The Expanse Wiki
The Expanse Wiki

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


Drummer and Ashford confront a dangerous person from Naomi's past. Murtry hunts down a target. Bobbie makes a life-changing confession.



In Ilus, Lucia watches Murtry murder her friends and co-conspirators, and realizes that he is coming after her next. Naomi tells her she will bring her to the Rocinante, where she will be safe, and calls Amos, who helps them escape by attacking the guards and causing a distraction so they can get away. The guards beat Amos to the ground, but they are stopped by Chandra, and they ask her which side she is on. Murtry orders him to be taken away, adding that killing him would be more trouble than it's worth, and lets Chandra run after the soldiers who took him. Murtry advances on Lucia's clinic and orders his soldiers to search for her.

Holden, Alex and Dr. Elvi Okoye stand over the ruins of the protomolecule structure that they destroyed. Okoye is upset, as she came here to study this planet and not to destroy everything they find, and when Holden tells her the two of them have very different agendas, Okoye points out he has not been honest about his. She has figured out that Holden is hiding information from her, and asks him who this Miller he's referred to is. Their confrontation is interrupted by a call from Naomi, who informs him of Murtry's rampage, her plan to get Lucia to the Roci and of Amos's arrest. She tells him to meet them at the Roci, and she and Lucia keep advancing. Holden calls Murtry to ask for an explanation, and he says that he is trying to bring terrorists to justice. He threatens to kill Murtry if he hurts Naomi, which makes Murtry realize that Naomi is helping Lucia. Holden tells Murtry that he has no right to act like he is the law and that they have bigger problems with the protomolecule structures activating, but Murtry is intent on executing Lucia. He tells Holden he has no intention of hurting Naomi, unless she stands between him and the criminal, and he should tell Naomi to surrender before hanging up.

On Earth, Avasarala is very upset and sending Holden a message, pointing out that she sent him to Ilus as her eyes and ears but he has given her nothing but silence, while huge protomolecule ruins that were supposed to be inert are shooting out lightning. While she is screaming into her terminal and demanding that he update her on the situation on Ilus, an assistant arrives and informs her that the interview is about to begin. Avasarala collects herself and heads out.[1]

Bobbie's caught in the churn[]

On Mars, Bobbie returns to work, but feels guilty for betraying her new employer and helping Esai Martin steal their equipment, so she confesses to Caskin, her foreman. She tells him that she is ready to accept punishment, but he asks her if she has kept her contacts and if they could sell them other things in secret. She is shocked that he would want them to keep committing crimes against Mars, but he reasons that the war is over and all that technology is useless to them, so there's no harm in selling it for profit. When Caskin tries to blackmail her by threatening to report her, Bobbie quits in disgust.[2]

Dis demang you want[]

On the Tynan, a bounty hunter hands a bloodied Marco Inaros over to Drummer and Ashford. The bounty hunter caught him selling the parts of the Sojourner in a remote asteroid, and offers them 10% of his payment back if they allow him to kill Marco himself, but they decline, and start talking to Marco. He smiles at Ashford and tries to buy his way out of being killed, but his smile fades when Drummer retorts that she is a friend of Naomi and that his fate is sealed.[3]


Amos wakes up, bruised and chained to his bed, with Chandra sitting at his side. He demands she unshackle him, but she is trying to protect him from Murtry, stating that if Amos wants to stay alive he should stay here and hope that Murtry forgets about him. Amos replies that, if Murtry is going after his crew, she should not stand in the way. Chandra tells him that Murtry is only after the people who destroyed the shuttle, and explains that she understands Amos's loyalty. She tells him that Murtry pulled her out of the mud once and she will always be repaying him for that. Amos rises from the bed, but a guard barges in with a gun and tells Chandra that they haven't found the fugitives yet. When he notices Amos is standing and has dislodged the bed with his strength, he points the gun at him and orders him to sit down. Amos shoots a long look at Chandra before putting the bed back in place and sitting down. Chandra looks him in the eyes and says, "Thanks, I really didn't wanna have to shoot him."

Murtry messages the Edward Israel to take control of the scopes, which Dr. Sarkis is using to monitor geological activity. Murtry demands Sarkis help him find Naomi and Lucia and, when Sarkis is unwilling, Murtry threatens him. When Ilus gets between the Edward Israel and Murtry, causing a communication signal blackout for 11 hours, Sarkis uses it as an excuse to deny Murtry his demand. As their call is ended by the signal blackout, Sarkis flips his middle fingers at Murtry, who curses in frustration. Murtry orders Chandra to put the settlement in lockdown and shoot any Belters who don't comply.

