As The Expanse Season 5 continues, our characters are finding themselves in increasingly dire situations that require desperate choices. “Oyedeng” puts most of the Roci crew in danger, and the results likely have far-reaching consequences for the rest of the universe.
I can hardly start a review of “Oyedeng” without talking about that unbelievable cliffhanger. Betrayed by everyone, even after all of these touching moments that make you think she’s changing minds among the crew, Naomi jumps out of an airlock and boards the Chetzemoka in order to foil Marco’s plan to bait and destroy the Rocinante. In a show full of badass moments, that one has to be near the top of the list.
For a show like The Expanse, which prides itself on its perfectly plausible use of science, that last scene strikes me as a little too fantastical. However, it is possible to survive in space for two minutes without holding your breath, and the hyper-oxygenated blood that Naomi injects herself with was introduced earlier this season when they rescued Monica from the cargo bay. James S.A. Corey explained in a tweet why Naomi survived after being exposed, but Cyn did not, and someone on Reddit helpfully provided a link to this video of NASA testing their space suits. And supposedly that’s a very realistic depiction of what would happen to a person in that situation. (There was water vapor coming off of her eyes.)
Now that that’s out of the way, many compliments to Dominique Tipper, who is absolutely nailing all of her scenes this season. Seriously, throw every single award at her, this woman deserves all of them. That scene in “Oyedeng” with Filip in his room, where she tells him how much she went through to find him before she had to give up, was phenomenal. And the scene on the bridge, where she learns Marco’s plan and starts screaming at him, was fantastic. This season may be a little lighter on the action (which is ridiculous, considering all that’s happened), but it is absolutely delivering the character moments.
“Oyedeng” really highlights Marco’s narcissism and manipulation. The way he breaks Filip down and then immediately builds him back up is chilling: humiliating him in front of the entire crew and then acting like a loving father and getting everyone to chant his name. Any time Filip shows the slightest inclination of thinking for himself, Marco reacts. No doubt he let Naomi have free reign of the ship again in order to force this exact situation and prove to Naomi that she’s no threat to them or their cause, as well as to test Filip’s loyalty. You can see it in his eyes that he’s always just a few seconds away from snapping.
You can’t blame Filip for not turning against his father. This is how he was raised, and until Naomi arrived, he didn’t know any differently. It takes time to break through that kind of conditioning. However, Naomi definitely planted a seed of doubt in Filip’s brain. A few episodes ago, she told him that Marco would not die for him, but he would expect Filip to die for him. And then Filip watches as she risks her life to escape and save her friends. That will definitely be in the back of his mind going forward.
I’m very curious if there is something else going on with Holden, or if his decision not to immediately destroy the Zmeya was entirely due to the fact that he wanted information about Naomi. He already knew that she’d been kidnapped by Marco before he talked to Alex and Bobbie, so I don’t know why finding out that Marco had Naomi’s ship was a surprise, or why it was a big enough reveal that he reconsidered blowing up the Zmeya and getting rid of the protomolecule.
That choice will likely have disastrous consequences, because keen-eyed fans noticed that one of the torpedoes they fired at the Roci was not like the others – it has a blue exhaust trail, not yellow, indicative of an Epstein drive – and likely contained the protomolecule sample. Is the theory that Monica, Bull, and Holden came up with – that Mars is giving the Belters warships in exchange for the sample – what really is happening? Is the sample on its way to Mars, or somewhere else?
Make sure you always keep an eye on whatever Marco is monitoring. In “Oyedeng”, he was keeping an eye on MCRN and UN forces near the Ring gate – perhaps part of the deal with Mars is access to or control of the gate. Like the hyperoxygenated blood, a battle at the ring gate was hinted at earlier this season when Alex went to the War College. Admiral Sauveterre’s lecture was about using the Ring as a choke point; I can’t imagine that doesn’t come into play somehow this season. Plus, we know that Sauveterre is involved, which makes him probably the person high up the chain of command who is facilitating the thefts.
I mentioned earlier that season 5 has more focus on characters and relationships rather than action, but “Oyedeng” had a phenomenal “fight” scene when the Roci caught up with the Zmeya. Going into that roll and firing the rail gun at the torpedoes when they couldn’t take them out with the missiles was incredible, and I was on the edge of my seat for it.
I will admit that as much as I am enjoying the Belter Navy plotline, I do wish we were seeing more of what was happening on Earth and Mars. The last two episodes with Amos were amazing, but what is going on? Earth has been completely devastated by these attacks and I’m just dying to know how Chrisjen is doing. She’s only been featured briefly since the attack happened, and I had been anticipating that this would be a big arc for her.
I kind of wish Alex and Bobbie were going back to Mars so that we can see what’s up there as well (and learn if all of this speculation has some merit to it). However, I’m also anxious for a crew reunion so I’m glad they’re heading after Naomi… even though they’re heading into a trap.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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