Last week; Melba killed Ren, and her bomb killed a ship, and the faked video pinned the crime on Holden. Drummer, in an effort to show the OPA is serious about being a real political faction, took the initiative to fire on the Roci, over Naomi’s screamed protests, of course. Unfortunately for Melba, Holden has a ghostly saviour in the form of The Investigator, whose cryptic mutterings led Holden to insist Alex lead the missile directly towards, and through the Ring. We left off last week with the ship and missile suspended on the wrong side of the ring, frozen in mid … space barely metres apart, but only for now.
We pick up on the Behemoth where launching the missile has screwed up their electronics and no one seems quite sure if the torpedo even hit the Roci, anyway. Naomi is back on the bridge, yelling at crew to adjust sensors so they can tell what happened to the Roci. Ashford tries to play captain to get her to go fix the power problems, but Naomi firmly reminds him it’s Drummer she answers to. Yeah, shut up, Ashford. Drummer chases her off, too, calling after with feeble apologies for her decision, in the event Drummer actually did, you know … kill everyone Naomi cares about in the world.
Speaking of those troublesome boys, after peeling themselves out of crash couches they try to figure out what’s going on but don’t have a lot to go on; Holden stares at the viewing screen and whispers ‘I don’t see any stars’ and they realise they’re in some kind of bubble on the ‘other’ side of the ring. They and the missile are still moving very slowly towards a distant point, deeper into the ‘bubble’. Holden mentions Miller and to Monica’s question, he admits Miller doesn’t appear to be all dead, prompting Amos to voice the concern he may not be all Miller, either. VALID. It’s a moot point for now, as the earlier sabotage still has them locked out of weapons and comms, and until they figure that out … as they talk, Amos turns that stone cold stare to Cohen, and he figures out very quickly who can fix their ship. And just like that, Cohen is being choked out and admitting some of his role, claiming he thought he was just recording navigations records, and didn’t know he was doing anything weird. You seemed awfully calm about being seconds from dying in a torpedo blast for some guy just recording navigation records. Which is about what the look on Amos’ face says, since he clearly doesn’t buy the story. Meanwhile the MCRN ship Xuesen (… Bobbie’s current ship??) has carefully followed them through the Ring, target locking the Roci, more as a sort of ‘hail’ than an actual threat. Holden wants comms back, so Cohen is dragged off to get Amos-terrogated and meanwhile, Holden runs off to his room to try and speak with the now absent Miller.
After some concentration and some of Steven Strait’s impressive facial contortions, Miller … fails to appear. Well, shit.
Outside the Ring on the Prince, a message from Chrisjen announces all civilians are being recalled from the Fleet in the wake of the attack and new events. In the galley, the contractors, including Melba and Stanni, discuss the tripled up hazard pay being offered to contractors who chose to stay, and then discuss the fact Ren probably died on the Seung Yun. Despite being his … you know, cause of death, Melba defends the man to his friends and with her crying about him last week, I guess we’re meant to sympathise with her a little. I don’t. At all. I don’t right now, and won’t when they reveal her true identity. No one forced her to be here. Anyway, Anna and the blowhard Father Talks-A-Lot from last week kvetch about having to leave, and Tipsy Tilly Fagan wanders by to drop hints she’s not leaving at all. Her particularly unique laugh catches nearby Melba’s attention, and she’s thrown into a flashback.
An indeterminate period of time ago, ‘Melba’ is dressed to the nines at a party attended by Tilly and other super rich seeming types. Tipsy Tilly trills about how ‘She’ is absent from her own party, and ‘Melba’ is asked to go off and find the absent guests. In a nearby room, she finds (cue dramatic reveal music!) her father, Julies Pierre-Mau and her sister, Julie, arguing in the pool room. Exclamation! Point! Now we know where ‘Melba’s’ particular streak of selfishness comes from, since it seems pretty much hereditary. Julie, clearly the most spoiled, indulged Mau child, is arguing with her dad over her belief she is not in fact, spoiled or indulged. It quickly becomes about her anger towards her father’s more morally questionable qualities, and it seems this is the event proceeding Miller being assigned to bring her home to her family, way back in the season one. Poor ‘Melba’ (Clarissa, she’s called Clarissa, and I’m getting tired of waiting for shows to just name people) is ignored throughout the fight, even when she sticks up for her dad, but once Julie is gone she’s tasked with sending the party goers home. Mau will pull the racing team for the season until Julie is ready to play nice, and to Clarissa’s suggestion she could take over Julie’s spot, she’s told not to be so ridiculous. My God, Mau is such a douche.
