The Expanse: Why We Fight   Show Only 
January 6, 2022 6:01 PM - Season 6, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Paths converge on Ceres when Drummer and her fleet arrive to aid the relief effort. Holden tries to convince Avasarala to release crucial information that might avert catastrophe, but she has her own request of him. As Amos and Bobbie get a little R&R at the station, Naomi has a difficult and long-awaited reunion.
posted by ShooBoo (45 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Shohreh Aghdashloo v. Cara Gee is the greatest thing ever.
posted by Quonab at 8:44 PM on January 6 [20 favorites]


Goddamn I love this show and this season, this episode demonstrates why.

Fuck you indeed, Naomi.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:51 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]


At this point, it definitely seems as though the season will not wrap up all the storylines. I'm ok with that if it means there's a chance of another season, another bit of time with all these great characters.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 PM on January 6


So, does Bobbie go with Amos?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:47 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]


Not a book reader other than book 1 (yet). At this point I actually groaned when the Laconia kids appeared on screen. Just get to the space politics please!

Is this the point when Filip finally gets his head out of his ass? I feel like he's had so many chances to see that Marco is a monster. Did he really believe Marco wouldn't rig explosives on Ceres and kill other Belters?

Lots of good pairings this episode. I enjoy Amos/Bobbie, I hadn't yet seen Drummer and Naomi together*, and Drummer vs. Avasarala was a delightful new showdown. I hate to see Drummer lose the rest of her family, and I appreciate that we get to see the character be hard and upset. I am amazed that Bobbie wasn't more angry about Holden's disarming the nuke--she laughed! And I know Holden is gonna Holden but I was gratified to see his reaction to the latest developments with the Free Navy--that oh shit, a bunch more people died because I couldn't pull the trigger on the Pella face during his talk with Avasarala.

I don't know how there's only one more episode to go, but I guess it'll open with more creepy dog aliens or whatever.

*I started with season 4 and plan to go back and fill in the gaps, maybe after reading some more books. But I have seen a fan vid about Drummer/Naomi!
posted by j.r at 9:55 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


So, does Bobbie go with Amos?

I'm betting she does, but it's more of desire for closeness when she knows a big battle is coming up and this is her family for now, than any love of Amos. Or it at least starts that way, I hope.

I am amazed that Bobbie wasn't more angry about Holden's disarming the nuke--she laughed!

I took that as a big sister laughing about her little brother doing that same shit he always does and her not realizing it. Like "that goddamn good hearted shit, he did it again, and I didn't see it, ha!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:19 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Loved it. That final scene with the temporary alliance was fantastic. No idea how this can possibly wrap up in one more episode though without a lot of quick endings (like for Admiral Kirino). So many great characters and little mini personal battles going on - really enjoying the manipulations of Marco by Rosenfeld. Also I had sort of forgotten about Medina station entirely (like I know it’s been mentioned in past episodes this season and maybe we saw it momentarily), and it made me suddenly realize I don’t think we’ve seen any real events in Earth or Mars (aside from some reporting footage) - which I think was a good choice to keep a shortened season tight.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:41 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


So are they setting up for a possible spinoff about Laconia & the Rings? Because it feels like the only way this gets wrapped up completely is if whatever killed the ringbuilders does the same for humanity now.
posted by nubs at 9:50 AM on January 7


I haven't watched any of this season yet (but obvsly don't care about spoilers). Before watching it, we decided to start again at season 1. We're still at the point where nobody has a clue what's what although Hat Cop is starting to piece it together.

So much stuff gets set up in season 1 that I did not notice at the time! And everybody is like a little baby version of what's to come! The plot was more intricate than I remembered, but much easier to follow this time around. I'm excited to make it back to the current season. I'm really feeling the "you're either a genius or the luckiest dipshit in the solar system" assessment of Holden on his first meeting with Fred Johnson. You have no idea, Fred!
posted by Acari at 10:32 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I love the way Avasarala adjusted her clothing and jewelry to match Belter-utilitarian / monochrome norms while sticking close to her normal ostentatiousness.
posted by migurski at 11:59 AM on January 7 [10 favorites]


As far as the attack on the ring is concerned, if the Martians had gone in stealth and not announced what they were doing would the railguns still have picked them off so easily? Something crossing the gate probably would be noticeable to Medina Station and then it's probably a question of who can target and shoot the other first.

