When we last left The Expanse, Holden asks Alex and Bobbie to keep an eye on Marco’s fleet in hopes of locating Naomi. He’d do it himself but he and the Roci are in hot pursuit of the protomolecule. However, they experience an unexpected hiccup when they finally catch up to the ship they believe has it. At the same time, Naomi and Marco battle over the affection and loyalty of their son. Filip eventually sides with his father which causes his mother to seemingly commit suicide but it is really a daring escape onto the Chetzemoka.
[Slight Spoilers Ahead!]
Naomi miraculously survives her brief time unprotected in space and finds herself on a ship stripped bare of mostly anything that can be useful. Not only that, but an emergency recording is being broadcast to her Roci comrades to rescue her. When they arrive, they’ll be treated to a huge surprise since the ship is also rigged with explosives. Naomi must put her engineering skills to the test in order to discover a way to either escape or to at least warn her friends.
In other parts of the solar system, Amos and Clarissa finally reach Baltimore to reconnect with Amos’ criminal friend, Erich, and to obtain transport off planet to Luna. Earth’s leadership gathers on the moon base where the new Secretary General, David Pastor, gives an inspiring speech to rally his people after the deadly asteroid attacks. When he is advised by his council on retaliatory measures, Avasarala and Admiral Delgado have differing views on how to proceed. Meanwhile, Drummer begins second guessing allying with Marco.
Naomi’s storyline is a compelling tale of perseverance in a Castaway sort of way as we watch her resourcefulness and ingenuity. At times it isn’t clear what she’s doing at first but as the episode progresses, it all comes together nicely in a “Eureka!” type moment when it’s revealed. Actress, Dominique Tipper captures the helplessness and urgency of Naomi’s situation as well as the range of emotions as she fights for survival.
In a similar way, Oluniké Adeliyi portrays the cold ruthlessness and menacing presence of Karal. As a new member to Drummer’s crew, she can force her way into the minds of the other members and sow doubt and fear. She doesn’t hesitate to remind people the consequences of defying Marco and she causes Drummer to second guess joining the Free Navy. Whereas her boss is charismatic and at times, viewers can sympathize with him, Karal is truly villainous and someone you hope gets their comeuppance.
As we approach the final episodes of The Expanse this season, the series is now placing the different threads closer together. Amos is one step nearer to getting off Earth, Alex and Bobbie are ready for a rescue and at the end, Naomi is able to alter the message. The hard part is being patient enough to see how it all turns out but that’s a result of Amazon Prime switching to the mainly weekly format rather than dropping all the episodes at once.
“Hard Vacuum” tells an engaging survival story anchored by a great individual performance from actress, Dominique Tipper. It also further develops the villain, Karal, and begins moving the difference pieces closer together as we approach the season finale.
New episodes of The Expanse are released Wednesdays on Amazon Prime Video.
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