There’s a lot happening in Season 4 of The Expanse, and a lot of it centers around James Holden and his “prophetic” abilities of sorts. You might want a refresher on what Holden saw in his vision and how all that came about, along with the Miller-Protomolecule connection, so here’s a look back. This story has spoilers for Seasons 1-3 of The Expanse.
The Protomolecule’s Creator Was Wiped Out by an Unseen Force
From Holden’s vision in Season 3, we learned that the Protomolecule wasn’t a weapon like everyone had guessed. It’s a tool (an AI tool of sorts) created by an alien race to build rings that connect across the galaxy.
Here’s the vision he saw.
The Protomolecule’s maker was destroyed by an unknown alien or entity.
This is all pretty confusing, but here’s a very basic rundown of what happened with the Protomolecule in Season 3.
Originally, the PM (Protomolecule) was created to build rings and then reach back out to its creator, making a connection after it built a new ring. The alien race that created the rings had expanded all across the galaxy and had created the rings for travel. It used the PM to build the rings.
But now the alien race is gone and the PM has nothing it can connect back to, so it keeps reaching out, over and over.
The AI that took on the form of Proto-Miller discovered this when it created the Ring in our solar system and tried to reach out to its creator. The original makers had shut down the ring system to try to stop this enemy from wiping them out. So Proto-Miller needed Holden to touch the station and make a hard connect of sorts, allowing the PM to connect through Holden and reactivate the rings.
This also means that Proto-Miller is likely not the true “Miller” reborn in a different way. Vision Miller is the Protomolecule AI communicating with Holden through the memories and personality of Miller. It seems the Protomolecule was repurposed into an “investigator” of sorts to determine why its creator was destroyed. One has to wonder if perhaps this has something to do with it taking on some of Miller’s personality, since Miller was an investigator himself. Or perhaps that is why it chose Miller as its template.
A big mystery is what killed off the Protomolecule’s creator and how big of a threat it poses to humanity. As far as we know in the TV series, the alien makers of the rings have now been completely destroyed.
At this point, we have no idea who destroyed the Protomolecule’s creator. But since the creator is so much more powerful technologically than humanity, it’s hard to imagine that humanity would stand much of a chance against the race that so easily wiped out the creator of the Protomolecule.
(Note: This is just a basic overview of what happened with Holden’s vision and the Protomolecule. The actuality of how the PM and Miller work is far more complicated.)
Here’s an overall recap of the first three seasons that might also be helpful.