Back in the now, Clarissa casually slips out of the galley, so as not to be identified.
On The Roci, things get … tense. Cohen is still trying to act like he just replaced a few data chips, and wasn’t sure the effect, so a ‘calm’ (ah heh, nnnnnnnnnope) Amos asks Alex if the replaced chip will help fix comms. Alex has no idea, so Amos nods, turns to Cohen … and then grabs Monica, threatening to kill her unless Cohen actually tries to help. Oh, my. Meanwhile, the Xuesen is fucking around with probes, sending some back towards the Ring at speed, to see what makes them get ‘caught’ and pulled towards the middle. Turns out it’s 18,000 kph, so the Xuesen is accelerating to match, which the Roci does, too. The second Martian probe is heading for the ‘bubble’ and when it touches the edge, it just … blinks out of existence. Alex is trying not to swallow his own tongue out of pure terror, as they realise they can turn around and be caught by Mars, or keep going and eventually hit the edge of the bubble.
On the Behemoth they watch a Martian skiff pop back out of the Ring to send a message they’re pursuing the Roci, but comms are limited, so do not advise anyone follows. Even Ashford seems to think Naomi deserves to know her friends are okay. Or, he’s looking for a way to get her off the ship so he can sink his claws into Drummer.
He finds her down in the decks trying to fix the power grid . Ashford tells her the boys are alive and pretends he’s happy about this, even claiming he believes Naomi that Holden has been framed. But, he was still okay to fire on people he thinks could be innocent. He tries to bond with her about having a good crew, though outgrowing them, which Naomi has done. It sounds like he’s trying to convince her to stay on board the Behemoth, but I don’t trust this wiley old bastard. He claims he wants her to stay with the OPA and she points out she left the OPA too, long before she left the Roci. She leaves him with a promise to at least fix the power grid before she makes any decisions, though it’s clear she’s got one foot out the door already.
Inside The Bubble, Alex is sheepishly trying to check on Holden and gets nothing but angry glares and glowers, in a scene that is funnier than it has any right to be. Alex creeps back to the bridge, then hears yelling from below, and goes to find Amos has forced Monica and Cohen into Evo suits and is about to blast them into what counts for ‘space’ this side of the bubble. Amos is incredibly calm, taking time to make sure the pair have their helmets on as he explains to Alex he’s sending them to the Martian ship to explain what’s really happened. He was only going to send Cohen, but the man is blind, sees via the tech in his hands, and will be blind again in an evo suit, so Monica has to go with him. Since Amos is not raging or out of control, there’s not much Alex can say. The outer door opens and the reporters are gone.
On the Prince, Chrisjen’s order has been doubled down and anyone refusing to leave will be forcibly removed. Anna finds Tipsy Tilly and learns Tilly can help some higher up get a new job, so she gets to stay. Anna asks if Tilly can fix it for her, wanting to bare personal witness to the first ‘miracle’ in her lifetime. Tilly’s all, ‘mmhmmm?’. Anna tries ‘If I said I felt Called?’ and Tilly sideeyes her. Tilly suggests Anna just selfishly wants to be part of something amazing, and Anna smiles and admits that yes, of course she does. Tilly links arms with her and it looks like Anna is staying after all. I like Tilly, you guys.
Down in the decks, Clarissa/Melba is clearing out Ren’s locker before they ship out. She’s reminded that the very kind man she brutally murdered had a wife and son, then hears the performance reviews he was giving them on his Deck. Of Melba, Ren was, surprise surprise, amazingly nice and kind about her potential as a great engineer.
