The Expanse “Churn” might be the most anticipated episode of Season Five due to reveals about Amos. But to start off, Camina Drummer (Cara Gee) is the first character we see in this episode and honestly, her considerable presence was sorely missed in the first episode. In the half-year that’s passed since the end of the fourth season, she’s assembled a pirate crew that’s more of a polyamorous family — poly shippers of the Roci crew, you may scream in jealousy. She rescues a UN colony vessel headed for the Ring, although “rescue” might be the wrong word — she is a pirate now, after all.
Camina locates the dearly departed Klaes Ashford’s (David Strathairn) ship, which is a genuinely sad moment because she already knows he’s dead–this is just the proof she needed. I was wondering how his death would be revealed to her, as the two had become close friends. But that’s the end of that plotline for this episode. Camina’s storyline is more teased than fleshed out here.
Amos is the focus of this episode instead, which is probably right, considering the episode is titled “Churn”. If you’ve read the novella this episode takes its title from, you probably know more about what Amos has been through in Baltimore than I do, but it’s easy to read between the lines — Amos was a child sex worker until he wasn’t and became the muscle we know and love today. Lydia (Stacey Roca) is only seen in a flashback with Baby Amos (Cole Pollock), also known as “Timothy” and quite possibly one of the better “baby” versions of a character I’ve seen to date. Lydia’s presence, on the other hand, is deeply felt, with Amos visiting her partner, Charles (Frankie Faison), who immediately recognizes Amos as the boy Lydia must’ve spent a great deal of time reminiscing about. We get some more info from the “Churn” novella here, too.
Amos learns that Charles is about to be kicked out of his apartment by Erich (Jacob Mundell), so Amos decides to pay Erich a visit. Turns out the two have some sort of shared past and bond, but it’s really only hinted at; again, I’m assuming if you read the novella you have a better sense of him than I do. Erich is the opposite of Amos in many ways — clearly more the brains of his criminal operation than the muscle. Not that Amos doesn’t have brains, but he more often than not relies on his guns and his physical ones, too.
Erich tells Amos that if he ever revisits Baltimore he’ll have him killed, which Amos weirdly accept — maybe this is a threat that’s been made before, or maybe Amos doesn’t think Erich’s actually got the ability to kill him. Amos also steals a bottle of some kind of alcohol from Erich, in an entertaining moment that reminds us, yet again, that even Amos is kinda funny on this show.
Amos ends “Churn” on the docks, drinking and scaring off some street punks while reminiscing about Lydia. He then calls Chrisjen and asks for a favor: he wants to see “someone” before he leaves Earth for good. Very mysterious.
Naomi isn’t present in this episode, probably because she’s still traveling from one end of the system to another. Still, she is missed.
Back on Tycho Station, Fred Johnson really really wishes he was a Belter, but he’s always going to be an Earther, no matter how much power he hands over to his Belter pals. That guy always has a constant inner “Churn”. Jim Holden gets another message from Monica Stuart saying she has proof that the protomolecule sample the Belters are holding is in danger and transmits the footage to him. He decides to go talk to her and finds that the not-too-careful reporter has been kidnapped! Oh no! Whatever shall we do! They decide she’s still on the station, somewhere.
We see Monica wake up in a cargo container with some oxygen, and she begins to plot her escape. This goes poorly, since she breaks the seal of the container, draining her oxygen. Luckily, back in Fred’s office, Holden pushes yet another button — Fred, who’s full of great quips this season, barks that’s really the way he lives his life, huh? But this time, it’s actually a good pushing of a button, as Holden activates the camera in Monica’s eyes? Contacts? I’m unsure, but he gets a good glimpse of where she is — a shipping container. They begin a hunt and reach her storage container just in time to rescue her from oxygen deprivation.
On Mars, Alex and Bobbie talk again after a chilly conversation in the first episode — Bobbie reveals her spying/weapons trafficking scheme to Alex, who really just does not get how far Mars has fallen. Poor guy. Bobbie thinks a high-up lecturer at the War College is a part of the wider scheme, but she can’t get to him. Alex decides to chat the guy up, and he tries, but he gets rebuffed fairly easily — he is the guy who flies around a bunch of Earthers and Belters, after all. However, a Lt. Babbage (Lara Jean Chorostecki) takes a liking to him and invites him to coffee. Finally, a way in for this misfit duo.
In the UN government halls of Luna, Chrisjen Avasarala meets with her daughter (?!) Ashanti (Nazneen Contractor) who just wants her mother to finally give up the fight and retire. Chrisjen knows she can’t do that. I’m mostly baffled that we actually saw her daughter. We haven’t seen her grandchildren since season one, although they’re referenced here, in “Churn”. In a meeting with Gao and some of her subordinates, it becomes clear that Chrisjen might really be done in the UN. Chrisjen brings up the destruction of the science vessel, and her theory that Marco was the one who did it. Nancy Gao (Lily Gao) rebuffs that claim and basically tells Chrisjen to shut up or retire. God, I’m sick of the disrespect everyone gives the Savior of Mother Earth. Politicians are known for their short memories (I guess).
Chrisjen reflects on how once upon a time she had actual enemies she was up against (presumably figures like Errinwright and Mao), but now she just has a bunch of snotty bureaucrats to deal with.
Watch The Expanse Season 5 Wednesdays on Prime Video.