'The Expanse': Wes Chatham & Dominique Tipper on Amos & Naomi's Journeys in Season 4
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 4 of The Expanse.]
There are two characters in The Expanse who, heading into Season 4, had pretty murky backstories: Naomi (Dominique Tipper) and Amos (Wes Chatham). Viewers had a few pieces of their respective pasts, but not enough to put together the puzzle.
After Season 4’s explosive conclusion, at least for one of them, that’s no longer the case.
We chatted with Tipper and Chatham about their characters’ relationships, Amos’ unexpected moments of comedic relief and a small tease about what Season 5 might bring.
Tipper said she thinks Season 4 is the most “settled and accepting” Naomi and Holden have been of each other. “They’ve finally settled into who they are in their relationship, what their differences are and what that means for them,” she said. “I think the whole season speaks to who they are and where they’re at and their growth as partners, while still very much sticking to who they are.”
She said that while her character certainly wanted to go to Ilus to help the Belters, there was another part of Naomi hoping to make things work on a planet so that she and Holden, who grew up on Earth, could live together in a place that made them both happy. Unfortunately, as viewers who have seen the first half of the season know, that probably won’t end up being the case. Poor Naomi!
Season 4 was full of surprises for Naomi fans who hadn’t read the books, especially those hoping to get more of an explanation about her backstory regarding her son’s whereabouts and her relationship with Marco Inaros. Tipper says she usually doesn’t read the books, although she did read Cibola Burn — that said, she was okay with being surprised by some of the elements of the season. “Naomi’s past has been a thing, without it being a thing,” she said. “It’s been a thing for her, at least. It’s been very exciting to start delving into that,” she said.
Speaking of characters with largely unexplained but hugely intriguing pasts, Season 4 was also a big one for Amos Burton. But for all the darkness in Amos, there were some comedic moments in these 10 episodes involving him, which was something Wes Chatham said he enjoyed playing. He compared Amos’ humor to an alien being taken to another planet and learning social graces, emotions, politeness and kindness. “That alien will do its best to do the things it learns, but it’s going to be awkward,” he said. “That alien has a different point of view. And so you have somebody like Amos, who came from such a damaged place, and he’s really just trying to mimic human behavior. It doesn’t always work out right.”
One fan-favorite sequence involved Amos constantly getting Murtry’s name wrong — he called him “Morty,” “Marty,” “Murty” and more. While it was definitely entertaining, Chatham says there was a deeper meaning behind that string of mispronunciations that goes beyond comedic relief. “It’s more of a power play,” Chatham said. “It’s more of getting into (Murtry’s) head, and not getting his name right is a way to drive Murtry crazy. He’s a person who relies heavily on status and power, and so (Amos) plays upon that with the little mind games he does.”
Both executive producer Naren Shankar and Chatham briefly addressed further storylines for Amos in Season 5, which has already been greenlighted at Amazon and is currently filming. One likely plot thread is the companionship between Amos and Clarissa Mao, whom he nicknamed “Peaches.” “When we were headed back to Earth, that’s a six-month journey,” Chatham said. “For her to have something to do, she ended up coming down to work in the machine shop. In doing that, Amos really got to know her and realized that she was manipulated and treated in a way by her father that he’s more responsible for the things she’s done than she is. There’s a vulnerability there that Amos really connects to and sees.”
So, if she, as he says, “gets through to Amos,” then where might that unlikely friendship go in the future? Chatham wouldn’t say exactly, but while Peaches didn’t show up in the rest of Season 4, he did say there would be more of that connection “in the near future.”
The Expanse, Season 4, Streaming Now, Amazon Prime Video