Episode 3 of The Expanse Season 6 begins on Laconia with Cara glumly reflecting on the dead bird she lost. After class, she heads back into the woods again where she finds that same creature, watching her from afar. There’s a whole bunch of birds there too, and as Cara rushes back home to tell her parents, the harsh reality of this world dawns on her. Xan has been badly injured and he looks in a rough way.
Meanwhile, Avasarala leads a team to infiltrate Ceres Station. The place is abandoned save for the civilian Belters and Nico, who’s soon interrogated over what she knows. Apparently she has no knowledge of where Marco has gone but there are bigger problems here. Marco has left Ceres Station with sparse resources, enough for three weeks to be precise.
The Martian forces are itching to pry more information from her, believing she’s holding back. Avasarala does give the greenlight for them to step in and interrogate but on a few conditions. Nico is to stay on Ceres Station and there must be a UN representative present. However, Avasarala is two steps ahead and realizes that this is a trap that they’ve just walked into. For now, she remains vigilant.
Another ship bound for Ceres is the Rocinante. While Clarissa deals with the aftermath of her mods, which are taking longer to flush out her system, there’s a really nice chat between Bobbie and Amos as they discuss Ceres Station – and the grim food aboard the Roci.
On The Pella, Marco Inaros is almost blindingly confident. With Filip and Rosenfeld both concerned that Marco has abandoned Ceres Station despite his promises of making it their capital, this Free Navy bond could be falling apart before their eyes. Marco has a way with words though and manages to turn Filip around, convincing him that they’re meant to fight out in the dark together.
However, they’re not alone for long. The Pella picks up the Roci on the scanners and Marco decides to strike. With Filip manning the communications, Marco orders the others to head over to their battle stations.
Elsewhere in the Belt, Drummer travels on the Tynan & Inazami as Liang briefs her on the various ships. One of those nearby, the Saberhagen, communicates with the group and agrees to fight by their side.
Back on the Roci, just before the dogfight, Amos receives a communication from Prax, Amos’s “best friend in the whole entire world”. The last time we saw this guy was way back in season 3, for those interested to know. Anyway, he feeds back that he’s been working on a revolutionary new food stock, grown from little else other than carbon dioxide. He sends over the files needed to make this a success, going on to reveal that the Free Navy shot their other researcher, Karvonides, who was working on this.
Meanwhile, Naomi hits a breakthrough. She’s noticed a pattern with the rings and the disappearances but before she can elaborate, the Pella pings up on their scanners and they’re forced to spring into action. Remember Avasarala had a bad feeling about Ceres Station? Well, while things get hot on the Roci, Ceres Station explodes, with numerous charges set off sending shockwaves throughout the station.
On the Roci, Holden’s plan works and he not only dodges all the torpedoes, he also manages to disable the Pella. Instead of killing Marco and the others aboard, he opens communications and gives them a chance to surrender. Marco refuses to do so but it’s too late.
Holden fires a torpedo at the Pella but unfortunately plot armour strikes and the missile is a dud. At least, that’s what we’re led to believe. The truth is, a scene just after this shows Holden looking sternly at his screen, showing the warhead was actually disarmed by Holden. Pella takes its chances and high-tails it out of there. When it does though, Filip turns on Marco and blames him for the loss. In doing so, Marco snaps and relieves Filip of his duties.
In private, Marco starts to lose control and he knows it’s only a matter of time before he’s caught. Or is there another twist in the tale? Judging by his monitors looking over the Rings, there just might be.
The Episode Review
Marco Inaros is starting to lose the support of his most faithful and that’s never a good sign for a leader that relies on the strength of its people’s convictions. Filip and even Rosenberg are losing faith in Marco’s abilities.
Although he talks a big game, when it comes to the crucial components of this mission, there are way too many variables for him to take into consideration. Filip’s dismissal may well be the catalyst that sparks the rest of the crew to turn on this leader, but we’ll have to wait and see on that front.
The story is rapidly speeding toward a resolution and it’ll be interesting to see how all of these plot points converge and intersect with what’s happening on Laconia. Right now that story has remained separate.
For now though, The Expanse bows out with another decent episode, although that dud missile bit at the end is a bit of a contrivance that’s hard to ignore. Still, there’s plenty of simmering drama leading into the next episode that makes that easier to swallow.