The Expanse S5E05: Down and Out

So to get things out of the way, the reason that eps 3 and 4 aren’t up yet is that I’ve had COVID stuff come up: I’ve watched the shows and have half written up Ep 3, but as those of you who frequent the PT may know, my father-in-law has COVID, and it’s been an ordeal getting in contact with him, so I haven’t really had much time to get things done. But I did want to get this one up and will continue to as long as I can (Abagaderio’s very kindly offered to put up discussion places when/if I can’t make it with these reviews, for which I thank them again).

Now to the recap and review. I’ll start with Naomi because as so often happens, I found her storyline the weakest of the bunch. To be clear, it’s not because of Dominique Tipper. I found her scenes… fine. With Filip, with Marco, with Cyn and Karal, they were fine. I for sure liked her clocking Cyn over the head to warn Holden from turning on the Roci’s Epstein Drive (and I liked that Cyn immediately recovered; you don’t become insensate from a knock on the head)

But I just couldn’t invest in the storyline of Naomi reconnecting with Filip considering that we first saw him helping his father kill the amazing Klaes Ashford, and we saw him second ordering a murder of civilians to cover up his father’s attempt at genocide. And I know Filip’s under Marco’s spell but even so. I’m not saying I don’t get where Naomi’s coming from. He doesn’t stop being her son and all, but I also don’t care overmuch. Family drama’s way down on the list of things I care about in Season 5.

Bobbie and Alex’s investigation into the smuggling of Martian military tech to the OPA (or more precisely, Marco’s “Free Navy” was workmanlike. It’s spelled out that Marco’s assembling an actual fleet in addition to the stealth rocks, and we see how he’s got it. I did enjoy the continued use of the Razorback, and it was a nice touch that we saw Bobbie bleeding from her nose under the stress of high-G. But there were only a few scenes with them, and honestly, the drama of the moment is on Earth.

The core of the episode, of course, is Amos and Clarissa Mao (plus a few red shirts, and Tiny) trying to get out of the maximum-security “Pit.” It’s a dramatically good way of giving us our first look at the aftermath of the catastrophe on Earth. We know much of the surface has been devastated, and we want to see what’s happening there. But it’s not just the destination, it’s the journey. And for now, like Amos, we have to climb up to earn a glimpse of the surface world.

There’s a lot that’s fairly predictable here. Tiny’s a psychotic, so of course he murders the two C.O.s that we know less about. He doesn’t care about sentence reduction or any of that garbage, considering that he opts to stay in the Pit rather than trade his implants for a more hospitable prison. And as his reaction when they reach the top and see the destruction confirms that he just wants to see the world burn.

I was pleasantly surprised with Nadine Nicole’s Peaches this episode and last; she and Wes Chatham have good chemistry (as he does with like, everyone) and that seems to help with her characterization. I’m looking forward to seeing her and Amos get up the well and back to the Roci.

So what’d you all think? Am I too dismissive of the Naomi-Filip stuff? Should I have devoted some lines to the Holden/Bull stuff (I’m inclined to leave that to you for now; Ep 4 was the bigger one for Jim. RIP Fred.)? Remember to smash that like button and leave a comment below!