“Rock Bottom,” true to its title, basically spent an hour trying to one-up itself in how dark and bad things could get for its characters. The remaining Canterbury survivors get off the lightest. The random characters on the freighter—Mateo and Diogo—have it brutal. But Dawes and Miller get it worst of all.

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The biggest theme from last night’s episode was “making deals with extremists.” Holden’s got it relatively easy because, for all that he and Fred Johnson circle each other warily, Johnson’s a mostly honorable man. So while Holden leverages his crew’s eye witness accounts of the way the Cant and the Donnager died and puts safeguards on the Rocinante, Johnson does eventually send Holden and his crew off to meet a contact of his. A contact which will hopefully provide answers about what happen to the Scopuli. There’s even a lovely moment where the whole crew, even Amos, defy Holden and join him. So they do not get the darkest moment award this week.

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Mateo and Diogo’s inclusion is utterly baffling. Unless I missed some clue hidden here, the only purpose they serve is to remind us that everyone hates everyone out in space. Although Mateo chucking Diogo into space and Diogo’s cries for him to stop are chilling, it lacks a bit of weight.

So, on balance, it’s Miller and Dawes that take the cake for a cascade of nightmares. Miller accuses Dawes of sending people—Julie, really—to die for his pointless cause. Dawes makes fun of Miller’s “crush” on Julie. And then tells the story in the above video. Just in case you didn’t get how dire things could get. Jared Harris and Thomas Jane are so, so good every time they have scenes together. It works exactly the way the Mateo and Diogo scenes don’t.

There’s real weight and history for these two, and it’s totally understandable how, despite both being Belters, they ended up on opposite sides. Dawes cares about the big picture of life in the Belt. Miller cares about justice for individuals.

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So while Miller’s figured out chunks of the conspiracy behind what happened to Julie—in a way that’s playing out very differently from the book—he’s gotten to the stage in every thriller where what he knows gets his ass handed to him. He’s fired, and since his security job was the only thing protecting him from the OPA, he’s screwed.

Congrats to Miller. He may be the in the worst position of any of our main characters right now, but, in this show, that’s an accomplishment.


Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.