The Expanse: A Telltale Series Episode 4 - Impossible Objects Review
Spoilers for previous episodes of The Expanse - A Telltale Series may be found ahead. If you don’t want to know what happens then come back when you’ve made your own way through it and see what we thought. Previous episode reviews can be found here:-
Loss can be a great motivator as can dire circumstances. Depending on how your playthrough is going, Episode 4 of Telltale’s Expanse, entitled Impossible Objects, could very well be motivated by both. Drummer is left stranded at the abandoned station with only her suit’s oxygen to keep her going and, depending on your choices, left mourning the loss of someone very important to her. However, Belters know how to survive and Drummer picks herself up knowing that somehow she has to get off that rock.
Episode 4 feels very much like a filler episode before the season finale. However, that doesn’t mean that its time isn’t used wisely. Using Drummer’s dwindling oxygen supply and descent into hypoxia as a way to fill in a bit more of her backstory. All we know is that she left Ceres Station under a cloud and that the OPA’s Anderson Dawes had put a bounty on her head. Precisely what event(s) precipitated these actions where, up to now, unknown, and what we see doesn’t pull its punches.
Drummer is under no illusions of just how oppressed Belters are as a minority. She’s also not against what the OPA stands for and what it is after. However, she has clearly shown a distaste for Dawes and his militant approach. In the show, Dawes is an intriguing character. Over time you learn that, thanks to him (though convinced by Drummer to do so) the butcher of Anderson station, Fred Johnson, is given a second chance at life with the OPA. Johnson then went on to run Tycho station and was instrumental in assisting the Rocinante’s crew and was central to a lot of the goings on during the show. In fact, Drummer herself ends up at Tycho station with Johnson, so this is an interesting peek at the times before for fans of the show.
Book fans will be perhaps less enthused with the timelines here, and one character's appearance in this episode feels a touch forced. That’s not to say their appearance is impossible, but I’d lean towards it being improbable having read some of the books. What remains true, however, is just how well this story is being told. I concede that the story here is likely not canon but if I didn’t know well enough I would be convinced that it is. This episode really adds a lot of meat to Drummer and you get a sense of who she is as a person and the type of Belt she wants to see in the future.
It’s a shame that this has been kept to just five episodes. Given the various characters introduced, I feel as though the final episode will have to be exceedingly long to tie up some of the questions I still have. The first couple of episodes centred around the crew of the Artemis. If you followed some of the threads you’ll know that the medic, Virgil, has an interesting past. Does it have an impact on the story? Not really. One of your crew has drug withdrawal which you can help with if you salvage some medication. Will it have an impact? Maybe, but I’m not sure at all. We also get up close and personal with the pirates in this episode, though again, I feel there could have been more done here than what we got.
Really this is my biggest nitpick with this series; most other things have been great. The story is solid, the voice acting on point, and the move to Unreal Engine has benefitted the game to no end. Some decisions have actually mattered though I’m starting to suspect my pack-rat mentality of salvaging will have all been for nothing aside from a few specific pieces of salvage like the auto-doc crystal and the medication. I want to be surprised though, I’d love nothing more than a long, content-packed fifth episode but I’m not going to count any chickens.
We’re on the home stretch now and all the pieces are in place. We know what the MK Core is, what it can do and just how dangerous it might be in the wrong hands. I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll find out who the buyer is on Ceres and if it’s not our old friend Jules-Pierre Mao I’ll be very surprised. I do wonder if all my decisions will have an overriding impact on just how this last episode plays out and if that is the case then Telltale Games can call this a job well done.
The biggest compliment I can give is that I wish there were more episodes incoming. The one-off Chrisjen Avasarala episode aside, I genuinely feel there could have been more to tell and a longer arc could have been played out. I’ll reserve full judgement, of course, until after next week’s Episode 5 on the series as a whole but Episode 4, whilst less involved, is no less solid than the others that have preceded it
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