DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse episode “Winnipesaukee” is laden with spoilers. You’ve been warned, Beltalowda. Proceed at your own peril.
Welcome back, Screaming Firehawks! We’ve reached penultimate episode territory on The Expanse. It’s hard to believe that Season Five is almost over when it feels like only yesterday we were giddily tuning in for the premiere. “Winnipesaukee” amped up the stakes just in time for the season finale. Everyone was in top form, but Shohreh Aghdashloo, Dominique Tipper and Cara Gee blew me away. As I’ve said before, women rule the roost on The Expanse, which is a rarity in hard science fiction. Not to mention, this show boasts one of the largest ensemble casts around. The action sequence prior to Amos and Peaches’ departure had me on the edge of my seat. Talk about pins and needles.
Ready to delve into “Winnipesaukee”? Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Marco (Keon Alexander) learning that Naomi’s alive. Karal (Olunike Adeliyi) sends him the malfunctioning signal from the Chetzemoka that she heard in the previous episode. Obviously, this throws a wrench in his plan to lure the Roci to its destruction. We see Naomi (Tipper) is scraping what appears to be ice off a pipe as a source of water. She rushes back into the bridge gasping for air. She looks dehydrated and there’s clearly no food or beverage rations aboard the Chetzemoka.
Next, we get an overhead shot of Winnipesaukee Island in New Hampshire. Amos (Wes Chatham), Peaches (Nadine Nicole), Erich (Jacob Mundell) and their merry band of Baltimore thieves arrive at what appears to be an abandoned mansion. Said mansion harbors a hangar deck that houses a ship. Peaches claims to know how to fly one. Everyone sneaks inside the deck. However, they find a slew of winter wait staff hiding within. One of the women recognizes Peaches. Our crew learns that the vessel hasn’t been flown in at least two years. Amos, Erich and Peaches head inside to take a gander. Amos, ever the mechanic, gets straight to work on fixing the issue.
Meanwhile, on Luna, Avasarala (Aghdashloo) notices a digital memorial is in place for the victims of Marco’s asteroid strike against Earth. She also takes note of something else: Pallas station was attacked by the UN without her knowledge. She finds Delgado (Michael Irby) walking down a corridor and confronts him. Why did he go behind her back? Delgado reveals that Sec-Gen Paster asked for his honest opinion. He chose to retaliate. We see the pair entering an official meeting of Paster’s cabinet.
Now, Secretary-General Paster (Sugith Varughese) and his council members are plotting Earth’s next move. Avasarala voices her discontent regarding their last course of action involving Pallas station. She vehemently reveals that her husband Arjun is dead from the asteroid hit. This is the first time we’ve heard her say it out loud. Avasarala empathizes with those on Pallas who lost loved ones. Her impassioned speech appears to move some on the council.
Paster offers his condolences, but he believes that pragmatism will get them through this, not emotion. Delgado suggests that they attack Ceres next. That’s when Avasarala tenders her resignation — effective immediately. She walks out. We see a handful of council members resign and follow suit. Aghdashloo is absolutely brilliant in this scene. Incredibly touching performance.
Meanwhile, Karal and Oksana (Sandrine Holt) get some alone time aboard their ship to discuss the Naomi situation. Karal reveals that the Chetzemoka hasn’t changed course, so Naomi may not have control of the vessel. Oksana has the impulse to disclose Naomi’s status to Drummer, but Karal orders her to keep the secret under wraps. Should Marco find out that any tampering was going on behind his back, they would all end up on his sh*t list. And we know what happens to those on Marco’s sh*t list.
Later, the wait staff at the abandoned mansion hosts a dinner for their uninvited guests despite their dwindling supplies. Amos, Peaches and Erich head outside to find a group of desperate people under the impression that the former is there to provide assistance. Amos and co. did arrive via helicopter, after all. Not exactly stealthy. While Erich blatantly tells them to f*ck off, Amos proffers a more polite rejection. But it’s Peaches who urges the gathering to join them on their trip to Luna. She doesn’t want to leave anyone behind, especially since the island appears to be without power.
Then, Drummer (Gee) is receiving her orders from Marco. They’re to intercept the Roci with the intent to destroy. After Marco ends the call, Drummer muses why this maneuver is necessary in the first place. The Chetzemoka is supposed to draw the Roci to its death. However, Karal rebukes her for even questioning the Commander of the Free Navy. Drummer will do as she’s told or she’ll wind up in the cold. I just made that up, y’all. Give me a job on The Expanse, please! Anyway, Oksana surreptitiously demands Drummer hand over her gun. Drummer isn’t in the right headspace, so there’s a possibility that she’ll whip out her firearm at some point. But I think Drummer is smarter than that.
Next, we see Avasarala in front of the digital memorial again. She adds Arjun’s name to the display. There’s also a message: “If life transcends death, then I will search for you there.” How poignant. She’s approached by one of the council members. Apparently, a few more put in their resignation after Avasarala left the meeting. There are rumblings through the grapevine about deposing Sec-Gen Paster, which Avasarala categorizes as a coup. That’s treason. However, many want Avasarala to be promoted to Secretary-General … again. Will she accept the role, though?
