The Expanse, TV Shows

The Expanse: Season 5, Episode 6 (“Tribes”) Recap and Review

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This week, Amazon Prime’s The Expanse (Season 5, Episode 6 “Tribes”) featured a few brief moments of action amidst tense conversation, growing tension, and even some philosophical deliberation. And Amos’ abs. 

Spoilers below!



We don’t get a lot of Avasarala in this episode, but, as usual, she doesn’t fail to disappoint. As I suspected, due to the loss of the UN Council, she will be pulled back into power, but I didn’t expect the brief bit of humour surrounding how the Acting Secretary-General is the Minister of Transportation. This guy is in way over his head, as he admits, so how long will it be before Avasarala takes over? (not long, I suspect).

As a woman who has cried at work before (ok, many times), I loved the scene of Avasarala taking a few moments to pull herself together to get stuff done, despite the lack of news about her husband. This scene created a version of Avasarala we could relate to, as it’s not easy to do so with her. 



Holden seems to be taking a backseat this season. In this episode, he is prepping the Roci to chase after the Zmeya. Reporter Monica is along for the ride (much to grumpy security guy’s annoyance). 


Finally, we get Bobbie’s marine suit again! The scenes with Alex and Bobbie are few, but Bobbie’s feat of strength holding the ship’s docking tube to the Razorback, followed by Alex’s gasp-inducing jump, made for an exciting, albeit short, segment. More of that, please! 

Naomi, Inaros, and Drummer 

Like most people in power, Inaros seems very interested in testing the loyalty of his people. I didn’t believe that Naomi would come close to being spaced, but it was interesting to see Cyn (despite the wrench to the face episode) stick up for her, and how quickly Filip argued for her life to be spared. Unlike his calm and collected self from last episode, Inaros’ demanding persona is showing again, and this time Filip seems to recognize that his dad may indeed be a bad man. He tries to argue that his dad is working towards a goal, that “he made me a fighter”, but the reply that he gets is: “he wouldn’t die for you, but he’ll let you die for him.” We, and Filip, have seen this before, but it’s the first time Filip realizes the truth of his father’s nature. 

Drummer also arrives for her “meeting”. Unfortunately, what was likely a plan of attack was abandoned when Inaros’ Mars ships show up to outnumber them. Drummer and crew are forced to debate whether to join with Inaros against the Inners or die. For them, it’s not only about being associated with a mass murderer but their future as Belters and their ability to survive without resources. I don’t envy them their decision, though in Drummer’s case it’s likely a “live to fight another day” situation. 

I did very much enjoy how Karal ordered Drummer to disarm when she arrived because: “Your temper precedes you.” Let’s hope it also follows her out. 


I’ve saved this section for last. Not only because it was gratifying to finally see Clarissa’s mods in action, but I also enjoyed this episode for four other reasons: 

1) The Doomsday Prepper

Of course, given the nature of this website, this was a favourite part of mine. That guy had the ultimate bunker! Reinforced fences, firearms, food, a wood stove … I’d live there any day. It didn’t end the best for him, unfortunately … 

2) Clarissa and Amos and Ethics

This leads me into the conversations between Clarissa and Amos. When Clarissa wakes up, she questions their actions. She states that they “went out of [their] way to murder him and take his stuff”. First of all, that’s the way of the apocalypse, get used to it (kidding). Second (and more seriously), it reiterates both Clarissa and Amos’ struggle with ethics. Clarissa knows she’s done wrong, feels guilt for it, and is trying to wrestle with it by reciting her “monsters” mantra (“I have killed, but I’m not a killer because a killer is a monster, and monsters aren’t afraid”), but we’re shown that Amos still has trouble with morality. He doesn’t seem to understand what they did was wrong, until he realizes that Holden wouldn’t have approved. Amos, without Holden as his moral compass, is drifting. 

3) Clarissa and Amos … for Other Reasons

Clarissa and Amos are made for one another, it seems. They like discussing philosophical quandaries, have issues with their parents (“Does a parent you don’t want to meet exist at all?”), and are quite stoic. The sexual tension between the two is muted, but the undercurrent runs strong. And I mean, come on … a secluded cabin? Fur-lined blankets? Fireplace? If that doesn’t move things along, will anything?  

4) Abs

This leads me to my favorite part of this storyline, and that is … drumroll please … Amos stripping down. Thank you, Amazon. Thank you very much for this entirely unnecessary but perfect scene (in my eyes). 

Final Thoughts

Everything seems to be coming together. Drummer is aware (or at least suspects) that Naomi is on Inaros’ ship, Bobbie and Alex are on the trail of the Mars freighters, and the Roci is after another of Inaros’ faction; all of these stories will likely end in the same place. But whether that’s on the Pella, in the ring gate, or somewhere else is unknown. The only outliers are Amos and Clarissa. In my opinion, they can stay on their own, together, a little longer.


    T. S. Beier is obsessed with science fiction, the ruins of industry, and Fallout. She is the author of What Branches Grow, a post-apocalyptic novel (which was a Top 5 Finalist in the 2020 Kindle Book Awards and a semi-finalist in the 2021 Self-Published Science Fiction Competition) and the Burnt Ship Trilogy (space opera). She is a book reviewer, editor, and freelance writer. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, two feral children, and a Shepherd-Mastiff.

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