After two buildup episodes sprinkled with action, Amazon delivered some intense fighting in The Expanse season 6 episode 3. Just as every episode in the final season usually opens, this one began on Laconia. It brought us more insight into what is going on there and left us with a heavy cliffhanger for that particular storyline. James Holden gets The Rocinante into a fight and the war with Marco Inaros and the Free Navy reaches a new point.
Episode 3 starts out by explaining more about this foreign world Laconia. We see the young girl Cara and she's still upset about the creature she accidentally killed with food in the previous episode. She leaves school and walks to the forest to see these alien dogs.
Whatever this creature really is, it doesn't appear to be dangerous, yet. Cara finds the creature amongst the broken drone she tried to use. She also finds the alien babies. The drone she broke is now fixed with a blue-tinted propeller and the alien she killed is alive! Clearly, something is different with the alien. It looks a bit mangled and is a different shade of color than the others. Could the Protomolecule have changed the molecules in these two totally different things? It's certainly possible.
Cara runs home in excitement to tell her parents the creature is alive but finds an awful and sad setting. She walks inside her home and finds her parents crying over the body of her brother. He's bleeding, not moving, and looks extremely pale. It isn't confirmed that he's gone but it definitely looks like he won't make it. The scene ends and that's all we see of the planet Laconia.
The War with the Free Navy
Earth's and Mars' ships arrive at Ceres. They send soldiers onto the station to inspect the inevitable trap only to find the Belters who live on Ceres explain a significant problem. The Belters plead that they won't be fighting with them and they only want to survive. Their leader explains that Marco Inaros and the Free Navy stripped the entire station of all supplies and technology, leaving them with only three weeks worth of resources.
This, of course, was Inaros' plan the entire time. He wanted to weaken the Earth and Mars fleets by forcing them to expend resources to fix this humanitarian problem. Inaros knows that if Earth ignores this problem, the Free Navy will grow even larger. The rest of the Belt will flock to his side of this war without a second glance.
Avasarala is wise to Inaros' plan and she makes sure they aren't seen in a negative spotlight. Earth provides the station with resources and helps fix the station. As the Earth soldiers are dispensing food to the Belters on Ceres, several explosions rock the station. We don't see what caused them or how much damage is done.
James Holden and the crew are bound for Ceres. He needs rest and puts Peaches in charge of The Rocinante. She agrees to take control of the ship after he explains The Roci' basically flies itself. Peaches can't contain herself any longer and she tells Holden the truth about her mods.
She originally installed her modded powers so she could humiliate Holden. She didn't want to just kill him and avenge her father, she wanted to completely embarrass him. Then she admits to killing Ren back in season three after he discovered a bomb that she planted. Peaches explains to Holden that she sees Ren's face every time she uses her mods and that's why she pukes afterward.
After the discussion with Peaches, Holden goes back to his quarters and finds Naomi. He asks her about what happened with the Azure Dragon and she explains how she froze. He comforts her and then gives her the task of helping him decrypt the information he's found with the rings. She agrees and she finds a pattern. The lead isn't much to go on but it's a start.
While James Holden sleeps, Inaros and his ships discover the location of The Rocinante. Marco makes the questionable decision to go after them with hesitancy from his crew, including Filip. They head toward The Roci and a huge battle ensues.
Holden and The Roci try to outrun the Free Navy but they can't. Their only option is to swing the ship around and fire their 'Rail-Gun' at them. It works and they hit one of the ships. They fire their machine guns at them as well and hit Marco's ship, The Pella.
Holden and Marco have a brief exchange before Bobbie fires a missile at The Pella which Holden disarms before it can make contact. James wanted to take Marco prisoner but that was never going to happen. The two ships go separate ways and the fight is over.
Marco and Filip Inaros
Filip questions his father's decision-making on Ceres. He doesn't like the fact that they completely lied to the Belters on Ceres. He's aware that publicly, people are calling them cowards for fleeing the station. Marco reminds him that they left a problem for the Earthers to solve and this is how they win the war.
After the fight with The Rocinante, Filip directly questions Marco's leadership in front of the entire crew. He states they didn't need to be in that fight and it was Marco's fault they were there in the first place. Marco gets mad, calls his son a coward, and relieves him of duty.
Lastly, Marco retreats to his quarters where he gets a message from Medina Station. He's informed that another ship has successfully gone through the ring portal and that it's looking good. It looks like they're doing the same thing they did on Laconia with another planet and Marco has something hidden up his sleeve.
Episode 3 ends and it leaves us wondering exactly what they're doing through the rings. It seems as though they're terraforming the planets in some type of way. Marco's plan after the war with the Earthers is over could be to retire to one of these "new" planets. This episode was incredibly entertaining and consistent elements that make this show so great persist throughout.
We're halfway through the final season and there is still so much left for us to see! Will James Holden survive this war? Check back for another review after episode 4 drops.