In The Expanse's Latest Episode, Earth And The Rocinante Fight Back And Find Hope On The Azure Dragon

"Azure Dragon," the second episode in the last season of "The Expanse," is about opportunities and repercussions (or the lack thereof). Things were pretty grim for pretty much everyone who wasn't Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) in the season premiere, and things are still pretty rough at the beginning of "Azure Dragon" for Earth and, more specifically, the Rocinante crew.

Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), however, promised something significant last episode, and "Azure Dragon" delivers on her promise — it sees Bobbie (Frankie Adams) leaving diplomacy behind and unleashing her badass MCRN skills on a mission on the Rocinante, and it also has Drummer (Cara Gee) move from hiding from the Free Navy to planning a concerted strike against Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander).

Other things happen too, of course, but I'll pause here for the obligatory spoiler warning: major spoilers for "The Expanse" episode "Azure Dragon" lie below!

Meanwhile, on Laconia...

Before we get into the war between the Free Navy and pretty much everyone else, let's start as the episode does in Laconia. Here, we see young Cara (Emma Ho) running through the woods with a dying bird-like creature. She makes it home, narrowly missing getting hit by some foreshadowing and a military jeep, but the bird dies, accidently poisoned from the food she gave it.

Cara is understandably upset, and her parents try to console her best they could before they had to go off to a grown-up meeting with the military. Cara wants to help the dead bird creature's babies, so she tells her little brother to stay put, grabs a drone and the dead bird, and heads back to the woods. There, she tries and fails to put the babies back into their nest, and as she digs a hole to bury the mama bird, one of those strange dogs snatches the dead creature and rushes off into the woods. Poor Cara is, once again, upset, and the story stops there as we then cut back to our solar system. 

These Laconia vignettes are short, each sequence unveiling a little more about what's happening on Laconia, the ring planet run by the Martian military faction that is also helping Inaros. These snippets are here to remind viewers about that whole protomolecule thing, but they're also here because the "Strange Dogs" novella is a great story that I'm sure many fans will be glad to see made it on screen. 

Big Missions Require Big Guns (AKA Bobbie)

But back to the solar system. Before we hit the opening credits we see the Rocinante gearing up with supplies and getting the unexpected cargo of Bobbie with her Martian armor. "Time to lock and load," Bobbie says. Big mission ahead!

That big mission involves Bobbie and the rest of the Rocinante crew finding the Azure Dragon, the Free Navy ship that is triggering asteroids to hit Earth. Holden was planning on destroying the ship once they find it, but Bobbie has orders from Avasarala that they are not to destroy it. Destroying it would be easier, but Avasarala wants them to board it and get what data they can. The Roci crew doesn't love Bobbie's plan — Amos (Wes Chatham) thinks it's completely crazy, and Naomi (Dominique Tipper) is getting worn down but regularly killing Belters. But Avasarala is the leader of the UN, so they fall in line. 

Family Dynamics Are Extra Hard When You Helped Your Dad Kill Billions

Before we get to the big Roci mission (and don't worry — we'll get to it!), we spend time on Ceres where Filip (Jasai Chase Owens) is dealing with the fact he killed his best friend. Filip isn't handling it well, understandably, though Marco gets him out of jail without any formal repercussions for the murder. That doesn't mean, however, that Marco isn't frustrated with his son. "I need him to be the man he should be," he says at one point to Rosenfeld (Kathleen Robertson). 

"That whole dynamic [between Filip and Marco] is a result of Marco's dichotomy, his divide between the deep love that he has, but cannot express," Alexander told me about Marco in my interview with him before the season started. "He wants so badly to connect with this person who is truly the closest person to him in his life now, and who he loves deeply and who he is taking actions in order to benefit ... but he still cannot seem to reach across that divide, because there's so much festering in the way."

We can certainly see that divide in this scene, and Filip might not have it in him to ever be the man Marco wants him to be. We do see Filip, at least, show some remorse for his actions by making sure his friend's family are provided for.

Speaking of Belter families, we also spend time with Drummer's family on the Tynan. Drummer connects with another Belter ship run by Walker (Stuart Hughes) to get Michio (Vanessa Smythe) out of the war zone. Walker is ostensibly Free Navy, but still really hates Marco, something he and Drummer have in common. This shared anger toward Marco ultimately leads them to join forces and decide to raid one of Marco's many supply depots floating around the Belt.

The Rocinante vs. The Azure Dragon

A big portion of the episode, however, is the fight between the Rocinante and The Azure Dragon. I could be wrong, but this feels like the longest space battle sequence of the show. Even if it's not, it's definitely a doozy that not only includes nailing-biting action shots but also key character moments with Clarissa (Nadine Nicole) and Naomi. The back-and-forth with Avarsarala waiting for updates also hammered home the stakes here — this is Earth's last gambit, a chance to stop being on the defensive and go after Inaros' Free Army.

There are some hiccups in the mission, of course — Naomi, still traumatized from her time on the Chetzemoka in season 5, is unable to jump onto The Azure Dragon, causing Clarissa to take over. Bobbie and Clarissa also face an attack where Clarissa ultimately uses her tech to save Bobbie, which causes Clarissa throw up in her suit and pass out.

Ultimately, however, the Rocinante is successful — Earth now has the data about where the Free Navy's armed asteroids are. What's left of the UNN fleet can now go after Marco. And Marco — always looking for a big fight — is giddily ready for them to come.

Things on the Rocinante are also changing — Bobbie is now on board and more or less a working member of the crew, and Holden chews out Clarissa but also finally acknowledges that she's also a member of the crew. Things are still pretty bad, but things are shifting and hopefully changing for the better, now that the UNN fleet is heading to Ceres. 

Other Tidbits

  • Nadine Nicole told me in my interview with her that the vomit in her suit was all CGI. I'm so, so happy for her. 
  • Avasarala and reporter Monica Stuart (Anna Hopkins) have a fun rapport going on. They're both so strong-willed that they can't help but butt heads. But they also both know there's more at stake right now than their personal feelings toward each other. I hope we get to see more of them together in the remaining episodes.

New episodes of "The Expanse" drop on Fridays on Prime Video.