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"Nemesis Games" is the tenth and final episode of the fifth season of The Expanse. Overall, it is the fifty-sixth episode for the show and released to streaming on February 3, 2021.


Holden and the Roci face off against Marco's forces and Drummer, while Alex and Bobbie attempt a dangerous rescue of Naomi, and the balance of power in the Solar System shifts.


The tactical breakdown[]

On the Rocinante, Monica asks Holden for access to the nav and combat logs, as she isn't convinced by the way the Zmeya self-destructed and suspects that the protomolecule wasn't destroyed. They are interrupted by Bull, who shows them readings of five unidentified ships approaching them. Two of the ships are Martian, while the other three are clearly Belter, prompting Bull to remark that they have a "skinny hunting party," and Monica mocks him for his offensive language. Holden deduces that the party was sent by Marco to take them out, and the Roci is in no shape to win such a fight, as they are low on ammunition and alone against five ships. Monica proposes that they run.[3]

Captain now, Camina later[]

The ships chasing the Roci are the Koto, the Serrio Mal, and Drummer's fleet. Inside the Tynan, Drummer enters the cockpit and straps down in her seat, accompanied by Bertold, Michio, and Karal, who glares at Drummer and announces she will take over fire control. Bertold approaches Drummer and offers that she doesn't have to be present to watch the battle happen, but Drummer rebukes his attempts to reach out and states that she doesn't look away from her actions.

On the Dewalt, Josep and Oksana prepare for the battle. Oksana tells Josep that, since Drummer will be angry at her after what they are about to do, it will fall on Josep to help her through it. Josep asks her if she truly believes there will be an "after" when the battle is over. Oksana replies that she has to.[4]

Distraction plans[]

Bull tries to figure out how they can get away, but Holden points out that Marco will not let the Roci escape this time, but they can make use of the fact that Marco has his attention on them to buy more time for the Razorback to rescue Naomi, essentially sacrificing themselves but doing as much damage as possible in the process. Though at first he is angry and reluctant, Bull eventually accepts, saying that he will do it for Fred.

Holden sends a tightbeam to Alex and Bobbie, explaining the situation to them and asking them to save Naomi. Bobbie tells Alex she is sorry, and he gets emotional, promising Holden that they will get Naomi back. He warns Bobbie to strap in for an intense high-g burn towards the Chetzemoka. [5]

Course Correction[]

On the Chetzemoka, Naomi struggles to unstick a valve within the decompressed corridor, and is unable to do so before she starts to run out of air and is forced to rush back to the cabin. She sees that the Razorback is nearing the Chetzemoka, and walks back into the corridor. Though wheezing and exhausted, she repeatedly smashes her wrench against the pipe, eventually breaking it and activating one of the thrusters on the side of the ship, which causes it to start spinning around itself in a tight spiral. She stumbles out of the airlock and back into the ship's cabin, collapsing on the floor and falling unconscious.[6]

That's that[]

Bobbie tells Alex that the Chetzemoka's course has changed. Alex begins to plan a course to dock with the Chetzemoka, despite Bobbie's protests that both ships are damaged and this attempt could have disastrous consequences. Alex dismisses all of Bobbie's arguments, and simply says that Naomi is in that ship and he is getting her out of there and "That's that." [7]

Preferring to win[]

Leveau straps Monica into her seat, as the Roci prepares to engage with the five enemy ships. Holden and Bull observe the Belter ships changing into a spread formation, and Bull says that it is a good strategy, adding that "at least one of these skinnies is not an idiot." Holden admonishes him and matter-of-factly states that Bull will not use the pejorative term "skinny" on the Roci again, explaining that he understands Bull is upset about Fred's death and is trying to psych himself up for the fight, but that he should leave the "'skinny' shit" out of it. Bull begrudgingly concedes.

As everyone braces for the battle, Drummer abruptly steal's Karal's gun and points it at her head. Karal tries to reason that Drummer is endangering her loved ones, but Drummer threatens to kill her if she keeps talking. Karal watches in shock as Drummer uses the weapons interface to fire a torpedo at the Dewalt's drive cone, paralyzing it.

Holden hesitates to fire when he sees the Belter ships attacking each other, but he is pushed by Bull to turn the ship and start attacking.

