So much for getting more information about what happened on Eros. With the pull of a trigger at the end of the Season 2 premiere, Joe Miller murders Dresden and ruins Jim Holden and Fred Johnson’s harrowing military operation. As the new season of The Expanse opens, they wanted to figure out who was behind the viral outbreak that ravaged the Belters on Eros in the Season 1 finale. For the immediate future, that’s out the window. But the virus now has a name: the Protomolecule.
The biggie-sized premiere of The Expanse wasted no time in following up on what happened to Holden and the Rocinante crew. De facto OPA leader Johnson originally sent them to Phoebe Station to intercept a ship, but their horrific excursion to Eros made sure they’d never get there. That detour turned out to be a good thing for everyone involved. Phoebe was apparently the starting point for the substance that caused the outbreak on Eros.
When the Roci crew confabs with Johnson about the Eros fallout, they agree to launch a mission to an abandoned communications space station, receiving transmissions of data results acquired on Eros. The Roci takes out the stealth ship guarding the station while Miller, Holden, Johnson, and a 50-man OPA squad gets boots on the ground inside to infiltrate it. It’s there they find some answers from the Protomolecule’s immediate puppet master: Dresden.
It seems a shady corporation headed by Julie Mao’s father and other benefactors — potentially named Protogen — tested the Protomolecule as a bioweapon on lower class Belters on Eros. Dresden explains he headed the experiment as a way to find out how the organism could “repurpose” other lifeforms as a way to speedily evolve. But into what?
Well, the isolated environment of Phoebe Station was supposed to give them the perfect (and immoral) way to find out. The alien Protomolecule is both proof that we’re not alone in the universe and, as Protogen foresees, a potential way to evolve into more powerful versions of human beings. “We become our own gods,” Dresden tells Miller as his justification for wanting to start a war.
But there’s an even bigger, more dramatic twist. Dresden explains that the Protomolecule’s real target was Earth. “Extra-solar beings” wanted to send it there as a way to hijack life on the planet for their own evolutionary power trip. Protogen simply intercepted it on Phoebe and is trying to harness the alien power against them. But at what cost? With Dresden dead, its going to be much more difficult for Holden, Johnson, Earth, and Mars to find out.