The Expanse S05E04 brings us squarely into the business segment of the season as Marcos Inaros executes his plan to bring the inner planets (i.e. Earth and Mars) to their knees. The asteroid bombardment of Earth and the theft of the protomolecule from Tychos is justified as revenge for the generations of oppression of the Belters by the Inners.
Observers of history will recognise this as the ultimate dichotomy – “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter”. The plot of The Expanse S05E04 mirrors 9/11 uncannily. If one might wonder how does a motley crew like that of Marcos Inaros manage to pull off such an intricate scheme, one needs only to consider the manner in which Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were able to launch an attack on American soil.
On a personal level, this entire incident is a nightmare for Naomi Nagata as her quest to find her estranged son Felipe goes horribly wrong. James Holden – back on Tychos – is similarly helpless as every single one of our heroes are caught napping by Inaros’ grand machinations. It seems almost improbable that major powers like Earth and Mars are so easily taken by surprise in this way but as I have said before, there is historical precedent.
This socio-political relevance of the plot in The Expanse S05E04 is what makes The Expanse series such compelling drama. There is always an element of realism even in a drama series ostensibly presented as scifi-space opera. This is where The Expanse is able to excel beyond the fantastical strands that underpin other similar franchises like Star Trek and Star Wars.
By the end of the episode, the Rocinante crew remain scattered and in a dark place. It makes the remaining story that much more anticipated as they figure out how to resolve the dilemma they find themselves in.
… still there’s more …