THE EXPANSE – Season 6 Episode 3 – SPOILERS
The Free Navy has ceded control of Ceres to UN forces, but left the place with food for only three weeks, forcing the UN to come up with a way to feed its million residents. Monica Stuart (Anna Hopkins) is embedded with the UN forces there but manages to break away from her chaperones long enough to start a conversation (she speaks Belter fluently) with an old man named Owain (Vieslav Krystyan) and his cat. “Her name is Lucky Earther,” he tells Stuart. “She is fat and lazy, and I give her whatever she wants.” Just then a series of explosive devices, doubless planted by Inaros and company, detonate. Stuart’s next report might be delayed, but will almost certainly include input from Owain (who might have been named after Owain Glyndŵr, the last native Welshman to be Prince of Wales. Glyndŵr waged a long war of rebellion against England’s King Henry IV.)
On Laconia, Lieutenant Hannu (Craig Arnold) is teaching a morning class for students of all ages. He tells them: “We all come from different places and for different reasons. Annie’s family came from L-4 with the survey group. I came from Mars with the fleet. But no matter where we come from or how we got here, we’re all Laconians now. And since everyone on the survey group has been here longer, you can help people like me who came later by telling us about anything that seems different or changed, especially in the last few weeks.” So this is not Laconia 4, but a more recently colonized planet in the system.
Whatever is causing the recent changes to which he refers is probably related to the thing (mentioned in Episode 6.2) that the soldiers are building in orbit, and he implies that some folks on Laconia hail from places other than L-4 and Mars. Cara (Emma Ho) is one of the students, and she is busy studying Sunbirds on a portable device. Hannu turns the device off and tells her to pay attention in class. She does not discuss her experience with the Sunbirds with him. Before all that happens we see (for unknown reasons) a dropship descending toward Laconia. We do not get to meet Annie.
Cara goes to the forest clearing in the afternoon, and again encounters the strange purring dog. (There are two of them now. One opens its mouth and we see that it has no teeth.) The once dead Sunbird is alive again and the broken drone that she left behind has been repaired. Cara deduces that the dog is responsible for both those things, and rushes home to tell everyone about it. When she gets there she finds out that her brother Xan (Ian Ho) has been seriously injured. It seems reasonable to assume that someone will try to use the dogs’ reconstructive abilities to repair the damage to Xan.
Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) spots the Rocinante on its way to Ceres and decides to attack. It’s a battle he should win, but his pilot uses predictable evasive maneuvers and Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) takes advantage of that, and cripples Inaros’ ship. Knowing that Naomi’s son is on board, Holden prevents the destruction of The Pella by disarming his torpedo before it strikes. Inaros’ near defeat and apparently miraculous escape causes Filip (Jasai Chase Owens) to tell his father off in front of the bridge crew, something that would have gotten anyone else executed. Filip just gets sent to his room.
Marcos goes off alone to sulk, and receives this communication: “Bosmag, Medina Station [formerly OPAS Behemoth] is pleased to report that RSR-G6 was just received at Laconia Ring Gate. Operational testing will commence as soon as possible, and we will, of course, keep you fully apprised. If this one performs as well as the others, it will be fun.” On screen, a ship (or missile) that might have something to do with both the protomolecule and what the renegade Martians have been building in Laconia orbit is shown coming through the ring. Inaros has some sort of secret weapon, and from the designation he has six of whatever it is.
It’s a good thing that the Rocinante wasn’t destroyed, because it is suddenly carrying a lot of important data. Before the battle, Amos (Wes Chatham) received a message from his old friend Praxideke Meng (Terry Chen) on Ganymede whom he has not seen since they were on Io together (Season 3 Episode 6). Prax relays information that might solve the food problem, both on Earth and in the Belt: “The Free Navy shot a researcher in my lab today,” Prax said. “They said she was a spy. Her name was Karvonides…Karonides was developing a new strain of yeast with a robust proofing polymerase modified with organelles that mimic the protomolecule’s harvesting structures. It produces a complete, digestible protein with micronutrient uptake similar to unmodified soy…The yeast could create massive amounts of food out of little more than spare carbon dioxide and waste energy. You know people with power. Please get this data to them.” (In the books, Karvonides’ yeast contained an artificial chloroplast reverse-engineered from the protomolecule, but it was changed in the TV show into something that could have a much more immediate impact on the food supply.)
And Naomi (Dominique Tipper) has found a pattern of sorts in ship disappearances at the rings. “It’s happened to different kinds of ships and in different rings,” she tells Holden. “But the disappearances seem to be happening in clusters, each roughly spanning the same amount of time. It’s like a hole suddenly opens up in the floor, and if someone falls in, they’re gone. But then a minute later, the hole itself is gone, and everything seems normal until another hole suddenly opens up somewhere else, and for the next minute, more people fall into that.” It sounds like someone (or something) is redirecting those ships to a different destination.
Meanwhile, Camina Drummer (Cara Gee) is organizing a Belter counter-rebellion. She is preparing to plunder Inaros’ storage depots, and two more ships have joined her cause: the Gault and the Saberhagen (which was probably named after science fiction author Fred Saberhagen, whose beserkers might be considered machine analogs to the protomolecule).