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The Expanse Wiki

"Gaugamela" is the fourth episode of the fifth season of The Expanse.[1] Overall, it is the fiftieth episode and released to streaming on December 23, 2020.


Marco's grand plan shocks Earth, Mars, and the Belt.


Alex and Bobbie tail the supply convoy[]

Between Mars and the Belt, Alex and Bobbie are flying on the Razorback, which has been renamed to "The Screaming Firehawk." They are tracking the MCRN Barkeith and its escort frigates, which for the time being seems to be going on its regular supply route. Bobbie is convinced that they are part of the conspiracy, while Alex is more hesitant to believe that three entire ship crews worth of people are involved. Alex is disappointed that he sacrificed his marriage and twenty years of his life for the Martian Navy which apparently is a bunch of crooks, and asks Bobbie how she can be so unaffected by the corruption they are witnessing. Bobbie tells Alex a story about a pet rat she had as a child, which she named Mouse. When the rat died, Bobbie was distraught, but then she stopped because she got tired of being sad. She tells Alex that emotional stamina runs out, and even grief can get used up. Echoing Bobbie's story about the box she made to bury her rat in, Alex laments that by exposing the conspiracy, they are building a coffin for their dying planet. Bobbie relates to Alex's feelings of disappointment and tells him that when he gets to the other side of it, he will want to be doing something that matters. Just then, the Barkeith increases their braking burn, and Alex adjusts their course to follow covertly. He tells Bobbie that you need people to talk through things like this, and that he is sad he won't be that for his son. Alex says he hopes his son will have someone like Bobbie to help him. They then get a notice for UN flight restrictions, learning of the bombardment of Earth and an almost simultaneous bombing strike against the Martian parliament.[2]

Welcome to The Pit[]

At the UN maximum security penitentiary known as "The Pit," Amos watches a display with news of the disaster in a waiting room. He leaves his things, including his hand terminal, at the prison's front desk, before taking an elevator nine levels below the ground, where he is greeted by a security guard. She leads him through an underground courtyard, where Amos notes there are more guards than prisoners. The guard replies that they have to, as this block holds inmates with body modifications. She explains that some prisoners are unable to have their modifications removed due to the surgery's risks, while others choose to keep them, which they have a right to do as codified in the constitutional law regarding body privacy. Amos notices a particularly heavily modded inmate named Konecheck, who the guard explains could have gotten his implants removed but chose not to as a statement.

Amos is led to Clarissa's cell, finding her strapped to a chair and heavily drugged. They talk about Amos's experiences on Ilus, which Clarissa is very interested in. She says she must look like shit, to which Amos concurs, and she explains they are drugging her with blockers to keep her implants inactive. She can't take the implants off, because the surgery is risky and life without them would be worse than it is now. When Amos says that it sucks, Clarissa replies quoting a pep talk that he gave her when she first arrived in prison: "breathe in, breathe out. Eat, shit, sleep. You take whatever they give you, and you give nothing in return." Amos asks if Clarissa wants him to leave, to which she tearfully shakes her head "no." She asks Amos why he is there, and he gets up and approaches her. He tells her that people like them and the things they do, it's not just on them because the world is messed up, but Amos was lucky because he had someone to help him. Clarissa laughs and asks if he came down there to help her, and when he says that he did, she replies that no one can help her. Just then, an alarm starts to sound, before the whole room shakes with a violent jolt and the lights go out.[3]

Persistence vs. Perseverance[]

On Luna, Avasarala is furiously yelling at her hand terminal, asking to speak to Commander Lipson, who is in a meeting. When the officer on the other end of the line tries to decline, she screams that the asteroid hit on Earth wasn't a rogue strike, but an attack. She demands a list of people with a direct line of communication to fleet command. Admiral Delgado enters her office, informing her that a second rock has just hit Earth. He shows her news coverage of the strike, which hit close to Philadelphia, and tells her they have lost communication with New York. Avasarala realizes that the asteroid spotters can't see the rocks because they don't know they are stealth coated, and tries to get ahold of Nancy Gao who is currently flying away from Earth.

Gao is on the UN One, where she is organizing relief efforts and ensuring that first responders are well supplied. She is advised by Chief of Staff Graham to fly to Luna but declines, stating that she won't abandon Earth in its moment of need. True to Avasarala's suspicions, they have no idea why the sensors aren't seeing the asteroids. UNN Officer Adams suspects the explanation is that their entire sentinel system must have been hacked.

