile of wood used to cremate or purify a body as part of a funerary rite.
    • In some cultures, death is not merely an end, but a new beginning.
    • There are several instances which illustrate the theme of renewal which were woven to the episode:
      1. The refugees are in search of a new home
      2. After Cortazar, the man who is pivotal to understanding the protomolecule, is taken from Fred Johnson's custody by Anderson Dawes, Dawes challenges Johnson's leadership by stating that he failed to disclose the presence of the remaining protomolecule on the station. Dawes feels the only way to achieve self-determination is to ensure that protomolecule stays in Belter hands
      3. Holden and Naomi reaffirm their commitment together, by vowing to not to keep secrets from each other
  • The "spacing" of refugees who originated from the Inner Planets, can be viewed as mass sacrificial or funerary rite.


External links Edit

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