TL;DR – This is Naomi’s episode from start to finish
Oyedeng Review –
The world of The Expanse is dramatically shifting under the feet of everyone in the Solar System. It is a dangerous time, a churn, with everything being up for grabs. It is in this chaos where we find our characters as the threat of death is very real.
So to set the scene, Naomi (Dominique Tipper) is still trapped on-board Marco’s (Keon Alexander) the Pella. While she was able to save The Roci and its crew from blowing up Tycho Station, it was at the cost of her freedom. But as she remembers better times, Marco comes in to let her walk free, of at least the ship. For there is something, he wants her to witness. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
There is a lot to unpack in this episode, but I want to take a moment to talk about the acting, and at the heart of that, this week, is Dominique Tipper. This is very much Naomi’s episode because not only does she bookend the narrative, she is the main driving force behind everything that happens. Dominique has to draw so many different emotions: grief, loss, sadness, despair, happiness, pride, determination, betray, and good old fashioned ‘screw you’ energy, to name a few. She sold every moment, and I really hope they use this episode when they put forward her name for an Emmy nomination.
The bookends of this episode are vital for Naomi as a character. At the start, when we see the before times and the moment of happiness before it was ripped away. We get to see Naomi at a moment when she was truly happy. This is important because it gives you context as to just what Marco took away from her. Also, her leap across space without a suit is about as Belter as you can get thumbing her nose as Marco’s barbs at her being an Inner. But more than that, it shows how much she has grown as a person since she left Pallas. To support Naomi this week, we have Brent Sexton playing Cyn, who also has to go through several emotions and nails every one. He is left in a very precarious position at the end of the episode, and I think it is telling how good he is as an actor that I hope this is not the last we see of him. Though the episode title Oyedeng does mean goodbye in Belter Creole, so maybe that was goodbye?
While all this is happening, we have to Roci on the hunt for the Zmeya who stole the protomolecule from Tycho Station back in Gaugamela. Here Holden (Steven Strait) gets to have a little heart-to-heart with Bull (José Zúñiga) over a shared loss, and we see the two drivers of Holden’s mind (Naomi/family and the protomolecule) come into conflict. I liked these moments for a couple of reasons. First, it was nice to get good tactical space combat again. It was also good that we got to see just how smart Monica Stuart (Anna Hopkins). Because she was positioned as almost an antagonist in Season 3 and got kidnapped quite quickly in Churn, we have not really seen her full strength, but we are getting glimpses of that now. In the end, do we recommend Oyedeng? Yes, yes we do. Each episode this season has been going from strength to strength. This week on top of all this we got some Emmy worthy performances, and I hope that they can put away their blinders for genre works and give the performances the credit they deserve.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Expanse
Directed by – Marisol Adler
Written by – Dan Nowak
Created by – Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby
Based on – The Expanse by James S. A. Corey (Ty Franck & Daniel Abraham)
Production/Distribution Companies – Alcon Entertainment & Amazon Studios
Starring – Steven Strait, Cas Anvar, Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham, Frankie Adams, Cara Gee, Nadine Nicole, Keon Alexander, Jasai Chase-Owens & Shohreh Aghdashloo with José Zúñiga, Brent Sexton, Anna Hopkins, George Tchortov & Somkele Idhalama