Audiences will not be disappointed; “Gaugamela” continues the devastation ignited in the last chapter — desperation, shock, and lack of hope is the cornerstone of the plot.
This recap of Amazon’s The Expanse season 5, episode 4, “Gaugamela” contains significant spoilers.
We will be recapping this season weekly — check out the archive.
“Gaugamela” opens with The Razorback and The Screaming Firehawk between Mars and the Belt. Alex and Bobbie are investigating a supply run. Bobbie believes they are on track to seek out a black market deal, but Alex is skeptical about the speculation. They receive a U.N alert advising that all ships to Earth will be delayed due to relief efforts. Bobbie pulls up a news video, and it reveals how an asteroid hit the earth. There are a few perspectives in the episode on the disaster; they’ve managed to gauge the truth of destruction to what has happened using different characters.
“Gaugamela” then flits to the U.N. Penitentiary in the Chesapeake Conservancy Zone. Amos is given a brief security breakdown before he enters The Pit and meets Clarissa Mao. She’s happy to see him, but she’s heavily on blockers due to the mods, so she isn’t completely quick with her responses. Amos tells her that he was lucky because he had someone to help him. He wants to help her, but Clarissa tells him he can’t. The Pit alarms go off; there’s a lockdown, and the room shakes—another perspective of the attack on earth. Luckily Amos was underground in the prison so it’s likely he has survived.
Chrisjen Avasarala is provided with another blow; a second rock has hit the earth, making this a true, tragic disaster if it wasn’t already. They also cannot see the rocks coming. New York has gone offline. Meanwhile, Secretary-General Nancy Gao refuses to give up on Earth. Avasarala contacts her and explains that the rocks are covered in martian composites, so they are undetectable. She tells her it is Marco Inaros behind it. Avasarala gives her advice on the watchtowers and how to prevent more rock attacks. However, Nancy Gao’s station is hit by one of the rocks — the first major casualty of the episode occurs — she is dead; Avasarala and Admiral Felix Delgado are in complete shock as they see the video feed cut off. “Gaugamela” keeps compounding the issue; they’ve been well and truly caught off-guard.
Holden and Fred are attacked
“Gaugamela” is all about the shocks, but the death of another integral character adds to the chapter’s seriousness.
The Zmeya approaches Holden’s ship. Holden senses something is off and asks his men to get out of the container holder. Suddenly, they are fired at, and Fred is wounded as he’s shot from behind by Sakai — she is clearly a traitor working for Marco. A missile hits Monica’s room, and she is kidnapped briefly.
As Fred is severely injured, he tells Holden that the protomolecule is in his quarters and he tells Holden to stop the attackers. Monica tries to get away as Holden attacks the robot that is holding the protomolecule. However, the robot manages to get away.
Holden asks Sakai to help them get the Protomolecule back. But the biggest shock of the episode is that Fred Johnson is dead. It was a cowardly kill as well to make matters worse; he was shot in the back.
Earth is protected again
There is some respite in “Gaugamela”. Due to Avasarala’s advice, the Watchtower is picking up rocks, and they are eliminated — the threat is over, and there’s a bittersweet relief. There are no celebrations or smiles; this is a heavy defeat that will destroy Earth’s morale.
The mother/son situation continues
Naomi’s story has been relatively quiet in “Gaugamela” amongst all the chaos. She finally wakes up on Filip’s ship, and she demands to know where he is taking her. He takes her on to Marco Inaros’ ship; the father and son embrace and celebrate their moment of the attack on Earth. Marco tells Naomi that he never imagined speaking to her again. He then introduces her to his ship and explains that the Belt needs to be able to protect its own. Naomi believes there are other ways. This is not the family reunion she was expecting when she went to see her son; Marco wants them to achieve his goals as a family. This is the kind of villain logic that can be enjoyed; while we want him to be defeated, at the same time, he’s a joy to watch.
The true extent of Marco’s plans
Marco then shows Naomi the destruction on Earth, and she is devastated. Naomi cannot believe he has murdered millions of people. Marco tells her that they have taken their place in the system, and the Belt’s future has begun. Filip tells her mother that he was proud to do his part.
In a true terrorist-like fashion, Marco sends a message out to the system and declares responsibility for Earth’s attack. He announces that Belters will no longer be persecuted and that they have the last protomolecule. He states that the Inners will no longer cause them harm and finishes his speech with “we are free”. This isn’t a cliffhanger at all — it’s a somber, grey way to end an episode, leaving audiences to wonder how the story will progress from here.
Audiences will not be disappointed; The Expanse season 5, episode 4 continues the devastation ignited in the last chapter — desperation, shock, and lack of hope is the cornerstone of the plot.