The Expanse review: Episode 505, “Down and Out”


The latest episode of The Expanse, which ends on one hell of a cliffhanger, feels like it’s telling one great story even though its characters are planets apart.

In the wake of the meteor strikes, Amos and Clarissa find themselves eight levels underground in a seemingly inescapable prison that is slowly collapsing around them. They meet up with a few guards, and together recruit the help of another prisoner with strength-enhancing mods. Tensions are high as the guards struggle with maintaining authority over the prisoners, including Clarissa, while fighting to survive an extremely dangerous situation. Once they reach the top, the enhanced prisoner turns on them, killing two of the guards before Amos and the third guard can stop him.

And by “stop him,” I mean Amos suplexes him down an elevator shaft, because you know…Amos things. Afterwards the final guard considers staying with Clarissa and Amos and continuing to do her duty, but in the end, the apocalyptic destruction around them convinces her to abandon her job, with Amos helping by reminding her of her that she has a family in need to protecting.

Elsewhere, Naomi finds herself in a nightmare scenario, held captive by Marco Inaros. She has almost no access to anything on the ship, and the other crew — her former crew — ridicule her. Her attempts to connect with Filip flounder, so thoroughly has his father indoctrinated him to his way of thinking.

Naomi looks worn and beaten down by the time she discovers Marcos’ plan to kill Holden by sabotaging the Roci’s core. In another brilliant Naomi Nagata move, she feigns submission long enough to steal a communicator, call Holden and stop him from starting the ship.

Each of the individual stories in this episode are very character-driven, and yet the larger storyline still connects the characters together even when they’re planets apart. Whether it’s Naomi saving Holden while being held captive or Amos using Avasarala’s power to help him inadvertently save his friend, the strings that tie the main characters together are always there, helping everything feel of a piece. These stories naturally fit together without feeling forced.

And the cultures feel as real as the characters, even on places like the Belt, which can be hard for us to conceptualize because there’s so little like it in our reality. Giving us characters like Naomi and Marcos, who both come from the Belt but who have completely different outlooks on life, helps makes the place and its people feel alive, making those characters easier to relate to.

Meanwhile, Alex and Bobbie make it to the arms deal undetected and discover things they hoped they wouldn’t, deducing from the ships present that some very high-ranked officials are involved in these black market deals, and the inclusion of a Belter ship all but confirms the weapons are being sold to the Belt. The two keep their distance as they observe the ships, but are spotted and hightail it out. The Belter ship that pursues them fires a missile that Alex cannot outrun. Having no weapons on the Razorback, he does the only thing he can: he drops the core reactor of the ship as a last-second diversion. The missile hits the core, sending him and Bobbie off into space with no way back.

Grade: B

Next. Review: The Expanse returns for season 5, excellent as ever. dark

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