The Expanse Review: The Search For Mei Meng is On

WTF?!? Were you as heartbroken as I was when that Belter spaced Doris? This was one rough episode of The Expanse.

Though the hour dealt with Fred Johnson losing control of the OPA, the introduction of botanist Praxidike Meng (Terry Chen) and his daughter Mei, clearly moved the story in a new direction. Well, as far as experimentation with the Protomolecule is concerned. Not having read the book, it’s a blast to speculate whether Dr. Strickland is using Mei for unethical medical testing. Is Mei Meng’s story and the Roci’s race to save her the show’s main plot moving forward? It’s feels reminiscent of Julie Mao and Miller’s arc in the first season. What’s up with those two, anyway?

THE EXPANSE - "Pyre" Episode 20
Courtesy of Syfy
The mirror crashing down on Prax’s dome was impressive as hell. I know I sound like a broken record, but the VFX guys never fail to impress me. I admit to being a little thrown off at first, but it didn’t take long to understand that this new character was affected by the events on Ganymede. I’m really glad the focus shifted and we briefly witnessed the events from the ground. Though it seemed the episode might veer off into a spinoff stories, as with Epstein, we now realize Prax is going to be a recurring character. I know actor Terry Chen from Continuum, and a few other appearances on shows that film in Canada. While he has always stood out, I feel like Prax is might be a defining role for Chen. In just one episode, he managed to move me to tears with his outstanding performance. This is a character Chen is really going to be able to sink his teeth into, and he is more than up to the task.

THE EXPANSE - "Pyre" Episode 208
Courtesy of Syfy
The refugee storyline is so current… it’s frakkin’ scary. Sure, these episodes were written/filmed months ago, but great science fiction always makes one think. As human beings, we can’t help sympathize when families are being separated and countless others are denied access to the U.S. in the name of “making America great again.” It’s tough not to get political, when we are witnessing history repeat itself. I was born in New York to young parents forced to leave their little Cuban paradise behind when a ruthless dictator came to power. The demagogue that currently resides in the White House is preying on the same fears that Fidel Castro did when he overthrew Batista in 1959. The guy sides with Russia over our own intelligence agencies? Hosts International leaders at his Mar-a-Lago resort? How much are taxpayers paying for his security detail? His proposed budget cuts all kinds of federal funding while bolstering the country’s military programs. The Belter that spaced Doris did it out of anger and misinformation. However, President Trump is a power hungry rabble-rouser that would space anyone with opposing views to his own. I like the fact the authors of The Expanse get political on Twitter, they understand human nature. I wish we could say the same about the GOP.

Anyway, enough of that… Back to the show! On Tycho Station, Diogo called Dawes the “Fist for the Belt” inspiring the little revolt that took place later. Jared Harris is so damn good as Anderson Dawes, you can understand his side of the story. Regardless of the fact he’s a dangerous man. Everything he said made perfect sense, didn’t it? Will Dawes manage control of the Protomolecule? While that stuff definitely made for a tense hour, I admit I wanted to learn more about Prax, his daughter and her mysterious doctor.

Prax stating he was born and raised on Ganymede is ultimately what saved him, as Doris was Martian. The dialogue is what clued us into the fact the Belter took vengeance on Martians for the battle. Watching Doris’ shock as she was sucked into space was horrifying. That’s an image I won’t shake for the rest of the season. Naomi managed to figure out the connection between Cortazar and Prax, which was Protomolecule on Ganymede. Knowing there’s more Protomolecule out there didn’t change her decision about their hidden stash. What a lucky coincidence Prax just arrived on Tycho. I loved Holden’s line that it couldn’t all be that easy. That was pretty amusing.

THE EXPANSE - "Pyre" Episode 208
Courtesy of Syfy
The Belter coup ended before it began, but clearly Prax’s time with the Roci crew is just beginning. I am insanely curious to find out what Dr. Strickland was working on and how Mei ties in. Does her condition allow her to bond with the Protomolecule somehow? Was the hybrid Bobbie saw on Ganymede created by Strickland? The writers just unlocked another terrific mystery, and the series hasn’t even returned to Venus to check in with Eros yet. Where Season 1 stumbled a tad, the creator have found their rhythm this year. The episodes fly by, yet don’t sacrifice important plot details to keep the audience engaged.

Closing thoughts…

“Pyre” was another spectacular installment of The Expanse. The series only gets better and better, and I can only hope Syfy picks up the show for another season. There is clearly still so much story left to tell. I hear from sci-fi fans all the time that recently discovered the series and can’t believe they hadn’t watched it sooner. It’s a shame folks are still judging Syfy for its missteps a few years back. As fans, we need to support the network and mind-blowing shows like The Expanse. That’s the only way they will remain on the air. Tune in LIVE, DVR and re-watch within 3 days. Most importantly, tell your friends what an outstanding TV series they’re missing by not watching The Expanse. I can hardly wait for the next installment!


The Expanse airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on Syfy.

  • Interdimensional Dave

    I’ve been meaning to get to this review. Well done and well said Hank. Sadly, I see everything through the lens of Trump and his despicable minions these days. it is hard not to.

    It’s too bad we didn’t heed the advice of such great 90’s shows like Buffy and The X-Files. There are always monsters lurking.

    Thanks for the great work Hank!