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The Expanse Wiki

"Mother" is the third episode of the fifth season of The Expanse.[1] Overall it is the forty-ninth episode and released to streaming on December 16, 2020 as part of a three-episode season premiere.


Naomi comes face-to-face with Filip. Holden and Fred turn the tables. Avasarala closes in on Marco's plot.


A second opinion from the private sector[]

The episode begins with an ominous virtual projection showing Marco Inaros's asteroids, on course towards Earth.

On Luna, Admiral Delgado is pouring a drink for himself and Avasarala. She is tense, so Delgado tries to tell a joke to lift the mood but, before he can deliver the punchline, they are interrupted by the arrival of Dr. Alaoui, a private sector scientist who is familiar with the Hasami and the rogue asteroid they discovered. They cordially invite him to sit down and offer him a drink, noting that their exchange is highly classified and he should not talk about it with anyone, before showing him the Hasami's last readings on the asteroid fragments. After some examination, Dr. Alaoui realizes that the readings have captured only one side of each fragment, as if the other side was invisible. Delgado asks what would happen if an asteroid of the combined size of all the fragments hit Earth. He replies that the blast would be about 1-4 megatons, the equivalent of a medium yield fusion warhead, with a blast radius of 13 kilometers.

Dr. Alaoui is confused about the implications, but they quickly remind him not to talk to anyone about the meeting and send him away. Delgado realizes that the Hasami's readings could imply that the asteroid was coated in stealth technology, which would make it invisible to Earth's asteroid spotters, while Avasarala mentions Bobbie's findings and the Martian conspiracy to smuggle military resources to the Belt, including stealth composites. She concurs that Marco Inaros threw an invisible asteroid at Earth and is almost certainly going to send more, so they need to retask the Earth's watchtower satellites (which can penetrate stealth technology) to their asteroid spotters. Avasarala tries to convince Delgado to bring their case to Military Intelligence, because she knows they are right and doesn't care about the bridges she has burned, but Delgado is unsure and afraid that he will lose his position and credibility if he does.[2]

Camina's crew finds Ashford's ship[]

In Drummer's ship, her polyamorous family/crew is sleeping in small groups scattered around beds in a room. Drummer quietly gets out of bed and puts on her uniform, heading to the cockpit just as they are approaching the Tynan. They find the ship empty and completely stripped of resources. Drummer orders for everyone to be woken up and prepare for boarding.

Drummer is in a very somber mood and, as they drift through the ship, she relives some of her memories with her deceased friend, Klaes Ashford. She is certain that Ashford must have hidden a backup data core somewhere on the ship, and tells her crew to look for it. Oksana looks at the ruined ship and wonders why Marco Inaros would waste a salvage as good as this. Drummer replies that he left it as a message: Come after him, and you die.[3]

Monica shares some of her information[]

On Tycho, a recovering Monica is showing Holden and Fred Johnson her confidential information: a recording of an OPA strike team storming a facility on Ceres, murdering all the personnel and kidnapping Paolo Cortázar, a scientist who worked on the protomolecule. Fred and Holden are deeply concerned and walk out of the room, ignoring Monica's yelling behind them that they need to keep her in the loop on this because she almost died to get them the information.

Fred tells Holden that Anderson Dawes indeed confirmed they no longer have Cortázar in custody. Holden surmises that whoever did this probably knows that Fred has the protomolecule, and will be coming after them next, advising him to get off Tycho until they know what is happening. Fred ignores Holden's advice and refuses to back out of the fight, and Bull concurs, stating that he will increase security on the station. The three of them decide to focus on finding the kidnappers first.[4]

Knuckles goes back to Pallas[]

On the Chetzemoka, Naomi approaches Pallas Station. She enters a chaotic Belter cantine and asks for a drink, but is immediately recognized as the famous Naomi Nagata, crewmember of the Rocinante. The barman offers her the drink for free, but she declines, which prompts a couple of Belters to start harassing her, angry at her for thinking she is like them when, in their eyes, she is very well-off and influential. They rebuff her attempts at cordiality, and almost force her to pay for all their drinks before they are scared away by Cyn and Karal.

