Holden, who is heading towards the Ring Station, has a lengthy conversation with The Investigator, who appears to be floating next to Holden who is in his vac suit. Holden and the Investigator see that a Martian Marine skiff is heading towards Holden, nearing the edge of the speed limit. After a conversation about free will and destiny, Holden increases his velocity to match the intercepting Martian skiff. When Holden is about to hit the surface of the Ring Station, a backpack from his suit deploys and performs a braking maneuver, ending with Holden hovering idle over the Ring Station. Holden argues with The Investigator, not knowing what will happen if they enter the station. Holden agrees to move forward with the Martians getting close.
The Martian Marine skiff deployed by Xuesen has a squad of Marines aboard, one of whom happens to be Bobbie. The Martian leading the group, Lieutenant Mayer, concludes Holden is diving off the deep end of crazy and is putting people at risk with his actions. Mayer and Bobbie try to communicate with Holden, who appears to be talking to no one, thus they conclude he has cracked.
On the Behemoth, Ashford gives Drummer a critique for losing Chief Engineer Nagata since the first OPA battleship needs its Chief Engineer. Drummer rebuts that she knows the ship, a necessity for a captain and an apparent gap in Ashford's qualifications. Diogo proclaims to Ashford that he should be captain, a statement which Ashford overtly orders him to cease and withhold.
Naomi is continuing her way toward the Rocinante, now worried since the crew still has not responded to communication requests. She is hailed by the Xuesen and ordered to withdraw.
Aboard the Thomas Prince, the ship passes through the mysterious barrier that leads into the Slow Zone. Anna, who is trying to take in the moment, is greeted by UNN Lt. Nemeroff who looks anxious; he says he is also a Methodist and asks Anna if God is present in the Slow Zone, which Anna shrugs off, unsure of the situation herself. Later, Nemeroff commits suicide in his quarters with a handgun. Also, Tilly brushes into and catches a glimpse of Melba, whom she instantly recognizes as Clarissa Mao. Melba denies the accusation and walks away. Later, Anna hears news about Jordaan Nemeroff, which devastates her because he obviously needed help and she ignored him. Anna holds a ceremony for Jordaan which the crew attends, as does Tilly. Tilly reveals she saw Clarissa and is perfectly certain it was her. Tilly explains to Anna that she should just leave Clarissa alone, as Tilly knows the clout of Clarissa's father, Jules-Pierre Mao. Tilly says it might be better for Clarissa if she never brings it up to anyone, but Anna advises her to help Clarissa.
Holden reaches the chamber that the Investigator has been looking for. In the room, a pair of large crystalline-rock structures extrude through the bottom and top of the room, nearly meeting at the center. The Investigator explains that because Holden is physically present, he is the only one that can activate the conduit. Holden demands to know if he is talking to the real Miller or just a protomolecule manifestation trying to get Holden to do things that might have undesirable consequences. The Investigator drops out of existence for a moment while Holden can hear the Martian Marines approaching. The Investigator returns to the room, reclining against the conduit in a more reposed and vulnerable position. Miller/The Investigator recounts a heartfelt conversation during Eros about when Julie held Miller's hand. He explains Julie held his hand to comfort him because was scared.
Suddenly, the Martians literally drop into the room. Without taking nor being granted an opportunity to explain the situation, Holden maneuvers toward the conduit and all the Martians open fire at Holden. Before they reach him, the rounds are frozen in mid-trajectory, perhaps for having exceeded the speed limit and being registered as a threat. The walls of the station appear to begin forming new barriers. The surprised Martian lieutenant, Mayer, throws a grenade which damages part of the floor and creates a shallow pit. The ring station response is to levitate the officer then strip him of his power armor before dissembling him into his component molecules which are finally repurposed to patch in the hole he created with the grenade.
When the grenade went off within the chamber, the station also took a more severe defensive position by vastly decreasing the speed limit on the already slowed-down zone. This rapid deceleration causes people on every ship in the slow zone who were not strapped in to be thrown against the bulkheads of their ship. Tilly is seen during her confrontation with Clarissa who had activated her special glands. At the moment deceleration began, both were flung into the ceiling above.
Prompted by The Investigator, Holden decides to take that moment and put his hand through the conduit at the center of the chamber. He is suddenly overwhelmed by a rapid series of rewind events, starting with the ring gate opening, then the protomolecule arising off Venus. Next, the protomolecule bird from Eros is shown followed by a rewinding back to a distant point in time where multiple ring gates are open. The last thing Holden sees is the ring station shooting a blue energy beam through a gate at a sun on the far side. That sun becomes a blue color before it erupts in a supernova hail of particles destroying whatever was in the system. Holden then passes out next to the conduit structure.
- Steven Strait as James Holden
- Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal
- Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata
- Wes Chatham as Amos Burton
- Frankie Adams as Bobbie Draper
- Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala (credit only)
Special Appearance by
- David Strathairn as Klaes Ashford
- Nadine Nicole as Clarissa Melpomene Mao
- Cara Gee as Camina Drummer
- Genelle Williams as Tilly Fagan
- Sabryn Rock as Pvt. Riko Oshi
- Simu Liu as Lt. Paolo Mayer
- Elizabeth Mitchell as Anna Volovodov
- This episode debuts the slow zone.
- Dandelion Sky was the original pre-release name of Abaddon's Gate.
Cast credits on-screen
"Fight or Flight" • "IFF" • "Assured Destruction" • "Reload" • "Triple Point" • "Immolation" • "Delta-V" • "It Reaches Out" • "Intransigence" • "Dandelion Sky" • "Fallen World" • "Congregation" • "Abaddon's Gate"