Review: The Expanse Episode 507, “Oyedeng”

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon Studios. Pictured (L-R): Shohreh Aghdashloo (Chrisjen Avasarala), Michael Irby (Admiral Delgado)
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon Studios. Pictured (L-R): Shohreh Aghdashloo (Chrisjen Avasarala), Michael Irby (Admiral Delgado) /

Preposterous ending notwithstanding, the latest episode of The Expanse has terrific drama between Naomi and Marco, who are fighting for their son’s soul.

The fight for Filip’s soul is on between Naomi and Marco. During her stay on his ship, Marco has permitted Naomi to spend time with Filip, and she spends that time talking about her past and trying to reach the side of him that isn’t like his father. Most of the episode is about Filip’s struggle between his parents: the father who raised him and the mother who actually is the hero his father pretends to be.

This is the first time Jasai Chase Owens’ acting is really put to the test, as he has one emotional and difficult conversation after another. Learning about Naomi’s final days apart as part of the Belter crew clashes with what he was told by Marcos. Eventually, mother and son even embrace, a milestone. She even tells him about contemplating suicide after he’d been taken from her. Dominique Tipper is incredible here.

Unfortunately, Marco manages to steal back his son with masterful manipulation. Marcos is becoming so unstoppably evil it’s almost getting hard to believe, and could do with some more layers. With Bobby and Alex uncovering his corruption and coercion — confirmed by Holden and Tycho Station — Marco comes off as a crazy person with too many dangerous toys. He’s supposedly fighting for the rights of the Belters, although it’s unclear if this is genuine or just a way for him to gain followers. In either case, flattening his character to just “the bad guy” doesn’t do him or the story any favors.

His connection to Naomi is just about the only thing that makes him seem human at all. He shows flashes of genuine care for his son, but almost every conversation he has with him seems extremely calculated, as if he’s always thinking of the next thing Filip needs to hear to become more like him. Marco makes for a near-perfect antagonist: he’s brilliant, manipulative, charismatic, driven, without empathy, stubborn, and very, very selfish. But he’s still a human being who at one wasn’t this bad…we assume. It would make for a more interesting character arc if we saw moments of that bubble up before getting pushed back down.

While Naomi fights for her son’s life, Holden and the crew of the Roci catch up to the Belter ship that is carrying the protomolecule. After a well-done space battle, the Belter ship self-destructs, seemingly destroying everything inside. The short battle was a great reminder of not just how effective Holden has become as a captain but of how incredibly well equipped the Roci is as a gunship. The Belter skif isn’t a tough opponent, but it’s still striking how routine it is for the Roci to bring it down.

Afterwards, Holden gets a message from Alex and the pair start to connect the dots about the discoveries they’ve made. Holden notices that one of the ship profiles Bobbie and Alex got from the weapons deal is the same one Naomi took to go see Filip. He asks Alex and Bobbie to go after her, since they’re closer to her supposed location.

With Filip fully back on Marcos side, the two call Naomi to the bridge to tell her about the plan to lure the Roci and destroy Holden. Filip seems to cross a line that leaves Naomi with little or no hope for his soul, and her anguishing screams are still ringing in my ears.

That said, it’s kind of funny how Marcos goes into jealous ex-boyfriend mode whenever Holden comes up. And this plan is all in on just killing one man, Holden. After that, he plans to set Naomi free, which is hilarious. Surely a man with Marcos’ resources could go and kill his ex’s current man? Or maybe it’s just to hurt her.

Either way, Naomi pulls off what is easily the most ridiculous thing done in this show this far: she shoots herself out of an airlock, with no space suit, and propels into her ship as it disconnects with Marco’s. The image of her floating helplessly through space after seemingly losing her son forever is haunting.

Grade: B-

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

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