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Were you looking for info on the novella of the same name, Strange Dogs​, from the book series?

"Strange Dogs" is the first episode of the sixth season of The Expanse. Overall, it is the fifty-seventh episode for the show and was released to streaming on December 10, 2021.

The accompanied "One Ship" bonus content "Ankawala" is set aboard the Tynan, with Drummer, Josep and Michio as the main characters.

Synopsis[]

"The tensions of war threaten to pull the Rocinante crew apart when they make a startling discovery on an asteroid. Avasarala and Bobbie contend with the devastration on Earth as Marco's rocks continue to rain down. In the Belt and on the run, Drummer and her family must make a heartbreaking decision. On Ceres, Marco and Filip's struggles turn inward."[1]

Recap[]

A young girl stands in a forest grove, excitedly observing the strange, alien wildlife and naming the different species: Gruncher, Slinkervine, Sunbird. She approaches a mother sunbird and her younglings, and feeds her some of the food she is eating, when she is surprised by something hiding in the bushes behind her. She turns and asks who's there, assuming it's Xan, whom she's told to stop following her, but instead finds a strange creature hiding in the leaves. She reassures the creature that she is friendly, as it rears its head out of the plantlife, but has trouble identifying the animal, though she notes it looks like a dog, kinda. When the mother sunbird begins to caw in pain and collapses to the floor, the worried girl takes it in her arms and runs away, promising it will be okay. The strange dog watches her leave, then looks up through the canopy of trees, at the sky of Laconia. Beyond the clouds above, the strange protomolecule structure looms.

The Free Navy's bombardment of Earth has not ceased, and the continued asteroid impacts are causing environmental disasters, food shortages, severe biosphere damage and millions of deaths planet-wide. Meanwhile, Marco Inaros keeps amassing followers in the Belt, as most major stations including Iapetus, Prospero, Vesta, Ganymede, Tycho and even Ceres rally under his flag. The survivors of Paster's attack on Pallas vow revenge on the UN, while the Rocinante joins in to fight back. A Belter tells the news: "Now Earthers know what it feels like to be Belter."

Another wave of asteroids is destroyed as they approach the Earth, and on the planet's surface, Bobbie reports to Avasarala that it was achieved by a UNN and an MCRN ship working together, in conjunction with the sentinel systems. Next to them, Gareth remarks that he used to like shooting stars, but Avasarala mirthlessly replies that she never did, asking for secondary impacts. Gareth reports that there's been 4 strikes with less than 500 deaths total, which Avasarala doesn't feel is a success, though Gareth is more positive as they've knocked down almost every rock Marco has thrown at them in the last 6 months. Avasarala retorts that it's kept the remains of their navy pinned down while Marco takes control of the entire Belt with his "so-called fucking Free Navy". Bobbie and Gareth assure her that Earth and Mars are working on building more spaceships to join the effort, but she just dismisses Gareth, who looks at Bobbie before walking away.

Bobbie and Avasarala remain, looking over a snow-covered impact crater, which used to be a grain farm in the Mediterranean ag-zone. Avasarala takes some snow in her hand, littered with asteroid residue, and remarks that it's like a nuclear winter, informing Bobbie of the latest biospheric assessment: The Earth's attempts to mitigate the environmental damage are not working, and the meteoric contaminants keep rising faster. Marco kills them one rock at a time, even when he misses. Avasarala reminisces about giving a speech at the agricultural facility when it opened 11 years ago, whose fields were full of corn, so heavy it bent the stalks. She stares at the empty, barren crater, between rage and sorrow, before storming away from an unsettled Bobbie.

The Roci, while on a 187 day long recon mission in the Belt, is ambushed by a Free Navy fighter skiff. They engage in prolonged battle, with Holden in the pilot's seat, and narrowly manage to destroy the skiff before it escapes. The fight leaves the crew worn out, particularly Naomi, and Amos wonders if they could get Avasarala to pay them for each Free Navy ship they destroy. Though Holden replies they aren't mercenaries, Amos notes they aren't soldiers either.

Finding there's no other ships in the area, Holden tries to get the Roci closer to the nearby asteroid to investigate, but Naomi stops him as the Free Navy are known to use proximity-triggered explosives. As she prepares their drone to send in their stead, Amos resolves to go outside and fix up any  damage from the battle. He radios Clarissa, who is unhurt from the battle and is heading down the cargo bay to do repairs on a PDC that suffered a power-out. He gives her advice on how to do the job, but Clarissa knows it already, joking he should have more faith in her, which they both agree she knows he does. As Amos heads out of the airlock, he stops for a moment to look at the Roci's legitimate salvage plaque, which has Alex's name on it.