Clarissa has another flashback to that last night with Julie. Clarissa had gone to find Julie sulking under a tree (the same one, I believe, where her father laid a memorial after her death). The whole party was Clarissa’s doing, and now it’s a train wreck, and she’s humiliated. Julie, who has every shred of her fathers narcissism, doesn’t care what others think, ignoring the fact it’s not just her they think about, and her sister actually wants to be taken seriously by the people now leaving the house in droves. She points out Julie is a narcissist who shits on their father, despite his doing endless backflips to give her everything she wants, not to mention Julie’s condescending beliefs she will save the Belters by going to join them. Julie ignores all of this and just fires back ‘our father is a very damaged man. You’ll never be good enough for him’. She leaves her sister without another word and guys, I realllly hate the Mau family. All of them are just the worst. Yes, even Julie. She didn’t deserve what happened, but she’s just as spoiled a brat as the rest of them.
Back in the now on the Roci, Holden is learning how fucked the ship is (entirely) and lists their many problems; they can’t keep going or they’ll hit the edge of the bubble; can’t turn around or Mars will arrest/shoot them; can’t talk to anyone, nor shoot their way out. Their only hope are the reporters putting in a good word, which Alex isn’t sure they will. Amos earnestly insists by Amos’ standards, he was. Holden declares his intention to surrender, let Mars catch up and board them, and at least have their names cleared when the ship is examined. It means losing the Roci, but it also means they don’t literally die, so … Amos walks away in stony silence. Ooh, that’s not good.
Outside the Ring, on the Behemoth, everyone is busy and working, the air thick with fear and anxiety as Drummer watches from the bridge. Ashford secretly notices Naomi prepping a skiff for launch, though says nothing as Drummer keys the shipwide comms, and addresses her nervous crew. Drummer reminds the crew they are Belters, so do not feel fear but sharpness and strength and as she speaks, Ashford, then Diogo leads the Belters in beating a rhythm out on whatever hard surface they have at hand. To the sound of what amounts to war drums, Drummer speechifies about Belters, and it ends with a ship wide cheer of Beltalowda! At that moment, the Behemoth and its dozens of smaller support ships passes through the Ring as well.
On the Prince, Anna approaches Father Nameless (SHOW. WHY MUST YOU DO ME LIKE THIS?) as he waits to board a skiff leaving for safer stations. She lets slip she’s found a way for them to stay, but it’s clear at once he has no intention of remaining behind. Father Nameless backs off to get back in line and though he doesn’t use these exact words, it’s clear that where Anna sees a miracle, he sees Hell and he does not want to go through. Smart man. Later, Anna records her message to her wife about going through the ring. She can barely convince herself she’ll come back. She spots Clarissa/Melba and goes over to try to bond about feeling overwhelmed, which is enough to send our girl into yet another pesky flashback. God, don’t they happen at awkward times?
After the fight with Julie, Clarissa is drinking and being sad when Mau appears to ask after his errant daughter. We get a good idea why Mau was so drawn to Mei as he describes that Julie’s rebellious stubborness is why he favours her so heavily, why he thinks she (not Clarissa) will lead their family into the future.
Anna is shaking Clarissa out of her flashback, so Clarissa gathers her shit enough to claim she’s staying for the hazard pay. She runs off and finds Ren’s small packed bag, and pulls out his Deck, recording a message for Ren’s family and asking them to send one on to her father, Jules-Pierre Mau. She promises her father his fears about the Protomolecule have come to pass, but rather than be hailed as a visionary he’s rotting in jail. She can’t fix that but she can take out Holden, the man who brought him low. Julie would never have done that … oh wow, I hate her.
Also, that’s a wildly stupid idea, Clarissa. To just leave evidence of your terrorism laying around like that. You failed once already, you don’t think you will again? Dummy.
With the Behemoth now in the Bubble, Naomi tries to board her skiff but she’s locked out, and Drummer approaches to report Ashford told on her. Assford! Drummer didn’t believe anyone would desert, and Naomi admits she came back for the wrong reasons. Drummer asks if she was a wrong reason, and Naomi assures her, she loves her, loves all Belters, but she left for nostalgia rather than really believing in her cause. She lied because she was afraid Drummer wouldn’t let her go. Drummer is much smarter than Ashford thinks though, and much kinder than Naomi does, because of course she understands and lets Naomi leave.
