The Expanse - Cascade - Review + POLL By Kollin Lore (March 30, 2017, 4:00 am)
To talk about 'Cascade' it is important to discuss humanity - the flaws, the struggles, the messiness of being human. Whether from Mars or Earth or the Belt or Ganymede, or from whatever country here on this big blue planet, the one thing we can all find common ground on is our humanity or lack thereof. This is the overall message of The Expanse, and one that is made abundantly clear in 'Cascade' during its exploration of Bobbie, Amos, Holden, Prax, and even Errenwright.
The character of Bobbie was the MVP of this week. For the first half of season 2, we were introduced to a stubborn rebellious marine blinded by her hate for Earthers. A hate that really comes down to her envy of their atmospheric planet, that of which Mars can only dream of.
Last week, Bobbie arrived on Earth, but it was not until 'Cascade' where she finally gets to experience first hand this planet she hates so much. As she walks through the slums she sees that, yes, people live on this beautiful planet, but many live lives that are as worse as hers. People disadvantaged by disabilities, people with no roof over their heads, she sees actual humans who are, at the end of the day, struggling to live as much as she has been. It is part of humanity to want what we don't have, and sometimes that desire blinds us.
In 'Cascade' we see a Martian who's eyes are finally opened to the realities of her life in perspective to the life of others outside of Mars. Her scene with Nico was especially profound. Nico's story clearly hit a soft spot. And then to see her reaction as she witnesses his humility is profound, this moment marks a turning point for the character and one that sticks to you emotionally.
Amos and Holden's downward spiral continues in 'Cascade.' We see Prax questioning Amos' humanity by asking him how many people he killed as if he is someone that takes pride in it. Amos says he is not a homicidal maniac, but from previous episodes, we know that he at least believes he is a "monster." The conversation between the two characters has been great to see. It's clear that Amos is getting more in touch with his human side the more he converses with Prax, especially when the botanist opens up about his own flaws. We are not perfect as humans, and it is always important to hold on to that little part of us that makes us good, and I think Amos is beginning to see that by talking to Prax.
Holden is also taking a downward spiral. Him not stopping Amos from beating Roma to a pulp is a far cry from the pacifist he was when the Rocinante's journey began. What's interesting is that Holden is aware that he is losing touch with his humanity and he accepts it. The toll that their journey is taking on them is made very much clear through Holden and Amos, especially. They will do anything to get answers, even it that means getting their hands dirty.
'Cascade' was one of the best episodes in the series in terms of character development. Bobbie especially really shone this week. Watching her gradually mature into a more sympathetic character has been a joy to see. As we head closer to the end of the season, everything is just really clicking. The mystery of what is going on on Ganymede is very intriguing, the development of each characters is on-point, and the world of The Expanse feels alive. The story as a whole has been developing slowly, but thoughtfully, and it's been an experience to watch it all unfold.