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The Expanse: Tribes

“I need to get back to my crew.”

One of the downsides of having so many different plot threads this seasons is that some weeks we either won't see our favourite characters or just check in with them for a scene or two. In this episode, three of the key players only got a single scene each, and two of them were right before the credits.

LUNA

We start with a quick catch up with Chrisjen to remind us all what a truly amazing actress Shohreh Aghdashloo is. Chrisjen's daughter and grandchildren are all safe, but Arjun is still missing and she's a complete mess. Well, she's as much of a mess as Chrisjen Avasarala can be. She's wearing the same outfit from two episodes ago and has taken off all her jewellery. That's practically tramp level for her. Her worlds (literal and figurative) are falling apart and so is she. But duty calls in the form of the grateful Minister of Transportation, who is now the Acting Secretary General. He's probably not ready for this job, but he's smart enough to know that he'll need someone like Chrisjen on his team if they're to get through this crisis. So she puts her armour back on, wipes away the tears, and gets right back to work.

THE SCREAMING FIREHAWK

Last week's cliffhanger was resolved with a action set-piece. That was pretty much it. Still, it was great to see Bobbie kick ass in her power armour again.

THE ROCINANTE

Again, not much to report here. With all the sabotage fixed, the Roci left Tycho and Monica tagged along. Holden was smart enough to limit her access. He also got Naomi's “If something goes wrong” message, but we didn't see what it was.

EARTH

For the most part, I'm enjoying Amos and Clarissa's end of the world road forest trip. It's nice to see these two characters getting to do all the actual bonding the show was forced to skip(-ped) over. At the same time, it's suffering a bit from budget limitations. The show just doesn't have the resources to show the full scale of the devastation Marco has wrought. Instead of making their way through an apocalyptic wasteland, it just feels like Amos and Clarissa have got lost in the woods after failing to properly kill a Russian gangster. Clarissa mistaking the moon for the sun doesn't work as well here as it did in the book because the cloud cover isn't so thick that day has become night. And a lot of the damage doesn't feel consistent. The entire prison was destroyed, trees were knocked down, but that one small wooden bridge they crossed was still standing. It wasn't even rickety.
Amos is not an outdoors type, but he is someone who has had to survive under harsh conditions for most of his life and knows how bad people can get when all the normal rules that force us to be nice to each other go out the window. It's do what you have to do to survive and fuck everyone else. If he'd been alone, and had a smarter plan for ambushing that survivalist, he'd probably would've just settled down in that cabin and gone on doing what the man he killed was doing. Being on this mud ball during the end times is clearly having a bad influence on him. Fortunately, he had someone with him that he needed to care for, someone to remind him of right and wrong (ironically the convicted murderer), and that he has a family out there that he really needs to get back to.

THE BELT

We're at the point now where all the various storylines are beginning to converge. Marco showed up for his sit down with the Ringos in full force so they would know just how strong his Free Navy is and how hopeless it would be for them to directly challenge him. No one ever came out and said it, but it was clear that if they refused his offer he would've destroyed all their “little ships”. There goes their chance of running and Switzerlanding their way out of this.

Marco's placed them, and the entire Belt, in an impossible situation with no good options in front of them. They either sign up with him (which some are less resistant to than others) and become complicit in his crimes or they side with the Inners against him and become puppets of their enemies and traitors to their people. That's assuming the Inners don't just kill them outright. After what Marco has done I expect more than a few Earth captains will redefine what they consider to be a war crime. In the end, they decided to take the deal with the devil. As much as they distrust and hate Marco, and some of them (you know who) really hate Marco, they can't deny that he is close to achieving what they've always dreamed of: a free and united Belt. But how long before his tactics become too much for them to stomach?
We're starting to see some possible divisions forming in the various Belter factions. Oksana and Josep weren't exactly plotting against Drummer, but it certainly seemed to be heading in that direction. Oksana clearly places the well-being of the family above all else. We've seen her often talk Drummer out of taking rash actions that could endanger the rest of them. What would she do if Drummer decided to stop listening to her? If she decides to take action against Marco, possibly to save Naomi, how far would Oksana go to stop her?

