A majority of the scenes in this latest season of The Expanse, especially when centered around Naomi were often hard to watch. It was gut wrenching. It was breathtaking. It was jarring. No one wants to see their favorite character suffer, and no one wants to be put in a position where we’re clenching something (probably a pillow) praying to God that they make it.
And that was largely the case with Naomi. I’ve read Nemesis Game, so I knew she survived, I knew everything would be okay, but somehow watching it on-screen with the heightened, indescribably gripping visual effects freaked me out a bit. Could she? Would they really do that? (We all got TV trust issues these days, don’t we?) But no, they wouldn’t. Thank God, the writers, and mainly Bobbie Draper.
When Naomi left the ship, and the tear began floating after she had finished with the Belter codes, after she muttered “thank you,” we stopped breathing. When Bobbie started talking, we resumed. The single shot close up of Naomi’s face as Bobbie spoke felt like it was something meant to comfort us as viewers. I know at least four other people who had as much of a visceral reaction to that scene as I did and who were left enamored by its execution.
The jaw-dropping complete silence followed by the muffled thud (as Amazon captioned put it), felt like the perfect kind of TV rush. You know those dreams where you’re screaming and no one can hear you but you finally wake up and realize it wasn’t real? That’s the feeling. The very one. If we were in a movie theater as this was happening, it’s easy to imagine to collective gasps the entire audience would break into. Bobbie’s muffled “I know. Hold still,” followed by Naomi’s deep breathing was executed with such harrowing effects, we felt like we were there, too.
We’ve been saying since the beginning of this season that this was Dominique Tipper’s season to shine, and she does so remarkably. With so few words, she’s able to evoke a full range of emotions–the sobs that could have easily been overdone instead, felt far too real. And in the same way, though she spoke very little in this scene, Frankie Adams was able to evoke a whirlwind of emotions solely with her voice and the very little closeups we got of her that told us everything we needed to know.
“Breathe in. Hang on to me. […] Easy does it.” We couldn’t see her, but we could hear her, and then finally when we did, it all fell into place beautifully–everything felt right again. When Naomi said, “I’m fine now,” we all felt that, too. We were just as fine now. What a scene. What a moment to evoke such indescribable ease with a show that could feel so overwhelmingly suffocating at times solely because of how well its visual effects are and how high stakes get.
The scene is visually and cinematically stunning but more than that, it’s perfectly reassuring. Much like Avasarala’s speech, it felt like a promise that by the end of this, everything will be okay. We’ll be okay.
What did you think of this scene in The Expanse? Are you still reeling from it as we are? For more scene breakdowns, check out what we had to say about Naomi and Jim’s reunion in the finale, too.