FoCC Review: The Expanse – Intransigence

by Miclpea

SPOILER ALERT-Do not read if you have not seen Episode 309 of The Expanse
Quote of the Week- “You underestimate me.”

This episode was directed by David Grossman and written for television by Hallie Lambert

This week’s episode, Intransigence, pulled the hearts and minds of the viewers in many directions; but, in the end, it delivered. There were moments of great comedy which made the moments of heartfelt loss even more poignant. Viewers felt the intensity of a painful goodbye as someone returned home while others chose not to return home. An apparition became more real while the Ring revealed some of its secrets. There was all this and much more in this episode.

The episode opened on the Behemoth after the missile launch and the Rocinante’s mad dash to enter the Ring. Naomi was understandably angry with Ashford and Drummer for firing on the Rocinante. Throughout the episode, as Naomi worked to bring all the ship’s systems back online, she began realize who was her real family. As despicable a person that Ashford might be, he recognized the conflict in Naomi of her competing loyalties. However, before the issue came to a head, the Behemoth headed into the Ring.

In many ways, Intransigence belonged to Drummer. Before the Behemoth entered the Ring, Drummer gave a rousing speech reminding the Belters of who they are and that Space belongs to them. The speech was reminiscent of the speech given by Champa (Gugun Deep Singh) in The Monster and The Rocket in Season 2. The speech spoke to the quintessence of who the Belters are. It was a defining moment of this episode as the viewers truly could understand the Belter psyche as Drummer prepared them for the journey into the unknown. Later, viewers were treated to a different view of Drummer, not as a great leader, but as a beautiful and vulnerable human being.

By the end of the episode, Naomi chose to return home to the Rocinante. Unfortunately, Ashford had anticipated her move and he had requested Drummer to deny access to the skiffs for all aboard the Behemoth. When Naomi tried to board the skiff, her access code was denied. Drummer found Naomi trying to access the skiff. This was a heartbreaking moment which showcased both the exceptional writing and directing for this episode. The emotion, which Drummer felt at seeing Naomi trying to leave, was devastating. Drummer knew why Naomi had to leave but it still hurt that Naomi had not trusted her enough to come to Drummer with the request. As Drummer released the skiff and said goodbye to Naomi, the loss was a great as when Naomi left the Rocinante.

Meanwhile, aboard the Rocinante, the crew learned that Cohen had “innocently” sabotaged the ship when he replaced the communication chip. He thought that the replaced chip would just give him internal ship communications which would enhance their coverage on the ship. This revelation angered the crew and especially Amos who sent them out the airlock. But, fortunately for Monica and Cohen, Amos wanted to communicate with the Martian ship and this was the only way with the Rocinante‘s communication system inoperable. He provided them with spacesuits which gave them the ability to reach the Martian ship inside the Ring alive.

The sabotage was not the only issue with which the Rocinante was struggling. Miller was refusing to talk to Holden. As Holden tried different methods of trying to contact Miller, these moments provided needed comic relief from the intensity of other events in the episode. When Miller finally appeared near the end of the episode, Holden demanded an explanation which Miller provided:

“Oh, so you wanna talk about the non-local quantum hologram. The phase-conjugate adaptive waves resonating in the microtubules in the brain which, of course, requires some closed-timeline curves and Lorentzian manifold, and you catch up. I’ll wait.”

This stopped Holden in his tracks as it was clear that any communication problems, which Miller previously had, were resolved. Miller told Holden that he had to go the center of the Ring where there was a station. Holden left for the station as Naomi left in the skiff from the Behemoth to return to the Rocinante.

Aboard the Thomas Prince, because of the destruction of the support ship, all the civilians were being evacuated from the ship. Anna discovered that Tilly had used her connections and immense wealth to stay aboard the ship when it crossed into the Ring. Anna talked Tilly into including her as well. Anna continued to reach out to Melba to comfort her when she learned that Melba planned to go through the Ring as well. Melba, however, was going through the Ring for a different reason.

Melba’s guilt continued to eat at her as the technicians went through Ren’s belongings. There was a revealing moment when Melba heard the laughter of Tilly. It brought back memories for Melba of her life at home with her father, Jules-Pierre Mao and her sister, Julie Mao. Melba is really Clarissa Mao. Her only purpose for existence was to exact revenge on James Holden as she blamed him for everything bad that has happened to her father and her family.

Clarissa is obviously a deeply troubled human being (read-crazy person). Her hatred of James Holden was totally irrational since she assigned zero blame to her father for his actions which led to his downfall. Her “daddy and sister issues” were obvious from the flashback which showed her constantly trying to curry favor with her father and sister. She was not going through the Ring for hazard pay as she had told Anna, but to finish the job she had started which was to destroy Holden.

As this season continues its manic pace to its conclusion, this episode provided so many great moments. There was the moment when Drummer, before entering the Ring, gave the rousing speech which both energized and fortified the Belters. But, there was also the moment when the truly human and vulnerable side of Drummer was revealed as she allowed Naomi to leave and return to the Rocinante.

Intransigence also revealed the true identity of Melba Koh as Clarissa Mao, the daughter of Jules Mao and the sister of Julie Mao. Clarissa explained her motivation for trying to destroy Holden when she attempted to contact her father via leaving a message with Ren’s family. Clarissa clearly had to spend a lot of time and money to create a new identity and to plan the destruction of Holden. Both she and her father could have used their money and talents for better things. She would be sad and pathetic human being except in her hatred of one person, who really did her no harm, she brutally murdered another human being, who had only showed her kindness. As for the subject of her ire, James Holden, he was dealing with his own ghost.

Miller told Holden that he needed to go to the station at the center of the Ring if he wants answers. What will Holden find on the station? Will the Martians, the Belters, or Earth let him board the station? Who or what will Holden find on the station, possibly the builders of the Protomolecule? I know I speak for all the fans of The Expanse when I say, we want the next episode and we want it now. We don’t want to wait!


I love going to conventions around the US. I'm an ardent fan of all things science fiction and especially The Expanse. I write for Friends of CC and I have written a science fiction script with a friend.