Meanwhile on the Pella, the Naomi situation is causing some to break ranks. Cyn has been one of Marco's longest supporters, but he still cares deeply for Naomi and will openly defy Marco to protect her, something that came as a shock to everyone in the room. I suspect it has been a very long time since anyone on this crew dared defy their glorious leader. Marco has defused the situation for now, but you just know a part of him is considering arranging for Cyn to suffer some unfortunate “accident”.

He can't do the same for Filip, though. He would if he had more kids to replace him, but he doesn't so he can't.

Marco hasn't really raised a son. He's trained a soldier and like all his soldiers he expects Filip to be strong, loyal and obedient. When he's a good soldier he gets praised, when he isn't he's belittled in front of the entire crew. When you see how his father treats him, it's no surprise Filip is so drawn to Naomi. She's his Schrödinger's parent. He wants to know her, perhaps because he senses that he'll get the love and affection from her that his father has always denied him. Marco isn't going to stand for that. He won't tolerate divided loyalties amongst his crew, especially from his own son. Going by the display it looks like he's plotting an attack on the Roci with his son's ship. Is he going to send Filip to kill his mother's lover?

Ch-Ch-Changes

--Chrisjen succeeded Gao as Acting Secretary General. Since the show's already done that I can't blame them for not wanting to repeat themselves. She works better as the power behind the throne.

--Alex and Bobbie survived the Free Navy's attack with help from a Martian convoy on the way to Luna. I have a feeling that plot line is going to be cut.

--The Roci never leaves Tycho to chase after the ship that took the protomolecule. Holden was taking Fred to a conference on Luna with Chrisjen and the Martian Prime Minister. Monica doesn't accompany the Roci, after her rescue she pretty much disappears from the story.

--One character missing from the Tycho storyline is Paula Gutierrez, a computer programmer who helps Holden with his missing ships investigation and removes all the bad code from the Roci.

--Other than Drummer, Michio is the one most opposed to joining Marco. This is a stark contract to her book counterpart who willingly signed up to join the Free Navy.

Notes and Quotes

--This was the first episode of season five with all credited main cast members in it.

--While the Ringos are clearly a large family, Drummer, Josep, Oksana, Serge, Michio, and Bertold are unquestionably the core group. They're the ones who debate and decide what their family do. The rest are just extras. They don't get to have dialogue let alone make decisions.

--Love that Drummer took one look at Filip and went “Yep, that's Naomi's kid alright”.

--Typical of the rich, Clarissa thinks all her experiences are universal.

--Clarissa's attack on the survivalist really could've been filmed better.

--Cara Gee's pregnancy is becoming a lot more obvious.

--Wes Chatham fans certainly got a treat this week.

--A low level and unready cabinet member suddenly being elevated to the highest office after a planet wide catastrophe was very reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica.

--A gold star for the first one who can spot what all these characters have in common.
Amos: “Now, unless you think I've got a pistol up my ass, we can both agree I'm unarmed."  

Marco: “We were already at war. You just couldn't see it because they were killing us slow.”

Amos: “The thing about civilisation is it keeps you civil. Get rid of one you can't count on the other.”

Two and a half out of four parents in quantum states.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I did indeed enjoy the Amos and Clarissa story and how caring for her gave him purpose. Although I also agreed that he needed to get back to his mates on the Roci. The separate stories are fine but I want the crew back together.

Schrodinger's parent. :) Loved that.

NomadUK said...

--A gold star for the first one who can spot what all these characters have in common.

They are all played by multiple actors during the course of a series. (If the Stevens, D being referred to here is Samantha's husband on Bewitched, they spelled it wrong; it should be 'Stephens'.)