DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse episode “Retrograde” contains more spoilers than the number of times Holden has played the reluctant hero. Can’t a dude just cruise space without battling sentient blue goo and facing an intergalactic war? You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution. 

Welcome back, Beltalowda! The Expanse binge-athon continues with the fourth episode of Season 4. This episode saw good ol’ Murtry shooting first and asking questions later. Amos spent some quality time in solitary confinement while Draper was arrested for grand larceny. Holden took a stand against the ever-antagonistic Murtry and the protomolecule remained inert…for now. Oh, and we finally met Naomi’s first love – the divisive and rebellious Marco Inaros. 

Alright, ready to delve into “Retrograde?” Time to flip and burn, Screaming Firehawks. 

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Now, we open with the aftermath of Murtry’s (Burn Gorman) killing spree. Naomi (Dominique Tipper) and Lucia (Rosa Gilmore) witnessed the act from afar. Lucia asserts that she’ll be Murtry’s next target. Naomi urges her to take refuge in the Roci. Amos (Wes Chatham) pounces on Murtry and his men in an attempt to protect Naomi and Lucia. However, he ends up taking a beating himself. Chandra (Jess Salgueiro) steps in and prevents Amos from knocking on Death’s door. Murtry orders Amos be under lock and key, so his lackeys take him away. 

Next, Naomi fills Holden (Steven Strait) and Alex (Cas Anvar) in regarding the bloodshed at the encampment. Holden calls Murtry and berates the latter for using violence as a tool to bring Belters to heel. Murtry vows that Naomi won’t be harmed as long as she hands Lucia over. Them’s fighting words, Morty. 

Pictured: Cas Anvar and Steven Strait

Meanwhile, on Earth, Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) is fed up with Holden’s radio silence. He was sent to survey Ilus, not unlock protomolecule-fueled weather phenomena. Unfortunately, her tirade is cut short by her aide, informing Avasarala that it’s time for her interview. 

Later, Draper (Frankie Adams) clocks in for her dock job and confesses her crime to her superior. She reveals that she left the door to the supply room open so valuable tech could be swiped by OPA members. Her superior vows to keep her transgression under wraps…and long as she continues the act and gives him a cut of the profits. Either that or he turns her in. More blackmail. Everyone just leave my baby Draper alone! Draper quits her job. Her moral compass is too important to be compromised. 

Then, we see Drummer (Cara Gee) and Ashford (David Strathairn) paying Naomi’s old Belter fling Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) a visit. The latter is currently imprisoned for crimes which include murder and swiping cargo from Inners’ ships. His acts can’t be swept under the rug, especially with the new truce in place. Drummer and Ashford offer to take Marco aboard their ship to grill him for information on the recent Belter piracy near the Ring. 

Meanwhile, Amos wakes up to find himself a prisoner of Murtry. Chandra urges him to keep quiet, but Amos threatens to break his restraints and go through her if need be. A guard saunters into the room, gun brandished at Amos. He finally complies. On a materialistic note: Amos needs to be shirtless more often…for science. 

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Later, Lucia and Naomi are nearing the end of their sojourn to the Roci. Unfortunately, Naomi’s health is on the decline and she needs a respite from the exertion. As a result, the pair rest in an alcove near the ship. 

Next, we see Draper paying a visit to the VA for job opportunities. She runs into Thomas (Michael Xavier) on her way out. Draper asks him to join her for drinks again. Methinks something is brewing between the two…

Now, Drummer pops in to interrogate Marco. She inquires of Naomi’s son Phillip’s whereabouts. Marco remains mum on the subject at first. He rambles on about his revolutionary ideals and the good ol’ days when talk of revolution in the Belt was a pipe dream. He even admits to understanding why Naomi left him. Well, forcing her to commit murder and then taking her son away might have been overkill. Marco is charming, so I can see the allure. 