Drummer orders the Mowteng to disengage, but she is attacked by Bertold, who wrestles Karal's gun from her hands and throws it to the floor. As the two of them struggle, Karal takes off her helmet in a fury and grabs her gun, pointing it at Drummer, while Bertold holds her in place. Before Karal is able to fire, Michio hits her on the head with a fire extinguisher. As she drops to the floor, her head slams against a protruding pipe and she is instantly killed. When the Koto demands an explanation for the fired missile, Drummer orders Michio to hold Bertold at gunpoint while she lies that they have a malfunction in weapon control and need assistance. After the channel closes, Drummer analyzes the tactical situation and fires all of the Tynan's missiles against the Koto, which is the ship closest to the Roci. The Koto is forced to defend itself with its PDCs. The Roci flies by and disables it with two railgun shots.

The Roci and the Serrio Mal begin to exchange missile fire. The heavy frigate is easily able to repel the Roci's smaller salvo. On the Dewalt, while Oksana struggles to regain control of the ship, Josep approaches the fire control screen. Oksana asks what he is doing, and he replies that he is doing what they all should have done before. While Oksana tries futilely to wrestle him away from the screen, Josep fires the Dewalt's missiles at the Serrio Mal. As with its sister ship, it is forced to turn its PDCs to defend itself from the incoming missiles. Although successful, it is unable to track back to the Roci in time to prevent it from firing multiple times with its railgun. Serrio Mal's reactor loses containment, and the ship explodes.

Everyone on the Roci lets out a sigh of relief, as it appears that the remaining Belter ships are not targeting them anymore. Holden sends a tightbeam to the Tynan demanding an explanation, and a relieved Drummer answers back announcing her identity.[8]

Jumping ship[]

Naomi wakes up to the sound of Alex hailing her and promising to dock with the Chetzemoka. Looking at the helmet's radar screen, she sees that the Razorback has entered within the bomb's arming range, and is fast approaching its detonation range. Resigned to the fact that she has run out of options, Naomi thinks to herself for a moment, and then begins putting on her space suit. After a tense instant of hesitation, she runs and jumps out of the open airlock, spiraling off into space. Heaving in panic and cursing her luck as she floats through endless nothingness, Naomi begs to herself for Alex to see her, and starts repeating a set of hand motions.

The Razorback exits its state of high-g burn and begins to slow down as they approach the Chetzemoka. Alex begins planning for how they will get closer, when Bobbie notices a rogue object that was dropped from the ship, which turns out to be Naomi. Alex recognizes her hand motions as Belter emergency hand signals: She is repeating the signs for "my radio is out," "low air," "ship" and "explosion hazard, do not approach". Bobbie points out that the ship is spiraling in circles around Naomi, so they cannot get to her without approaching it.

Naomi starts to run out of oxygen in her suit, and mutters an apology for Alex to herself, saying that she is sorry for calling him an idiot. She almost loses consciousness, when she is surprised by a rear light collision with Bobbie, who connects an oxygen vial to Naomi's suit. Naomi starts to cry, while Bobbie comforts her and reports back to Alex. He asks if Naomi is ok, but Bobbie looks at the distressed and exhausted Naomi and says she isn't sure. Using the thrusters on the back of her goliath suit, Bobbie propels herself and Naomi back towards the Razorback, reporting that Naomi appears to be hypoxic, dehydrated, and suffering from radiation burns, and telling Alex to get the auto-doc ready. She then asks Alex if Holden knows they got Naomi, but Alex doesn't reply. As Bobbie keeps calling for Alex, he sits idly in the pilot chair, with blank vacant eyes staring and blood droplets hovering adrift around his nostrils.[9]

There's still more to do[]

Filip sits in his room, organizing and preparing his weapon. Meanwhile Marco is getting a report about the battle, and he is informed that they have lost contact with Drummer's fleet, while there is no signal from the Koto or the Serio Mal. Marco is seething and demands to talk to Karal and, when the soldier reporting tells him that they have been unable to reach her, Marco lashes out and orders her to try again. Marco then calls Serge and tells him that he needs his help to send a message to Drummer. Filip walks in and asks what happened, and Marco tells him that their trap on the Chetzemoka failed, they lost two gunships in the process, and they were betrayed. Filip is ambivalent about this, which surprises Marco. He approaches his son and asks him if he has no feelings on the issue. Filip nonchalantly replies that there is no point in being angry. Their trap failed, but it doesn't alter Marco's plan, so they should focus on the rest of their work. Marco praises Filip, saying that he is happy to see his son has grown.[10]

