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"Jetsam" is the second episode of the fourth season of The Expanse. Overall, it is the thirty-eighth episode. It released to streaming on December 13, 2019 as part of Amazon Prime streaming's full-season release strategy for season 4.


Avasarala is blindsided while on a visit to Mars. The Rocinante crew continue their protomolecule investigation while tensions between the RCE and Belters reach a tipping point. Drummer and Ashford track down a terrorist.


It reaches out[]

The Investigator has a one-sided discussion with the protomolecule, while he appears to be roaming the connections within its inner network, searching for something.[2]

A terribly terrestrial way of thinking[]

At the First Landing settlement on Ilus, everyone is reeling after the shock of the strange metal "bug" swarm that attacked them. When the possibility is brought up that the swarms might have caused the RCE shuttle to crash, Murtry heads off to investigate the crash site, and Holden sends Amos to go with him. He assigns Alex to help the wounded, while he and Naomi join Dr. Okoye, an RCE scientist, to try and trace the origin of the swarm. Chandra Wei, Murtry's second in command, offers to go with him, but he orders her to stay and keep an eye on things.

Dr. Okoye analyzes the "bug" from the swarm, finding that it is made of metal. She believes that it could possibly be an organism, but Holden sees that its insides resemble the Protomolecule structure in the Ring Space. They discuss whether it's active, and if they should test everyone for possible infection, when Naomi points to a nearby screen: The swarm heads inside one of the dormant protomolecule structures. Holden posits that they are heading there anyway.[3]

Message received[]

On Medina Station, Drummer and Ashford investigate an incident in which numerous dead bodies floating through space were pulled into the Sol gate, and trace them to a UN colony ship, the Sojourner. They were attacked and spaced by by an OPA pirate, and Drummer and Ashford discuss the diplomatic repercussions this incident will have with Earth. Drummer ponders that whoever murdered all these people wasn't much of a pirate, as it would be more profitable to hold them for ransom and that, by killing them, no one gains anything. Ashford points out that it sends a message that part of the OPA doesn't care about the peace treaty with Earth and Mars.

While on the UN One to Mars for her first state visit, Avasarala receives a report from Holden of their intent to investigate the tower. Avasarala is concerned the protomolecule may be active, and that this incident will scare people. Her aide, Diaz, offers that such a thing happening would reinforce her stance that the new ring worlds are dangerous, but she replies, "Sometimes, I hate being right". Before they land on Mars, Avasarala sits together with her husband, Arjun, and they admire the aurora borealis on the edge of the planet, which is now possible thanks to Mars's new magnetosphere. Arjun ponders that Martians are resilient and work to build a good world for generations they will not live to meet, something that the Earth has forgotten. Avasarala replies that she likes his interpretation of the things they are seeing better than her own.[4]

Demolition Tech Third Class Draper[]

On Mars, Bobbie sees an announcement of Avasarala's historic first visit to Mars. She receives an invitation from Avasarala to join the dinner party held in honor of her visit, which Bobbie ignores. Arriving at work, she is surprised to see Leelee, her nephew David's girlfriend, leaving the dock in a worker's outfit. Moments later, a police raid commences and Bobbie is taken for interrogation. Shocked to find a fellow dockworker was killed, her loyalty to Mars is questioned due to her record of insubordination and Avasarala's dinner invitation, which, in an act of defiance, Bobbie accepts in full view of the interrogator. The interrogator mocks Bobbie's lowly position and asks her if she still considers Mars home, causing Bobbie to lash out that all she's ever done has been in service to Mars. The interrogator smiles and allows her to leave.[5]

Amos finds a clue[]

At the settlement, Alex enlists the help of Lucia Mazur, the settlement's Belter medical technician, to discreetly test everyone for protomolecule infection. He reassures her and calms her worries of another Eros Incident, and she confesses that she lost a lot of loved ones on Ganymede and she needs this settlement situation to work out, as she has nowhere else to go. The two of them get to work on the injured settlers.

Meanwhile, Amos and Murtry arrive at the crash site, but find no sign of the metal bugs. Amos investigates the scrap and determines that the landing pad was sabotaged.

