Holden and crew realize that they’re not alone on the Rocinante and find themselves up against a Martian Marine blockade.
Windmills is an unusual episode in the Expanse canon. It is, for one, a demonstration of building tension within film making, showing prospective film-makers how to create tension in a scene when there is none. Part of the brilliance of this episode is creating tension through an invisible enemy. You see in the first opening stages of Holden’s mission to find out what happened at the Scopuli, they are blockaded. They are trapped in a Martian military blockade and the Martians have no real love for Belters, Earthers nor Holden, who is in the eyes of many, a hero for the OPA who fought against Martian military arrogance, and to the Earthers, perhaps a suspected man who has almost started a war between Earth and Mars. The OPA is simply biding their time as one can see very clearly. But that’s the geo-political situation at current.
Let us observe what’s happening on the Rocinante at this point: The Martian Military Blockade will soon board the Rocinante at any point. Alex is a glorified military bus driver. He doesn’t know all the codes that Martian Captains keep in their ship. Alex is often put under a ton of pressure in this episode. Lo and behold, someone in the Rocinante is broadcasting a signal. Amos goes down the ship’s base to find a man named Kenzo. A fearful, strange man who reveals that he has had an affiliation with Fred Johnson and that’s he involved in corporate espionage. But of course, why should the crew of the Rocinante trust a man that was broadcasting straight to the Martian Military? Kenzo compromised their trust, and he compromised their position. What happens is a smattering of bickering and suspicious activities from all sides. And then we get the voice of the Martian Military demanding that the Rocinante gives its location codes and threatening to go onboard. The music is kept up. Kenzo keeps trying unsuccessfully many times to convince the crew that he’s aware of how the Martian mind works. He manages to help the crew by giving them some information about a certain key – which Alex picks up and then tells the three words that are kind of top-secret and only available to Captains. That is tension done right. Amos and Miller share a brief exchange, getting ready for the inevitable which never happens. This is a brilliant scene in film/tv make. No need to spend your budget on getting extras to act as enemies when you can create what I call it: An invisible enemy. That’s what half this episode was.
Then we have Detective Miller finally figuring out that the case of Julie Mao was meant to be a cover-up. Her father wanted the case to be solved locally, somewhere where it didn’t bring any attention. Miller comes to the horrific realization that his involvement, in this case, was nowhere near as important as he once thought. Guys like him get shafted into the system once their usefulness is over. Miller laments that he used to be good at solving cases. So, the question which lies in his mind, is where did he go wrong? Where did he go wrong where he had a comfortable, plumb job? Where did he go wrong when he was put onto this case that he has to look for a missing girl that quite frankly no one in the Universe cares about? It’s not as if Mao’s father has traveled across half the system to suddenly go and meet Miller. No. Of course not. That’s not how it works. This ironically makes Miller more frustrated, because we then see him confront Anderson Dawes. Anderson Dawes notes that Miller is realizing the Inners are just that. Inners. They use Belters like Miller to solve their cases and when that’s done, it’s over. Now, most of this is implied through Jared Harris and Thomas Jane’s wonderful acting. They do both do a stellar job to show what their characters are thinking. Dawes states that Miller could be a belter again. And to be fair for the past six episodes, Dawes has been saying that for quite a while now. He wants Miller to realize that after all the pain and suffering he has had after this case; he’s saying to Miller: Look. Join us. The Inners won’t look after you. But we will. We’ll handle it for you. But then, of course, Dawes is a lying, manipulative man that will utilize any advantage to get Belters on his side for the real war: The OPA declaring their new war on Earth and Mars and getting rid of their dependence.
Then we go to Crisjen making her way to Holden’s ancestral home. The home of his parents where they are a collective. Crisjen of course learns from Elise that Holden was a brave, noble man that always stood up for what he thought was right. That of course wasn’t always popular with the authorities. Crisjen and Elise both seem to confront each other with getting straight to the point, which I think the two women do develop a begrudging admiration for each other. And were Holden’s parents a bunch of ‘political extremists?’ Surely, they could have been. It is left open to interpretation in my mind. Elise then demands Crisjen to leave, until Crisjen reveals her forced parenting caused her the loss of her son as well. There’s that familiar look that Elise gives when she hears that statement. And when she learns that Holden is alive, that brings Errinwright to call Crisjen and note that he’ll get Holden assassination.
But of course, Holden and his crew survived the Donnager and the Canterbury. I think they’ll do suitably better against what Errinwright throws at them.