REVIEW: The Expanse Series 5 Episode 10 – Nemesis Games

The expanse

It’s time for the finale of season 5 of The Expanse, titled as has become customary after the book which will form the core of the next series – Nemesis Games. And in your final warning for this season’s series episode review, ‘ware spoilers!

The tension has been expertly built leading up to this episode, so let’s dive in.

The Rocinante and Screaming Firehawk are burning hard towards the Chetzemoka to save Naomi, who is frantically trying to stop her friends being caught up in Marco Inaros’ trap. Meanwhile, Drummer and the #polyambelterfam* are tasked by Inaros to take out the Rocinante.

(* I can’t take credit for that name, but I saw it online for the group that makes up Drummer’s faction and it’s just so perfect.)

On the Rocinante, Bull advises Holden that the Roci’s systems have picked up some threats–it’s the destroyer, Koto and the heavy frigate, Serrio Mal which are former Martian ships now in Free Navy service, alongside the ships of Drummer’s faction–Tynan, Dewalt, and Mowteng. Monica pulls Bull up about calling the Belter ships ‘skinnies.’

Holden and Bull are agreed that they can’t win, due to being heavily outgunned and already low on ammunition. Monica says that they have to run and Holden… doesn’t respond.

As Drummer prepares on board her ship, Karal takes fire control in a pointed gesture and Berthold tells her that she doesn’t need to be on the bridge to see this. Drummer says she doesn’t look away from what she does. It’s Captain now, Camina later…

Holden proposes a plan to basically charge the Belter fleet, guns blazing. He says Inaros won’t let the Rocinante away again and this way by taking their attention, it gives the Firehawk and Naomi a chance to escape. Bull comes round, Monica looks horrified.

Holden advises Alex and Bobbie of the plan. Alex chokes down his emotions and puts more speed on towards Naomi.

Oh Gods, that’s just the pre-title sequence. I can’t cope with this.

Naomi finally manages to batter something loose inside the Chetzemoka, making the ship spiral. Alex and Bobbie on the Firehawk notice the change. Bobbie lays out why this makes docking extremely dangerous if not impossible and points out the possibility of them crashing or hard manoeuvring after such a strong burn leading to one of them having a stroke. Alex says ice cold that they’re going to get Naomi.

As the Rocinante gets ready for the fight, Holden tells Bull to stop with the ‘skinny’ slurs.

As they get into engagement range, Drummer pulls a gun on Karal tells her to shut up and fires a missile that takes our the drive on Oksana’s ship. There is a brawl that results in Karal dead at Michio’s hands with Bertold at gunpoint and Drummer speaking to the destroyer Koto saying there was a malfunction in fire control. She launches a flurry of missiles at the Koto–none of which hit–but this allows the Rocinante to fly through, now pretty much one-on-one with the Serrio Mal, still heftily outgunned.

Josep takes matters into his own hands on Oksana’s ship and decides to fire on the Serrio Mal, taking out the heavy frigate. Holden contacts the remaining Belter ships and tells them to switch off their drives–Drummer responds, letting Holden know it’s her.

Alex contacts Naomi to say they’re going to find a way to dock. Naomi calls him a brave idiot, sees that the Firehawk is now close enough to have armed the bombs on the Chetzemoka.

She looks resigned, opens the airlock she entered the Chetzemoka by and takes a running leap into the void. At least she’s wearing a suit this time.

Alex is plotting the docking manoeuver when Bobbie sees something fall off the Chetzemoka and realises it’s Naomi. Alex interprets her Belter hand signals–‘no radio, running out of air, ship is explosion hazard’–and they realise that they can’t approach as Naomi is within the spiralling Chetzemoka’s flightpath.

We get a long shot of Naomi’s face in her suit, running out of air and spinning out of control. The tone of her suit indicating that she’s out of oxygen takes over and it feels like the last we’ll see of Naomi.

Then there’s a thump, Bobbie’s voice telling her she’s putting an oxygen line in and then contacting Alex. Bobbie appears onscreen, looking cool as a cucumber. We pan out and see that Bobbie has done an EVA to collect Naomi and is nudging them away from the Chetzemoka and towards the Firehawk, giving Alex an update on her condition. Hypoxic, radiation burns etc. Alex says that was one hell of a ride, then stops replying. We see him inside the Firehawk, warning buzzers going off. He’s stroked out.

On Inaros’ flagship, we see a very calm Filip maintaining his gun. Then on the bridge, Marco is getting an update on the situation with the Koto and Serrio Mal apparently destroyed, no response from Drummer’s faction and the Rocinante powering towards the Chetzemoka. Marco loses his cool a bit at the news, then gets himself under control and tells Serge–the totally-not-hostage from Drummer’s faction to come and see him.

Filip appears on the bridge and Marco updates him. When Marco questions his lack of response, Filip says there’s no point in anger at losing ships. “We tried to kill them, and we failed. Does it alter your plan?” Marco looks a little taken aback, but again rallies and congratulates Filip on having grown.

Back on the Rocinante, now docked with the Firehawk. Holden is telling Naomi about Alex–he died from a stroke, his ex-wife will handle the funeral which will be with full military honours. Holden says a stroke is a risk they all take with every hard burn. Naomi beats herself up that he died saving her from her mistakes.

Monica is on the bridge, watching a newscast about Avasarala being sworn in as secretary-general and implementing martial law before making an appeal to the ‘law-abiding citizens of the belt.’ Bobbie walks by and Monica wants her to look over her analysis of the Rocinante’s battle with the belter shop that had been carrying the protomolecule.

Back to Holden and Naomi. They blow up the Chetzemoka with one of their last missiles, then Holden says Luna is probably the best course as Amos is there. Naomi says she could be arrested as a war criminal. Holden assures her that Avasarala will grant her immunity.

Naomi asks if Holden watched her ‘if something goes wrong’ message and he says he couldn’t. She plays it for him. It’s a beautiful testament to the found family of the Rocinante, but also tells him to let her go. They cry. I might have done a bit as well.

Back to Drummer’s faction and their three ships are docked together. They are watching a video of Serge being executed by Marco. They all cry.

Oksana says Drummer lied to her, knowing that Serge’s death would be the cost. Oksana says she’s leaving, taking one of the ships and Bertold goes with her. “W