DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse episode “Down and Out” is laden with spoilers. You’ve been warned, Beltalowda. Proceed at your own peril.
Welcome back, Screaming Firehawks! The Expanse returns with another stellar episode after last week’s absolute masterpiece. I didn’t expect “Down and Out” to live up to the jaw-dropping events of “Guagamela,” but it was still an excellent outing. It managed to keep the momentum going and propel the story forward while giving us a bit of breathing room to somewhat recover from last week. Amos and Peaches attempted to escape a collapsing prison facility from the 10th level … which was underground. Naomi finally made contact with Holden, albeit under more than unpleasant circumstances. Bobbie and Alex made a shocking discovery during their stakeout of the Barkeith. Apparently, Martians are now selling their warships to the Belt. Goodie!
Ready to delve into “Down and Out”? Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Drummer’s (Cara Gee) ship. Our favorite polyamory Belter family is watching the news unfurl regarding Marco Inaros’ latest attacks against Earth, Mars and Tycho station. Drummer is, obviously, broken up about Fred Johnson’s murder. She knows Marco is behind it. Speaking of, she receives a message from Mr. Commander of the Free Navy. He wants to meet with her and her crew to discuss the New World Order. She’s beating herself up for letting Marco escape her grasp. Of course, she’s blaming herself for Fred’s death, which smashes what’s left of my heart into tiny pieces. Drummer informs her crew that she’s going to accept his offer to talk.
Meanwhile, Amos (Wes Chatham) and Clarissa/Peaches (Nadine Nicole) wake up after the explosion. Initially, Clarissa assumes a massive earthquake is the culprit. However, Amos reveals that a meteor struck Africa, so whatever happened to the penitentiary must be aftershocks. Peaches is hurt, so Amos attempts to find something from which to make a splint. A prison guard named Rona (Natalie Brown) finds them and helps Amos open the door. She’s reticent to let Peaches wander free since the latter is an inmate, but Amos reminds her that said inmate is hurt and her mods are blocked. The main objective is to get out of the collapsing building.
Next, Amos, Peaches and Rona run into two other guards named Sullivan (Thomas Mitchell) and Morris (Arnold Pinnock). Rona leads everyone to the stairwell, but it’s currently blocked off by gigantic hunks of debris. So, there’s that. They enlist in the help of inmate Konecheck (Boomer Phillips), whose modifications flow uninhibited, to open the elevator doors. Amos proceeds to refer to him as “Tiny,” and I can get behind that. Tiny successfully pries open said elevator doors.
Then, on Tycho, Holden (Steven Strait) leaves Naomi a message. After the attacks, he tried to contact Amos and Alex, but to no avail. Radio silence from all three. He reunites with Bull (José Zúñiga), and the pair barge into Sakai’s (Bahia Watson) holding cell to interrogate her. Bull threatens to chop off her fingers if she doesn’t cooperate. They’ve got their eyes on Zmeya, the ship that stole the last protomolecule sample for Marco. Sakai remains tightlipped regarding pertinent information. She truly believes that Marco will succeed in bringing the Inners to their knees. Holden and Bull are assembling a team to follow Zmeya, but when they return, Bull vows to throw Sakai out of the airlock himself. Side note: Watson is so damn good as Sakai. She’s one of my favorite newcomers on The Expanse.
Meanwhile, the gang at the penitentiary is inside the non-working elevator. Amos thinks something potentially helpful is behind one of the panels. He asks Morris to shoot two holes in it so Tiny can utilize said holes as finger hooks. Tiny removes the panel, and we see a ladder is lurking beneath it. Huzzah! Sullivan follows Tiny up the ladder — the former shooting holes into panels so the latter can extract them. This leaves an open ladder for the rest to climb. Teamwork makes the dream work, folks.
Next, we see Bobbie (Frankie Adams) and Alex (Cas Anvar) are still spying on the Barkeith. Alex notices that the Martian ship is fleeing the scene toward the Hungaria Group, which is a cluster of asteroids that make the perfect hiding place. They proceed to follow suit.
Later, Naomi (Dominique Tipper) heads into the canteen to find Marco (Keon Alexander), Filip (Jasai Chase Owens), Cyn (Brent Sexton) and Karal (Olunike Adeliyi) bonding over food. Marco urges Naomi to sit down and eat since she’s been refusing to do so. However, Naomi doesn’t want what Marco’s cooking up. He claims that Naomi isn’t a prisoner and she’s free to move about the vessel as she pleases. But the ship on which she arrived now belongs to Filip. So, there go her means of escape. She storms out. Cyn does the same because he’s tired of Marco playing mind games with Naomi.
