The Expanse S6E4: “Redoubt” — Unbent, Unbroken, Unbowed

Camina Drummer looking stern, with blood smeared on her forehead

The following contains spoilers for The Expanse S6E4, “Redoubt” (written by Dan Nowak and directed by Anya Adams) but no book spoilers

Through the first half of Season 6, I was worried about whose side The Expanse wanted me to be on, but as S6E4 came to a close, I finally felt I had someone to root for again, and it’s the same one who’s had my heart all along: Camina Drummer.

To be clear, I’ve never stopped rooting for Drummer, but as much as I’ve loved the arcs with the #PolyAmBelterFam, it has felt a bit like Camina has been floundering over the past two seasons of The Expanse, to where I wasn’t quite sure where her story was going at times, or if it was going anywhere.

But in large part that’s because she has been feeling the same way herself. She just wanted out, and to live her life, away from all of the “big men with big dreams” that only ever seem to result in perpetuating hate and violence. Indeed, we can see this as something of a thematic throughline to “Redoubt,” redoubled in the conversation between Clarissa and Holden, as she recalls his speech on the Behemoth (the one that made her decide she no longer wanted to kill him)—here we are, still trying to kill our way to a better tomorrow. And it’s there again in the footage Monica is putting together, this idea that the battles fought between the powerful come at the expense of ordinary folks, be they Belter or Inner, who just want to be able to wash their hands and spoil their cats.

Of course that’s true enough, but nonetheless we can see in Drummer and Holden two different dispositions to moving forward. Camina has simply had enough, as she sees yet another of her beloved maimed (poor Josep!), her resolve stiffens. She’s been a reluctant warrior, but has come to realize she has to fight, because the fight against Marco has to come from within the Belt and be on the side of the Belt. Finally, the question that loomed over her whole arc in Season 5 comes to this—Drummer simply cannot live in peace, stealthily occupying the margins, as much as she wanted to. She has to take it to Inaros, no matter the cost.

Camina Drummer appears on a Free Navy wide comm feed

And it would be a mistake to think that the greatest possible cost would lie in death, as should be clear when we consider Holden in contrast. Peaches tells him he should never feel guilty for deciding to not kill someone, as the crew of the Roci (except Bobbie) learns in S6E4 that James disarmed the missile that could have destroyed the Pella.

It’s easy enough to understand why he did this—he couldn’t be the one responsible for killing Naomi’s son; he couldn’t live with himself. But we have to ask if doing so would have been the right thing to do anyway. Perhaps the sacrifice required by certain situations is the cleanliness of one’s own conscience; perhaps the killing would be immoral and it always is but it would have still been the right thing to do. Maybe this is the truth of the thought of the suspension of morality in a time of war—it’s not that the killing is justified, but that you have to do it anyway, because to not do it is even worse. Sometimes the only option is between one wrong and another. Who ever said it was otherwise?

James Holden looks down at Naomi as she steels her face

Naomi is right that Holden is now responsible for any further atrocities Marco carries out, and worse, he’s made her responsible, even if he did it for her without her asking and against her expressed will. He still did it for her.

We might think back to what Murtry asserted in Season 4 about the necessity of men like himself. The post office comes later. Of course he was wrong as well because he took a certain glee in being vicious, and felt he was justified. No, the important thing is to avoid that sense of rectitude, slipping into dogmatism—a moralism turned evil. It’s rather the reluctant killer we need, who knows the moral cost and decides to pay it anyway; who is willing to sacrifice the smug self-satisfaction of keeping a clean conscience, for the sake of a greater good.

This is almost the definition of the modern tragedy.

A comm unit says that the UNN won't support a strike against Marco, with the reply that they will proceed alone

Of course, the MCRN is also planning to go directly after Marco by attacking Medina, despite Avasarala’s refusal to commit UNN troops to that mission. She says it is exactly what Inaros wants. I suppose we’ll find out soon if she’s right. And then we’ll have to ponder whether we think the blood is on Holden’s hands.

Rosenfeld smirks at Marco

This week on Laconia, Cara intends to take her dead brother Alexander to the strange dog animals to resurrect him, which seems like a good idea except that it definitely isn’t.

The most exciting thing, though, is seeing Paolo on Laconia, which raises the question of what he’s been doing and how the protomolecule is involved. Does it relate to the possibility of resurrection? Could this retrospectively shed new light on how we think about what happened to Miller?

Paolo in the lab on Laconia, looking bewildered

With only two episodes left, I’m afraid The Expanse won’t have time to answer these questions. Rather I expect they’ll culminate in a larger one as Season 6 ends, and we may be left hanging with that mystery forever (or go searching for answers in the books).

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

Caesar non est supra grammaticos


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