Gao's advisors and personnel are ignoring both Avasarala and Delgado, so Avasarala calls the UN One's chef whom she is familiar with. She gets the chef to place a terminal on Gao's tray when he brings food to her and, ignoring Franck's protests, Gao listens to Avasarala intently. She informs Gao about the asteroid's stealth composites, and Gao realizes that Marco Inaros is behind the attacks. She follows Avasarala's advice and orders for the watchtower satellites of Earth to be linked to the asteroid spotters, much to Avasarala and Delgado's relief. Just as Gao is thanking Avasarala for her help and admiring her persistence, a third asteroid hits earth close to the UN One's flight path. Avasarala and Delgado watch in horror as the ship is knocked out of the air by the blast, presumably killing everyone inside.[4]

Caught in the churn on Tycho Station[]

Fred Johnson is watching over Tycho Station along with Holden, Sakai, and Leveau. Bull and his officers are hidden in the container that is to be picked up by the Zmeya, and Fred makes light fun of Bull for being claustrophobic. As the Zmeya comes closer to dock with Tycho, they are notified of a disturbance in reactor control, which draws the station's security personnel to check on it. Meanwhile, Monica Stuart is keeping an eye on the situation from Fred Johnson's quarters, when she looks up and is shocked to see news of the third asteroid strike on Earth.

The Zmeya begins to behave suspiciously, and Holden realizes that something is wrong, yelling at Bull to get out of the container. Bull and his officers jump out into space moments before the Zmeya fires a missile at Tycho and destroys the cargo containers. Sakai, who has been keeping tabs on her terminal this whole time, raises a gun and shoots Fred Johnson three times before running away. With her access as chief engineer, she turns off all of the station's communication arrays.

The Zmeya fires another projectile at Tycho, which rams directly into Fred Johnson's quarters, knocking Monica to the ground, before a couple of security guards run into the room and point their guns at the hatch.

Fred is bleeding out without gravity to drain his wounds, and he tries to eject a vault from his terminal but his access has been blocked. He whispers to Holden that "it" is in his quarters, and to "stop them."

In Fred's quarters, an armored spider-like robot walks out of the projectile sent by the Zmeya, and the guard's bullets are entirely ineffective against it. Two hostile OPA infiltrators storm the room and kill the guards, who manage to kill one of the agents first, as the robot flips over Fred's bed and starts to cut a hole underneath it. The remaining OPA agent approaches Monica, intent on killing her, but Sakai intervenes and says they should just take her with them, ordering to get Monica into a suit.

Holden tries to get Tycho security into Fred's quarters, but they are preoccupied by the reported attack on reactor control and they are forced to turn off the reactor so that the OPA doesn't use it to blow up the station.

In Fred's quarters, Monica asks what they want from her, and Sakai replies that she doesn't want anything, but there is someone else who does. Monica uses the recording implant on her eye to get footage of Sakai's hand terminal with the Zmeya's flight path on the display. The robot finishes cutting the hole, retrieving the protomolecule sample from within.

Just then, Holden arrives and kills one of the infiltrating OPA cell operatives. Sakai attempts to shoot Holden but she is attacked by Monica and they struggle on the floor for the gun, while Holden unsuccessfully attempts to stop the robot, which gets back into the projectile it came on. Sakai manages to send the projectile back to the Zmeya through her terminal before she is knocked out by Monica, and the hole left behind by the departing rocket starts to drain oxygen out of the room. Holden is almost cut in half by an emergency door closing down, but he is dragged to safety by Monica at the last moment. Sakai gloats that the sample is gone for good before being apprehended by guards. Holden tells her she will help to get it back, but she emotionally replies "You lose. You all lose!"

Holden and Monica enter the medical bay, where Bull watches the medics turn off their equipment as Fred Johnson has died. Holden mournfully states that Fred deserved to finish what he had started before closing Fred's eyes.[5]

The watchtowers' new task[]

Avasarala is trying to contact her husband on Earth, to no avail. Admiral Delgado walks into her office, and they discuss Earth's succession crisis, as Earth's communications are a mess and most of Gao's cabinet were either with her on the plane or scattered around the globe. Gao's order went out and the watchtowers have been repurposed but there has been no contact with an asteroid yet. Delgado humbly apologizes for not trying as hard as Avasarala out of fear of losing his position, but Avasarala remarks that they can't know if it could be stopped and that the fight is not over. He asks her to come with him, and leads her to a room full of other people who are watching their terminals in silent shock and mourning the attacks. Avasarala remarks that "Misery loves company," and Delgado agrees, adding: "so does hope."

