Last time on The Expanse, Holden ‘completed the circuit, Bobbie was ready to fight him for the trouble, and the Martians triggered The Bubble’s self defence mechanism, bringing every ship to a dead stop and almost certainly killing, just, hundreds of people.
We pick up where we left off; Holden is now catatonic and can’t be stirred, so Bobbie scoops him up to carry him back to safety. Being as she’s Bobbie and smart as hell, she notices airborne projectiles are still frozen in mid air and the ‘speed limit’ inside The Bubble has changed. The Martians can leave, but everything is still frozen.
They make their way back to their own skiff and Holden’s heart decides to stop beating for a second, until Bobbie shocks it back to life. She heads to the bridge where another Martian is realising how many people died in the various ships who all came to a dead stop from speeds topping 12,000km/ph — and that every ship that was inside The Bubble is now trapped and being drawn towards the nucleus. Bobbie muses it’s like a self defence mechanism, which her affronted companion corrects; it’s a massacre.
On her own skiff, Naomi learns the ships will also catch the fuck on fire if you try to restart your engines. She’s left without a usable ship, and opts instead to head out into space to try and reach the Roci.
As I feared last week, over on the Behemoth Drummer has become pinned by the huge farming drones she was working on when the dead stop struck, and so is Ashford, at the opposite end of the machinery. They need to release the magnets holding the drone on the ground in order to free themselves without one of them being crushed to death, but there’s no way to get it done. Worse yet, no one knows where Drummer was during the stop, because she had gone off to be alone. No explanation is given as to why no one knows where Ashford is …
Over on the Prince, Clarissa comes to, as well. She’s floating in zero-g with a broken arm, and surrounded by droplets of blood, though she’s able to right herself and engage her magboots before she turns to ser … what happened to Tilly. Tilly is suspended in midair, and impaled through the chest by some broken equipment. Clarissa spares her a glance before hobbling away. Elsewhere, Anna stumbles out of her room, having somehow avoided serious injury, and makes her way through the ship until she finds — holy crap —dozens of people, dead or dying, half floating and suspended in the low gravity. And then, Anna sees survivors, the least injured gathering the most and taking them to safer spaces. Anna follows and tries to offer help, but a young crewman tells her there’s nothing to be done, even though many of the patients seem to just have cuts or bruises. He explains that in zero-g, wounds can’t heal properly and even a small cut or internal bleeding can eventually be fatal. He spots her minister’s pin and suggests she pray.
Back on the Behemoth, Drummer is trying to talk Ashford through activating the arm on the drones and hopefully moving the drone — though as we now know, it might not make a difference to Drummer anyway, so long as she’s in zero-g. Drummer spots a hand terminal/deck floating around the chamber and though Ashford can’t see it, Drummer talks him through using the other robot arm to pass it to her. In a great moment of synergy, she’s able to guide him into nabbing the tiny thing in midair, but as he’s moving the controls to pass it over, the control box blows a fuse and the deck is immediately crushed.
Anna finds Clarissa who she still thinks is Melba, and helps her get to the Medbay, explaining that all the ships are being drawn into the centre of The Bubble. Anna sticks around while Clarissa is treated, more or less entirely so Clarissa can be present when the Not Dead (!!) Tilly messages Anna, calling for help. Anna leaves … Clarissa follows ….
On the Martian Skiff, Holden is still comatose; his brain is running as high and hot as it can. Another Martian strongly suggests — up to the point of handing Bobbie a gun — that she kill Holden before they turn him in to any authorities. He feels Holden was in charge of the ‘worm’ and other things inside the Nucleus. Bobbie won’t hear of this, and when the man suggests Bobbie is just soft on her old friend, calmly points out that she’s the one who damned well fired first, thank you very much!
She heads back up to the bridge where the pilot has some things to explain; everyone is still drifting towards the nucleus, but there’s a much larger issue — the new ‘speed limit’ inside The Ring means that they’re now seven months journey from The Ring and their exit. Months. As she points out, even if a few small skiffs are still usable, there’s no way any of the larger ships can supply them for that length of journey — and surely you have to consider the fact that even outside The Ring, you’re still weeks or months from the nearest station. Bobbie, now the leader since their LT got killed, just wants to wait for Holden to wake up and tell them what’s going on.