As Naomi and Lucia approach the base of the culvert where the Roci is situated, Lucia forces Naomi to stop and rest so she doesn't hurt herself through overexertion. Lucia apologizes for getting Naomi involved in the whole situation, but Naomi insists that she involved herself because, as she said when they met, the Roci crew are there to help. She disdainfully says that Murtry is an animal, but Lucia replies that he is not wrong, and confesses that she and her friends sabotaged the shuttle, although she didn't want anyone to get hurt. Naomi reassures her that they can figure it out, but they need to get to the ship first.[4]

Mars don't deserve us[]

Bobbie is turned away from an employment office, with the employee explaining that they are overwhelmed with the large number of veterans who are out of a job since the peace treaty. On her way out, she runs into Thomas, whom she has a cordial chat with and invites him out for a beer.

Later, Bobbie is sitting at a bar, watching Avasarala's interview. Avasarala pretends that she admired Nancy Gao's life story and that she was saddened by her deception, and condemns her for defrauding Earth's government, while the polls indicate that approval of Gao has lessened as a result of the story. Thomas sits with Bobbie, and she asks him if Mars feels different to him. For her it's been a strange experience, as she had never met an unemployed Martian before, yet now there are lines of them. Thomas agrees with her sentiment, but adds that Mars doesn't deserve them. They down the remainder of their beers and order tequilas next.[5]

Drummer talks to Marco[]

Drummer enters the room where Marco is held, telling him that Naomi isn't there. Marco, bloody and dirty, replies that he is keeping watch on Naomi, and knows she is not with Drummer or with the Belt, but with her Inners on the Rocinante. Drummer asks him where Naomi's son is, and Marco asks Drummer what she knows. Drummer simply replies that Marco used Naomi to murder people, and then stole her son when she tried to leave. He claims that Naomi is lying to herself and to everyone else, and reminisces about their shared youth, drinking vodka on Pallas Station and dreaming of a revolution. Drummer brings up the Augustin Gamarra, which Marco and Naomi destroyed together. But while Naomi was haunted by all the death they caused, Marco wasn't affected. He believes he is a fighter, while Naomi is not, and claims that he doesn't blame her for leaving. Drummer asks him what he did with Filip. Marco replies that he did the best he could. She leaves the interrogation room and, when Ashford asks her how it went, she replies that Marco talks too much. Ashford shows her a display, showing that there's a ship, the Granicus, chasing after them, which has no identification and is blocking their attempts to communicate. Drummer asks if they can take it in battle, but Ashford replies that they should just run.[6]

Bait meets switch[]

Holden and Alex are driving towards the Roci, and Dr. Okoye calls Holden to inform him of Murtry's imposed lockdown, that the RCE has forced the Belters into quarters and locked them in, and that they won't allow her to see Amos, only telling her that he is alive. Holden thanks her and advises her to keep her head down and try to not get hurt. Naomi then calls Holden to warn him that Murtry has sent his people to barricade the Roci's airlock, and that Holden is the best person to deal with them as he is Avasarala's official envoy. Naomi and Lucia get ready to move, but Murtry is already there and shoots Lucia in the abdomen.

Ashford and Drummer are trying to get Marco to talk to them and figure out if the ship that's chasing them is allied with him. Marco keeps trying to win them over with his charm, offering that if they let him go they wont be harmed but that if they kill him, his people will retaliate all over the Outer Planets, maybe even on Medina Station. Ashford finds excuses to get everyone out of the cabin, until he is alone with Marco. He taunts Ashford for being a former OPA legend turned lapdog of the Inners, and Ashford tries to reason that the Ring Gates have changed things and their wild ways don't work anymore. Marco gives a passionate speech to Ashford to win him over to his cause, mentioning how they could raid unarmed colony ships full of resources to build the Belter paradise they dreamed of, and how the new worlds belong to whoever can take them. Ashford tells Marco that they can't do any of that because they don't have ships or weapons, but Marco hints that that's not entirely true, and mentions something regarding Mars, but then realizes that the Tynan's crew have been gone for a suspiciously long time and that the whole thing was staged by Drummer and Ashford so that Marco would reveal his plans. Everyone else returns to the command deck, and they tightbeam a large number of allied OPA ships which have been hiding nearby, much to Marco's displeasure. The ship that has been chasing them veers off, and Drummer informs Marco that they were never going to hand him over to the Inners.

Bobbie returns home drunk, and tells Ben and David that she has lost her job. Ben offers to look at his workplace for anything that could come up, while David is very sorry and defends Bobbie, stating she is a hero and shouldn't be working a thankless janitorial job. Bobbie lashes out at David, pinning him to the wall and telling him that he doesn't know what she has sacrificed to protect brats like him and that she doesn't need him to defend her. As Ben gets her to calm down, the police walk in and arrest Bobbie for her crime at the docks. David looks on with guilt while Bobbie is walked through the corridor by the police, with all the neighbors staring at her.

Holden is concerned for Naomi who is not picking up and sounded hurt through the voice channel. Alex spills Naomi's secret to Holden, that she has been trying to push through despite her body not taking to the gravity drugs.