If the thing in the centre of ring space doesn't rotate then they already know the position of the railguns and could fire from a stealth ship outside the gate. Or make some stealth asteroids of their own and send those towards Medina Station.

Also how many Belters are there? I thought it was on the order of a couple hundred million, which if that's the case then wouldn't one Earth-like planet and system be enough? No need to even try to colonize all 1300 systems at once, just work out how much space people should get and give planets accordingly. Of course once people were colonizing the belt there was no real need for scarcity anyway so I guess this is more of a "people are going to be people" thing than anything else.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:00 PM on January 7


Other stuff:

So much stuff gets set up in season 1 that I did not notice at the time!

I find myself really worried about Dimitri (Joe Miller's Earther partner) and Gia who was with him in the hospital when he got impaled. I know there's probably more in the books, but in the show all we have seen is in season 1.

Fuck you indeed, Naomi.

Naomi and Camina on the bridge of the Tynan was incredible. Drummer is so tense I'm surprised she doesn't snap in half. But how much more can Camina lose before she's completely erased?

Shohreh Aghdashloo v. Cara Gee is the greatest thing ever.

I was reminded of the Irish pirate and leader Grace O'Malley's meeting with Queen Elizabeth I.
posted by Mogur at 1:08 PM on January 7 [7 favorites]


One thing I like about this show is how it is completely unafraid of showing how sometimes all the choices you can make are shitty. There may have been times in the past where different choices could have resulted in having a not-shitty choice, but in the here and now it's just different flavors and amounts of shit.
posted by wierdo at 1:42 PM on January 7 [9 favorites]


If the thing in the centre of ring space doesn't rotate then they already know the position of the railguns and could fire from a stealth ship outside the gate. Or make some stealth asteroids of their own and send those towards Medina Station.

I had the same question! Now I want to go to the books and see if there was more detail there about why that hot-take would not work. It seems like it would work, with the small caveat that it might alarm the ring-station and lead to some sort of inter-stellar blowback.

Also how many Belters are there? I thought it was on the order of a couple hundred million, which if that's the case then wouldn't one Earth-like planet and system be enough? No need to even try to colonize all 1300 systems at once, just work out how much space people should get and give planets accordingly. Of course once people were colonizing the belt there was no real need for scarcity anyway so I guess this is more of a "people are going to be people" thing than anything else.

I think the main problem isn't real estate, but rather the transportation infrastructure to get the Belters to the planets and then support them until they can form sustainable colonies. It's one of those supply chain problems that everyone is talking about. The issue is even more difficult since the Belters are needed to supply/service those same transport ships, plus you have several billion starving Earthers who are also in the queue to to move to a new planet.

(also many of the Belters would have health issues going back to a ~1G planet).
posted by Balna Watya at 4:35 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Now I want to go to the books and see if there was more detail there about why that hot-take would not work.

In the books, there is still a speed limit for going through the gates and in the Ring Space that doesn't seem to be in play on the show anymore.
posted by nubs at 5:20 PM on January 7


For a show only thread, there sure is a huge urge to mention stiff from the books.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:59 PM on January 7 [6 favorites]


I'm guessing it's because this season has been both slow and compressed at the same time, especially if there's only one more episode for everything, so people are reaching for the books to wonder if there's anything more there to fill in the gaps. Plus there's more space in the books so maybe something there addresses our various specifications.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:54 PM on January 7


Loving the Drummer show. Right now, she and Amos are the only characters that would make me want to read the books, and I mean previous-seasons Amos.

I agree that there seems to be a lot of build-up on Laconia for a show that's on its last season. My guess is the TV writers intend to blow up the ring, leaving some of the characters stranded in the newly set-up Expanse spinoff.
posted by kandinski at 7:20 PM on January 7


Books-included discussion, because folks here seem very touchy about the subject, despite the fact that the two plots have completely diverged.
posted by schmod at 7:22 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


PS. Go read the books. They’re easy to read, not too long, and just generally very good.
posted by schmod at 7:23 PM on January 7


This was my dad's first episode and I didn't have to explain hardly anything, even here at the end of the series. That's gotta say something. "She's the leader of Earth." "He killed Earth," "She's a Martian Marine." Not much handholding needed beyond that.
posted by whuppy at 7:25 PM on January 7


At 43:20 (right after the Drummer/Nagata fuckyou hug) we cut to a floor-level view of Avasarala's feet and swishing cape as she strides down the corridor. Is it just me, or does that seem like a callout to Darth Vader?
posted by mono blanco at 7:26 PM on January 7 [7 favorites]


a speed limit for going through the gates and in the Ring Space that doesn't seem to be in play on the show anymore.

