Following what she’s found, Avasarala brings in Dr Alaoui for a second opinion as episode 3 of The Expanse Season 5 begins. The doctor goes over his calculations and it’s immediately clear that the readings seem to point toward a pretty nasty impact with Earth, one that would stretch across a solid 13km wide radius blast if it were to hit.
Given they’re fragments from a larger asteroid, Avasarala realizes that this is part of a bigger scheme from Marco Inares. He could be the one targeting earth with stealth rockets. Believing it so, Avasarala implores the UN Admiral to speak to the Director of Intelligence and get the Watchtowers turned before it’s too late.
Unfortunately that’s not going to happen as the UN Admiral feeds back later on that doors are being shut in his face. Delgado is not prepared to throw his career away for this and unfortunately leaves Avasarala alone to face this.
Out in the belt, Camina prepares to board an abandoned, stripped out ship. Camina sees this vessel as a message, something that serves as a warning to those following him.
Camina continues investigating though, uncovering a conversation between Ashford and Marco regarding his dreams for the future. Afterwards, she heads up to greet the crew, telling them they’re going after Marco to collect the bounty money which would sustain them for years. Given they have 3 ships in their fleet, this is something they’re going to do whether thy like it or not.
Later that night, Oksana comforts Camina and tells her she doesn’t need to hide her grief anymore. It’s clear that Ashford’s death has hit her hard and Oksana worries that this grief is manifesting itself in dangerous ways. She promises to stay with her as the two kiss.
In the middle of the night, Camina makes her decision and sends on everything she’s learned about Ashford and Marco to Avasarala. She confirms it’s not her fight and symbolically handles the bottle of alcohol she and Ashford were originally going to drink together when he got back.
With Monica recovered, she feeds back to Holden and Johnson what she’s learned. She doesn’t know who took her but has obtained valuable footage from Ceres of Cortazar shooting innocent people. This guy is one of the scientists who worked on the protomolecule of course. According to her sources, he was taken off Ceres by a Belter strike team.
With things looking bleak, Johnson rallies the troops and decides they should go after the kidnappers first before they do anything else.
Searching for the freighter and who it belongs to, they learn that Tamir and Vedasto Duru are the owners. When Holden shows up at their door with a bunch of armed guards, the two men collapse on the floor dead. Someone is very clearly covering their tracks here.
As they feed back the bad news to Fred Johnson, he’s in surprisingly high spirits. It turns out the real culprits are about to reveal themselves. A Belter freighter out of Ceres called the Zmeya is en-route to pick up the shipping container. Together, they decide to use this as bait and plant soldiers inside ready to catch them in the act when the time comes.
Naomi receives hostilities when she returns to Pallas from two of the Belters there until Cyan and Karal show and lend a helping hand. After a brief reunion, she immediately mentions Filip and explains that she’s trying to find him. The price on Marco’s head is going to get them all killed but there’s no love lost between them, especially given Naomi’s working with Johnson and the Inners.
Eventually though Filip shows up but he’s immediately hostile with his Mother. She apologizes for abandoning him but pleads with him to take the ship and leave, especially given what could happen if he doesn’t. Unfortunately he refuses to listen. He hijacks Naomi and forces her to tag along with the rest of his crew after tasering her.
However, he’s not going to leave her on Pallas, instead he tells the others to secure her and prepare themselves for takeoff.
Back on Mars, a naïve Alex heads out and meets Emily as scheduled. He asks why she invited him but she immediately changes the subject and sits them by the window. She wants to know about the protomolecule and he’s quick to divulge everything he knows to her.
After, he requests speaking to the Admiral and swings it as a way of speaking up at the War College. She constantly deflects the topic though. Just before they part ways, Alex learns that she’s heading out on a “routine” supply run very soon.
On the way back to his hotel room, Alex is attacked by a woman who injects something into his neck and questions him over exactly why he’s interested in Admiral Sauveterre. Unfortunately this seems to be a truth serum, with Alex divulging details about the Belters and the weapon. Thankfully Bobbie is there to save the day and stops him from meeting an untimely demise.
When police arrive and arrest the pair, Bobbie speaks to Alex about what he’s learned. He mentions Emily’s supply run and the Barkeith, determined to follow from afar and try to flush out their entire smuggling run.
As the episode closes out, Avasarala receives the information about Marco and Ashford. Before she can get a chance to dissect it though, back on Earth the asteroid hits.
The Episode Review
With the asteroid hitting its target and Earth caught completely unaware, this strike seems to be the spark that sets up war on the coming horizon. Avasarala who knew this would happen but whether the Earth politicians will listen to her now that she has extra information on Marco remains to be seen.
Elsewhere, the continued separate strands for our characters continue and predictably Naomi receives hostilities from Filip when she tries to talk sense into him. It’s perhaps somewhat obvious that he would take her ship away but deciding to keep her onboard shows that he at least has some feelings left for her.
Meanwhile, Alex’s conversation with Emily reveals important information about her supply run but whether the Admiral is really involved or if he’s just a red herring is still up for debate. This story is certainly getting interesting though, especially with the way Alex was blindsided afterwards by the rogue soldiers.
With Holden and Johnson working together too, it’s clear that something big is going down surrounding the protomolecule. Whoever took Cortazar clearly wants to try and harness the proto’s power. How that ties in with the Artifact though is again another mystery that I’m sure we’ll learn more about over time.
The Expanse bows out its third episode with an excellent and tense conclusion, one that leaves the door wide open and rounds out this trio of opening episodes in a really compelling way.