It is clear that Naomi is very familiar with the two of them and, while Cyn is very warm and joyful at seeing her, Karal is much colder and slightly hostile. She doesn't trust Naomi for working with Fred Johnson and the Inners, and suspects she is here for the bounty on Marco Inaros. They share a couple drinks and reminisce about their time together, before Naomi reveals that she is here to see Filip, which makes the tensions rise. She explains that she doesn't want Filip, or Cyn and Karal, to die because of Marco Inaros' actions, and she expresses she has a right to talk to her son. Karal is still hurt that Naomi left them behind and leaves angrily, telling her she has nothing here and to go back to her Inners. Cyn earnestly says that it was good seeing her one last time, and Naomi pleads with him that Filip deserves to make his own choice regarding his mother. Cyn leaves without responding.[5]

Alex digs for information[]

On Mars, Alex is still reluctant to believe that Sauveterre is involved in the Martian conspiracy because he is such an important military officer, but Bobbie has no doubts that he's in on it, she just needs Alex to get something out of Babbage, Sauveterre's aide, on the date they have planned so that they have concrete proof. Alex thinks Babbage seems nice and doesn't want her to think that he is just using her to get closer to her boss, which Bobbie points out she doesn't want either.

Later, Alex meets Babbage at a bar on Mars, where she buys him a bottle of wine. Though Alex tries to be cautious at first, Babbage's constant flow of compliments and admiration for his achievements appeals to Alex's ego and he starts telling her everything he knows about Ilus and the protomolecule.[6]

Avenging the Ghost Knife[]

In the Belt, Drummer and her crew are fixing up the Tynan and are running low on supplies. While Drummer is repairing the ship's hydraulics, she spots a hidden fire extinguisher inside of which she finds a gun and Ashford's backup datacore. The core contains a recording of Ashford's last moments and his interaction with Marco Inaros where he talks about throwing rocks at Tycho and Ceres, before he tells Ashford to "die in darkness." Drummer gets emotional as she listens to the end of the recording, Ashford's final song, in silence.

While the Belter family/crew joyfully celebrate the fact that they have yet another fully functional ship in their control, Drummer is detached and has a grave expression on her face. She congratulates them on their good work and, much to their shock, she announces that after they resupply, they will find Marco Inaros and collect the bounty on his head. The crew is hesitant and they point out that Ashford, the Belt's greatest pirate, was unable to defeat Inaros, but Drummer cooly insists that Ashford had only one ship, that defeating Inaros will earn them the respect of the other factions, and that the money from the bounty will sustain them for years. As she leaves, the crew turns to look at Oksana, Drummer's second-in-command.[7]

Sakai helps Bull and Holden[]

On Tycho, Bull and Holden have enlisted Sakai's help to identify Monica's kidnappers, taking her away from repairs on the Rocinante. They can't trace the container's manifest, but Sakai hacks into the container assembler's security and identifies the buyers of the container: Douru Freight. They break into the company's compartment on Tycho, but find the owners murdered.[8]

Shaking the tree that shakes back[]

Meanwhile, Alex and Babbage's date has been going for a while and they run out of wine. As Babbage is about to go, Alex starts asking her questions about Sauveterre, and she catches on that he sounds more interested in her boss than in her. He tries to cover it up by pretending he is interested in a job at the War College. When Alex offers to go on another date, Babbage tells him that she is shipping out early in the morning for a supply run on the Barkeith. Before they part ways, she kisses him on the mouth.

As he is returning to his room, Alex is attacked by a couple of Martians who inject him with some form of drug which makes him tell them the truth, and interrogate him about why he is after Sauveterre. In a haze, he tells them that he and Bobbie know Sauveterre is selling weapons to the Belt. Before they can execute Alex, Bobbie appears and incapacitates both of them.

When the police arrive, Bobbie tells the detective that the assailants were just trying to rob Alex. The detective asks her if she knows the assailants, as they are petty officers who were dishonorably discharged from the Martian Navy for theft of military hardware. This is enough confirmation for Bobbie that Sauveterre is guilty. She asks Alex about Babbage and when he mentions the Barkeith, Bobbie points out that a lot of the contraband exchanges she has been tracking were made during routine operations. They decide to follow the Barkeith to get intelligence that they can send to Avasarala and thus flush out the smuggling operation.[9]

This is not my fight[]

In the Belt, Drummer is looking at a bottle of whiskey in her hands when Oksana appears. She approaches a detached Drummer, relating to her feelings of grief and emptiness after losing her friend Ashford, but saying that it is not enough to justify going after Marco Inaros. Drummer tries to pretend she just wants money and not revenge, but Oksana sees through her and notes that they are a family now, so Drummer doesn't have to hide her grief or bottle up her feelings anymore. Drummer wells up as she remembers that Ashford asked her to be his XO when he went hunting for Marco, but she declined and instead gave him the bottle she is holding now. Ashford told her to hold on to it so they could share it when he came back. She laments that maybe there was a possibility she could have made a difference if she had gone with him. Oksana comforts her, saying that her pain is making her regress into her old self, hard and violent, when there are better ways to grieve. Drummer finally allows herself to cry, quietly asking Oksana to stay with her. Oksana reassures her, and the two of them kiss lovingly.

