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The Expanse: Season 5 Finale Recap and Review

As expected with a season finale, this episode of Amazon Prime’s The Expanse (“Nemesis Games”) gave us a bad-ass ship battle, an emotional reunion, and an intriguing lead-in to season 6. We also have the death of a significant character. 

For the last time this season, spoilers below!


The cast has been apart for most of this season, but Nemesis Games brought all their strands together into one thread.

Drummer 

In the last episode, Inaros sent Drummer’s Koto and four other ships after the Rocinante. Holden, unaware that he has an ally, prepares for a last-stand to distract Inaros’ people from Alex and Bobbie on the Screaming Firehawk (I forgot until this episode they’d renamed the Razorback in episode 4).

What follows is one of The Expanse’s trademark space battles, complete with my favourite weapon: the railgun. 

Missles are deflected, but there’s no way the Roci will withstand the barrage for much longer. 

As hoped, Drummer decides to betray Inaros at pretty much the last second. I was gunning for a brawl, but rather than engaging in fisticuffs with Karel, she holds a gun to her head. Karel attempts to escape, but after a scuffle with another crewmate (Michio), her head is smashed against a rail, killing her. Unexpectedly, Josep sends missiles after the other Belter ships, saving the Roci and the Koto.  

Unfortunately, as Drummer likely expected, the crewmember Inaros had taken in exchange for Karel, Serge Kylo, became collateral of Inaros’ rage. Inaros spaces him, then glares into the camera at the Koto. To make matters worse, Drummer’s decision is the last straw for Oksana. She takes Drummer’s assertion that they can “choose their own path” to heart, deciding to leave and takes Bertold with her. Drummer lost half her family to save her other friends (and her principles). 

I’m disappointed we didn’t get a Drummer vs. Karel hand-to-hand fight, but that ship battle made up for it. 

 

Naomi 

Meanwhile, Naomi wakes up from a doze to find that Alex and Bobbie have almost reached her. She travels back into what I’ve called the “Deadly Hallway” to smash open a valve. This activates one of the Chetzamoka’s thrusters, sending it spiraling off course. The intention here was to make it harder for Alex to dock. Alex refuses to give up, and when Naomi realizes he’d still going to try, she makes her second leap into space, this time with her helmet and suit on at least.

A least she didn’t do this.

Will the ship rescue her? For a moment, it seems like they missed her and she’ll drift off to become a Naomi popsicle, but Bobbie catches a glimpse of her friend. Alex recognizes the Belter hand signals Naomi is performing, warning him there’s a bomb on board the Chetzamoka, but how can they rescue her when she’s still within proximity of the bomb’s triggers? 

This is one of the best scenes of the season. We get Naomi’s face in the mask as she stares out at nothing, her face a mix of anger, fear, and resignation. She’s expecting to die, and I almost expected her to. Instead, we hear the trademark hiss of Bobbie’s thrusters as she approaches Naomi from behind and latches on to her, then Naomi’s tearful realization that she can breathe; Bobbie has attached an air tank to her suit. 

Naomi wakes up on the Roci to share a heartfelt moment with Holden, who somehow manages to brood through it. 

 

Alex

The pilot’s demise didn’t require a lot of predicting on my part (as viewers were aware he was not going to be in season 6), but I expected it to be a bit more dramatic. If I hadn’t known it was coming (and why), it would have seemed strange he was given such an anti-climactic send-off. The episode didn’t even give us an explanation until after-the-fact; he’d died of a stroke from too much G-force acceleration.

 

Amos

Amos is safe on Luna, and it appears (much to my sadness) that Erich won’t be accompanying him into Season 6. They attempt to share a glass of tequila but fumble the bottle, and it takes a long, slow, painful tumble to the floor below. I think it’s the only time we see Amos truly distraught. 

MY BOOZE

But! We do have Clarissa continuing with the crew. I absolutely loved how Amos buttered Holden up and then revealed “Peaches” in the hallway, much to Holden’s rather horrified surprise. But hey, she’s a great mechanic (and back-up pilot for Bull, who will clearly be taking over as pilot from Alex). And this also means my ship (called Amos + Clarissa), while floundering, is still afloat. 

 

Avasarala

As expected, Avasarala has exerted control over the system, enacting an “Emergency Power Provision” to place Earth and Mars under military control. 

She hosts a fancy party, wherein she wears a knock-out, commanding red cape (seriously, where does she get her clothes and do they cost less than my house?). The festivities are taken down a notch by an attack on a ship near the Ring Gate.

Inaros has taken Medina station (or at least is in league with it) and has allowed the traitorous Martians to wreak havoc before making their escape to Laconia planet through the gate. We find out that the Martian traitors do consist of Babbage, who reports to Admiral Sauveterre. They discuss their plans for creating a (terrifying) super-militarized state. As they enter the Sol Gate, they are surrounded by a strange red mist. This harkens back both to the fate of the Arborghast in the Season 2 Finale and Holden’s discussion with Fred earlier in the season. Possibly due to his connection to the protomocule, Holden claims when he entered the ring gate he felt an unsettling alien presence. We are led to believe that the mysterious alien entities (as yet unseen in the show) have wiped Sauveterre’s ship from existence. At least Babbage won’t be alive to mourn her missing bracelet. 

Cortázar (the protomolocule-obsessed scientist) is on Laconia, excited by the alien relic floating behind him in the atmosphere. As Monica and I (brag!) suspected, the protomolocule was not destroyed in the Zmeya explosion but shot through an empty torpedo for the Martian traitors to find as payment for the ships Inaros requisitioned.

While this raises many questions, the biggest is: Who will be the bigger threat in Season 6? This Maritan colony? Inaros? Or the aliens? 


 

Final Thoughts

In truth, this was not my favorite season (that honor goes to Season 4 – I love explorations of ancient alien artifacts and colony worlds). However, it was still an engaging, fast-paced, and emotionally-fraught season that gave us a much-desired backstory on Amos (aka Timmy) and Naomi (we all know all too well who Filip is now).

I’m definitely looking forward to Season 6! Let’s hope for December 2021.   

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 (Top 5 Finalist in the 2020 Kindle Book Awards). She is a book reviewer, editor, freelance writer, and co-owner of Rising Action Publishing Co., which offers self-publishing services. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, two feral children, a one-eyed pug, and a Shepherd-Mastiff.

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