The Expanse season 5, episode 10 recap – the ending/finale explained

February 3, 2021
Daniel Hart 4
Amazon Prime, Ending Explained, Weekly TV


There’s no denying that The Expanse Season 5 has been incredible, exciting the fans weekly, and “Nemesis Games” brings conclusive and sobering moments while also opening the basis for the next season.

View all


There’s no denying that The Expanse Season 5 has been incredible, exciting the fans weekly, and “Nemesis Games” brings conclusive and sobering moments while also opening the basis for the next season.

This recap of Amazon’s The Expanse season 5, episode 10, “Nemesis Games” — the ending explained — contains significant spoilers.

We’ve finally made it folks — the ending of The Expanse season 5 is here, and while some viewers will be irritated by having to wait for the finale as part of a tested weekly format, I think Amazon Prime has proven the experiment works — weekly releases do work on streaming services. But then again, so do straight-to-binge releases — there is never a right or wrong answer; maybe it’s dependent on the series. After the last episode, there’s plenty to conclude in “Nemesis Games” — The Expanse season 5 has been toying with a tense scenario for four chapters now, and “Nemesis Games” gives a conclusion.

The Roci is outmatched by plenty of firepower

Holden and his crew were always going to have to face Marco eventually, and “Nemesis Games” brings that reality to life. Bull raises an issue; he believes they found a cluster of Marco’s ships. They are badly outgunned. Holden believes they will be overwhelmed. The scene flits to show the different Free Navy ships. Camino Drummer is readying their weapons. Holden tells Bull that they cannot run away as it’s too late, and the pair argue; Holden reminds him that Marco started a war, which is why they are here. He wants to save his friends and give Marco his war to give them a chance.

Holden tells Alex and Bobbie to go out alone and save Naomi. It’s a dire situation, with Holden acting as a distraction. Alex and Bobbie are completely unaware that Naomi is on a moving proximity bomb.

Naomi activates a single thruster

The finale then moves to Naomi, who is completely dehydrated, starved, and is extremely weary from radiation burns; she’s had a bad ordeal. Naomi is still tinkering with the ship and going to the frays where there’s a lack of oxygen. She can see on the radar that Alex and Bobbie are getting nearer. She manages to break a valve that gets one of the ship thrusters moving. Doing so makes the ship move in a swivel, meaning it will make it difficult for Alex and Bobbie to dock the ship. However, Alex is adamant that they will be saving Naomi — it’s nailbiting for the audience that Alex is showing so much heroism in the cause to save his friend.

Drummer turns her back on her family

Drummer has felt compromised morally and personally for most of the series, and “Nemesis Games” risks her family unit. With the battle commencing, Drummer points her weapon at Karal as the Roci heads towards them. She’s trying to stop them from firing. A scuffle occurs, and Michio kills Karal. Drummer then activates weapons to attack the other ships in the Free Navy. Holden and the Roci join in on the action and realize that the Belter hostiles are attacking each other. Drummer radios into Holden — this was an easier mission than they thought it would be. It was not an all-out war, and the Roci is safe because of Drummer’s efforts.

Naomi jumps off the ship

Well, we’ve seen Naomi take many calculated risks in Season 5 — from jumping to her ship, and then playing with transmission wires with lack of oxygen, this character has done absolutely everything to ensure she isn’t the reason for casualties — her will to survive is admirable.

Alex radios into Naomi’s ship. No matter what Naomi does, she cannot keep people from saving her. She puts on her helmet; she’s weak and can barely move forward with ease. Naomi opens the door to outside the ship; the music gathers pace, and she runs off. As she floats, she panics; her breathing is fast as she looks around the pure blackness of space; the way this is directed ensures the panic can be felt from the screen. It feels like a void of nothingness.

Naomi cuts it very close, but another tragedy occurs

Bobbie sees that something has dropped Naomi’s ship. They zoom in and see Naomi floating, and she is giving them Belter sign language with her hands — “Radio out, low air, explosion hazard; do not approach”. This is an urgent moment, but Bobbie raises an issue; the ship is circling her, they cannot avoid it. Meanwhile, Naomi slowly runs out of oxygen, and a tear runs down her face. As all hope is lost, with the episode making sure Naomi is almost close to certain death, Bobbie grabs Naomi and gives her oxygen. The direction in this scene was incredible; there was total silence as Naomi was about to die; then comes the muffled voice of Bobbie, and then Naomi bursts into tears as she’s saved. Alex radios into Alex saying Naomi is dehydrated and has radiation burns. However, Alex isn’t replying — in a shocking, unpredictable moment; he’s dead.