Burning to Luna[]

After the Razorback docks with the Rocinante, Holden stands over Naomi, as she rests in the Roci's medical bay. He tells her that Alex's ex-wife decided to handle his funeral arrangements, and that Alex will receive full military honors in his death. Naomi is silent, and Holden explains that he died of a stroke, which is a risk they all take every time they enter a hard burn. Naomi laments that Alex died saving her from her mistakes.

Monica watches a news transmission, stating that Avasarala has placed Earth and Luna under military protection, and featuring video footage of Avasarala promising non-Inaros loyalist Belters that the Earth doesn't view them as their enemy. She notices Bobbie passing by and asks for her help to decipher the battle logs from their encounter with the Zmeya. Bobbie agrees to help, admiring the Roci for being able to capture such detailed logs even when engaging in a five on one battle. Meanwhile, Bull sits on the pilot's chair and drinks coffee from Alex's cup, with a thoughtful expression on his face, when he is contacted by Holden, who asks him to fire one of the Roci's missiles. When Bull asks where the missile is going, Holden gives the terminal over to Naomi. The Roci's missile fires, and destroys the Chetzemoka.[11]

Watching old messages[]

Naomi watches the explosion from her terminal with Holden, and asks him where they go from here. Holden says they are going to Luna, where Amos is waiting for them. Naomi asks about Holden's parents, who he reassures her are alright, as Avasarala sent them a shuttle and ensured they got to Luna. Naomi says that Avasarala could arrest her as a terrorist, but Holden assures her that she was a prisoner, not a collaborator, that she will be granted immunity and that things will be ok. Naomi replies that it was easier to believe when she was the one saying it. She asks him about the message she sent him before she reached Pallas, but Holden says that he didn't listen to it, as doing so would mean accepting that he had lost her. Naomi plays the message for both of them to hear, which she recorded in case that she died while on her mission, and in which she thanks him for the time they spent together and for letting her make her own decisions. They both sit together in silence, as Naomi's recorded voice states that the family they had on the Roci was truly good, but that people come and go from their lives, families change, and it is sad and difficult, but they can bear it as long as they don't shut themselves off from the new possibilities. They both start to tear up as Naomi's recording gives Holden permission to let her go, stating that she will always love Amos and Alex, and especially Holden, for as long as she loves anything. The message urges Holden to not waste Naomi's love for him, but to instead build on it, and that, that way, she will always be with him even if she is dead. The two of them share a loving, though also mournful, embrace.[12]

Divergent paths[]

Drummer, Oksana, Josep, Michio and Bertold all watch a recording that Marco has sent them from the Pella, in which he throws Serge in an airlock and stands in front of him in a space suit. The entire crew is watching, devastated, as the recording shows Serge begging Marco and assuring that Drummer would not go back on her promise, because she gave her word and loyalty to Marco. They all break down in tears when Marco releases the airlock and stands there, watching Serge suffocate and die, before angrily kicking his corpse out into space. Michio laments that she told him not to go on Marco's ship, but he wanted to be there, and Bertold comforts her with an embrace. When Drummer turns off the recording, Oksana confronts her, accusing Drummer of lying to her even though she knew this would be the cost for her actions. Drummer turns to Oksana and laments that there was no other way, but now they are at least free to choose their own path. Oksana declares that she is leaving on the Mowteng, and Bertold says he will leave with her, releasing a tearful Michio from his embrace, but giving Drummer a cold glare. Oksana tells Josep to follow, but Josep decides to stay with Drummer. As Oksana turns to depart, Drummer approaches and tells her that there is no way they can hide from this now, but they can still stay together. She reaches a hand to Oksana's cheek, but Oksana says that they have nothing to stay together for, and she and Bertold turn around and leave.[13]

Farewell to Timmy[]

