So this is a twofer because my wife got diagnosed with COVID and my life got flipped, turned upside down, and this last week was also back to school, and it was remote and life is insane. So I’m sorry for last week’s lack, and as a result, I think I’m going to address things plot-by-lot rather than looking at the two episodes discretely. After a couple of “big things happen” episodes, we have two that are mostly about the reaction to those big things happening (the Roci vs. Pella battle and the bombing of the Ceres docks), though Drummer and crew do some shenanigans.
We continue the Laconia story, at the wake for poor Xan, Cara’s brother, and with some side-chatter about how unforgiving Laconian society is (Hard. Core. Military), and little Cara getting a talk from someone who seemed like a counselor, but when I opened up X-Ray, well what do you know?
Oh wow! It’s Laconian Civilian #1! Ha-ha, kidding. For show watchers, Winston Duarte was a name that was I think mentioned once last season. For book readers, he’s a somewhat bigger deal. Cortazar calling him “Admiral” should probably mean I’m spoiling no one when I tell you he’s the head honcho here in Laconia. So he tells Cara some stuff about sacrificing for the greater good or something, and then she’s says nuts to that, and takes brother Xan to get fixed up by the puppies. Which they do, but he feels and looks weird and now they’re hiding and we’ll see where this ends up next week!
So on Ceres, life is insane after the bombings. Lots of dead people, including lots of dead Belters, and the administrator of Ceres, who should know better than anyone how little Marco cares about the people of the station, is full-on with blaming the Inyalowdas. So that’s… great. Really, this section is mostly the “hearts and minds” campaign, as Monica Stuart works to put together a doc that will change some Belters’ minds about the Inners. Avasarala has an odd pair of episodes, as she seems first of all trying to be Ms. Hard-as-Nails Earther “this makes us look week,” but then has a talk with Holden wherein she calls back to her first episode introduction where she put a Belter up on hooks as torture “because [she] could,” and the show seems to be making a lot out of how the inners have changed in their attitudes towards the Belt, and they’re not as bad anymore. When really, I think the winning argument is more what Chrisjen says at the end of episode 3 to Camina: Earth is now a graveyard covered with Earther corpses. They’re as much adrift as the Belters. So for that matter are the Martians that remain. The dream of Mars is dead. I don’t know that the show could have gotten all that into such a short season without really sacrificing pacing, but I also don’t know that I bought Naomi’s tearful protestations to Drummer that the Inners “aren’t that way anymore.” Like… some are still assholes, Naomi, just like your OPA baradnas, but you’ve got a commonality of hurt I think is the real connection.
Roci Hijinks: Holden, Holden, Holden
Thankfully it doesn’t take long for the other shoe to drop on Holden’s decision to spare the Pella. Peaches figures it out, Amos confronts Holden, and Holden tells Naomi. And while I understand Clarissa’s perspective of “never be sorry that you didn’t kill another person,” she’s got a lot of baggage prompting her to make that statement. It makes sense for her, but she thinks purely in terms of personal impact, rather than strategic ramifications. So too, does Holden. His rationale, if one can call it that, is that he couldn’t be the guy who killed Naomi’s son. And… goddammit Jim.
One thing I liked? The detail of Naomi’s being such an old hand that she reflexively catches her coffee when going off the float.
Like, I get it, that would be a terrible thing and no, there’s maybe no coming back to that for the two of you. But for God’s sake, your relationship is not worth the cost of allowing Marco Inaros to keep living, and his war to continue. Naomi’s right, and those Martians who died invading the Ring Space might have got to go on living had you not made your decision based on your own emotional garbage.
Some nice things on the Roci? Another call-back cameo, this one from Elvi Okoye confirming that ships ARE disappearing in ring-transit (“Going Dutchman,” I’ll call it), Amos and Bobbie singing Willie Nelson together, and of course
Marco and Filip stuff
So Filip’s going all hot and cold with his Dad, one minute snapping back at his mate for being insufficiently pious in their faith in the cause, and at other times being apparently shaken by all the crappy things he’s done. I’m guessing that the (totally predictable) revelation that the Ceres dock was bombed on Marco’s orders will be the last straw for him. Meanwhile, Marco is continuing to unravel because apparently he’s never had a setback before. First ordering people put into space for no good reason whatsoever, and then having himself a wee taste while on the command deck. Call me crazy guys, but things might not end well here! Whatever, moving on.
Camina and her Golden Bough buddies manage to assault a Marco depot, though not without loss, as Josep gets pinned by a huge container. And… that looked rough you guys. By which I mean the injury looked honestly bad in a good way. And it was up to Michio, otherwise held in reserve, to swoop in (in pretty record time considering the distances in space) to be a big damn hero.
Wait, what are you sorry for?
Drummer and co then manage to snag all the booty (and I had thought that a Marco ship was inbound but oh well the show doesn’t need to spell out everything), and bring it to Ceres, where Avasarala smartly cuts through the red tape to allow them aboard with no hassle. I was certainly sad a bit to see the end of the Drummer family, but it only makes sense that, unable to help her in the fight anymore, Michio and Josep would here lay down their… arms. I did like how after Drummer was all playing the “Inner Yoke” card, Michio just wasn’t having any of it and was like “yeah I’ll learn to deal with it, mmkay?”
So Drummer has a tearful reunion with Naomi, and then Chrisjen Avasarala, Queen of Earth, walks the halls of Belter Ceres station to shake hands with Drummer, agreeing to work together to kill Marco and make sure Camina is reinstated as the person with the best eye makeup on the show.