Now, Avasarala is waiting for Delgado in his office. She will ascend to Secretary-General once again. Avasarala wants Delgado in her cabinet. But the admiral has other plans. He’s applying to be transferred to a strike team out near the Belt. He wants to slaughter Marco Inaros himself. It appears that no amount of convincing on Avasarala’s part will sway him otherwise. They share a drink and he finishes the bar joke he started telling five episodes ago. A massive cliffhanger is finally resolved!
Later, Amos is tinkering with the ship. He’s called outside to find a horde of private security officers urging him to hand over whatever food he has and the helicopter. Amos refuses. The security detail merely wants to rob everyone of their provisions for themselves. Tensions mount between the groups. Guns are brandished. But Peaches steps in the middle and defuses the situation. She doesn’t want any needless bloodshed. The officers walk away at Amos’ behest.
Meanwhile, Oksana is preparing to execute Marco’s assignment. Drummer is on the other side of the glass and she senses something is amiss. She knows that Oksana is hiding something from her. Drummer refers to Naomi as the “woman she loved,” which naturally gets Oksana thinking. She asks Drummer if the latter loves their little polyamory Belter family as much as she loves Naomi. Drummer says yes. Oksana reveals that Naomi might be alive. Drummer’s knee-jerk reaction is to act, but Oksana suggests she stay the course. Marco would kill them all if they went against his commands.
Then, Erich and Peaches share some one-on-one time. He asks why Amos refers to her as “Peaches.” She has no clue. Peaches inquires Erich as to why he calls Amos “Timmy.” “Because that’s his name,” Erich says. Speaking of Amos/Timmy, he’s outside in the snow taking a break. We see Hutch (Amanda Cordner), one of Erich’s guards, sit down beside Amos. She talks about her fear of change. Moving from Baltimore to Luna: pretty massive change. Amos spits out some wisdom as he’s wont to do. He mentions that we never really leave anything behind. It’s deeply profound. But my boy is always deeply profound.
Next, we see Peaches and Erich engaging in a poignant conversation of their own. Peaches mentions Amos’ remarks about tribes. They’re essentially cultivating a tribe of their own by inviting that group to travel with them to Luna. Erich loudly wonders where Amos “found her.” Peaches mutters under her breath about her life sentence in prison for multiple homicides. It’s a funny moment with perfect delivery by Nicole.
Suddenly, a cluster of snipers begins firing at our crew. Amos, Hutch and Erich take cover. Peaches ushers the mass of newcomers onto the ship. However, we see a few snipers make their way inside the hangar. Guns are fired all over the place. There was one moment that made me think Amos got shot for the millionth time, but he made it out unscathed. Amos, Erich and Hutch run inside the hangar to find a pile of dead bodies courtesy of Peaches going into Hulk mode. Peaches is weakened from the affair, so Erich takes her inside the vessel. Amos and Hutch are the last ones to board. More snipers swarm them and, as they’re about to board the ship, Hutch is shot. Amos drags her within as she continues to shoot at the snipers.
Thankfully, both Amos and Hutch make it inside as Peaches takes off. We see the remaining snipers go up in flames from said takeoff as well as an explosion unfurl on the island. Amos wakes up while they’re en route to Luna. Peaches and Erich are out like lights. Hutch is also unconscious, so Amos ensures that her body stays secure on the ground despite the lack of gravity. He already has his mag boots on.
Later, Marco pays Filip (Jasai Chase Owens) a visit. Both men apologize for their past behavior. Marco reveals that Naomi is alive. She survived her spacewalk. Additionally, Marco tells Filip that Naomi didn’t flee due to her guilt or sadness. She left them. Naomi escaped. We see Filip burst into tears and Marco embraces him. Now, he thinks his mother abandoned him again.
Next, Naomi is prying apart the helmet she utilized to send out a new signal. She manages to get the screen in semi-operational mode. Naomi can see the Screaming Firehawk is nearby which makes her thrilled. However, she can’t spot the Roci which makes her less thrilled. Her heartbreak is palpable. Once again, Tipper proves she is a tour de force. She gives herself that moment to feel whatever she’s feeling, then she gets back to work.
Now, I’m curious to see if Marco will enact his revenge for the UN attack against Pallas station in the season finale. We never got to see his reaction, which makes me wonder if he was fully aware of the scope of the situation during his scene with Filip. Additionally, Anderson Dawes’ name was brought up amid talks of Earth planning a strike on Ceres. Perhaps I just miss seeing Jared Harris on my screen, but I’d love for Dawes to make another appearance. Avasarala becoming Sec-Gen again is a dream come true. That woman deserves to be in charge of everything. I’m hoping Holden gets to Naomi in time. I’m assuming he will by next week’s episode. It seems like that will be the big event of “Nemesis Games” — saving Naomi. I also hope Drummer joins the rescue effort too.
Do you think Marco will retaliate after what happened to Pallas station? Will Amos get off Luna in time to reunite with the Roci crew? How will Holden reach the Chetzemoka without the latter exploding like a bomb? Join me next week as I recap The Expanse, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Expanse Season Five episodes are available to stream Wednesdays on Amazon Prime.