The Expanse 1×07 Review: Windmills

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This week’s episode of The Expanse, “Windmills”, allows us a little insight into Holden, revealing a backstory slightly more complicated than the standard go-to “troubled childhood”.

I’ll admit to not completely understanding all the intricacies, especially the political aspects, but basically Holden is the result of eight different genetic samples and was raised to lead a fight he had no possible hope of winning. It helps a great deal in explaining Holden’s character and behavior up until this point, because that kind of conditioning doesn’t disappear. Even though he escaped the co-op, he still bears the burden of taking on battles in which he doesn’t stand a chance. He’s Don Quixote, tilting at windmills. Nice metaphor, The Expanse.

I must have missed something last week that led them to suspect Holden (though I’ll admit, without knowing what we know, it is a little hinky), but Avasarala’s visit to his childhood homestead in Montana did more than just give us a little more background on our tragic, do-gooder hero; we got to see her human side. Until now, I’ve been unsure as to Avasarala’s motivations. What drives her? Why is she the way that she is? In bonding with Holden’s mother over the expectations they forced on their sons – resulting in the death of Avasarala’s son – she has been humanized in a way all those scenes of her playing with her grandson didn’t manage to do for me.

We also got to see her determination at the end; she is absolutely convinced that Holden had nothing to do with all the events that have transpired since the pilot (something we, the audience, already know), and despite the report from her spy seemingly contradicting her, I have a feeling that she isn’t going to waver in that conviction. No one tells Avasarala what to do.

This episode saw both Avasarala and Holden challenging preconceived notions. Avasarala, connecting on a human level with someone on a co-op, clearly a political rival of some sort, she was the expanse 1x7faced with conflicting information. And with Amos becoming more and more unpredictable, Holden is going to face some tough decisions. He was raised to be a leader – to be more than what he ended up becoming – and he seems to be the type of guy who tries to find the best possible solution, and sometimes the best possible solution is still terrible and costs innocent lives. Even when he pulled a gun on Amos in order to stop him from killing innocent Martians, you could tell that he didn’t intend to pull the trigger. He doesn’t have it in him…yet. It’ll be interesting to see what finally drives him to that point.

Kenzo, the spy that Avasarala contracted last week to keep an eye on Holden, is still a bit vague for me. If his intent was to stay under the radar, then he messed up big time; sending messages from the ship, which would have a way to detect any outgoing messages, seems a surefire way to get caught. Was that his intention? Did he plan to get caught so that he could interact with the crew of the Rocinante and get a handle on suspected terrorist Holden? What was he doing in the airlock before Amos came back for him? He’s clearly very knowledgeable and resourceful, and the fact that the crew is blind to both his true purpose (he did, after all, admit to being a spy, and why would he lie about that?) and his skills adds a fresh level of suspense.

Alex finally managing to unlock the codes necessary to convince other Martians that they are on a black ops mission was a moment of genuine levity that will have me giggling into next week, because I’m secretly six years old. Hee hee, donkey balls.

the expanse 1x7 3Miller’s storyline is getting more interesting as he allows himself to succumb to his growing obsession with the disappearance of Julie Mao. At loose ends after being fired, he begins to fall into a pit of self-loathing until a chance message from one of his contacts convinces him to head to Eros. I appreciate that even in his self-loathing spiral, Miller doesn’t turn back to alcohol. When Dawes leaves him a drink, Miller tosses it. He must, after all, be at full cognitive capacity if he is going to solve the mystery of what happened to Julie Mao. I’ll be eager to see how things progress once Miller reaches Eros and finally meets the crew of the Rocinante.

I was right when I said that once the individual plot threads started to connect this show would get even more amazing. The story gets more and more captivating each week, and now that we’re quickly approaching the season finale, I find myself on the edge of my seat waiting to see what will happen. Each week throws a new wrench in what I think I know, and now I’m just sitting back and enjoying the ride!

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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