With brand new systems to explore and plenty of unresolved drama, episode 1 of The Expanse Season 5 begins with Rock #9 whizzing through space, 173 days after launching. Debris silently ploughs forward as the UNS Hasami (A science ship) eases past Venus.
Inside, the Hasami scientists investigate the rock but despite being clear of the fragments, receive alarm warnings as Filip, Karal and Cyn immediately board and question them over the rock. Upon learning they don’t know anything, Filip demands to see the data core.
With the team good to go, they quickly take off and leave all three dead. As Filip and the others take off, they watch as the ship explodes on impact with rocks.
At Tycho Station in the Belt, Naomi walks with Sakai who fills her in on the repair work. With Alex and Amos off the station on personal business, Chief of Ops, Bull, shows and wants to know exactly who Sakai has been using for repairs.
After this momentarily hostility, off the elevator Naomi hears word back from Fred Johnson who shows her CCTV footage of her son, f Filip. At the same time, Holden turns on the TV and hears news reports about the new planet discovered last season but Naomi rings, tellingly keeping quiet about Filip’s whereabouts for now.
On a Belter Ferry en route to Luna (called The Lazy Songbird), Amos settles in with the different passengers who immediately feel uneasy in his presence. When a flakey salesman shows, trying to sell insurance, Amos reads between the lines and encourages the passengers to keep quiet.
Amos’ threats inevitably lead to a confrontation with an entire gang, which sees Amos come out on top despite oozing blood dripping from his mouth.
On Tycho, Holden runs into Monica who has big news. She’s working on a story about the protomolecule and asks him for a sample. Despite her telling him she’s not recording, she very clearly is.
Anyway, she mentions to Holden that there are rumours floating around of a secret facility conducting protomolecule research in the belt. Holden heads straight up to Fred Johnson, echoing what he learned as Johnson confirms he does have a sample of protomolecule.
Holden is concerned, especially when he shows a 3D hologram of the entities that created the artifact. They want to destroy the protomolecule and implores Johnson to listen. Holden knows better than anyone what could be awaiting them, especially when he mentions the entities becoming angrier the more they use these rings into other worlds. Johnson however, brushes aside these concerns as pure speculation given it hasn’t killed anyone… yet.
On the Razorback, a ship bound for Mars, Alex sends Bobbie a message, looking forward to seeing her. Only, Bobbie is busy tracking down arms dealers as she goes undercover for Avasarala and begins buying black market goods in a bid to figure out who the ringleader is.
Alex makes it on Mars wearing a swanky suit and meets Tali, apologizing for what happened between them in the past. Tali simply closes the door on him though, reminding Alex that they owe him no closure. He messages his son Melas afterwards but their conversation is short and standoffish to say the least.
Bobbie shows up at the bar but following a call with Katlin, is in no mood to trade war stories. Even worse, she goes on and tells him that he should just give up trying to patch things up as it very clearly isn’t going to work.
Holden heads back to see Naomi who confirms that she’s leaving in a few hours to find Filip. She’s going alone, especially given how dangerous this is. His Father is, of course, Marco Inaros, meaning Holden needs to hang back.
En-route to Earth, Amos is escorted to Avasarala. She wants to know what he’s doing on Earth and after some light flirting, tells her he’s going to Baltimore to settle affairs.
Admiral Delgado arrives though with news from the belt, prompting Amos to be let go and continue his mission. As he does, Avasarala hears that they may have found Marco’s ship. Footage shows him rallying the people to his cause.
As the episode closes out, Holden checks the footage on the Rocinante while Naomi takes off on her ship bound for Filip. Filip meanwhile, flips round his 3D projector which shows an asteroid due to hit in 12 days and 7 hours. Time is ticking.
The Episode Review
Following the action packed conclusion to season 4, it was perhaps obvious that The Expanse would slow down and catch its breath. This entire episode essentially shows our characters off on their own, dealing with their personal problems while the impending threat of an asteroid and the Artifact loom ever-closer.
The production design is every bit as impressive as it was last season and The Expanse has really grown new legs after being unceremoniously dumped by Syfy. With 3 episodes dropped at once, it seems Amazon will be following the Hulu model and for this show, it’s definitely a slice of sci-fi you’ll want to savour over time!