Unlike the previous episodes, this one takes a narrow view of the universe, focusing on Naomi primarily, with a small amount on Holden. So much of the story this week focuses on Naomi, Filip, and Inaros; breaking their drama up with other storylines would have ruined the impact of what we learn about them.
Inaros and Filip
The episode starts with a brief scene of an adorable baby Filip playing with a younger Naomi and Inaros, clearly in love. It was an emotional way to start the episode and reminds us how close Naomi and Inaros used to be. The following scene is another father-son moment between Inaros and Filip. These moments (either bonding or terse) occur throughout the episode, and the discrepancy between how Inaros treats his son in each instance reinforces that he’s a master manipulator. He flatters in one scene (asking Filip for his permission to use the Chetzemoka for his own means), then calls him weak in the next (when Filip asks for a command posting). He tells him, “you are nothing without me,” but two minutes later has his crew chant Filip’s name. Then we have the culminating and harrowing scene where Filip hits Naomi in the face, clearly under Inaros’ encouragement. All these confusing messages from his father are intended to push him further from Naomi and keep Filip under Inaros’ thumb. It’s not hard to see how Inaros likely played the same emotional games with Naomi in decades past.
That’s not to say he didn’t love Naomi at the start or even that he doesn’t love Filip in his warped way, but it’s an unhealthy love with conditions and expectations, a love that has no chance when put up against his narcissism. The hardest thing is seeing how Naomi knows what Inaros is doing to Filip, but she can’t convince him to see it. It wouldn’t be surprising if Inaros were threatened by Naomi’s love for her son back on Pallas Station, and taking Filip away was a horrible test of her loyalties. It was a test she failed in Inaros’ eyes, but it allowed her to realize Inaros’ true nature. Inaros flipped the test on Filip, using Naomi as the bait, and, unfortunately, Filip wasn’t old enough or emotionally-tied to Naomi to realize he was being played.
While all this is happening with Filip, Naomi finally reveals the full story she’s been hinting at for the last couple of seasons. She wanted to leave Inaros, but to “convince her to stay,” he hid Filip from her. We’re told she searched for months on Pallas Station, trying to find him (I always suspected she didn’t give a half-hearted effort, given what we know of her character), but Inaros had help from Cyn in hiding Filip. Cyn’s admission of guilt is heartbreaking for Naomi, as she was betrayed not just by Inaros but Cyn as well, whom she considered family.
Out of desperation and grief, she approached an airlock intending to space herself but changed her mind. This, while also a heartbreaking admission, ties into what she does later: jumps out an airlock not to kill herself but to save others.
For those who were wondering: yes, the human body can live about ninety seconds in the vacuum of space. This isn’t to say there wouldn’t be some sustained damage to your tissues and lungs, but that medical pen Naomi uses likely contains adrenaline or blood oxygen boosters to increase her chances. It reminded me briefly of Leia in The Last Jedi. Naomi doesn’t have Force powers to guide her, so it was a miracle she made it to the access hatch. But this near-miss states a powerful message to Cyn and the viewers: unlike Inaros, Naomi is willing to take major risks to save her people.
Holden’s plotline was an interesting one. First, he follows the Zmeya to destroy the protomolocule but soon admits he wants to capture it instead. Monica and the grouchy security guy (his name is Bull, I finally learned) share a look of concern. Then Holden is forced to make a hard decision: does he go after Naomi, when he realizes the Chetzamoka is with Inaros, or keep course for the Zmeya? He chooses duty over love, but this choice rewards him with Alex and Bobbie’s message. He sends them after Naomi instead. Is he sending them into a trap? Given that Cas Anvar won’t be returning to play Alex in Season 6 (due to some pretty serious allegations), I’m wondering whether this rescue attempt will prove fatal for him (with Bobbie surviving due to her sweet marine armor)?
In this episode, we were given one of the coolest scenes this season: the battle between the Zmeya and the Roci! The side-view of the torpedoes and missiles launching was fantastic, and that spin with the rail gun was top-notch.
While I understand why, I was a little sad we weren’t given any Avasarala, Amos, or Drummer in this episode.
We learned that Inaros likely paid Mars for the ships with the protomolocule and the captured scientist, Cortázar, but what would Mars be planning with it? What leverage would the protomolocule give them aside from mutually assured destruction with Earth? And will Inaros renege on the deal and keep it for himself?
And where can I get a Rocinante coffee cup?