Now, Marco has a father-son moment with Filip. He impresses upon his son the importance of feeling your feelings but also making pragmatic decisions. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you! He really had us in the first half, but then the toxic masculinity came out to play. Additionally, Marco tells Filip that it’s okay to despise Naomi for what she did to him. Baby boy, your dad is much worse.
Then, Naomi and Cyn have it out. Well, more like Naomi tells Cyn off for not truly taking care of Filip. Filip is more like Marco, which isn’t a good thing. Cyn is heartbroken. He clearly cares about Naomi, but his allegiance to Marco is clear. He asserts that Marco is trying to make things better for Belters. Naomi shoots back that Marco’s “benevolence” is built on a “river of blood.” God, Tipper is brilliant here.
Meanwhile, Sullivan and Tiny are still at it. They’re almost to the top of the ladder when Sullivan comes crashing down and splat! He’s dead. Rona accuses Tiny of pushing Sullivan, but Sully’s leg was hurting him long before he ascended that ladder. Rona takes Sullivan’s place. Amos, Clarissa and Morris begin to climb up the ladder as well.
Next, Naomi wanders into the canteen and finds it empty. She finally eats something. Well, that is until Karal waltzes in and interrupts her peaceful meal. She’s always despised Naomi because the latter thought she was “smarter than everyone.” “I wish I’d been stupider,” Naomi retorts. Karal hints at the Gamarra code, which gets Naomi’s mind racing. Additionally, Karal reveals that no one is coming to save Naomi and Marco will never let her go free.
Later, Naomi surreptitiously conceals a knife in her sleeve. She enters the bridge and calls for Marco, but he shoos her away. We see her quietly approach him from behind. Filip stops her and escorts her out of the bridge. Damn, our girl’s got guts. All of the women on The Expanse are gutsy as hell.
Meanwhile, Amos and co. reach the outside world. The top levels of the penitentiary are completely decimated, so the ladder took them outdoors. Tiny goes mad and kills Morris. Then, he starts choking Amos. We hear Peaches bite into the mod capsule in her mouth. However, before she can intervene Rona begins shooting at Tiny. Tiny drops Amos. Amos hurls the inmate over the side with his legs. Tiny falls down the elevator shaft. It’s such a badass moment. Peaches is savoring the wind on her skin. Rona is thinking about her kid, so Amos urges her to go find him. Now, it’s just Amos and Peaches, and they’re about to find their way out of the wreckage.
Then, we see Holden and Bull with their crew aboard the Roci. Bull claims he can pilot the Roci, but Holden warns him that she’s a different breed. Uh oh. Alex will be pissed. Naomi reunites with Cyn and helps him with a ship issue. It appears fences are being mended. That is until she hits him over the head, which knocks him unconscious. She swipes his phone and calls Holden to warn him. She reveals that Marco and his crew have sabotaged the reactors on the Roci. If Holden and co. start up the reactors, they’ll explode. Everything will explode. Holden shows Bull the message and they decide to stay put.
Additionally, Naomi tells Holden that Marco is holding her captive, but unfortunately, Cyn stops the video before she can say anything more. Cyn, Marco and Filip throw Naomi back in her cell.
Meanwhile, Bobbie and Alex make it to the Hungaria Group. The Barkeith is meeting with their Belter buyers. Bobbie notices that two Martian frigates are also in tow. However, once the Barkeith leaves, the two frigates remain behind. Bobbie realizes that the warships are the bounty. Mars is giving Marco warships. That’s cool and not at all dangerous.
Suddenly, Bobbie and Alex are found out. Alex attempts to steer the Razorback away from the danger, but the Barkeith blocks out their signal. Bobbie discovers it’s truly blocked when she attempts to send the ship profiles to Avasarala. The juice is really flowing at this point. We see Bobbie and Alex’s noses are bleeding from the incredible speed with which they’re flying. Alex makes one last-ditch effort to save them both. He does an emergency core dump. We see an explosion unfurl as the Razorback spins out into space. Out of control and totally vulnerable.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve already reached the midseason point of The Expanse Season Five, but here we are! So far, so very good. The stakes are higher than ever. My episodic MVP goes to Dominique Tipper, who’s consistently phenomenal, but she goes above and beyond in “Down and Out.” You really feel for Naomi and her dire situation. Marco is such a slime ball too. Amos is still a badass, but we already knew that. I love how much he cares for Peaches and how gentle he is with her. Amos is normally stoic and presents a hardened shell to almost everyone with which he interacts … except for Peaches. Their relationship is so pure. I dig it. Also, that final scene is proof positive as to why The Expanse is the best sci-fi show out there.
Will Holden save Naomi soon? Where are Amos and Peaches heading to next? What’s going to happen to Bobbie and Alex? Join me next week as I recap The Expanse, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Expanse streams Wednesdays on Amazon Prime.
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