On Lovell City, Amos waits on a balcony at the top floor of the spaceport, anxiously looking at a screen that shows the Rocinante is currently landing. He is approached by Erich, who informs him that Hutch is alright and will "live to steal another day." A tense moment of silence follows, and then Erich tells Amos that the new colonies could be a great opportunity, as they have no law or police officers on them yet, offering Amos to come along with him. He says it was fun to be working together again, but Amos keeps eyeing the flights display, until he notices that the Roci has landed, and tells Erich that he has his own thing now. He assures Erich that he will not change his mind, but offers that they can have one last drink together, and tries to remove the bottle of Erich's tequila from his backpack. It accidentally slips from his hand and falls over the balcony's rails, slowly plummeting with Luna's reduced gravity towards the bottom of the spaceport. Despite Erich and Amos yelling for the passers-by below to catch it, the bottle smashes across the floor, prompting both of them to laugh. After a silent moment, Amos bids Erich goodbye and heads towards the Roci.[14]

Chosen last stands[]

The Roci's doors open, and Amos is greeted warmly by Holden, while Naomi gives him a long hug. A long silence follows, until Amos breaks it with a simple "yeah...," and a tearful Naomi apologizes, saying that she is sorry as she knows it is hard to lose a friend and that Amos and Alex were very close. Amos replies that it wasn't Naomi's fault, and that he thinks it is a good end to die on the line, fighting for your family, and it is the end that Alex picked. Naomi reminisces about calling Alex a brave idiot, and the three of them chuckle, with Amos pondering that there's worse things to be.

When Holden offers that they should get Amos settled in, he asks to have a private talk with Holden. Once Naomi is gone, he asks Holden for a favor, and reminds him of the time that Holden threatened to kill Amos. Holden is surprised that Amos would bring this up now, as it has been a long time since then and lots of things have changed. Amos asks him if he really meant that, and Holden reluctantly says that he did then, so Amos points out that, though Holden once wanted to kill Amos, now they have each other's backs and there's no hard feelings. Holden reassures Amos that they are family now, which leaves Amos very satisfied. He then calls behind him, yelling "We're good!", and informs Holden that he has brought someone who will have to ride along with them for a while, who will need a new identity, though Amos has that covered, and thanks Holden for being cool about the situation. Holden turns around and is shocked to find a hesitant Clarissa, who gives him an awkward "hi." Before they can talk more, Amos enthusiastically pulls Clarissa inside the Roci, leaving Holden alone in the airlock. As he closes the doors, he stops for a moment and passes his finger over the Roci's legitimate salvage plaque, which holds the names of its four owners: James Holden, Naomi Nagata, Amos Burton, and Alex Kamal.[15]

Humanity united[]

Avasarala and Holden privately converse at a small party on Luna, attended by the rest of the Roci crew, Bobbie, and Monica. Holden approaches and kisses Naomi, and jokes that she has a lot of debriefing to do in her future, though Naomi is not really looking forward to spending so much time talking about Marco. They both look over at Avasarala, who is conversing with a group of people, and Naomi ponders that Avasarala has come a long way, to which Holden says that they all have. Bobbie approaches Avasarala, offering a sincere condolences for Arjun's death. She replies that he would have been happy to see them together, and says that she is also sorry for Bobbie's loss. She then introduces Bobbie to the other people at the party, who greet her with honor. Across the room, Avasarala sees the Roci crew having fun together and smiles. Amos asks if they have joined the Earth's army, but Naomi explains that they are independent and don't fly anyone's flag. Holden agrees, adding that this is not a fight they can stay out of.

Avasarala speaks up, and tells the people gathered to take a good look around, gesturing to the diverse crowd in the room, comprised of all the nations in the Solar System. She proclaims that this what Marco hates, what he is afraid of, the reason that he tried so hard to destroy the Rocinante. Now all that is left to do is to bring every Belter, Martian, and Earther on their side. Avasarala proclaims that this is how they will win.[16]

A knife in the darkness[]

Meanwhile, the Free Navy advances on the Sol Gate, while Filip listens to Marco give a prideful speech about how, thanks to himself, the things that were once impossible are now possible, and Marco made them happen.