I was thinking about that, because how could Marco's new rail-guns even work in the Ring Space?
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:50 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


That final meeting between Drummer and Avasarala feels so earned and affirming for RL reasons to me, but also within the story, just the opportunity to execute the two's character growth across the seasons and doing it well, I'm having feelings.

By the way, if you guys aren't aware, Wes Chatham and Ty Franck has a weekly aftershow and the contrast between how smiley Cara Gee and Shohreh Aghdashloo this week are could not have been more stark lol.
posted by cendawanita at 7:57 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


1300 systems

Well, beyond logistics and stuff, there's the founder/ Mayflower effect. Colony life is a bit like a ponzi scheme for genes. Would you rather emigrate on the Mayflower, with resources to get a leg up, or on a refugee ship to an already established colony?

speed limit... Ring Space

Didn't it... get turned off?

The defenses Medina Station are able to set up is much more formidable than a hypothetical other scenario.

Darth Vader

I thought the same thing, though Avasarala spreads both hands, wrists out as a monkey H. sap display of peace.

I have to give kudos to the writers and cinematographers to compress so much human politics so succinctly and efficiently, with a fair degree of nuance. Bobby and Amos talking about how there'll be no winners and that "their" (hypothetical!) grandkids will still be killing each other over this piece of history.

Drummer's character, in particular, and much props to Cara Gee for pulling off gravitas, nobility, and loss. It's kind of an ugly "man pain" kind of movie, but you can definitely see glimmers of what she's capable of in 'Red Rover' (2018) even though her character there is a manic pixie dream girl.
posted by porpoise at 8:41 PM on January 7


> At this point I actually groaned when the Laconia kids appeared on screen. Just get to the space politics please!

Oh, I throw stuff. There's so little time left in the show, why are we spending it on them?!?
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:49 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I'm very dubious that they're going to be able to wrap this up in another hour. Why the hell is it a six episode season? Is there some rule that every great show has to fuck up the last season?
posted by octothorpe at 4:56 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Eh, it's possible to wrap things up the narrative arcs of the main characters and storylines in a decent place. It wouldn't be an happily ever after style of ending, but definitely a "Earth and Mars and some Belters united to kill Marcos, and forged tentative alliance. The Ring gets closed, but a lot lot of the tech and science is put to work helping rebuild parts of the solar system or transform them.

Most of the Roci crew moves on running cargo/transport via the ship. Avasarala continues to govern and smooth over rough patches, training a replacement. Bobbi might return to Mars, help rebuild. Final scene is Drummer saying goodbye to Roci crew, as she heads off to Ceres, to reunite with Joseph and Michio, who will be my her side as she helps rebuild OPA stations and transform a moon or three.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:59 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


It's a six-episode season because that's what Amazon would pay for. A ten-episode season would have been better, but I think they're proving that a 6-episode season is way better than just ending with season 5. It's the kind of story where, no matter where you end it, even if you adapt the last 3 books, there's always going to be a sense that there's more story to tell.
posted by rikschell at 7:41 AM on January 8


Sidenote on the Rings "eating" ships: If I have this right, every so many (millions?) of tons of ships that pass through a Ring, a ship gets eaten. ie, it's not every hundred ships, it's every 20 million tons of ships (lots of little ones or a few big ones). If so, a short-term solution would be to keep track of the shipping and then chuck a big drone through a Ring to soak up the loss. But what are the Ancient Red Streaks *doing* with the stolen ships? And will feeding them drones make them even angrier?

Re: Holden not being allowed to tell Marco about it - I assume that at some point he will disobey that order and send Marco a warning, at which point Marco will do the exact opposite and go through the Ring and get eaten.
posted by Mogur at 8:39 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


because folks here seem very touchy about the subject, despite the fact that the two plots have completely diverged.

