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The Expanse: Season 5, Episode 9 (“Winnipesaukee”) Recap and Review

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The penultimate episode of season 5 of Amazon Prime’s The Expanse (“Winnipesaukee”) brings the season’s growing tension to the apex. Everything is primed for an exciting and potentially emotionally-fraught finale.

Unfortunately, while I enjoyed this season a great deal, if a crew member from the Roci does die in the next episode, I don’t think it will be as impactful as it would have been in previous seasons. The crew has been separated the entire season, and minimal focus has been given to characters once on the forefront, so it almost feels like a separation has already occurred. The show could still surprise me, but I have a feeling I know who (if anyone) isn’t going to make it.

But what happened in Winnipesaukee? Spoilers below!


My girl Camina yet again has to make a tough choice. Does she sacrifice the Roci to save her Belter family, or does she risk their lives to save her old allies? Not only does she consider the people on the Roci her allies and friends, but, as Karel so aptly points out, the Roci is a symbol of peace, of what Drummer has wished for between all the communities in the universe. Karel warps this perspective, claiming it’s a “symbol of assimilation and compromise,” something that’s “held the Belters back.” It seems Drummer is willing to give up Holden and the rest to save her crew-family, but when she finds out Naomi is alive, it changes everything. Naomi, unlike the others, is someone Drummer loves deeply. The big question is: will she turn on Karel and Inaros? 

I’m still waiting for the Karel vs Drummer fight.


We finally get the ending to that joke from episode 3, but it wasn’t funny at all. 

I’m never sure whether Avasarala is sincere (which is why she’s such a fascinating character). While I believe she is indeed grieving her husband, she isn’t one to pass up any leverage, even using her loss as an attempt to sway the council into her favor. Of course, Pastor and Delgado jump on her show of grief, saying, “we can’t let emotion makes these choices,” completely forgetting that anger, which is compelling them to take revenge, is also an emotion. Unable to make them understand that attacking another civilian base would be wrong, Avasarala doubles-down and resigns her position. 

Understandably, she is followed by other council members, who want to hold a no-confidence vote against Pastor.

Of course, Avasarala is nominated to be the leader of this coup and the eventual council afterwards. I wonder – was this entire thing orchestrated by her, or was it sheer luck? With Avasarala, we’re never sure. One thing for certain is that she will most likely be, as Delgado calls her, “The Once and Future Queen.” He’s not just referring to her as a ruler but referencing The Once and Future King (by T.H. White). The novel features King Arthur’s story but is an allegory about war and politics (and the story in which Arthur fails). You can read more about it here if you haven’t read the novel.  

As usual, Avasarala’s outfit is killer. Black and gold with red accents that resemble something between bullets and fire. Where can I get one? 



Amos, Clarissa, and Erich’s crew arrive at Winnipesaukee island, where Clarissa had a summer home. Clarissa is making an effort towards her goal to become a good person, as she won’t let Erich leave the servants behind, nor does she allow Amos and Erich to take down the predatory security force. It wasn’t the most tactical of decisions, but we wouldn’t have had the awesome battle scene at the end of the episode without this choice. What’s interesting is how Amos turns to Clarissa now, as he once did Holden. Has he found a new moral compass?

I do have some questions about this episode. I’m assuming there are bylaws regarding launching a spaceship from your house? I’m guessing the crew was supposed to wait until they were a certain distance into the atmosphere before initiating the rockets? I can’t imagine everyone leaves their house in such a manner. The noise, radiation, destruction of property … it would lower the property values considerably. Then again, if you own a rocket ship, you probably aren’t worried about the resale value of what is likely to you a small estate. 

Until the security force shows up, I wasn’t sure why there wasn’t more security when Amos and crew arrived. I was expecting drones or perhaps robots, and it seemed like they got into the house pretty easily. The owners probably should have opted for robots, as those don’t usually turn into raiders in a post-apocalyptic event. 

I must also add that I would watch an entire show of Erich being sarcastic and insulting to the people he meets. I laughed at almost everything he said. My favorite was when the security officers threatened them, and he scoffed, “this is the most pathetic shakedown I’ve ever seen.”  More Erich, please. 



Despite all her work last episode, Naomi still hasn’t had that well-deserved nap. Instead, she has little projects to attend to, like trying to tap into the bomb so she can at least blow herself up rather than take everyone with her. And foraging for ice, which seems more trouble than its worth. 



The Expanse likes to wrap up segments where they started. In this case, Inaros realized that Naomi is still alive at the beginning of the episode. As usual, he uses this bad news to his advantage, pushing Drummer’s “loyalty” to the test and finding another way to cement Filip to him. He preys on Filip’s emotions yet again, declaring, “she left us both. Again.” He then crushes his son into a hug while simultaneously crushing any sense of lingering loyalty to his mother.     


Final Thoughts

All of this is building to what will likely be an explosive finale. Given there will be another season, I don’t expect everything will be wrapped up, but we will at least see what befalls the Chetzemoka and the crew of the Roci, no matter where they are in the universe. 

    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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