THE EXPANSE – Season 6 Episode 5 – SPOILERS
Camina Drummer (Cara Gee) gets the best lines. Last episode she told Inaros: “Live shamed, and die empty.” This time she tells Chrisjen Avasarala: “A century of oppression made Marco Inaros inevitable.” When Naomi (Dominique Tipper) meets with her, Drummer recites the losses she has suffered in the conflict. “Oksana and Bertold left after I turned on Marco to save the Rocinante. Serge was executed in reprisal. Josep and Michio have decided to remain on Ceres so they don’t have to keep paying for the choices I made for them.” With some persuasion from Naomi, Drummer decides that she has no other options, and reluctantly joins with Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) in an alliance of convenience, but one suspects she still does not trust the inners. (Avasarala says she has changed, and she might have, but every decision she has made, including making an alliance with Drummer, can be justified in terms of benefit to Earth. Though she may be being helpful to others, she has given up nothing in the process.)
Pragmatism seems to be the preferred philosophy on THE EXPANSE. (Prax, the botanist from Ganymede, and Detective Miller, who died on Venus in Episode 2.5, seem to be the only idealists depicted.) In conversation with Amos (Wes Chatham), who is having trouble understanding recent events, Bobbie (Frankie Adams) concludes that the only good reason to fight is to protect the people you’re fighting alongside.
In the bonus content for this episode, there is a flashback to ten years ago and a beardless Holden drinking with his buddies on Ceres. A man with a big black beard (Captain McDowell played by Joe Pingue) hears him talking and offers him a job on The Canterbury. What convinces Holden to take the job is “free room and board, union salary, and little or no responsibility”. Holden has eight parents, each of whom contributed to his DNA makeup, a circumstance that probably does not arise often. His parents went through that complex process to get a tax break. In “Dandelion Sky” (Episode 3.10), The Investigator explained that Holden’s being in critical places at critical times is no accident.
HOLDEN: “I’m starting to wonder if I’m cursed.”
INVESTIGATOR: “Why’s that? ‘Cause out of the whole human race you’re the one flying through the mysterious alien artifact with a dead guy?”
INVESTIGATOR: “You’re just following your program. Just like me.”
HOLDEN: “Program? I always had this crazy notion about free will.”
INVESTIGATOR: “Then how come it is that every time there’s a clusterfuck shsitstorm situation in the universe, there’s James Holden, shrugging his shoulders, saying: ‘How the hell did I end up here?'”
When Holden disarmed that torpedo, he avoided making a martyr out of Inaros, planted seeds of doubt in Filip’s mind, and gave Naomi hope (however slim) of seeing her son again. It also probably contributed to Naomi’s ability to convince Drummer to meet with Avasarala. But that’s not why he did it. His motivation was a practical one: to preserve his relationship with Naomi. He explains to her (in Episode 6.4): “It’s about us. I can’t be the one who kills your son…Every time you woke up, you’d be lying next to the reason your boy is dead.”
On Laconia, Cara (Emma Ho) spends the night in the forest and wakes to find that her brother Xan (Ian Ho) has been repaired. (It was a three dog problem, but Xan is alive again, and there are indications that improvements might have been made when he was reconstructed.) He says: “I remember I was scared. I heard talking but I couldn’t see anyone. What does it mean to be in substrate? Everything looks different.” The word “substrate” means different things to different scientific disciplines. In biology, it is “a substance or surface that an organism grows and lives on and is supported by.” But who was it that Xan heard talking?
On The Pella, Filip (Jasai Chase Owens) discovers that his buddy Tadeo (Joe Perry) is in the brig for breaking radio silence in an attempt to get information about his brother Mas on Ceres. Filip is still able to use the ship’s communications systems, so he covertly contacts Ceres, and finds out that Mas was killed when the water tanks ruptured. After learning this, Tadeo tells Filip that he was on the team that set the charges on Ceres, and that in doing so, he caused his own brother’s death. Filip is shocked to discover who sabotaged Ceres Station. It seems reasonably possible now that Filip will find a way to send a communication to his mother on the Rocinante.