Amos informs Holden, who is driving towards one of the towers together with Naomi and Dr. Okoye. She tells Holden that there are hundreds of those structures on the planet, they are not natural formations and extend deeply underground. When they arrive, Naomi insists on carrying her own equipment despite Holden telling her to ease into it, and is hopeful that she is starting to get used to the open spaces and surface life. They approach the structure to scan it and, with the help of Dr. Sarkis on video call, they discover the tower is about 1.5 billion years old. Dr. Okoye marvels that it predates life on the planet, but Holden points out that the Protomolecule adapts by taking apart other lifeforms, so it obviously wiped out the previous lifeforms and life had to start over around it. They send out a drone to scan the structure, revealing it has no openings. Holden tells Naomi to leave the drone in place so that, if more metal bug swarms come back to it, they can see if they have a way of getting inside and out. He touches the structure with his hand, but nothing happens.[6]

Alex clears the settlers[]

Back at the camp, Alex and Lucia test Coop, who is clean of infections, as well as all other people in the camp. After he is gone, Alex chats with Lucia and offers further help, stating that helping is the reason that they came. He invites her to go for a drink together, but he is interrupted by the arrival of two people, who Lucia introduces as her husband and daughter: Jakob and Felcia. Jakob and Lucia tell Alex he is welcome to come have dinner with them, but he declines and leaves them to have their family time.[7]

Murtry confronts Chiwewe[]

At the saloon, Murtry accuses the Belters of causing the crash and threatens the settlement's leader, Carol Chiwewe, that if those responsible for downing the shuttle aren't brought forward, he'll punish everyone. She retorts that they needed the landing pad to bring their lithium into orbit, and the Belters act up, saying he is trying to pin an accident on them, like Inners always do.[8]

Chrisjen's dinner party[]

At the Martian banquet, Avasarala and Mars's Prime Minister are faced with questions about how they plan to distribute control of the new worlds, especially in light of the Belters settling on Ilus. Avasarala replies that Ilus is an anomaly, and it will take years before they are ready to colonize. Her assistant gives her a news feed stating that Nancy Gao, her Home Secretary, has resigned due to their differences on the subject of colonization. Bobbie arrives at the party, and is led to her seat at the absolute edge of the table. She is snubbed by the Martian delegation, who shun her for her insubordination and getting her squad killed. Arjun, Avasarala's husband, sits next to Bobbie and starts talking to her, shaking her hand and thanking her for saving Avasarala's life. Bobbie thanks him and humorously retorts that Arjun is much braver than she has ever been just for marrying Avasarala.

Avasarala begins a speech, citing a quote she claims was spoken by Admiral Souther and encouraging everyone in attendance to celebrate their shared humanity and forge true peace through reconciliation. She admires Souther, and everyone like him who followed their conscience to protect humanity, and adds that some of those heroes are in the banquet today, gesturing towards Bobbie. This seems to make Bobbie deeply uncomfortable.[9]

Prospective heads on spikes[]

Ashford and Drummer have a tense video conference with UNN Commander Stenson, who shares that they have been unable to identify the pirate ship responsible for destroying the Sojourner. He gives Drummer all the data they have as instructed, but subtly threatens that if the Belt cannot police itself, the UNN will. Drummer notes that the Earth wants "a head on a spike" to avoid looking weak, which Ashford points out that they are, and that they cannot police the Belt. Drummer concurs that they will have to do it themselves instead. After their call is over, Ashford receives a notice that his crew have decrypted the navigation logs from the wreck.

Holden and Naomi stand under the night sky and celebrate the end of her first day on a planet, which Naomi found "terrifying, exhausting, glorious." When they return to the Roci, Holden leaves Naomi to make coffee and, alone, she stumbles in pain to the med bay, where she vomits and collapses in the medical chair. She wakes up later, with Alex fussing over her, and he indicates that she's not taking to the gravity drugs, advising her to take things more slowly as her heart is not strong enough to operate in this gravity. Naomi swears Alex to secrecy, so as to prevent Holden from overreacting.[10]

Playing a hunch[]

Ashford has had a hunch that a longtime Belter pirate was responsible for the attack on the Sojourner, and shows Drummer what he found: by combining the nav logs they got, and the Earth's information, he discovered that the pirate ship is captained by Marco Inaros. Drummer and Ashford share what they know about Inaros, including Drummer saying that he has a past with Naomi and that he has somehow hurt her, and she wonders how Naomi, the smartest person Drummer knows, could have been fooled by Inaros. Ashford informs her that Inaros is charismatic, uncompromising, and very dangerous because of the influence he has on people. They count their allies among OPA factions that dislike Inaros, and decide to contact Anderson Dawes and Fred Johnson for help.[11]

Lapdog to heel[]

