Ricky Church reviews the penultimate episode of The Expanse season 5…
The penultimate episode of The Expanse‘s fifth season was an exciting episode that had a nice balance of character moments, action, plot progression and examination of the season’s central themes. There was still set-up involved for next week’s finale, but unlike last week’s episode the set-up didn’t take up the majority of the episode thanks to the combination of the series’ best aspects.
‘Winnipesaukee’ focused a lot on the situation on or around Earth as Amos, Clarissa and Erich’s gang looked for ways to get off Earth and had to face several problems, most of them being more moral dilemmas than anything physical. The idea of this particular group of characters saving a bunch of civilians, who were mostly household staff for the rich that were basically left for dead, was a pretty interesting one. Of course Erich was the one more keen to just leave them be while Amos played in the middle, recognizing the pros and cons to letting a bunch of strangers know they have a potentially working shuttle, but it was interesting to see Clarissa of all people be the one most invested in saving these people. Part of that is her way of earning redemption for her past actions while another is how much Amos has rubbed off on her and the things she has witnessed on their journey. The callback to their discussion on the nature of tribes was a nice touch as Clarissa thought about the fact that if everyone treated each other as if they were part of one tribe, they wouldn’t be in the massively terrible situation they’d be in.
This fact was compounded by a security force who were also stuck on the island and tried strongarming Amos’ group and other residents into giving them whatever they wanted. It led to a tense stand-off as the two groups fought each other in a very well filmed and choreographed one-take sequence. The action was well done and created a lot of stakes where it was left in question who exactly would survive. It even seemed for a moment Amos wouldn’t make it out unscathed with the scare he was either shot or blinded by shrapnel. It made for a very exciting end for Amos and Clarissa’s story on Earth and holds a fair bit of potential with the group they’re with if Erich and his people might stick around them beyond the finale.
The other story to deal with the themes this season has presented was Avasarala’s as she dealt with the ramifications of the UN’s military actions and how they were looking to ramp up their operations. It tied well with Clarissa’s own thoughts on tribes as Avasarala pointed out how their actions could potentially help unify the Belt to Marco Inaros’ cause and focus on him as the enemy instead of all Belters. It wasn’t presented as a clear black and white argument though as both sides had valid points, though the breaking issue was the callousness the UN’s new leader and some of his military officials had to civilians in the Belt, particularly toward children. The idea though that Avasarala had of trying to ally with Marco’s enemies is a very interesting one considering Drummer is very unhappy with the Free Navy leader, especially after what she learnt in this episode.
Drummer’s placed in quite an interesting position as she is on route to destroy Holden and the Rocinante, but clearly doesn’t want to. Her conundrum definitely places a huge question mark over the resolution of her story if she can free herself and her crew from Marco’s lieutenant, though the interesting thing is how even her own crew may be more with Marco if not in ideology than purely for survival. Holden, Naomi, Alex, Bobbie and Marco didn’t get a whole lot to do except to react to Naomi’s sabotaged message, though Marco did manage to manipulate Filip back to his side by slightly twisting the narrative that Naomi had abandoned them once again.
‘Winnipesaukee’ was a good improvement over last week’s episode where it felt all set-up without the intriguing story and character moments Expanse does so well with. The way the story took time to sit with the various arguments and examine the moral pros and cons of each was well done both in the writing and acting of the cast while the one-take action sequence delivered one of the most memorable fights the series has offered yet. As everything barrels toward next week’s finale, the stage has been set in very interesting and exciting ways where it is not easy to predict what the ultimate outcome will be.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.