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The Expanse: Oyedeng

“Walking away is the only choice anyone ever has.”

Damn, Naomi! Damn!


The Roci is still on the hunt for the Zmeya. Holden is clear that this was a mission to destroy the protomolecule, not retake it. Getting rid of that annoying blue goo is practically his own personal crusade. Hopefully he'll not be as Captain Ahab about it like he was back in season two. History does seem intent on repeating itself, though. Once again he's had to choose between saving Naomi or going after the protomolecule. This time, as much as it pains him, he's had to go with the latter. There's nothing he can do to save Naomi now, but he can stop the Free Navy and their Martian allies from getting the blue goo.

It's really weird watching all these scenes on the Roci with a completely different crew. It's like watching some show that ran seven seasons longer than it should've and Holden is the only original main character left standing. Of all these temps, Monica is the only one who I'm actually starting to wish would stick around more. I've been liking her more and more as the season's gone on. Holden's still a silly billy for being so open and honest with her. He really should know by now that nothing is ever off the record with her.
I've always really loved The Expanse's space battles. Thanks to exceptional special effects and a more grounded approach to space travel, they always feel more tense and exciting than what we get in other sci-fi series. It's been a really long time since we last saw the Roci in action. She's spent most of this season in dry dock and the previous one parked over Ilus. This is the first proper battle she's been in since season three.


Marco might frame this conflict as a fight for Belter liberation, but it's really just a war for his own power and personal glory. He's practically already crowned himself King of the Belt and like all monarchs he sees his heir not as a child to be loved, but as a potential rival that needs to be crushed. For Marco, Filip exists simply to maintain his legacy, to continue the great dynasty that he is going to build. Until then, he can't have Filip going off and making a name for himself. There can only be one great Belter leader named Inaros and right now that is Marco, not Filip. So he brutally denies giving him his own command and manipulates him into giving up the “junker” his mother gave him, stripping away his son's one chance at real independence. Filip is quick to give it up because he's so desperate to prove himself and earn his father's long denied praise. Like many who have suffered years of emotional abuse and manipulation, Filip cannot see what his father is doing to him. He's been conditioned to accept this, to see the harm his father does to him as a result of his own failing because he is not as strong as his father is.
Marco is obsessed with the idea of strength. He's always going on about how Filip needs to be strong and Naomi wasn't strong enough. But his idea of strength is flawed and limited. Marco judges strength in how willing you are to kill or die for him. If you won't do either then you are weak. But by his own reasoning Marco is weak. He hides away, never placing himself in any danger, and sending others to take the big risks and get their hands dirty. Marco is a weak man who makes others feel weak so they carry out his will without question. He does not have real strength. Not the kind of strength that Naomi Nagata has in abundance.

She showed her strength when she first walked away from their toxic relationship, even though it meant giving up her son. She showed her strength when she didn't give in to despair and throw herself out of an airlock. And she showed her strength again when she actually did throw herself out of an airlock to escape him. They told her that the only way she would ever be leaving the Pella was out an airlock and she proved them all right, but she did it on her terms, not Marco's. It was crazy and desperate and is likely gonna result in some serious long term damage (physically and mentally), but it was the only way she could get away from Marco. She was willing to risk it all, make the biggest gamble of her life, for just the tiniest chance of escape. Cyn had to make it even harder for her by misreading the situation and getting in the airlock with her. She didn't want to kill him, even after he betrayed her by helping Marco hide Filip, she still didn't want him dead. But this was her one shot of escaping Marco and, like the $10 foundering father without a father, she was not going to throw it away.

--So it looks they've have cut out a significant part of Bobbie and Alex's story. After they first escaped from the Free Navy they hooked up with an MCRN convoy that was transporting Nathan Smith, the Martian Prime Minister, to Luna. The convoy came under attack by the Free Navy, and Alex, Bobbie and the Prime Minster were forced to make an escape in the Razorback. I'm not surprised to see it go since it was a pretty disposable b-plot, although it does mean that Bobbie and Alex have to spend another week sitting in the Razorback doing nothing but stare at screens and send messages to people.

--There is no attack on the Zmeya.

--Naomi's escape is a little more planned than it appears here. She had to fake a fight in the ship's medical bay to steal an emergency decompression kit, which not only included an injection of oxygenated blood, but a device for opening an airlock. The show neatly avoided needing to explain what Naomi injected herself with by having Holden save Monica the same way earlier in the season.

Notes and Quotes

--Oyedeng is Belter for goodbye.

--Gold acting stars for Dominique Tipper, Jasai Chase Owens, Keon Alexander, and Brent Sexton.

--It is possible to survive without a suit in a vacuum, but only very briefly. You will lose consciousness after about 15 seconds, which is why Naomi needed the oxygenated blood. She was hyperventilating before she opened the door to increase oxygen flow in her body. She exhales throughout the leap because sudden decompression will cause air to expand and your lungs to rupture. The lack of external pressure causes the blood vessels in her eyes to burst and her face to swell as the fluids on the surface of the body evaporate. The exposure to unfiltered direct solar radiation also resulted in her skin burning.

--Some have questioned why Serge didn't do more to help Naomi, but what could he have done? He's as much a prisoner on the Pella as she is. And would Naomi have even accepted his help? She doesn't know him. She has no way of knowing if he really is an ally or just another minion of Marco sent to mess with her.

--Did the protomolecule go down with the Zmeya? I can't see the show taking such an important piece off the board with so little fanfare. Some very observant fans have already noticed that one of the Zmeya's torpedoes had a different colour from the rest. Was it transporting the protomolecule to Marco?
--Bullet wounds just itch for Bobbie.

Naomi: “You shouldn’t have followed me.”

Boddie: “He can’t be on Tycho anymore.”
Holden: “The Roci’s not on Tycho.”

Bull: “If you spend enough time with someone, you get to see how full of shit they are.”

Naomi: “The pain of losing Filip was not as horrible as having to stay with you.”

Three out of four injections of oxygenated blood.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig


  1. I absolutely loved what Naomi did. It took so much courage and forethought. She's a superhero.

    Much agreement on how weird it feels to have a completely different crew on the Roci.

  2. Oops. I just realized my comment on last week's episode belongs to this weeks. The dangers of getting ahead of you! But I can't resist the urge to watch the next episode of this show as soon as it becomes available.

  3. Actually just delete it. I think I want to revise what I said anyway after this review.


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