The Expanse just dropped its first three episodes of season 5 early this week. Next week, they’re back on a weekly release. “Exodus,” “Churn,” and “Mother” separates our core group for the first time across their storylines, and it looks like it might stay that way for a while.
Perhaps the most interesting journey is Naomi’s (Dominique Tipper). After a brief scene with Holden on Tycho Station, she departs to meet up with her son, Filip (Jasai Chase Owens), in an effort to get him away from his father, whose movement against people not of the Belt will one day get him killed. However, Naomi doesn’t seem to be aware of just how deep Filip is in. The opening sequence of the season shows Filip and his group board a science vessel, stealing their research, and executing everyone on board.
Tipper, as always, is great. Her solo storyline is already shaping up to be her most emotional and personal journey yet. Her scenes with Filip are full of love, regret, guilt, and acceptance in her role in Filip’s life. It’s difficult not to empathize with her as she tries reaching her son. By end of episode three, it seems like she finally has, when Filip shows up on the ship she acquired for him to leave his father. However, Filip and his group, including Cyn (Brent Sexton), an old friend of Naomi’s, kidnap her.
Holden (Steven Strait), meanwhile, is feeling a little lonely on Tycho Station. One particular scene hits a little hard watching in the middle of a pandemic. After Naomi leaves, Holden flips through his contacts, finding no messages from any of his friends. No matter, though. If there’s one thing we can count on Holden for, it’s finding his way into the middle of trouble. Monica (Anna Hopkins), the reporter we met in season three, is investigating reports of a mole inside Tycho Station, and someone who’s after what’s left of the protomolecule. This three-episode arc sees Monica kidnapped for her troubles, as Holden and Fred Johnson (Chad L. Coleman) still search for her on the Station, even as they both continually fight about the protomolecule.
The thing The Expanse is really great at is creating moral and philosophical debates between its main characters — Holden’s experience with the protomolecule says to destory every last bit of it, seeing as it’s almost got him and thousands others killed multiple times. Fred’s on the side of the Belters, and he’s keeping it for them until Belters have just as much freedom and political pull as Earthers and Martians. With someone after it inside Tycho Station, perhaps the argument will fall down on Holden’s side this time.
Like Naomi, Amos (Wes Chatham) follows a very personal journey back to Earth after learning of the death of Lydia, the woman who used to take care of him. We get the most info about Amos than we’ve ever gotten before, like how his real name is Timmy — Amos Burton was the name of a street boss that our Amos killed. He’s there initially just to help pack up Lydia’s house, but ends up meeting her husband, Charles (Frankie Faison), who’s about to get the house taken away from him. This leads to Amos meeting an old friend, Erich (Jacob Mundell), where we learn even more about Amos. After getting Erich to back down in taking the house, Amos decides to stay on Earth so he can go meet someone.
Alex’s story is a little odd to talk about. Earlier this year, Cas Anvar was accused of multiple accounts of sexual harrassment and assault with numerous women, a lot of them fans of the show, sharing inappropriate messages they received from Anvar. Ultimately, this led to the announcement that The Expanse will return for a sixth and final season, and Anvar will not be a part of it. It’s hard not to guess as to the reason, as the authors of the book series, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, thanked the women for coming forward and said they were working with the studio to investigate and find a solution. Weird, then, that he gets second billing on the opening credits.
Although it’s a little weird to talk about Alex’s story, Bobbi’s (Frankie Adams) a part of it, so we must! Bobbi is continuing her investigation into the gun running on Mars, working discreetly for Chrisjen Avasarla (Shohreh Aghdashloo). She meets up with Alex after he has turned away from his wife to help her uncover who is sending weapons to Belters through Mars. Eventually, they set their eyes on a professor of a Mars university, Admiral Sauveterre (Tim DeKay). Alex is led into an ambush, but saved by Bobbi.
Another major player is Drummer (Cara Gee), whose pirating activities also involve tracking down Marco Inaros, who was responsible for the death of Ashford (David Strathairn) last season. Her three-episode journey involves a lot of grieving, leading to some really great conversations with members of her crew. But it also leads to the evidence Avasarala needs to convince the UN that Marco Inaros is plotting something huge.
That something huge? Episode three closes out with an asteroid hitting Earth. With these many plot lines, including Amos still being on Earth, it’s looking like we won’t get to see the Rocinante crew back together for a while. But all things point toward Marco Inaros, so it’s only a matter of time.