This week’s ‘The Expanse’ episode titled “Hard Vacuum” follows up with the events in the last episode. Marco tells Naomi about their plan to make use of Chetzemoka to kill her family. So Naomi jumps off to reach Chetzemoka when Cyn tries to stop him but dies in the process. Filip, who watched the whole scenario, believes that he is the reason that his mother wanted to die. Meanwhile, the Rocinante try destroying the protomolecule, but the ship carrying it seems to have blasted. And on the other hand, the Razorback continue their search for Naomi. It seems like all the crew of Rocinante are coming back together. Unless Marco’s plan actually works, killing off the majority of the main characters. This is highly unlikely to happen, but only time will tell what future events are set to come up on ‘The Expanse’.
We follow up with Amos and Clarissa as they travel through the deserted streets of Baltimore. As the two stop to take a leak, we find out that Clarissa was feeling much better now that the blocker meds were wearing off her system. Both of them were near what appears to be a nursing home, but find lots of dead bodies stacked up. This only points out that they need to leave the planet as soon as possible. As they reach Erich’s headquarters, we see that Baltimore looks pretty destroyed. Clarissa brings up Winnipesaukee Island and how they could find ships there to head to Luna. Erich stays in denial as he had worked so hard to build an enterprise and now does not want to leave.
Clarissa narrates a story from the time she was in prison. There was a woman with her who had killed her children but acted like they were alive. Clarissa thought she was crazy, but one day the woman came up to her and told her she knew her kids were dead, but so was she. And Clarissa was the only one thinking she was alive. This makes Erich realize how everything he had built up had been wiped away. And there is nothing he can do, so he is on board with the plan.
David Paster, who was now the Acting Secretary-General, takes in his role. Now looking like a new person altogether, he gives a moving speech. And we can see how he started believing in himself, which is followed by an impressed Avasarala. She believes he did great as the people heard what they should have, and now they must bring it into action. Later as they have a meeting, there is a disagreement over the response they must make to fight back Marco. David wants to show people that they can go an offensive, therefore Delgado gives an idea. But this idea could lead to the death of many innocent bystanders, so Awasarala is against it. Later, Paster and Delgado have a discussion where we find it pretty clear that Delgado wants to take action. But, this may lead to radicalizing the belters against them.
Marco & Filip
In this week’s episode of ‘The Expanse’, we again see one of many manipulations of Marco towards Filip. The two are looking at Cyn’s body and grieving when Marco asks Filip if he saw what happened. Filip tells him about Naomi’s death and how she wanted to die, but he believes that she need not have killed Cyn. Marco turns to Filip, telling him Naomi didn’t kill Cyn, but Filip did and asked him to leave. This interaction is interesting as Marco, who has always been a loving father figure to Filip, was now being so cruel to him. This meant that Naomi’s plan worked as now Filip may see Marco for what he truly is, while both of them believe she has, in fact, passed away.
Back in the Rocinante, Holden and crew try finding the Protomolecule but are unable to detect it. And they do believe that it was not passed away to another ship. So, thinking that the Protomolecule was destroyed, Holden asks the ship’s course be changed towards Razorback to help find Naomi. Monica isn’t satisfied with believing that was the end of the Protomolecule, while Bull disapproves of their mission. Back in the Razorback, Alex and Bobbie are unable to find the Chetzemoka, so they decide to listen on the radio for any distress calls. They, in fact do get one from Naomi, but it was a fake one. Believing it to be true, they send it to Rocinante, where after listening to it, James Holden is bound to head towards the location.
‘The Expanse’ does a brilliant job in showing the suffering and pain one goes through after traveling through a vacuum. And Dominique Tipper does a wonderful job in portraying it as she is filled with burns and swelling all across her body. She has a hard time coping but must act fast as the ship is filled with what appears to be proximity bombs. And they may blast if another ship does approach it. So, we spend an impossible amount of time following up with Naomi, who in all desperation, tries to find resources in the ship. The ship was salvaged therefore, she only finds a vacuum suit that too with no air bottles. She finds out that there is a fake transmission with her voice requesting help. So after much struggle, she creates a makeshift radio to send a warning message to anyone passing by.
Later she heads into the Communication System where there is no air. So, while making use of the vacuum suit, she needs to use the air present inside the suit at the time. This only gave her a couple of minutes before she could lose consciousness. So, after a few brutal trips to find the appropriate wires, she is able to block the transmission in such a way so as to create a new message. She blacks the words at appropriate times to say, “This is Naomi Nagata…Tell James Holden that I am in…Control.” She repeats it a few times, after which she leaves to get air. This was an ingenious idea, considering the scarce resources she had on board the ship.
We catch up with Drummer and crew again in ‘The Expanse’ as they now work under Marco and are first shown salvaging ships. The ships belong to the Matar Kubileya faction, who voted to kill off Marco. There is tension building within the group as they don’t want to work under Marco but had no choice. Oksana and Drummer even have a conversation on how they were still alive and together, which meant they could find a way out. Drummer understands the situation but isn’t sure if she could do it. We even see the family struggling to make peace but have a moment of joy as they drink water floating in the air.
Later, when they hear the distress call from Naomi, Drummer is adamant about going help her. But, Karal informs her how that was a fake message while the real Naomi had passed away. Drummer loses it as she was about to shoot Karal but heads to her cabin and starts drinking, which was an indication of her being very angry. Later, when Karal and Oksana talk about her, Karal gets a notification saying that Naomi’s transmission had stopped, and they hear Naomi’s altered message. They wonder if she is alive or someone is on the ship, but Karal feels it was not possible for her to be alive.
We have come quite close to the end of this season of ‘The Expanse’. And we are witnessing quite enjoyable character developments along with high-level tension-based build up. The political substance is under the surface of the plot. And the entire Rocinante crew, which has split up, seems to be coming together. The show does an amazing job in adapting Naomi’s struggle on Chetzemoka, which is supported by a badass performance by the actress herself. She has become quite a character who thinks like an engineer and makes use of the minimal stock available. We can feel that we haven’t seen the last of the Protomolecule, which Monica certainly is thinking about. And while David was stepping up his role, the show hasn’t focused much on the situation of Earth. Altogether, a solid performance by the crew for setting up this season’s climax.