‘The Expanse’ Reveals What Happens With Those Asteroids (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Expanse Season 5, Episode 4, “Gaugamela.”]
History buffs will certainly recognize the title of this episode: the Battle of Gaugamela marked Alexander the Great’s decisive victory over the Persian Empire. And, perhaps like Alexander, Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) has also won what he sees as a monumental victory for Belters everywhere, as three asteroids strike Earth and cause irreparable damage to the “Inners.”
This super-intense installment is one of the show’s best; it plays to all the series’ and its respective character’s strengths while weaving a tale so engrossing, it’s hard to breathe as it unfolds. Losses are sustained. Emotions run high. The clock is ticking. And The Expanse, much like the show’s fictional world, will never be the same.
Bobbie and Alex Mourn Mars
Not a whole lot happens with these two in this episode, although they do have a heartfelt conversation about the collapse of the MCRN as they continue to trail the ship from the first three episodes. Alex (Cas Anvar) asks Bobbie (Frankie Adams) how she’s so calm—after all, Mars, if it’s selling weapons to the Belt, is collapsing—and Bobbie says she’s already mourned Mars just as she mourned a pet rat when she was young. It helped her, she said, to build it a coffin. “So that’s what we’re doing,” Alex says, “building a coffin.”
They continue to track the ship, but their progress is interrupted by a grave broadcast: they learn about the asteroid impact on Earth, as well as a bombing of the Martian parliament.
Amos Meets a Friend
As he requested to Avasarala (Shohreh Agdashloo) last episode, Amos (Wes Chatham) wanted to stop and see someone—and “someone,” of course, was Clarissa (Nadine Nicole). She’s locked up in a penitentiary, but Avasarala pulls some strings to get him in, and he’s able to spend some time with his friend. Clarissa, who he calls “Peaches,” is plenty worse for the wear; she’s drugged up on blockers to inhibit the endocrine enhancement implant, which she can’t get removed because the surgery would probably kill her. She spends her days, as she tells Amos, “taking what they give, and giving nothing back.”
Amos just wants her to know she’s not alone. He tells her the things she did weren’t entirely her fault, because their world is messed up. He had someone to help him—Lydia—but she didn’t have anyone. Their emotional moment is cut short by an alarm, the room starts to crumble around them, and then all goes black.
Everything is Awful for Avasarala
Poor, poor Chrisjen Avasarala. She knew exactly what was happening, but she couldn’t stop it… and now she gets a front-row seat to the horror. Desperate to get Earth’s defense systems working in some order, she tries to reach Nancy Gao (Lily Gao) but she and her team aren’t allowing any of Avasarala’s messages through. She gets around them, though, by calling the cook on the airplane, who then takes the communication device to Gao.
Gao and her people aren’t exactly pleased to see Chrisjen, but they do listen, and they get the watchtower satellites linked to the spotters so they can see any other asteroids headed their way. Gao thanks her, saying she might’ve just saved millions and that she admires Chrisjen’s persistence. “I prefer to think of it as perseverance,” she says, and Gao laughs. And then another asteroid hits Earth, right next to Gao’s plane. It goes down, leaving Avasarala staring on in shock and horror.
One thing, at least, goes right: The watchtowers and defense system destroy the remaining asteroids headed for Earth, so the destruction has ceased… but the war is just beginning.
Holden Bears Witness to Tragedy
Unfortunately, Nancy Gao isn’t the only major loss suffered in this episode. Marco Inaros’ people attack Tycho Station, and it turns out one of the sweet, innocent-seeming workers named Sakai (Bahia Watson) was a mole for Inaros. She shoots Fred Johnson (Chad L. Coleman) three times in the chest, and while the medical team tries to save him, he dies from his wounds.
With his last words, Johnson told Holden that his protomolecule sample is in his quarters. Holden (Steven Strait) goes to retrieve it, but of course, it’s not so easy as walking into his place and walking out. The Belters bring a terrifying, heavy-duty robot that drills into Johnson’s floor and retrieves the weapon, and Sakai launches it into space and to Inaros. Holden takes her prisoner, saying she’s going to help them get it back. Unlikely, as she smiles and says, “You lose. You all lose.”
Naomi Has a Family Reunion
Tied with Avasarala for “having it the worst” this episode is Naomi (Dominique Tipper), who finds herself reunited with Inaros aboard his ship. They argue for a bit about his motives—Naomi says he’s still the selfish man she knew, while he fires back by saying being a parent made him yearn for a better world for his son. It all culminates when Naomi accuses Marco of forcing Filip (Jasai Chase Owens) to kidnap her, and Marco reveals that was all Filip; he had no part in it. “Believe me, when he told me what he’d done, I was just as surprised as you,” Inaros says.
No matter, Inaros continues: They can celebrate the “greatest victory in their people’s history” together. He pulls up the broadcasts about the asteroid impacts, and Naomi is horrified. “You put blood on our son’s hands, just like you did to me!” she says. Inaros, unfazed, declares this a triumph for the Belt and asks Filip to escort Naomi to her quarters. “Welcome home,” he tells her.
As the episode ends, Inaros gives a chilling televised speech declaring his Free Navy now has the protomolecule, and any transgressions of the “inners” against the Belt will be met with the release of the deadly weapon. Yikes.
The Expanse, Wednesdays, Amazon Prime