Wouldn't that be MORE reason not to discuss the books here ?
posted by Pendragon at 11:37 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]


So, does Bobbie go with Amos?

With him or with him?
posted by Paul Slade at 2:24 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


because folks here seem very touchy about the subject, despite the fact that the two plots have completely diverged.

I don’t personally care, but since this forum was literally designed to give people the choice of which kind of discussion to have, the judgement that people who want to use it as intended are “very touchy” seems presumptuous and less than cordial.
posted by snofoam at 4:43 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


Some of us are reading the books but haven't gotten this far yet and might not want them spoiled. This is just common courtesy.
posted by octothorpe at 5:46 AM on January 9 [6 favorites]


With him or with him?

With him probably, since Bobbi brought it up. She's clearly entertained the idea and they have been chummy lately.

Avasarala taking stimulants for some pain, that's only been in the last two episodes, right?

The scene with Drummer and Avasarala was great of course, but it also felt very much like the USA approaching the Native Americans. "When it's over, will you remember the Belters who bled for your cause?" Interesting how Avasarala promised essentially nothing, while Drummer didn't have much of a choice. If everything did work out and they both survived, I couldn't help by think that Avasarala would run circles around Drummer, politically.

Also, how could I forget Drummer's finest line: "I didn't love you because you were fighters, I loved you because you were builders. I wanted to build something with you." Drummer is such a great inspiration and fighter, yet what she wants most of all is a safe place for her people and family.

Which brings up another point that has made this season so great in another meta: Everyone is tired, so tired and just want to be done, somehow. That's a helluva mirror for the current world and probably one this season is resonating with me so much.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:50 AM on January 9 [14 favorites]


No, I buy that Avasarala has legitimately changed. She's ashamed of her past behavior and she's trying to move forward in new ways (though with too much soul-searching for Bobbie!). She'd love for Drummer to lead a united Belt. Thing is, I don't think that's what Drummer wants, and I don't think that's what Belters want either. Avasarala will never be able to overcome her Inner point of view and think like a Belter.
posted by rikschell at 11:58 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Avasarala has definitely changed, they all have, but war is different from peace. She wouldn't be an asshole about it, just found it curious she promised nothing specific and Drummer didn't ask for anything specific.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:44 PM on January 9


Also, final episode is 65 minutes long.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:24 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]


The scene with Drummer and Avasarala was great of course, but it also felt very much like the USA approaching the Native Americans. "When it's over, will you remember the Belters who bled for your cause?" Interesting how Avasarala promised essentially nothing, while Drummer didn't have much of a choice

Not sure if it's accidental or not, but the very final image of this ep (Avasarala and Drummer shaking hands) is interesting: Avasarala's elbow is back, close to her body - she's extending just her forearm and hand - while Drummer's arm is full extended. The handshake is off-center in Avasarala's favour and I'm wondering if that was on purpose.
posted by Mogur at 1:32 PM on January 10


re: Vader

My anti-Vader comment aside, Avasarala has - after her husband was confirmed dead - completely discarded her colourful loose and flowing saris for tighter clothing in more rigid and protective leathers in somber tones.

I went back to the pilot, and even when torturing the Belter to death, she was in a bright yellow dress.

So while Vader (and the Empire) drew from uniforms of authoritarian Nazi Germany, the showrunners/ costumers seem to be drawing from the same sources, black leather trenchcoats and all.
posted by porpoise at 6:15 PM on January 10


The official ExpanseOnPrime instagram account just posted teaser videos for the next (final) episode.

Oh it’s on. All I’m going to say is Bobbi Draper, at the ring, with a forearm mounted Gatling gun. Everyone buckle up….it’s about to get rough.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:37 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Not sure if this was brought up before, but back on Laconia, when the formerly dead child awoke... did anyone else notice that his eyes were completely black? I wasn't sure if this was the lighting of the scene (which wasn't great) or a deliberate effect, but given that he said he could now see things that weren't there before, I assume that it is deliberate.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:06 AM on January 11


Yes, the eyes were intentionally different.
posted by migurski at 10:09 AM on January 11


I wouldn't say completely black, there was some protomolecule blue in there.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 10:11 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


Well that’s going to completely mess up sibling rivalry.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:23 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


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