After the banquet, Bobbie is leaving when she is approached by Avasarala. Avasarala is jolly and playful, but Bobbie is upset because Avasarala barely spoke to her and Arjun was her only company among the Martians who hate her. She asks Avasarala if Admiral Souther really said any of the things she attributed to him, and Avasarala replies that she has no idea as they barely spoke. Bobbie lashes out, saying that Avasarala's invitation was just her manipulating Bobbie, the same way she used Souther for her political intrigues. Avasarala replies that she just wanted to see Bobbie and wanted to show all of Mars that she still has friends in high places, but Bobbie feels humiliated and says that all the Martians saw was "Earth calling its lapdog to heel". Avasarala retorts by offering Bobbie a job, saying that if Mars can't appreciate her then they don't deserve her loyalty, but Bobbie firmly refuses, saying that she doesn't need Avasarala to save her and storms off.[12]

113 times a second[]

The Investigator is still searching through the Protomolecule's information, when it rests on a representation of one of the towers.[13]

A new lead in the case[]

He wakes Holden up, telling him he was on the right track going to that tower and demanding he go back, as "the door won't stay open forever". Naomi wakes up, severing his connection to The Investigator, but the crew scans the tower again and there are openings on it that weren't there before. Alex insists Naomi stay behind while he accompanies Holden. They call Amos, who is at the Belter saloon keeping an eye on things. He is getting drunk on alcohol shots, trading bullets for them, when he is approached by Chandra. They talk about their jobs, and Amos states he plans to sleep outside as the experience reminds him of Earth, when Chandra drinks one of his shots. The two of them start to flirt.[14]

David's out for good[]

Bobbie is at home, late, when David leaves, telling her he's going to meet some friends. She follows him in secret, and discovers that he is preparing illicit "focus drugs" for a gang. She tries to drag him out of the drug lab, but they are faced at the door with a group of thugs, led by David's supposed girlfriend, Leelee. Bobbie realizes that the customs agent murdered that day was killed by Leelee and, when Leelee insists that David can't leave, Bobbie ends his involvement by beating up the gang members and threatening Leelee to leave David alone.[15]

The root of The Investigator's issue[]

At the tower, Alex and Holden find an opening, and Holden repels down into a chamber. The Investigator instructs him to remove a root that is blocking the tower's machinery from working. Naomi points out that the last time he listened to the Investigator, he fell in a coma, and the Investigator offers that there won't be a coma this time, just answers for both of them. In conversation, he reveals to Holden that he is constantly hearing the voices and reliving the last moments of everyone who died on Eros. Holden gets to cutting the root.[16]

Threat assessment[]

While Amos and Chandra are having sex, they hear shouting outside between Murtry and three settlers, including Coop and Scotty, who are telling Murtry that he has no right to threaten them. Coop points out that the Belters built Ganymede, which fed the entire Solar System, and after it was destroyed by the Inners' power struggles, no one helped them relocate. They were left with nothing, and arrived here to build something new, and Earth still is intervening and trying to impede them. Murtry retorts that he didn't cause the Ganymede Incident, but someone in the settlement killed 23 of his friends and that's the problem they need to solve. As he turns to leave, Coop says "Careful Earther, day ain't over yet." which Murtry interprets as a threat to justify murdering Coop, much to Amos's and Chandra's shock, who are too late to stop him.[17]

Power switch[]

At the tower, Holden removes the root which triggers the machinery. The chamber begins to collapse, and Holden is pulled out by Alex just in time before the door closes. Lightning strikes the top of the tower, and then starts to strike points in a line, marching away from it. Alex asks Holden, "What the hell did you do?"[18]



Special Appearance By[]

Guest Starring[]





  • One of the modules in First Landing is marked with "XAPKEPA", which is Russian for "hacker."
  • The chapter/scene titles (found by using the "X-Ray" feature as of 2021-Feb.) in this episode include misspellings of "Crisjen" and "heal" instead of "heel".


  1. Icon-twitter-22x22.png  Tweet from Breck Eisner
  2. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("It reaches out" [00:00:05])
  3. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("A terribly terrestrial way of thinking" [00:01:52])
  4. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("Message received" [00:03:40])
  5. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("Demolition Tech Third Class Draper" [00:05:24])
  6. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("Amos finds a clue" [00:11:02])
  7. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("Alex clears the settlers" [00:17:42])
  8. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("Murtry confronts Chiwewe" [00:20:26])
  9. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("Chrisjen's dinner party" [00:21:52])
  10. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("Prospective heads on spikes" [00:25:17])
  11. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("Playing a hunch" [00:26:44])
  12. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("Lapdog to heel" [00:30:22])
  13. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("113 times a second" [00:31:35])
  14. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("A new lead in the case" [00:31:58])
  15. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("David's out for good" [00:34:54])
  16. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("The root of The Investigator's issue" [00:37:43])
  17. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("Threat assessment" [00:41:22])
  18. Season 4, Episode 2: "Jetsam" ("Power switch" [00:43:34])

External links[]