The drone heads to the asteroid, finding no signs of stealth composites. Holden jumps to action when they detect a drive cone in the rock, assuming it's another ship, but Naomi stops him as it appears to be something even more disturbing: A drive embedded into the asteroid itself.

In the docks of Ceres, Filip has sex with a woman in the darkness. Meanwhile, Marco sits with Rosenfeld Guoliang and Nico Sanjrani at a bar. Sanjrani is positive that, after having plundered enough resources from Earth's colony ships, and with no more coming through due to the war, they can use the opportunity to build up their own supplies and significantly increase food production on Ceres. When they mention Anderson Dawes, Marco interrupts them and remarks that Dawes is dead, because Marco got tired of listening to him, and both his and Fred Johnson's failures are swept away; history has moved on, and so shall they. Filip arrives to the meeting late, which Marco notes with sarcasm before introducing him to Sanjrani, who is Ceres' chief administrator. While Rosenfeld and Sanjrani debate food sources, Filip turns his attention elsewhere and hits on Marta, the bartender, who politely but firmly rejects his advances. Sanjrani insists that they need to prevent their people from starving, but Marco sweeps the matter aside and leaves, follwed by Filip and Rosenfeld.

As they walk, Rosenfeld reports on the Free Navy spacing the crew of the last Dos Arriagas ship, and closing in on the remaining Golden Bough "dissidents". Marco is displeased they don't have news on Drummer, but Rosenfeld bluntly tells him she has no useful reports, offering they could up the bounty on her. Filip is unimpressed by her idea, but Marco agrees and decides to increase the bounties on both Drummer and the Rocinante, walking forward with Rosenfeld and leaving Filip behind. He is approached by his friend Yoan, who jokes about Filip being late to the meeting and getting derailed by a girl. Filip notes Yoan is wearing an alligator skin jacket, which he is certain is fake, though Yoan replies that the Earth won't come back after they kill it, so soon expensive items like real animal skin will be even rarer. A couple of girls pass by, whom Yoan and Filip have a date with later, and he tells Filip he promised the girls to get them a tour of the Pella to impress them, in exchange for them joining the Free Navy.

A man among the crowd begins a chant of Marco's name, which reverberates through the docks as Marco stands on top of a cargo crate and addresses them. He says he always considered Ceres a home for all Belters, and that the Inners might have thought it was theirs, but it always belonged to Belters. He plans to turn it into the jewel it was always meant to be, the capital city of their new Belter nation. As the crowd cheers and chants Marco's name, Filip looks at his father with a troubled, uncomfortable expression.

A Free Navy bounty hunter slowly wades through empty, dark wreckage in the Belt, addressing a warning to the Dewalt to prepare for boarding, and telling the Tynan to show themselves or be destroyed. In the hidden Tynan, Drummer and her crew prepare to ambush the hunter, having activated a link to remotely fire the Dewalt's weapons. Josep tells Michio to fire, but Drummer orders her to hold, as their weapon is direct fire and it has to line up perfectly. As the hunter comes into range, a visibly anxious and distressed Michio accidentally presses the wrong button, starting a test instead of firing and thus revealing their location to the hunter. Drummer rushes in and, seeing no other option, reluctantly overloads the Dewalt's reactor, destroying both itself and the hunter as the Tynan speeds away. Drummer asks Josep what they managed to move over from the Dewalt. Aside from the crew, which was their first priority, they got fuel, food and water, but Drummer asks about the munitions, which a disappointed Josep reveals they only got one torpedo, leaving them with a grand total of three. Josep offers they at least killed the hunter, but Drummer glares at him before silently walking away.

Holden has landed on the asteroid and is looking over the makeshift drive, which Naomi says is simple enough that any rock hopper could have built it with a standard mining kit and an engine. She aknowledges, however, that with all the colony ships the Free Navy's plundered, there's bound to be more of those asteroids. Holden wants to find how these asteroids are triggered, hoping to stop even a few of them if possible, and Naomi leads him to a box beneath the metal structure. As Holden searches in the dark, she drives the Roci to shed light over his location, which he is thankful for. Naomi looks sorrowful as she pulls her hand away from the controls, and when Holden notes her silence, she explains she realized it's her first time flying the Roci, as she never had to before (alluding to their deceased friend and former pilot, Alex). Holden replies that he knows what that feels like.

