The Expanse season 5, episode 3 recap – what happened in “Mother”?

December 16, 2020
Daniel Hart 0
Amazon Prime, TV Recaps


With the first three episodes landing before the weekly format, “Mother” was always going to deliver — this chapter is emotionally engaging and ends on a destructive cliffhanger.

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With the first three episodes landing before the weekly format, “Mother” was always going to deliver — this chapter is emotionally engaging and ends on a destructive cliffhanger.

This recap of Amazon’s The Expanse season 5, episode 3, “Mother” contains significant spoilers.

We will be recapping this season weekly — check out the archive.

The opening

“Mother” opens up with Avasarala; she invites a scientist in for a discussion with her and Admiral Delgado. The scientist marks that the rocks they are examining could all be from a single asteroid. Avasarala wants to know what an asteroid that size would do to earth on impact; she thinks Marco had a plot to hit earth but that they got lucky on this occasion. She fears that their suspicions of Marco are right and she wants the risk raised through the ranks. “Mother” is highlighting a common human issue; not taking on the issue at hand and allowing the risk to fester, as soon as the end of the chapter.

Boarding Ashford’s ship

“Mother” then flits to Dewalt & Mowteng in the Belt. Drummer wakes up and wants a status update on Ashford’s station. She asks everyone to wake up as she wants to prepare for boarding. Drummer and her crew board the ship, and there’s an eery stillness. The data core has been taken. Drummer tells her crew that they need to find Marco next with the big bounty on his head — she believes the bounty will sustain them for years to come. But there’s an emotional tone to her voice; she clearly has different intentions than just finances. “Mother” really drives through the emotional core of her story.

Monica reveals the footage

Monica shows Holden and Fred footage of a violent entourage killing scientists and then shows an image of Paulo Cortazar — a scientist who used to work on protomolecule data; Monica believes (based on her sources) that Paulo has been taken hostage to a research facility by a Belter strike team. Fred asks Monica if she saw the people who took her hostage, but her optics are not clear. As Holden and Fred leave her, she tells them both to wake up and is increasingly angry. Tensions are high; Fred wants to find the kidnappers first. Holden and Fred have a lead on Monica’s kidnappers, but when they find them, they are already dead. Everything is based on conspiracy and theories so far in the 5th season; it’s a satisfactory sci-fi thriller.

Heading to Pallas station

“Mother” then moves to The Chetzemoka that’s approaching Pallas station. Naomi is in deep thought as she’s anticipating seeing her son Filip. She heads to a bar for a drink and bumps into old belter friends. They want to know why she’s returned to Pallas and wonder if she’s got a bounty on Marcos. Naomi asks about Filip and demands that she needs to see him.

A drink between two acquaintances

Alex meets Emily for a drink (the woman that works under Admiral Salvitaire, who seems to have the hots for Alex). She asks Alex how he feels that he’s going to be in the history books. Emily asks about his heroic story, and he explains to her about the protomolecule that was looking for something — she’s extremely eager for answers regarding Holden and Alex shutting it all down. Alex states that they’ve destroyed that last piece of the protomolecule, so they no longer have to worry about it anymore — he gives plenty of credit to Miller.

After plenty of small talk and flirtatious exchanges, Alex brings up his admiration for her superior Admiral Salvitaire, and how he would like to get to know him. Alex keeps digging for questions while also flirting with Emily. She keeps backing off a little with the questions, but she does kiss him as they depart from each other.

Alex is compromised

But it looks like Alex was played in “Mother”…

On his way back to his room, Alex is attacked by two strangers. They inject him with the drugs, so he feels dazed — it’s a truth telling formula. His attackers ask why he wants to know information on Admiral Salvitaire. He tells them he’s looking into whether the Admiral is selling black market weapons to the belters — he also gives Bobbie’s name away. As they are about to kill him, Bobbie comes to the rescue. Bobbie believes because of the attack, they are on the right track; they also have information on a potential supply route. While this was a clumsy and naive mission by Alex, he at least got the right information.

There are better ways to grieve

Drummer is warned that going for Marco is personal, not for money. Drummer insists that it is for the financial incentives, but it’s obvious that her objective is an emotional incentive; she references how she and Ashford agreed to drink a bottle of alcohol together when he returned. She wonders if she went with Ashford, would the bottle be empty. Drummer hasn’t grieved properly yet. Late in the night, Drummer concedes that going for Marco is not her fight and she finally opens that bottle.

A failed reunion

Naomi finally reunites with her son Filip, and there’s a silence between them at first. Neither of them sure of what to say. Filip is angry that his mother abandoned him and Naomi apologizes — “I never stopped loving you”. Naomi tells Filip that she came to help him and wants him to avoid danger from his father Marco; she wants to give him a ship and money so that he can move away as far as possible. Filip doesn’t want to hear his mother’s proposal and walks off.

However, later on, Filip visits Naomi, and he tasers her with her old friends. He tells them that his mother is joining him at the station. It looks like Naomi has gotten more than she bargained for which injects a new subplot for her.

The ending

Avasarala receives an update from Admiral Delgado; no-one believes in her conspiracy theory, and he tells her that their investigation and operation is off. This is a big blow to Avasarala, who is no longer in control of the situation. Afterward, an emotional Avasarala leaves a message for her husband. As she walks away from her desk, she gets a message; it’s a forwarded message about Marco. The episode closes with an asteroid hitting the earth. Her fears come true as it shows the asteroid hitting earth from the perspective of a human being. This will clearly excite fans who will have to wait a week to watch another episode!

With the first three episodes landing before the weekly format, The Expanse season 5, episode 3 was always going to deliver — this chapter is emotionally engaging and ends on a destructive cliffhanger.

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