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The Expanse: Mother

“Everything my father told me about you...is true.”

Don't you just hate it when you go out for a bit of fish spotting and someone drops a great big rock on you?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. There are others things to talk about before we get to the end of world as we know it.


After sitting out the previous episode, Naomi was back and newly arrived at Pallas station where the locals aren't exactly thrilled to see the famous Naomi Nagata of the Rocinante. There are Belters who look up to Naomi and see her as a hero and role model for the kids. And then there are those who see her as nothing more than a class traitor, someone who escaped the hardships Belters face daily by making her fortune working for the Inners. They're also not too happy with the role she played in opening up the Ring Network.

One of the many things I love about The Expanse is how it always looks at the social and economic impact of its many world changing events. We've already seen how the Rings are slowly killing Mars, now we get to see how they're fucking over the Belters. From the moment Naomi arrives on Pallas she's bombarded by desperate Belters looking for work. The Rings are costing them money jobs and unlike the Martians they can't just up and leave for these new worlds. The Inners are building an interstellar empire and Belters are being left behind to die alone on their rocks. So for every Belter on Pallas like Cyn, who embraces Knuckles with open arms, there's one like Karal, who will gladly push her out the nearest airlock.

But Naomi doesn't give a damn about them. She came all this way for one reason only and that was to see her son. Watching Dominique Tipper and Jasai Chase Owens in a scene together you really can't help but be amazed by how exceptional the casting of Filip is, although he does look more like her little brother than her son, but that's TV teenagers for ya. Naomi wants to save him from being another one of the many who will likely die for Marco's cause. She knows this is a long shot, she can't just show up and undo a lifetime of hearing Marco's bullshit in a day, but she would never forgive herself if she didn't at least try. She offered him a ship and money to do whatever he wanted. He told her to fuck off, then took the ship anyway and kidnapped her. Poor Naomi just seems doomed to be used and betrayed by a man named Inaro.


Not much really happening on Tycho in this episode. The goons who dumped Monica in that shipping container were found dead, no doubt killed by their employer to cover their tracks. We also found out, from Monica, that Paolo Cortázar, the protomolecule scientist that Anderson Dawes kidnapped back in season two, has been grabbed off Ceres by a Belter strike team, likely working for Marco. Of all the plotlines this season, this has the most amount of arc stuff and the least amount of character stuff. While all the other characters are dealing with personal stuff as well as the ongoing storylines, Holden is just dealing with the ongoing storylines. There's nothing else really going on with him except missing Naomi.


I think we're beginning to see what Sauveterre's group are hoping to gain out of their alliance with Marco Inaros. All though their date/intelligence gathering mission, Babbage kept asking about the machines on Ilus and how they were turned on. Because he's an idiot who is easily flattered, Alex told her the whole story. So the Martians want the protomolecule, which isn't at all surprising because everyone not named James Holden wants the protomolecule. But if Marco is able to get hold of Fred's sample, how likely is it he'll share it with Sauveterre? Marco doesn't strike me as the kind of guy to honour a deal.


We've only had the Ringos, which is what I've decided to call this little pirate family, for two episodes now and I already love them. Like “I want them to have their own show that runs for ten seasons” love them. I love their whole dynamic. I love how they are bringing out so many different sides of Drummer. I love that they have given the show's LGBT+ rep a massive boost. I love that the actors clearly had a ball making this season and keep posting adorable behind the scenes pics.

Picking up not long after we last saw them, the Ringos have found the Tynan, Klaes Ashford's ship. It's now little more than a hollowed out shell, stripped of everything valuable and left adrift: a warning from Marco to anyone else who's thinking of coming after him. After a quick search and repair job, Drummer finds one of Ashford's hidden data cores with his final recording on it, confirming his death.

Prior to her current family, Drummer didn't have many people in her life that she was really close to. Naomi and Ashford were the only people she could really call friends, so it is no surprise that his death hit her pretty hard. She puts on that typically tough, stoic Drummer exterior for all to see, but she's obviously hurting and looking for a way to ease not only her pain, but the guilt she feels for not going with Ashford when he offered and for not killing Marco when she had the chance. Fortunately, she now has people in her life, people like Oksana, who love her and will be there to help her get through her pain. She doesn't need to hunt down Marco for revenge, she can leave that in the hands of others. For now, at least. As soon as she finds out Marco has Naomi I doubt there'll be a force in the universe that can stop her hunting the fucker down.


