The Expanse 1×06 “Rock Bottom”

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

SPOILER ALERT

The pace slows a bit in this episode, but again the highlight here is the characters in play.

Again I am struck by Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), and not in a good way. Although her accent is beautiful, I don’t believe Aghdashloo’s portrayal at all. She doesn’t seem to penetrate the character’s motivations and what I am perceiving is her delivering her lines, not so much acting. Consequently, her role seems off and aloof rather than a woman of passion that Chrisjen clearly is, at least on paper.

Which is a pity. Her role is such a juicy one for a woman, that it is a shame she feels like bad casting, and the role could have gone to an actress with more chops. I can see Tilda Swinton playing this role with gelid-eyed ferocity.Hers is the only real problematic portrayal, everyone else is doing a great job.

All of that said, this episode continues to build the story relentlessly from the previous episode.

We have an interesting additional ‘backstory’, that of Diogo (Andrew Rotilio), who we saw in earlier episodes in scenes with Miller where he was warned to ‘Stay away from the aqua!’, and his uncle Mateo (Alex Karzis). This sequence gives us an emotional and tense story line, giving you some of the grit and determination of the Belters to make a sacrifice for what’s right, even though it’s clear they’re mistreated and taken advantage of. Although it doesn’t appear as though this character is important, the fact that this dramatic little side story appears, leads me to believe that Diogo, who we last see floating on his own, will become an important secondary character later on.

Regardless of the vicious machinations going on way above their heads, the Belters clearly deserve some justice.

We also get further evidence of the growing close knitting of the crew of the Rocinante. The handle Fred Johnson and his demands deftly, and head into God knows what by the end of the episode. Holden continues to display wit, and his team loyalty.

The byplay between Miller (Thomas Jane) and Octavia (Athena Karkanis) is also looking like something we will watch play out later on in the story. The chemistry between them is there, and I like all the scenes between them. Jane plays his character’s bitterness perfectly with her, and she hits her character’s notes perfectly. Tough but vulnerable, willing to stretch, but not quite bend the rules. Her rescuing of Miller in this episode definitely deserves a brownie point or two.

It is clear that this is a series that requires you to pay attention. It’s easy to miss some details on the first watch, so you cannot ignore anything or anyone at this point.

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