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This week we discuss the tenth and final episode of season 4 of The Expanse titled “Cibola Burn”.
Or listen to the audiobook version through Audible
The episode opens between Mars and the Belt on board the Razorback AKA The Screaming Firehawk.
Bobbie and Alex are following the Barkeith. Bobbie is convinced it’s a smuggling run but Alex not so much. He’s having a hard time believing so many Martians can be in on it and doesn’t understand why Bobbie isn’t more upset about the whole situation.
She tells him a story about her pet rat dying and how you only have so much grief inside you. Once it’s used up there’s nothing left to do but react by doing something that matters. Which is what they are doing.
They receive an emergency alert advising all ships headed towards Earth to give way to ships involved in relief efforts. They turn on the news feeds and hear about the asteroid impact on Earth that happened almost simultaneously to an explosion at the Martian parliament building.
On Earth, Amos visits Clarissa AKA Melba at The Pit, a U.N. Penitentiary. Clarissa is being held 10 floors underground in a special wing for prisoners with body modifications. According to the constitution, prisoners have the rights to body privacy, meaning they cannot be forced to relinquish their mods.
Amos is escorted to Clarissa’s cell. A small concrete cube where she is being kept sedated with mod blockers since it would be too dangerous to try removing her modifications.
At first Clarissa doesn’t believe Amos is really there. She tells him of her life. Blockers every morning, food through a slot in the door, daily 30-hour walk in the yard and therapy once per week. Repeat.
She questions why he came to visit her. He tells her that people like them, and the things they do, can play a toll on them. He was lucky that he had people helping him. He was hoping the be that person for her. But she tells him she can’t be helped.
Their conversation is interrupted by the lockdown alarm. Moments later the whole place shakes violently as cracks appear in the concrete walls and the lights go out.
On Luna, Avasarala is trying to warn Nancy Gao that the asteroid was not a random occurrence but a deliberate attack. But nobody is taking her calls.
Admiral Delgado arrives and informs her that a second rock struck earth northwest of Philadelphia.
The Secretary General and her council is on board UN One trying to understand what is happening.
Her Chief of Staff tries to convincer her to go to Luna but she won’t hear it.
Using her previous connections, Avasarala manages to contact the plane’s chef and get him to pass his communicator to the Secretary-General.
Finally through to Nancy, Christjen tells her what’s happening and what they need to do. Reposition the watch towers which are the only things that can detect stealth technology.
The Secretary General orders it done, moments before another rock strike earth close to her plane and communications is lost. The fate of the UN Government unknown.
With the order received, the Watchtower satellite is redirected to look for stealth asteroids.
Avasarala can’t get a hold of Arjun and pleads with him to contact her. Delgado arrives with the news that with Nancy and most of her cabinet MIA nobody seems to know who is next in line of succession.
Christjen is down and depressed. Delgado takes her to the officer’s lounge to see everyone in shock about what has happened. Everything seems hopeless when they receive word that the repositioned Watchtower satellite detected another asteroid. Relief and hope are renewed as the news comes that Earth’s defence satellites destroyed the incoming asteroid.
On Tycho, Fred, Jim and Sakai are monitoring the arrival of the Zmeya, as Bull and his team wait inside the shipping container.
Suspiciously, an alert comes in from reactor control, on the other side of the station that requires security to check out.
Jim gets suspicious when the Zmeya doesn’t follow their projected flight plan, stating thruster issues.
Holden tells Bull to get out of the container. It’s a trap. Bull and his team exit as the ship’s cargo bay doors start to open, and they fire a missile destroying the shipping container.
Distracted by wha’t happing outside, Sakai takes the opportunity to reveal herself by shooting Fred in the back three times before fleeing, shutting of the entire station’s communication network on the way.
The Zmeya fires a second time, but this time it’s not a missile but a boarding skiff. It latches on the the station outside of Fred Johnson’s quarter where Monica Stuart hiding.
Fred, badly wounded tells Holden that his sample of the Protomolecule is in his quarters. Jim has to get to it before they do.
The boarding team break through the wall to Fred’s quarters and send in a retrieval droid.
Sakai arrives as the droid starts cutting through the floor. She orders the Belters with her to put Monica in a vac suite. They’re taking her with them.
With station security holding off an attack in the reactor, Holden is on his own.
He shoots the belters, as Monica subdues Sakai, but the droid makes it out with the Protomolecule sample. Sakai laughs at them.
Later, In the medical bay, the doctors are unable to save Fred. Jim, Bull and Monica grieve by his body.
Somewhere in space, Filip and crew rendezvous with the Pella, Marco’s ship. Naomi is brought before Inaros who is both surprised and pleased to see her.
He shows off his warship saying Belters need a way to protect themselves but she says there are other ways Belters can protect themselves.
She tells him he hasn’t changed, but he disagrees. He tells her that raising a child changes one’s perspective. All you want to do is provide a better world for them than the one that was given to you.
She’s disgusted that he had their son kidnap her but Marco informs her that that was all Filip’s decision. In some ways he thinks their son is still a little boy who needs his mother.
Marco tries to impress Naomi by showing her what’s happening on Earth. How he’s taken steps to free their people and return dignity to the Belt. But she’s disgusted by what he’s done, putting blood on their son’s hands.
But Filip says he willingly helped. In fact, Marco tells her their son played a pivotal roll in the plan.
When informed that the rest of the rocks were either destroyed or missed Earth, Marco is not upset. On the contrary, he views 3 rocks hitting the planet as a huge victory for the Belt.
After locking Naomi in her room. He get’s on the coms and broadcasts system wide.
He is Marco Intros, commander of the Free Navy, the military arm and voice of the outer planet and the ones responsible for the attacks on Earth and Mars as retribution for the atrocities committed by the inners against innocent Belters over generations.
But they won’t be persecuted anymore. He threatens more attacks on Earth and Mars if the Inners don’t recognize the new regime. The Free Navy now possess the last remaining sample of Protomolecule and they won’t hesitate to use it on either planet.
Earth and Mars can remain sovereign planets, but everything outside their atmosphere, including the Ring Gate and Ring Worlds belongs to the Belters.
Going forward, the Free Navy will remake humanity without the greed and corruption of the inner planets.
He calls upon all Belters to rise up and fight for their future and their freedom.
And that was the episode.
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