Naomi is applying pressure to Lucia's wound when Murtry calls to her. He tells her she is free to go and promises not to hurt her, and Lucia encourages her to go and save herself, but Naomi refuses to leave her behind. Lucia points out that Naomi doesn't even know her. Murtry tries to get Lucia to walk out by subtly threatening her husband and daughter, but Naomi says that Murtry is bluffing. Lucia doesn't want to risk her family over her actions and walks out into Murtry's view. Just then, Naomi manages to get control of the Roci's gun through her terminal and shoot at Murtry and his men, causing enough of a distraction for Holden and Alex to approach in their cart and help the women escape. The four of them make their way to the Roci, where Naomi and Lucia are put in the med-bay to heal.

On the Tynan, Drummer and Ashford hold a trial for Marco, together with three other OPA faction leaders. They discuss how they will divide Marco's holdings among themselves, and condemn Marco for ruining the peace, stating that he thinks he speaks for all Belters but he doesn't. Marco starts to talk his way out of his predicament, pointing out that all of them have murdered Earthers before and that the Ring Gates haven't changed the greedy and oppressive Inners. He gives them a passionate speech and offers them the money he made off of the Sojourner. The Black Sky and Golden Bough factions vote to let him live, while Ashford (representing Dawes) and the Matar Kubileya faction vote to execute him, leaving the last vote to Drummer (representing Fred Johnson). Much to Ashford's shock, she accepts his offer and votes to let him live.

Later, Drummer sends a message to the UN, assuring them that the pirate threat has been corrected. Ashford tells her it was a mistake to let Marco live and thinks she was swayed by Marco's words. Drummer explains that it was the others who were swayed and, since Black Sky and Golden Bough are afraid of losing power once the Ring Gates are opened and Medina Station becomes the central hub of the Ring Space, she didn't want to anger them by ruling against them and inciting a civil war. Ashford is sure Marco is planning something and that he will keep swaying more people. Drummer is sure they can handle him, but Ashford says he fears they may not get another chance.…[7]

Grand Larceny[]

Bobbie is in jail, and she uses her phone call to contact Esai Martin, who arrives to see her. She asks if his job offer still stands, and he explains that, since she no longer works at the docks, she would have to work with him full-time. Bobbie accepts.[8]

Marco Inaros and his gift for words[]


Holden runs out of patience[]

Dr. Okoye and Dr. Sarkis are having a video call, and Okoye is extremely upset about Murtry's actions, stating she didn't come all this way to be complicit in murder and that Murtry is out of control. When she asks if they should contact RCE's headquarters and get them to take away his position, Sarkis tells her that the security team aboard the Edward Israel has locked down all communications with Earth, probably on Murtry's orders. Okoye laments that there has to be something that they can do, but Sarkis reminds her what she told him: that they are here to do a job and that, since they can't stop Murtry, they should focus on their job. He shows her that the spikes they planted are still picking up signals, and it appears there's multiple machines all over Ilus that turn on, move, and then turn off again. As Okoye hangs up to investigate the information he sent her, Sarkis gets called to look at a screen reading; it shows a group of islands generating massive amounts of heat.

On the Rocinante, Alex informs Holden that they need to get Naomi back into space as soon as possible. She is sad, as she just wanted to have the choice of where to spend her life, but Holden reassures her that he doesn't care where they are as long as they are together. They share a tender kiss and Holden smiles at her before leaving. When the door closes, his expression changes to steely anger. Alex tells him he doesn't like the idea of Holden alone down on Ilus, but he tells Alex to take care of Naomi and heads to the armory, where he picks a gun before walking out of the Roci.

He meets Murtry, who tries to reason that his actions had nothing to do with Naomi. As Holden approaches, Murtry shifts to saying that Naomi was aiding a terrorist who killed his people. Holden punches him, disarms him and kicks him to the ground, before telling Murtry that it ends there and that he is not in charge anymore. Holden picks up Murtry's gun from the ground and walks away as the Rocinante launches into space.[10]



Guest Starring[]




  • In the chapter/scene titles, as viewed in the X-Ray feature 2021-Feb, include two with the same name of "Rampage"


  1. Season 4, Episode 4: "Retrograde" ("Rampage" [00:00:12])
  2. Season 4, Episode 4: "Retrograde" ("Bobbie's caught in the churn" [00:04:43])
  3. Season 4, Episode 4: "Retrograde" ("Dis demang you want" [00:07:41])
  4. Season 4, Episode 4: "Retrograde" ("Rampage" [00:10:49])
  5. Season 4, Episode 4: "Retrograde" ("Mars don't deserve us" [00:13:04])
  6. Season 4, Episode 4: "Retrograde" ("Drummer talks to Marco" [00:15:14])
  7. Season 4, Episode 4: "Retrograde" ("Bait meets switch" [00:18:47])
  8. Season 4, Episode 4: "Retrograde" ("Grand Larceny" [00:25:11])
  9. Season 4, Episode 4: "Retrograde" ("Marco Inaros and his gift for words" [00:29:43])
  10. Season 4, Episode 4: "Retrograde" ("Holden runs out of patience" [00:36:47])

External links[]