"We are nothing like you.
The only thing Earthers care about is government handouts---free food, free water, free drugs so you can forget the aimless lives you lead. You're short-sighted, selfish... and it will destroy you."
The title CQB doesn't grab the attention in quite the same way The Expanse, Season One, Episode 4, CQB should. The acronym CQB stands for Close Quarter Battle and for some skeptical viewers that would do it.
CQB is about as thrilling and original as space battles and space deaths get. The story continues to move forward and remains riveting while plunging viewers into the heat of space battle every bit as good as some of the very best from Star Trek The Original Series (1966-1969). And those were suspenseful, exciting and just plain gripping.
Character moments are in evidence like a tender spot between Naomi and Amos, but CQB is indeed a first class thriller in the vein of the best. This is the kind of action-based science fiction that weaves seamlessly with a mystery yarn that offers science fiction fans something fresh and original that's not just a clone of the frontier discoveries of the Star Trek Enterprise. This is a frontier saga of a different kind entirely.
The Martian vessel Donnager is under attack but by who or what? A mystery entity is working hard to spark a war between Earth, Mars and the Belters but why?
This is the first episode that introduces a new character in the form of butcher Fred Johnson (see The Expanse novella The Butcher Of Anderson Station by James S.A. Corey) now on Tycho Station.
CQB is also notable for introducing fans of the book and TV series to what would become Holden and crew's ship of choice, the Rocinante.
The Donnager is a Martian warship and thought to be too big to fail. No one aboard imagines the possibility of being attacked and actually losing and yet the vessel is crippled and Holden and crew must resort to a daring escape aboard the smaller MCRN ship that would soon be named the Rocinante (in E6 Rock Bottom) before the massive warship is scuttled and is ultimately left to self destruct.
This is indeed a thrilling entry and remembered for the surprising death sequence that would take one of the five crew members before their narrow escape, as much as it is recalled for the Roci, as its often referred, in which they depart amidst some outstanding space thrills.
With an epic book series to draw from, The Expanse continues to move from strength to strength.
Writer: Naren Shankar. Director: Jeff Woolnough.