Episode 9 of The Expanse Season 5 begins with Naomi’s message being broadcast out to Holden and Alex as they both contemplate exactly what this means. Unfortunately both ships decide to head over to the Chetzemoka after all to see for themselves what’s happening.
Back on Earth, we catch up with Amos and Clarissa at Lake Winnipesaukee as the group silently approach the refuge holding the ship they need to get off Earth. Amos leads the charge as Clarissa is confident she can fly this shuttle off the planet.
Just like that though, the workers left behind in this hangar show up and just so happen to know Clarissa. There’s something wrong with the ship they’re looking to fly out though but together, decide to try and find a solution. Unfortunately this is made worse by the limited time they have. With food scarce, Amos deliberates over what may be wrong with the ship. Given the reactor shut down, he deduces that it has to be mechanical, electrical or a software issue.
Clarissa makes a bold decision and agrees to let a group of refugees outside hop onboard when they fix the ship. Amos and Elrich believe its a bad idea and that soon manifests itself in a private security group, lead by the Pinkwater Leader, requesting they hand over their supplies and give up. As things look close to kicking off, Clarissa manages to quell tensions and prevent anyone from dying. At least for now.
Amos manages to figure out the problem but unfortunately it results in a gunfight as the Pinkwater tribe returns and begins attacking. While Clarissa bundles civilians onboard, Amos, Elrich and the others work together to secure the shuttle but the soldiers close in on them. Thankfully, they make it onboard in time and fly up to the Moon.
Elsewhere on Earth, Avasarala realizes to her horror that the UN has struck back against the Belters and hit Pallas. Avasarala is concerned over this decision and warns that if they continue to hit civilian targets, it will only drive the Belters together against them. David Paster does not agree and instead takes the military’s side to strike back and hit the Belters hard.
Despite Avasarala’s impassioned plea, Admiral Delgado decides to strike Ceres next. If they do that, they’ll kill millions. Well, Chrisjen refuses to listen to this and walks away. As fate would have it, her act of defiance spreads across to others as they too follow suit, unable and unwilling to kill millions. After all, if they do this then they’ll be no better than Marco and the others.
This sets off a chain of events that result in a coup that pushes Avasarala back into the driving seat of leading Earth’s forces. She asks Admiral Delgado to join her on the cabinet, especially given his impartial voice, but instead he’s going to transfer to a military ship bound for Marco Inaros. If anyone takes him out, he wants it to be him.
Back in space, Camina receives her orders to engage with the Rocinante. Drummer questions her orders but eventually agrees to follow, unwilling to compromise her comrades. Oksana can sense something big is about to go down and asks for Drummer’s gun. Drummer reluctantly hands it over.
Alone, she finally learns the truth from Oksana that Naomi may still be alive onboard the Chetzemoka. Her loyalties are very much tested here, as she’s divided between her crew and that of Naomi and hers.
Back on Marco’s ship, he visits Filip in his quarters and both men apologize to each other at the same time. Marco admits that Naomi is alive but spins the story that Naomi has left him again.
The Episode Review
Maybe it’s just me but this episode really felt like filler. Aside from Amos making it off Earth and Drummer finding out about Naomi, there’s really not a lot else going on – and no gunfight on Earth can disguise that. Holden had one scene in total while Alex and Bobbie are almost cliff notes in this series.
Despite both having intriguing storylines early on, they’ve sort of just drifted through space aimlessly, called upon to communicate via radio when needed. Naomi, after featuring so prominently in the previous episode, has very little to do here either.
Obviously all of this is building up for a dramatic finale next week but this slow pace is not helped by Amazon’s weekly release. While I do think The Expanse benefits from this sort of release, after last week’s polarizing Naomi-centric episode (personally I think it worked quite well), there’s not a lot going on here.
Some of the problems this season faces though is based on its storylines which feel fractured given how much screen-time Amos and Naomi have had compared to Alex, Bobbie and Holden. In fact, these later episodes have almost made them redundant in a way although I’m sure the finale will bring all our characters together again…hopefully.