He cracks open the box and follows Naomi's instructions to plug in and access the reactor's controls, but when he sees a nearby floating metal object begin to rhythmically bang against the reactor, he realizes he has accidentally started it. Naomi panics and begins yelling at him to get out of there, desperately trying to think of a way to shield him from the reactor's explosion and cursing at him as he ignores her and begins banging his wrench on the box. He manages to break the box and shut down the reactor, and after calming down, he tries to explain there was no time to leave. Naomi simply tells him to return and closes the channel.

As Naomi runs diagnostics in the machine shop, Clarissa arrives with Amos, telling him about how she fixed the PDC. They talk cordially until Clarissa notices Naomi glaring at her, and tells Amos she will go grab a bite, leaving discreetly. Amos notices Naomi's glare and asks about it, though Naomi is indifferent. Amos points out Clarissa has been with them for months and working her ass off, but Naomi hostilely replies that Amos brought Clarissa into their crew without asking them, adding that she could never replace Alex. Amos tries to reason that it has nothing to do with Alex, and points out Naomi herself made some big decisions for the entire crew without asking them. Naomi gets angry at his response, but he explains he meant that Naomi should cut Clarissa a break, as they all did for her once. Naomi looks at him angrily and tells him he should "find somewhere else to be", which he tensely agrees with, leaving her to herself.

Drummer and Josep discuss where they could go next, as they need both supplies and ammunition but also need to fly low so they don't get noticed. Josep brings up the "other problem", to which Drummer replies that Michio is not a problem, she just made a mistake, which they all have. Josep contends that this mistake cost them a ship and asserts that Michio isn't built for fighting. Drummer notes Josep is also a salvage technician like Michio, but he replies he's a fighter now, just like Drummer has always been. He lovingly takes Drummer's face into his hands, but she pulls away, struggling to let go of Michio as she is family and they have lost so much already. Josep replies she is his captain and he will follow her, and Drummer approaches him again, but they are interrupted as Michio arrives and shows the new recruits their beds. Drummer asks them for a moment, and as they leave, a tearful and nervous Michio promises to try harder and do better. Drummer replies that they all know Michio is trying her best, after which both of them say they are sorry. Drummer gently informs her that they will stop at a port to resupply and offers she can stay and be safe there, causing Michio to break down in tears and say she doesn't want to leave them. Drummer promises it won't be forever, and that they will come back for Michio after it's all over. Michio wonders if it will ever be over, and pushes Drummer away, getting into her bed and sobbing on her pillow. Drummer takes a step toward her, but Josep softly takes her arm to stop her as they both look on at Michio, visibly remorseful.

In Ceres, Yoan and Filip lay with the girls from earlier, Abena and Saachi. Abena flirtatiously looks over Yoan's tattoos, which he has gotten one of for each of the Free Navy's victories he was a part of. He shares triumphant tales of his and Filip's exploits, and the atmosphere is jovial, until Abena asks if he was a part of the attack on Earth. Yoan replies he wasn't so lucky, but tells them that Filip was the "tip of the spear", stealing the stealth tech from Mars and killing the scientists on the Hasami, spacing Klaes Ashford and dropping the rocks on Earth, making the Inners burn. This makes Filip visibly uncomfortable, and he begins to space out, fading away from the conversation. When Saachi, impressed, says he is better looking than his father and starts kissing him, Filip abruptly gets up and leaves, much to Yoan and the girls' confusion.

Rosenfeld brings Marco a cup of coffee, and he complains about the Inner's ships being focused on the rocks. Though it was their plan, Rosenfeld notes that Marco misses the fight, and remarks that they'll get back to fighting soon enough. She brings up Sanjrani's spreadsheets, and though he is bored of dealing with it, he asks what they can spare from their war supplies. Rosenfeld replies they can spare nothing, and notes Ceres is not tactically important to them; if Sanjrani wants more for the station, they can tighten the food and water rations. Filip enters as Marco points out the Free Navy's presence on Ceres has rallied countless Belters to their cause, to which Rosenfeld coldly replies it has served its purpose; they owe the people of Ceres nothing. Filip tells her that Ceres is their capital and Rosenfeld's job is to get their people what they need, to which she defiantly replies by asking for his logistical suggestions. Filip, clearly having nothing to say, tells her to just do the job, upon which Marco smiles and leaves with Rosenfeld, telling Filip he wants to talk alone with her. He watches them leave, as Rosenfeld reports Medina Station needs more resources and Marco tells her to give them whatever they need.