Anna finds Tilly pinned to the ceiling by the giant spear through her chest, and calls for more help. Tilly, weak, manages to warn her about Clarissa/Melba and then her eyes fill with tears that can’t fall, and she dies in Anna’s arms. Oh … I liked Tilly.
While Ashford sings shanties, an exhausted Drummer keeps trying to free herself, finally asking him to shut the damned hell up. Drummer asks Ashford for stories, the closest he ever came to death, and he tells her of a gun run he made that left him overloading a reactor core, and then having to wait for days to be rescued by anyone who might happen by. Ashford asks the same of her, and Drummer says ‘Hyperion’. Ashford thinks she means an old battle where many Belters died. She means a bar on Tycho where the barman was overly generous with servings, and Drummer overly Wanted-To-Get-Shit-Faced.
Drummer asks about the uniforms Ashford and his cronies wear, and he admits Dawes wasn’t behind it until Ashford convinced him it was Dawes’ own idea. Drummer talks about spending too much of her life trying to be and look like something she’s not, only now realising that the best way for Belters to be taken seriously is not to look like the Inners, but to be themselves, take pride in what it means to be Belter. Then, Drummer starts singing Ashford’s shanties and he joins in and now I’m very, very afraid for Drummer.
She can’t die. I won’t allow it. I won’t.
I guess we don’t get to check on the Roci, like, at all, because we’re back with Clarissa who OH MY ACTUAL GOD, is still checking the flight routes to make sure she can intercept with the Roci. I am bored of her now. Anna has tracked her down, and only reaches an airlock in time to yell as Clarissa dons an Evo suit, and heads out to float over to the Rocinante.
Oh, looks like we are checking in! Naomi has reached the Roci and carefully boards, braced for the worst (same girl!) even while looking pleased to be home. She calls for Holden, Amos and Alex, searches their cabins, the med deck, but finds no trace. Then she heads to the galley and sees that the place is absolutely trashed, but she has found Alex. He’s concussed, tries to explain Holden left with Miller, which of course, to Naomi, is absolute nonsense. She takes him to the medbay and then heads to engineering to find a just as dazed Amos. He stirs long enough to notice she changed her hair, and Naomi rests her forehead against his, and THEY’RE OKAY! THEY’RE OKAY AGAIN! MY HEART CAN HEAL!
On the Behemoth, Ashford has begun coughing up blood and realises he’s far more badly hurt than he thought. Dummer is looking up at the massive space in the centre of the ship, spotting the odd drifting dead body amongst the debris. She knows it will be the same around the ship and begins to mess with the engine controls she can reach. As Ashford begs her not to, Drumer keys the engine and the drone jerks forwards, just enough to release Ashford … just enough to kill Drummer. Or maybe not?! Maybe she can be okay, somehow? I can’t lose her!
On the Roci, Amos comes around and sees Naomi tending to Alex. She sees him awake and he asks if she’s back to help, or back to stay. She explains she needed to be away to understand who her family is but before I can leap for joy Amos gives a look, as if he doesn’t need time away to know who his family is, and can’t understand why she does, and says ‘…okay’ and then turns away from her.
On the Behemoth, Ashford is winning a million points with me as he reveals he actually gives a shit about Drummer, by letting her get the medical treatment and pretending he doesn’t need any. They only way for them to get gravity, and thus be able to treat their wounded, is to spin the drum that makes up the massive centre of the ship. Fans know this is something the Mormons were still working to perfect when the then Nauvoo was confiscated from them, and that was before the refitting and work that went into making it into the Behemoth. Plus, once gravity is restored, Ashford’s punctured lung will almost certainly collapse, not that he’s told anyone about it. But, the order is given.
Ashford limps onto the Bridge to give the order to rotate the drum. He stands high on the bridge, looking like a glorious captain and the drum is successfully rotated, and an engineer delightedly calls out they have gravity. Ashford triumphantly orders any injured be taken to the gravity-rich areas, then goes one further and opens a wide beam to other ships, offering their wounded sanctuary within the gravity well. Even as he speaks, it doesn’t look like he’s going to live long enough to see the result of his kind, wise decision.