Then, Drummer rejoins Ashford on the Tynan. Marco is with them, and he’s under the impression that they’re turning him over to the “Inners.” A swarm of ships surround them. Marco does have a price on his head, after all. He tries to sway Ashford with dreams of the Belt living in an age of prosperity. Marco steals valuable goods and supplies for his fellow Belters. He’s a Robin Hood of sorts. Plus, he doesn’t believe the truce will hold. Ashford also toys with Marco, but the latter doesn’t bite. 

Pictured: Cara Gee and David Strathairn

Later, Draper arrives home intoxicated after her outing with Thomas. Her nephew is aghast when he learns of Draper quitting her dock job. He feels responsible. Suddenly, the MVPD arrives and arrests Draper for grand larceny. Methinks her former boss turned her in after all. 

Next, Lucia reveals to Naomi that she’s directly responsible for the crash that killed so many of Murtry’s colleagues. She rigged the ship to crash. However, Naomi asserts that Lucia doesn’t deserve to die. Lucia stands up and is instantly shot in the side by Murtry, who was observing them from afar. Naomi utilizes her comm to fire missiles from the Roci at Murtry. He’s knocked back by the blast. We see Holden and Alex arrive on the scene and help the women escape. The quartet makes a break for the Roci. 

Then, a tribunal of sorts is held to determine Marco’s fate. Ashford represents Anderson Dawes, Drummer represents Fred Johnson and Tycho station. Leaders from the factions Black Sky, Golden Bough and Matar Kibileya are also present. Marco is floating below them in the airlock. Should death be decided, Marco will be spaced. The leaders give the accused time to plead his case. He gives an eloquent speech of a romanticized future where the Belters prosper. Marco also asserts that the Inners will break the truce. Belters are merely invited to the table due to their strength. 

Next, the leaders make their decision. Marco offers to turn over the money he made from selling the Inners’ goods to the Belter community. He also vows to “sit on his hands like a good little boy” and remain docile until the truce is broken. Ashford votes death, as does the leader of the Matar Kibileya. The remainder vote to keep Marco alive – this includes Drummer. Ashford is taken aback by her decision. Marco is ordered to call his ship so he can go free, as long as he keeps his word to turn over his profits. 

Now, Drummer explains to Ashford that her decision served a twofold purpose: she didn’t want to cause a riot or any more divisiveness between the Belter factions. Secondly, now they can keep a closer eye on him. Drummer is one smart cookie. 

Meanwhile, Draper is sitting quietly in her cell. Esai (Paul Schulze) arrives to bail her out. She asks him if his offer still stands despite the fact that she’s now jobless. Esai sees this as an opportunity to hire her full-time. Draper agrees to work for him. No, don’t do it! It’s a trap!

Pictured: Cas Anvar

Then, back on the Roci, Naomi apologizes for keeping her health issues a secret from Holden. He reveals that it doesn’t matter where they are, as long as they’re together. But, he has some matters that need tending to on Ilus, such as freeing Amos. Thus, the pair will go their separate ways for now. They’re so cute I might puke. 

Later, Holden faces off against Murtry. He beats the snot out of the formidable chief and reminds the latter who’s boss. Holden tells Murtry he’s no longer in charge and saunters off into the sunset like the badash motherforker he is. Boom!

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Now we’re cooking with gas, Screaming Firehawks! “Retrograde” solidified Holden and Murtry as enemies, especially since the latter subtly threatened Naomi. Holden resumed the reins as leader, and it’s nice to see him embrace that more this season. Drummer and Ashford are one of my favorite pairs on The Expanse. Gee and Strathairn play off each other so well. Not to mention, Drummer’s general bada**ery never ceases to amaze me. Oh, and Draper agreeing to work with a drug dealer? Not a fan. My hope is she’ll find a better job soon. 

Do you think Marco will remain docile as he claimed? Will Holden be able to keep Murtry in line? Where the fork is Reverend Anna in all this? Join me next time as I recap The Expanse, here on Geek Girl Authority. 

The Expanse Season 4 is now streaming on Amazon Prime. 



Melody McCune
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