Amos informs Holden the charges are set to destroy the asteroid, but finds him distracted with a new intel update. He shows Amos video footage of the MCRN Barkeith vanishing into the Ring amid a cloud of red lights, which reminds Holden of the Ilus artifact that wiped out the protomolecule builders . Amos feels it's not their problem anymore, and when Holden insists, Amos tells him he's only out there to kill Marco before he kills them. He would be in Luna drinking himself blind, but he doesn't want to abandon Holden; he asks that he don't abandon them either. Naomi arrives and shows them something she found; having analyzed the reactor's guidance system and how it was designed to activate with a specific frequency signal, she has located a multitude of other similar signals, which Holden realizes are asteroids that were triggered remotely. Naomi further triangulated their locations and superimposed their ranges, finding a common area that Holden points out looks like an orbit. Naomi's theory is that there must be a spotter ship in the area which is activating the rocks, and Holden realizes they must be flying dark, quietly watching the Earth's defenses and timing the launches to keep the Inner Planet's fleets pinned down. The logs Naomi found referened an "Azure Dragon", which she hypothesizes is the name of the ship. Holden knows that such spotters are highly specialized and there must be a very limited amount; if they can take it out, they would seriously hamper Marco's ability to attack the Earth.

He orders Amos to prepare to leave, and when he is alone with Naomi, he apologizes, admitting he tends to convince himself the worst can't happen and promises to be more careful for all of them. Naomi, exhausted, laments they aren't going to stop. She tried for so long to stay away from the violence, but Marco pulled her back into it, and now they are hunting and killing the same people she used to call her own. She tells Holden she doesn't know how much longer she can bear it.

Avasarala and Bobbie return to the UNN Zenobia, where they are accosted by a crowd of reporters. She ignores them as Bobbie handles the situation, but stops when she hears Monica Stuart's voice, asking her if it's true she is negotiating peace with Marco Inaros. Avasarala retorts that the only thing Marco Inaros can offer her is his unconditional surrender. Monica tries to get Avasarala's comments on the state of the colonies, which have been cut off and left at the mercy of the Free Navy since Marco took control of the Ring, and of the state of negotiations on the war, but Avasarala repeatedly rebuffs her with snarky, pointed retorts. Monica feels Avasarala owes the people of Earth some honesty after all they've been through, but when Avasarala gets a message on her terminal, she ignores Monica and walks away. Monica is about to walk after her when Bobbie stops her, and she tells Bobbie to try and impress upon Avasarala that she has constituents, not subjects. Bobbie says that Avasarala is aware of the distinction, causing Monica to smile and share that the one thing she always liked about Bobbie is that she kinda sucks at lying.

Filip is getting drunk at the now empty bar on Ceres, when Marta returns and offers him another drink. He keeps hitting on her, despite her clear disinterest and continued rejection of his advances. Filip, growing more brazen and more arrogant, gloats that she is lucky he is talking to someone like her, which causes Marta to stop on her tracks for a moment. She offers him another drink on the house and returns to her work, but Filip angrily throws the glass at the wall next to her and yells that he's a fucking hero, who killed millions of Earthers for people like her. Yoan arrives and tries to calm him down and get him to bed, causing Filip to turn on him. Despite Yoan's attempts to defuse the situation, Filip calls him pathetic and tells him all the girls on the station are only interested in him because of Filip. The argument escalates, until Filip punches Yoan. Yoan returns the punch, and Filip pulls out his gun and shoots him. Yoan looks at Filip, shocked, before collapsing on the floor. Filip stares at what he has done in horror.

Avasarala floats in mid-air as Bobbie arrives. She admits she never thought she would enjoy the sensation, or lack of sensation, experienced in space, the whole planet not pulling her down for once. Bobbie helps her back to the floor, at which point Avasarala tells her it's time for a performance review. She tells a surprised Bobbie that it's obvious she hates the job, causing Bobbie to admit it's true and offer to step down, but Avasarala replies neither of them gets the easy way out. She remarks that Bobbie's problem is that, as a marine, she is sick of waiting and doing nothing, which they both agree is a sentiment shared by Avasarala and the whole fucking planet too. She shows Bobbie Holden's report and tells her the Roci will investigate the Azure Dragon, which Bobbie affirms is good, but Avasarala replies they need better than just good. They are wounded, broken, trying desperately to keep themselves going by pretending they are not. They are gutting through it all, wearing down, but little wins will not hold them together; they need more, something big, something to give them a reason to hope. Bobbie asks if Avasarala has something in mind, and she replies that she does.

Holden, Naomi, Amos and Clarissa strap down into their individual seats. The ship speeds away, as the asteroid blows up and shatters into a million pieces.


Cast[]

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