Over on the Roci, Miller reappears asking why Holden isn’t racing towards the ‘crime scene’. Holden demands more answers, so Miller technobabbles almost incoherently until Holden realises he’s simply not smart enough to understand what is making Miller appear. With a blink, Holden says ‘So, a … crime scene?’ and hee! Miller calls it the ‘nucleus’, and Holden says it’s ‘the thing in the middle of the place that grabbed the ship and the torpedos?’ and I don’t know why, but that line is amazing and I need it on a t-shirt. Miller calls it a case to solve and a way for Holden to find the truth, and then Holden realises Miller is, you know, coherent and responsive, having actual conversations with Holden, and not just in his general vicinity. Miller points out the signal is better inside the ring and bids Holden follow, and of course, because he has no choice … he does. On her skiff, Naomi messages the Roci to alert them of her approach (her accent already back to old Naomi). She’s concerned when they don’t respond, realising they’re in more trouble than she knows, but she promises them … she is coming. YES!
On the Roci, Holden has thrown on an Evo suit and stands outside the ship, scanning the ‘nucleus’, which to me, looks like a planet or a moon. And then … he launches, heading towards it. Wait, HE WHAT?!
In spite of everything, that was perhaps the ‘calmest’ episode of the season so far, but it’s a well timed break from all the frenetic action, giving us time to learn a few vital things and just … brace ourselves for what happens next.
First of all, lets talk about how much growth it showed for Amos to safely dispatch Monica and Cohen off to another ship, because for Amos, that was pretty huge. He really was being gentle by Amos’ standards, and it was actually a pretty smart plan, all things considered — they can’t send messages, so instead they send the guy who sabotaged their ship. We know Martian interrogation techniques make lying … difficult, though not impossible, but hopefully Monica will do the right thing here.
What is Miller leading them all towards? Like I say, it almost looks like some sort of planet, though it could be a station of some sort. Or maybe it’s another Ring, the exit to whatever … junction this Bubble appears to be? But, why? Who or what might be waiting there? And who/whatever they are, why haven’t they sent their own probes, or tried to find out who this parade of strange ships coming through the front door might be? Is there anyone there to message? We will find out.
So ,Melba is Clarissa, a Mau and my god, they are a toxic gaggle of narcissists, aren’t they? I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised the show went back and showed Julie in a less than sympathetic light, as more of a brat who hated her own privilege even while knowingly benefiting from it. Claiming she wants to go and help Belters, but also refusing to give up her expensive, Rich Kid racing hobby.
If the glimpses of how ignored and forgotten Clarissa was are meant to make me sympathise with her now? Yeah … no ,,, not even if she’s destined to become One Of The Good Guys. She murdered an innocent man, blew up a ship and was prepared to trigger another interplanetary conflict because she’s trying to get revenge for her utter bastard of a father, a man who was arrested while the children he turned into monstrous hybrids were being thrown like fucking lawn darts at Mars. I have no patience for her. I hope her story ends, soon, with her joining her father in prison.
I have to admit … I’m a little taken aback and distressed by Anna’s ongoing naivety, and this new, selfish streak she’s showing. I could accept one or the other, but both together is a little too much. She can barely pretend to feel guilty about abandoning her family, but I can see that she’s too carried away and excited by the potential, to pause and consider that her abandoned family won’t see it that way. Her delight over going through? She’s hitting peak White Woman In A Horror Movie right this second, insisting on buying the demonically possessed murder house because it has cute window boxes. It is my sincere hope that Anna makes it out and goes home to her family, but I can’t help but feel like she’s walking willingly into the jaws of hell.
Poor Naomi can’t really catch a break, can she? She left the OPA because they were too wild and dangerous. Now she returns and they’re trying so hard to gain Inner acceptance, they’ve lost part of what made them worth fighting for. Remember, historically it was the OPA blamed by the Inners, for any tragedy that took place in space, often without any sort of proof. Now the OPA wants to go legit, so they’ve become not merely the accusers, also, the first ones to fire a shot. Naomi had noble ideas about fighting with her people … are they even still her people anymore? At least Drummer understands, and their scene was an episode highlight. I just hope that with Naomi gone, Drummer can close her ears to Ashfords schemes and plots. He is not to be trusted.
Next week, Holden reaches the nucleus, but he’s not alone and everyone still thinks he’s a terrorist What will happen? Find out on SyFy and on Oohlo, soon after!