Out in Bubble Space, Clarissa is still drifting towards the Roci and to be frank, if she got hit by a rock and killed right now I’d be pretty happy. She hits the Roci and uses a tool to break in, as on the bridge Naomi starts to get alerts that someone is on her ship.
She heads down to explore but is jumped by Clarissa, whose evo suit doubles as a power lifter, leaving her the Ripley in this very Aliens-esque fight to the death. It’s not entirely clear why Clairssa and her superpowers need the damned suit (maybe she has more control this way?) and they fight, kick, punch and then, Clarissa has Naomi pinned by the throat, demanding to know where Holden is. Naomi doesn’t know, won’t tell and wouldn’t even if she knew, so Clarissa starts to choke and it doesn’t seem like anyone is left who can help Naomi. Then Clarissa jolts and shakes and collapses. And behind her, having crept in through the airlock after Clarissa … is Anna, asking if Naomi is okay!! YES GIRL!
On the Martian Skiff, they’re still under orders to bring Holden in, and Bobbie pauses long enough to commend Ashford’s decision and message of unity, before she heads off to check on her old friend. The good news is, Holden is stirring and appears cogent. The bad news is, he says he had a vision of the end. The end of everything.
I enjoyed so many different parts of that episode that I’m not sure where to begin. The entire episode focussed on and was driven by the women of the show, who kicked ass, took names and generally went around saving the day in every way it could be saved. Naomi, who braved whatever-the-fuck passes for space inside The Bubble, so she could go and rescue the boys on the Roci … who then got into a punch up with somebody in a powerlifter suit, and lived to tell the tale. Naomi is a BAMF. I have to say, while it broke my heart completely and forever (I hope you’re happy, writers), I was pleasantly surprised by Amos’ less than lukewarm reaction to her return. It would be so easy to have her coming back just be The Fix for their broken friendship, enough to smooth over both the original hurt, and the pain caused by her leaving. Instead, Amos is just as withdrawn and if anything, her answer that she needed time away to realise where she wanted to be … seems to have made things worse. I’m glad to see a show be so brave that it won’t just fix something so it’s fixed, but will make us wait, and the characters work, for that resolution.
Anna really shone this week, graduating in an awful hurry to badass hero who is not to be messed with. She’s spent so many weeks being emotionally strong, though often uncertain, and she lost a lot of face with her blithe ignorance of everyone else’s s fear of The Ring. Her popping up behind Clarissa to save Naomi’s ass made me literally cheer. Anna may have lost sight a little, but she knows exactly where she’s headed now. And apparently it’s to Ass-Kicker Town.
Bobbie is starting to make me think she has a future in politics. We’ve already discussed how much she’s changed from her first appearance as an angry young woman with a thirst for the war she was promised her entire life, to the cool-headed diplomat we see before us today. Now, it’s starting to feel more … pointed. While I love her as a Marine, if she should ever decide to lay down her Power Suit, President Bobbie of Mars has a damned nice ring to it.
And Drummer … I am confident Drummer will survive, and curious where this now leaves her with Ashford. I don’t think what they said to each other while trapped had much of an influence on how much they like/dislike each other, but their actions certainly will —Drummer sacrificing herself for him, Ashford respecting her desire to be seen as legit by offering medical services to other ships …they’ve definitely found some even ground with each other, but where will it leave them? And since Drummer now appears like she’ll survive, how doomed is Ashford? I can see him nursing that internal bleeding for as long as he can, until Drummer is back on her feet, or until he dies from it. I can’t believe, I sort of hope I’m wrong, and that the man is eventually okay. We started to get a look at what he and Drummer could do if the worked together and I like it.
Next week is a two part season finale and first of all, pardon? How and when did that happen?! But, it is! So tune into SyFy as they wave goodbye to Behemoth sized crates of money, and hand The Expanse over to Amazon. Recaps will be on Oohlo shortly after!