|Books character||TV character|
Clarissa is intelligent, passionate and steadfast. Having grown up as a member of a powerful but dysfunctional family, Clarissa has been largely shaped by her feelings of inadequacy and jealousy over her father undervaluing her and heavily favoring her sister Julie. This caused Clarissa to spend much of her life desperately trying to be a model daughter and prove her worth to others.
When she is first introduced, Clarissa is on a ruthless and violent rampage, wanting revenge against Holden for exposing her father's crimes and hoping to finally gain her father's approval. She is blinded by her desire for vengeance and commits numerous atrocities while chasing her goal.
Once her vindictive haze wears off, Clarissa overcomes her anger and helps Holden and others before allowing herself to be arrested and incarcerated. Clarissa's stay in prison becomes a transformative experience for her, during which she reflects on her behavior and seems to take in Anna's advice that she can't take the easy way out of the crimes she has committed. She grows a lot as a person during this time, becoming deeply remorseful of the death and suffering she caused and developing a humility that she lacked before.
Eventually, with Amos's help, Clarissa seeks to right her wrongs and, though she has been forced to use violence in certain situations, it is evident that she is doing the best that she can to act with empathy, to avoid unnecessary strife, to find peaceful resolutions to conflicts, and to help as many people as she can.
Clarissa is the oldest daughter of Jules-Pierre Mao, responsible for organizing events in her family's honor. Prior to the beginning of the series, their father had a falling out with her younger sister, Julie, causing the latter to leave Earth for the Belt.
Throughout the series
In "Here There Be Dragons", Sadavir Errinwright approaches Chrisjen Avasarala with the knowledge that by using Jules-Pierre Mao’s daughter Clarissa as a conduit for leverage, they may be able to flush him out and get him to reveal what he knows about the protomolecule. Avasarala, however, changes the subject of discussion to the fallout of Errinwright's partnership with Jules-Pierre Mao.
Alter Ego: Melba Koh
In "Delta-V", Clarissa is shown to be living under the alias of Melba Koh and working as a repair technician for Savage Industries, who have been contracted by the United Nations Navy to perform repair work on the fleet headed to the Sol Ring.
Whilst aboard the UNN Seung Un, she is seen rigging an explosive device behind a panel when left unattended by her colleagues. However, the device is later discovered by fellow technician Ren. Despite his offers to not tell and help her cover it up if she removes the device, she refuses. Knowing Ren will try and stop her, she activates an implant in her mouth that releases a large amount of adrenaline, allowing her to pick up and slam her colleague's head into the wall, killing him. Exhausted from the huge physical exertion, she collapses next to his corpse.
During "It Reaches Out", Clarissa is still using her false identity of Melba. She privately accesses her hand terminal to remotely detonate the explosives aboard the Seung Un then activates transmission of a message of apparently James Holden claiming responsibility for the Seung Un in the name of the OPA and further claiming all rights to the Ring.
Through a series of flashbacks in "Intransigence", the true identity of Melba Koh is revealed as Clarissa Mao. A contentious relationship between sisters and their father is shown to be a personality-defining trigger for Clarissa. Tilly Fagan is shown to be an acquaintance of the Mao family.
In "Dandelion Sky", Clarissa is recognized by her old acquaintance, Tilly Fagan. Tilly eventually confronts Clarissa as she prepares to leave the Thomas Prince and pleads with her to no avail. As they fight, the Thomas Prince is suddenly stopped by the Ring Station's defense mechanism. Tilly is impaled on a piece of pipe while Clarissa escapes.
In "Fallen World", Clarissa survives the sudden stop, albeit with a broken arm. After meeting Anna Volovodov in the med bay, Clarissa steals an exosuit and once again prepares to leave the Thomas Prince. Anna pleads with her not to leave, having learned the truth from a dying Tilly, but her cries fall on deaf ears. Clarissa arrives at the Rocinante and searches for James Holden, but he is nowhere to be found. She ambushes Naomi Nagata in the cargo bay, demanding Holden's whereabouts. Before Clarissa can kill her, however, she is incapacitated by Anna.
In "Congregation", Clarissa is captured and given a suppressor to prevent her from using her implant. Amos Burton suggests killing her on the spot, but Anna and Naomi advise against it due to her role in framing Holden. Brought aboard the Behemoth, she is placed in a holding cell. Ironically, James Holden is in the cell across from her.In "Abaddon's Gate", Clarissa overhears Holden's conversation with The Investigator. She is later released due to her engineering experience and assigned to the bridge. Here, she meets Acting Captain Klaes Ashford, who kindly deactivates her suppressor. When Holden and company arrive at the bridge and explain themselves, Clarissa has a change of heart. Activating her implant, she manages to incapacitate Ashford and deactivate the Behemoth's comm laser, saving everyone and opening the doors to other worlds.
In "New Terra", Clarissa calls Amos Burton with her "one vid message a month" from a "lifetime sentence" in prison, and thanks him for how he treated her on the journey back to Earth from the Ring.
In "Gaugamela", Clarissa is visited in the Pit, a bunker prison, by Amos while she is hooked up to a machine that suppresses her implants. While they converse, they are startled when the prison's alarms go off. Then the prison violently shakes and the ceiling cracks and the lights go dark.
In "Down and Out", Clarissa and Amos successfully escape the collapsing prison complex through a maintenance ladder with the help of the augmented prisoner Konecheck and some prison guards. After reaching the surface, Konecheck turns on the group. Clarissa attempts to use her adrenaline mod to fight him but the prison drugs in her system cause her to collapse instead. Amos saves her by suplexing Konecheck off the building down an elevator shaft
In "Tribes", Clarissa and Amos evade her recapture by avoiding the UN refuge aid center. Instead they wind their way through the forests of the Chesapeake Conservancy. Along the way, they find a dead man and rummage through his pack to find some food along with his jacket and boots. They encounter a man by a fire who warns them of an armed shooter fortified nearby but they seek him out. Clarissa is forced to use her mods to rescue Amos. After she collapses, Amos brings her into the dead survivalist's cabin, bundles her up and treats her broken hand.In "Nemesis Games", having reached Luna via shuttle, Clarissa is brought aboard the docked Rocinante by Amos who imposes this favor upon Holden.
|2 "Doors & Corners"|
|6 "Paradigm Shift"|
|7 "The Seventh Man"|
|9 "The Weeping Somnambulist"|
|11 "Here There Be Dragons"||Mentioned|
|12 "The Monster and the Rocket"||Absent|
|13 "Caliban's War"||Absent|
|1 "Fight or Flight"||Absent|
|3 "Assured Destruction"||Absent|
|5 "Triple Point"||Absent|
|7 "Delta-V"||Appears (as "Melba Koh")|
|8 "It Reaches Out"||Appears (as "Melba Koh")|
|10 "Dandelion Sky"||Appears|
|11 "Fallen World"||Appears|
|13 "Abaddon's Gate"||Appears|
|1 "New Terra"||Appears|
|7 "A Shot in The Dark"||Absent|
|8 "The One-Eyed Man"||Absent|
|10 "Cibola Burn"||Absent|
|1 "Exodus"||Credit Only|
|2 "Churn"||Credit Only|
|3 "Mother"||Credit Only|
|5 "Down and Out"||Appears|
|7 "Oyedeng"||Credit Only|
|8 "Hard Vacuum"||Appears|
|10 "Nemesis Games"||Appears|
- In the novels, Clarissa is younger than Julie. In the show, the birth order of the sisters may be rearranged between the novels and the TV show. In "Here There Be Dragons", Errinwright mentioned that Clarissa is the eldest. It may have been conditional/contextual considering, at the time, Julie Mao was deceased.