The Expanse stars talk about that emotional reveal in “Redoubt”


The sixth and final season of The Expanse has been cruising full speed ahead on Amazon Prime Video. In the latest episode, “Redoubt,” a pirate queen stuck it to the Free Navy and tensions rose aboard the Rocinante and Pella.

But one of the episode’s most powerful scenes was a quiet one between longtime series stars Steven Strait (James Holden) and Dominique Tipper (Naomi Nagata). Now that “Redoubt” has aired, Tipper and Strait are opening up about that moving scene and how it fits into their characters’ long journeys. SPOILERS for last week’s episode of The Expanse below.

The Expanse

Holden’s confession on The Expanse

During the climactic battle of this season’s third episode, “Force Projection,” Holden made the fateful decision to deactivate the nuke that would have killed Free Navy commander Marco Inaros as well as Naomi’s son Filip. Word quickly spread through the Rocinante, with different people finding out about their captain’s actions in a variety of ways. For Naomi, Holden decided to just tell her, what he’d done…and why he did it.

“I had such a wonderful time working with [Dominique Tipper] and finding that vulnerability of this man choosing the one he loves over the fate of the system,” Strait told Slash Film. “And you know what, it’s just honest. He just can’t do it. He just can’t. And it’s just the way it is. And however one may judge him, it’s just the way it is. He just can’t pull the trigger. He can’t kill her child. And he can’t be that to her and for better or for worse, Holden has always acted from the instincts of his morality and he chooses that.”

“That was our final scene together,” Tipper said. “It had a lot of weight for many different reasons. And again, we always enjoy crafting these scenes together and this one was especially beautiful.”

“We worked really hard on it,” Strait added. “We’ve always had a culture of commitment and rehearsal in a way that is very unique for television. I mean, we have devoted every weekend to rehearse these episodes since the first season of episode one and we never missed an episode.”

Remember the Cant

This season of The Expanse marks the end of a long and transformative journey for Naomi and Holden. The two have been lovers on the show since late in the show’s first season, but they haven’t always had an easy run of it. Which just makes their secure dynamic this season even more powerful.

“Naomi and Holden’s arc throughout this season is my favorite,” Tipper said. “We find them, despite of what’s happening around them, in such a mature, grounded place with each other finally. And them being able to have this conversation that they have as honestly and emotionally vulnerable as they do, especially with what Holden comes to her with — it’s just one of my favorite moments.”

I totally agree with Tipper: this period of Holden and Naomi’s relationship is my favorite in the entire show’s run. The emotional intelligence in the writing this season is something I’ve praised in my reviews. “Force Projection” was the latest in a line of examples of how far the characters — and the cast members who play them — have come.

Strait also opened up a bit more about what it’s been like to play Captain James Holden for six seasons.

"Something that I really love about Holden and it’s something it’s been such a privilege to play over the years is that it’s a very unusual hero arc to have a hero centered on his humility and his empathy and finding his way through his mistakes and flaws. He makes decisions as best he can and it’s just, he’s not a man just born with the ability to do these things. Like it’s something that he’s had to learn over the years and at this moment. And then it culminates at the end of the series with another moment that, that I think really shows that in a complete way for his arc."

What moment is he referring to there? With less than two weeks until the series finale of The Expanse airs on January 14, we won’t have to wait long to find out.

The first four episodes of The Expanse are available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video, with new episodes launching every Friday.

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