Drummer wakes up later, naked in bed with Oksana. She kisses her on the forehead before getting up. This time she doesn't put on her uniform, but wraps a blanket around herself and sits down next to Ashford's whiskey bottle. She sends a message from her hand terminal, confirming that Ashford is dead and that he was right about Marco Inaros being up to something, attaching his last recording in hopes that it will help the Belt and adding that this is not her fight. She opens Ashford's bottle and ponders drinking from it, but she ultimately decides to put it back.[10]

Family reunion[]

On Pallas Station, Naomi is approached by Filip. After a long silence, Naomi tries to reach out, but Filip is angry and the interaction is very tense. She tries to apologize, explaining that she has always loved him, that she regrets her choice but that it was never about him. None of this is enough for Filip, who feels that Naomi discarded him like a piece of trash and was waiting for her to return but she never did. Naomi presses that she doesn't want Filip to suffer for his father's choices, and she offers the Chetzemoka to Filip, telling him to get on it and go wherever he wants as long as he doesn't return to Marco. Filip tells her to go fuck herself, that she doesn't know anything about him and that he doesn't need her. He ignores Naomi's tearful pleas, adding that everything his father told him about her is true, before storming off.[11]

Laying a trap on Tycho[]

Fred Johnson is deep in thought after receiving Drummer's message. Bull and Holden arrive at his office, informing him that they got no leads from the dead buyers. They have a mole on the station, but they are proving really hard to weed out. Fred is confident that whoever they are, they are close to revealing themselves, as Fred and Sakai located the ship that was supposed to pick up the container that Monica was locked up in, a Belter frigate named the Zmeya, which is still inbound for Tycho. Holden concludes that they think Monica is still in the container. They formulate a plan to covertly put Bull and his security officers inside the container so that, when the Zmeya picks it up and opens it, they take control of the ship and capture prisoners to interrogate.[12]

Secured for flight[]

Naomi is on the Chetzemoka, about to send a message to Holden, when Filip arrives. At first, she is happy to see him, but then Cyn and Karal enter the ship as well, and Filip stuns Naomi with a tazer. They are about to throw her off the ship when Filip orders that they are taking her with them, ignoring Karal's objections. They taze Naomi again and she falls unconscious.[13]

The churn[]

Delgado walks into Avasarala's office, and exasperatedly exclaims that the watchtowers will not be retasked. His contacts completely shut him out after he mentioned Marco Inaros, because they realized it was Avasarala's idea and that she was trying to circumvent Nancy Gao's authority. Delgado feels that Avasarala is manipulating him into doing her bidding when it is him who is risking his position, and the little proof they have is not enough for him to feel certain that Marco Inaros is actually planning to attack them. He ignores her attempts to appeal to him, and proclaims that part of their job is knowing when to move on. Avasarala pleads with him, saying he is the only ally she has left, but Delgado says he has come as far as he can go, and leaves.

Later, Avasarala sends a message to her husband, wishing him a good new semester at his job and reminiscing about raising their daughter. She tries to sound happy and collected, but when the message ends, her smile drops. She is about to leave her office when she receives a message on her terminal. It is Drummer's message, forwarded by Fred Johnson, containing recorded dialogue proving that Marco Inaros is planning to throw asteroids at Earth.

The Earth's asteroid spotters completely fail to notice a rock hurling at great speed right past them.

In West Africa, an old man is throwing food at the sea, looking through his technologically-enhanced glasses for a specific kind of fish. He watches curiously as an increasing amount of fish start to quickly swim in panic, trying to flee past where he is standing. He looks on in frozen disbelief as the sky lights up before he is overtaken in a gigantic tidal eruption and energy shockwave: The asteroid has crashed against Earth.[14]



Guest Starring[]




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External links[]


  1. Icon-wgaw-24x24.png
  2. Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother" ("A second opinion from the private sector" [00:04])
  3. Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother" ("Camina's crew finds Ashford's ship" [05:30])
  4. Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother" ("Monica shares some of her information" [09:06])
  5. Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother" ("Knuckles goes back to Pallas" [11:05])
  6. Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother" ("Alex digs for information" [17:01])
  7. Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother" ("Avenging the Ghost Knife [21:14])
  8. Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother" ("Sakai helps Bull and Holden" [26:12])
  9. Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother" ("Shaking the tree that shakes back" [27:32])
  10. Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother" ("This is not my fight" [34:01])
  11. Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother" ("Family reunion" [39:22])
  12. Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother" ("Laying a trap on Tycho" [42:34])
  13. Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother" ("Secured for flight" [43:34])
  14. Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother" ("The churn" [44:45])