Marco knows he was betrayed and Naomi recovers

“Nemesis Games” has avoided the villain as much as possible in “Nemesis Games”, mostly so the twist at the end has the most impact. Marco is furious that the Roci was not destroyed. He tells Filip that they were betrayed, but his father is irked that he’s not upset by it — Filip states they have more to do, and Marco is proud that he’s grown.

Meanwhile, Holden speaks to a recovering Naomi and tells her that Alex died of a stroke. Naomi feels he died saving her from her mistakes. She then tells Bull to blow up her bomb riddled ship. Holden believes that she will be offered immunity because she has earned it. Naomi plays the message she left for Holden in case she died, that he refused to play. It’s a loving message, signifying how much they meant for each other. A lot has happened, and the events of season 5 will have brought them closer.

The consequences of betraying Marco

But we shouldn’t forget that Drummer made a fateful risk in the finale — “Nemesis Games” proves that Marco has a ruthless policy within his approach.

Because of the rebellion, Marco kills one of Drummer’s family — Serge Kylo; Drummer and the others see his death in the feed. Drummer tells her family that they had to fight back and now they can choose their own path, but Oksana tells her she is leaving, along with Bertold. Oksana tells Drummer they have nothing else to stay together for. This feels like the end of this unit; it will be difficult for them to come back from this. Marco infiltrated them, and it’s no surprise that they have split up.

Amos asks for a favor

Amos is reunited with Naomi and Holden. Naomi apologizes for Alex’s death, but he tells her that it isn’t her fault and that everyone makes choices. Amos asks Holden for a favor; he references that Holden tried to kill him once, but Holden reminds him that a lot has happened since then, and it’s different now. Amos agrees, and states they are cool before coolly calling for Clarissa to come inside. Holden is in complete shock — he got played here.

The calm before the storm

But everything felt too simple in The Expanse season 5, episode 10 — it was never going to end with all the characters hugging and rejoicing with each other.

During a social gathering, Bobbie offers her condolences to Avasarala regarding her deceased husband. Avasarala offers her condolences regarding Alex. Holden and Naomi tell Amos that they cannot get out of this fight with Marco. Avasarala delivers a rousing speech, and tells them all that this is what Marco Inaros is afraid of — unity. “This is how we win”.

Meanwhile, Marco gathers a fleet — he has more up his sleeve. Suddenly, at the gathering, Monica tells Holden that they missed one of the torpedoes. She wonders why it didn’t hit them and believes the protomolecule sample was on that torpedo. Suddenly, Avasarala asks Holden to join her and not make a fuss over it — there’s been another attack on the Ring.

The ending

The United Nations Security Council are panicking. Marco’s fleet blows up one of their ships near the Ring. Celebrations are in full spirit on Marco’s station. The United Nations learn that the Martian ships are transiting the Sol Ring. Bobbie announces that an entire fleet of Martians have gone rogue and joined Inaros. Holden believes they were bought by the protomolecule.

Scenes afterward show that they were right; Martians had been bought by the protomolecule sample. Remember when Alex met Admiral Sauveterre of the Martian Congressional Republic at the start of season 5? Season 5 ends with the Admiral and Emily Babbage receiving updates on the protomolecule. Sauveterre does not want to leave any ties behind, and their station goes through the ring. As they go through, they appear to be vaporised!

There’s no denying that The Expanse season 5 has been incredible, exciting the fans weekly, and “Nemesis Games” brings conclusive and sobering moments while also opening the basis for the next season.

View all

4 thoughts on “The Expanse season 5, episode 10 recap – the ending/finale explained

  • February 3, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    Heh. Seems you missed the BIGGEST plot point/event right at the end. They didn’t “go through the ring”. They were vaporized. By what and why? Methinks a bigger game will be afoot in season 6.

    • February 3, 2021 at 2:17 pm

      Thanks for spotting this, appreciated! Admittedly, I was overthinking the ending for what it was!

  • February 3, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    This season was exceptional, especially episode 9 and 10. I’m sorry to see the end of Alex’s character. I enjoyed his performances and see a big shift in the family “feeling” with the crew. I don’t see Bull fitting the same way. I am excited about season 6 and will have trouble waiting. Love the books and the show.

  • February 4, 2021 at 10:55 am

    We are definitely going to see the return of Proto-miller in the next season! There is no way they would just let him go given that we barely saw anything of the ring for most of Season 5 and the credits show the Martians new toy most likely backfiring!

    Season 5 was definitely less action packed compared to the previous ones, but it definitely heavily developed the story and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds and wraps up in Season 6.

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