Review: The Expanse Episode 508, “Hard Vacuum”

Image: The Expanse/Amazon Prime Video
Image: The Expanse/Amazon Prime Video /

Another excellent episode of The Expanse zeroes in on Naomi’s struggle to survive, while Chrisjen Avasarala finally reassumes some real responsibility.

Chrisjen Avasarala finds herself back at the table where the fate of the Earth is determined. The newly appointed Security General wants her on his team as he embarks on a job he surely never saw himself doing, but since he’s one of the few survivors of the asteroid impacts, he’s stepping up.

It doesn’t take long for Chrisjen to make her mark as she argues over a proposal to destroy an entire Belter station, trying to save the lives of the innocents there. Her job title may change, but her fight remains the same: to save as many people as possible. Her journey from a scheming politician aiming for power to a savior of the innocent has been fantastic, and I love seeing her trying to always do the right thing, whatever that may mean.

Having barely survived her jump through the vacuum of space, Naomi finds herself stranded on the Chetsmoka, which is rigged to blow should any ship comes within a certain range. She only has air in parts of the ship and has to use a broken space suit to travel elsewhere. Her body has been damaged by the vacuum of space, so her struggle is very real.

For most of these scenes, no words are spoken. Naomi’s actions here are primal, aimed at survival and little else. These scenes have a dark, gritty feel, and the raw emotion is intense. When she does speak, she uses only the most explicit of expletives, but said in a variety of ways with a variety of meanings. They’re some of the best scenes of the season.

When I want to recommend The Expanse to people I think might enjoy it, I sometimes say that it’s a show for adults made by adults. It tells adult stories about real, complex people and the world they live in, even if that world involves alien worlds and future cultures. The main core of characters remain incredibly relatable even as they grapple with problems no human being has ever had. The people who make The Expanse get people, and let their art imitate life.

Amos and Clarissa make it to Baltimore, where they attempt to enlist the help of Eric to get them to a shuttle and leave the planet. After the plan is laid out, it still takes some convincing from Clarissa to get Eric to leave his home.

Meanwhile, Holden, Bobbie, Alex and Drummer separately pick up the fake distress call coming from the Chetsmoka and begin their burns to hopefully rescue Naomi. Naomi, after tremendous struggle, manages to flicker the repeating message on and off, so it says only the words she wants it too. It’s another stroke of Nagata brilliance and one that just may save her life, as one of Drummer’s crew catches the change in the message. Though they have been led to believe that Naomi is dead, it’s a good bet that won’t stop Drummer from doing whatever she’s going to do.

Grade: A

Next. Review: The Expanse returns for season 5, excellent as ever. dark

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