Chrisjen is learning that a lifetime of treating colleagues and subordinates like shit eventually comes back to bite you. She finally knows exactly what Marco is up to. Her evidence might not be definitive, but it is certainly enough to warrant further investigation. Too bad the higher ups don't even want to look at it because of who it's coming from. Once again petty internal politics is getting in the way of preventing a major tragedy from happening. Now Delgado, her sole remaining ally, has abandoned her because he doesn't want to risk his career, even if he knows that she's right. Near the end it did look like she was finally ready to give in, do what Ashanti wanted, and tell Arjun that she was coming home. But no, she insisted that she was still needed, although I suspect she was trying to persuade herself more than her husband. It isn't just a sense of duty that keeps Chrisjen working. She needs to feel useful, she needs something to do.

Well, as the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for.


In Nemesis Games, Marco's attack was as much a surprise for readers as it was for the characters. The show, however, has gone with a more suspenseful, Hitchcockian approach, which I really do prefer. Not only has it kept characters like Chrisjen and Drummer busy as they work to find out what Marco is up to, it gave these early episodes a real sense of impending dread as we watched those rocks get closer and closer to their target. There was never any doubt that this attack would be successful, not when all the major characters were safe elsewhere. All, that is, except for Amos. I have feeling he won't be giving this vacation a good review on Tripadvisor.


--Monica asks for Holden's help to look into something completely different. I won't say what because I can't be sure if the show is cutting that plot thread or saving it for a later date.

--Alex's date with Babbage is all new along with Babbage herself. Alex meets with an old navy friend, Fermín Beltran (who was introduced and killed off last season), who arranges for him to see Commander Winston Duarte about missing Martian ships.

--Bobbie, not Alex, is the one who gets attacked, with Alex arriving at her place just in time to save her. Switching their roles is a massive improvement. The show also cut out the serious injuries they both sustained, Alex was stabbed and Bobbie was shot, no doubt to get them offworld sooner and keep the plot moving forward.

--Naomi originally went to Ceres, not Pallas, to see Filip. Marco contacted her himself and told her Filip was there and in trouble. It was all part of their plan to hijack the Roci. This wouldn't have worked in the show since we already know who Marco is and Naomi's history with him.

Notes and Quotes

--This episode was directed by former cast member Thomas Jane.

--Babbage gave up the name of her ship a little too easily. Smells like a trap. Or maybe she thought the goons would kill him when they were done interrogating him so there was no risk in telling him the truth.

--As the only main characters with loved ones on Earth, I suspect that Chrisjen is going to suffer more losses than Holden. His family hasn't been mentioned at all this season while we've been constantly reminded that Chrisjen has a husband, daughter and grandchildren on Earth.

--Anyone else annoyed we never found out how Delgado's joke ended?

--Alex says Sauveterre has served for 60 years. Tim DeKay, who plays him, is only 57.

--Going by the carpet, Alex must be staying in the Martian branch of the Overlook Hotel.

 --Fred's guard, who is always hovering around and typing into his keypad, is either a traitor or a red herring.

--I wish I knew what Belter tattoos meant so I could talk about Naomi and Filip having the exact same neck tattoos.

--Anyone else wonder if Chrisjen uses the picture of Gao in her office as a dartboard?

--I liked the design of the bar Alex and Babbage went to.

--Naomi tends to go more Belter when she's alone with her own kind. She changed her hair and began speaking with more of an accent. I'm guessing she used to tone down her accent when she first started working on ships with Inners and keeps it up because she's ashamed that she had to hide that part of herself and is afraid of people judging her for it.

Chrisjen: “I have burned all bridges in front and behind me. And I don't give a fuck.”

Fred: “Where'd you get that?”
Monica: “Your organisation leaks like a sieve.”

Three out of four pairs of Fishfinder 5000 specs.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig


  1. Absolutely agree that the Drummer bit was the best part of this one. I especially loved the scene with the booze bottle.

    And I absolutely did want to hear the end of that joke.

    What is clearly about to happen to Earth reminds me a lot of John Varley's Eight Worlds series.

  2. I want Drummer to get her own show. And I was kinda disappointed the first episode had...

    *puts on sunglasses*

    ...Zero Gee.

  3. The neck tattoos are a tribute to the old school Belters like Anderson Dawes who have scars in their neck from poor, leaky spacesuits.


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