A UNN officer discreetly approaches Avasarala, while Monica comes up to Holden and Naomi and shows them the readings that Bobbie helped her decipher: it appears that they actually missed one of the Zmeya's torpedoes. While Holden is dismissive of this as a common occurrence, Monica fears it might mean that, possibly, the protomolecule got away, which Naomi confirms is possible. Just then, Avasarala whispers to Holden to follow her and to not make a big fuss about it. They walk out, accompanied by Bobbie, and Monica tries to follow them, but is stopped by security officers. As they rush away, Avasarala explains to Holden that there's been an attack at the Ring.

A massive micro-meteor cloud crashes through the Earth ships defending the Sol Gate, as Marco's army approaches.

Admiral Tesfaye briefs Avasarala on the situation, and informs her that the transmission delay between themselves and the Sol Gate is almost three hours. The Earth's ships are destroyed one by one, and it appears that Medina Station has betrayed the Earth and sided with Marco. The Security Council celebrates when an MCRN armada approaches the Ring, but Bobbie points out that it's headed by the Barkeith, which is loyal to Inaros. Tesfaye notices that most of the ships in the armada have been reported missing after engagements with Inaros operatives.

After all the Ring's defenders are destroyed, the Free Navy enters the Ring Space. The crew of the Pella chants Marco's name, though Filip is silent and thoughtful.

The Security Council scoffs in disappointment, as the Martian fleet follows the Free Navy into the Ring Space. Avasarala thinks it is madness, as the Martians don't seem to have something to gain by allying with Marco, but Holden says that it's possible that Marco paid them with the protomolecule. Avasarala asks why the Martians would take the protomolecule back into the ring after what it did on Ilus. Holden says that maybe the Martians know something that they don't.[17]

Ring transit[]

Admiral Sauveterre and Lieutenant Babbage hold a video call with Marco, congratulating him for his victory. Marco has given the Martians free rein to settle in one of the systems, named Laconia. Sauveterre reminds Inaros that the mine field is now active on the Laconian side of the gate to prevent unauthorized transit. Sauveterre then receives a message from Cortázar, who is on Laconia studying a strange protomolecule structure that looks like a spaceship, floating within the planet's atmosphere. Babbage says that she has been waiting a long time for this moment, clutching a bracelet on her wrist.

As the Barkeith nears the Laconia Gate, Sauveterre tells Babbage that their job is very important, and that on Laconia they will not have a civilian world to cushion them if they fall. Dishonorable discharge will be simply replaced by execution, or worse. Babbage agrees, saying that they will have to be more pure now than Mars has ever been: one mind, one cause. Sauveterre reinforces that they have to be perfect, no more breaking of rules, no more overlooking of even the smallest infractions. He asks Babbage if her bracelet is allowed in the dress code, and she explains that it is not, it is just a keepsake from her mother. Sauveterre extends his hand, and Babbage takes off the bracelet. As she is about to hand it to him, the Barkeith crosses the gate, and time freezes within. A completely frozen and immobile Sauveterre and Babbage are then attacked by strange beings, identical to those Dr. Elvi Okoye saw when she fell through the alien artifact on Ilus. The creatures destroy reality around Sauveterre and Babbage, until they are completely erased from existence, while the Barkeith vanishes in a cloud of red light within the gate.[18]



Guest Starring[]




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  1. Icon-wgaw-24x24.png
  2. Icon-twitter-22x22.png  Tweet from Breck Eisner
  3. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("The tactical breakdown" [01:17])
  4. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("Captain now, Camina later" [02:29])
  5. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("Distraction plans" [04:03])
  6. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("Course correction" [07:29])
  7. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("That's that" [09:51])
  8. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("Preferring to win" [10:51])
  9. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("Jumping ship" [16:50])
  10. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("There's still more to do" [26:18])
  11. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("Burning to Luna" [28:24])
  12. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("Watching old messages" [30:47])
  13. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("Divergent paths" [34:28])
  14. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("Farewell to Timmy" [37:21])
  15. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("Chosen last stands" [39:15])
  16. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("Humanity united" [42:25])
  17. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("A knife in the darkness" [45:05])
  18. Season 5, Episode 10: "Nemesis Games" ("Ring transit" [50:51])

External links[]