All the people in the room crowd to the windows that look out on Earth, and they watch as a fourth asteroid approaches before being completely eradicated by the planet's defenses, to everyone's relief.[6]

Naomi steps foot on the Pella[]

Naomi, along with Filip, Cyn and Karal, arrives on Marco Inaros' flagship, the Pella. She is brought to the command deck, where Marco gives a joyous greeting to his son, proclaiming that this moment is for all of them. He sees Naomi and approaches her, speaking to her with assertive calm and grace, while Naomi is seething anger and emotional. She voices her disagreement with Marco's ways and says that he hasn't changed at all from the narcissist he used to be, but Marco uses all her words against her (he points out that Naomi has her own warship, the Roci, and that he was forced to change because he had to raise a child all on his own after she abandoned her son). When Naomi insinuates that Marco had Filip kidnap her, Marco reveals it was Filip's idea, using the opportunity to call him "a little boy who still wants his mother."

Marco excitedly gloats that they can now celebrate their nation's greatest victory as a family, and shows a horrified Naomi the news coverage of the attack on Earth. Naomi is devastated by the millions of innocents that Marco murdered, but he passionately replies that he freed their people and returned dignity to the Belt that has been denied to them for generations. Naomi tells Marco that he put blood on their son's hands, just like he once did to her. Filip responds that he wasn't forced to do anything and was proud to do his part.

After a short speech to rile up his crew, Marco tells Filip to escort Naomi to her quarters. Before she leaves, he tells her "welcome home." Filip escorts Naomi to a small room and tells her she was wrong to leave, before locking her inside. Naomi screams and begs Filip to not be locked in. When no one answers, she collapses to the floor, crying.[7]

Humanity learns a new name[]

Marco broadcasts an impassioned speech to the entire system. The speech is watched by Holden, Monica and Bull on Tycho, Alex and Bobbie on the Firehawk, Naomi inside her cell, and Avasarala and Delgado on Luna. In the speech, he proclaims himself the leader of the Free Navy, saying that he represents the "arm and voice of the Outer Planets." He claims responsibility for the attacks on Earth and Mars as retribution for generations of oppression and atrocities committed against innocent Belters, and declares that they will no longer be subjected to the savagery and inhumanity of the Inner Planets. He threatens Earth and Mars with further attacks should they "fail to recognize this new human reality" and boasts that the only remaining protomolecule sample is now in control of the Free Navy, another weapon that can be used to wipe out the Inner Planets should they not abide. The Free Navy recognizes the right of Earth and Mars to exist, but their influence will be confined to their own planets, and the rest of the Solar System, the Ring Gate and the new worlds beyond will all belong to the OPA. The human species is at a crossroads in its history, and Marco pledges to not carry on humanity's legacy of exploitation, injustice, prejudice and oppression into this new reality. He proclaims that under the Free Navy's rule, the society and culture of the Belt will blossom in the new worlds and remake humanity's image, without the corruption, greed and hatred that the Inner Planets could not let go of. The Belt will take what belongs to them but, more importantly, they will evolve into a new, better, more human form. He ends his speech by asking his fellow Belters to rise up alongside him, because this day is theirs, as is tomorrow, and the future of humanity. Today, and forevermore, the citizens of the Belt are free.[8]



Guest Starring[]




  • The episode's title is a reference to the Battle of Gaugamela, the decisive battle in Alexander the Great's invasion of Persia. Alexander's army was heavily outnumbered by the Persians, but they won the battle through the use of tactics and strategic deployment of light infantry. This is a parallel to Marco and his carefully orchestrated attack on all his enemies simultaneously.

External links[]


  1. Icon-wgaw-24x24.png
  2. Season 5, Episode 4: "Gaugamela" ("Alex and Bobbie tail the supply convoy" [02:42])
  3. Season 5, Episode 4: "Gaugamela" ("Welcome to The Pit" [07:18])
  4. Season 5, Episode 4: "Gaugamela" ("Persistence vs. Perseverance" [15:30])
  5. Season 5, Episode 4: "Gaugamela" ("Caught in the churn on Tycho Station" [19:28])
  6. Season 5, Episode 4: "Gaugamela" ("The watchtowers' new task" [29:24])
  7. Season 5, Episode 4: "Gaugamela" ("Naomi steps foot on the Pella" [32:57])
  8. Season 5, Episode 4: "Gaugamela" ("Humanity learns a new name" [40:30])