The Expanse “Force Projection” Spoilers Ahead
So much of the reason why James Holden and Naomi Nagata have always been one of my favorite on-screen couples is because of how intrinsically they understand each other’s boundaries. It’s especially the case for how much they’ve grown throughout the years, even when they were in different places, physically away from each other and with minimal contact. Thus, The Expanse’s “Force Projection” and their conversation about Naomi’s trauma does ample than merely showcase the detail that these two will always be around for each other. It clarifies how perfectly fit they are to be a solid couple.
The series’ decision not to shy away from Naomi’s heartaches and trauma by brushing it all off is everything to me as a woman who’s eager to watch realistic depictions of strong women on my screen. And Naomi Nagata is, in every way, the kind of strong woman who’s an inspiration to us all. Her journey ultimately tells us that strong women fall—strong women aren’t invincible. They’re human. At this moment, Naomi’s strength comes from the fact that she’s actively talking about the fact that she froze. It authenticates that vulnerability is a strength by revealing that amidst her heartaches and the trauma, she is dealing with it in a healthy way. She isn’t shying away from the truth, but rather, she is admitting to it and figuring out ways to overcome it.
The decision to merely talk about it and put it out in the ethers is how Naomi is going to get through this. Because when there’s little left to be done, the way we get through trauma and darkness is by vocalizing it. We can’t hide from it. We can’t deny it. But we also do need to be ready for it. And when an entire team is concerned, it’s exceedingly unfair for them to be in the dark about it. As Naomi says, it’s okay to talk about it. Now’s the time. It’s okay, necessary, and it’s a beautiful, brave thing to do, and I commend The Expanse’s “Force Projection” for going there, but that’s always how the two have operated. They’ve shared things they couldn’t with anyone else because they know without a shadow of a doubt that their partner won’t judge them, but they’ll listen intently, and they’ll do everything they can to help.
Another form of beauty in the scene comes from Holden’s understanding that right now, Naomi’s done the challenging part by vocalizing precisely what happened and that she doesn’t need a lecture, but rather, she needs something to keep her busy. In this case, Namoi needs a distraction—a different kind of job. She needs something to keep her busy that’s a safer route to take because getting through the moments where she freezes up requires time and careful understanding that she did her best—she tried her hardest.
And their quiet conversation is one thing, but Holden’s decision later is another. A decision that reminds me so much of the series’ first episode, “Dulcinea,” where Holden logs the distress call. Though this time it’s more personal, and his future, as well as Naomi’s, is on the line, Holden’s decision doesn’t surprise me and shouldn’t surprise anyone else because it’s a testament to who he is. It’s a showcase of his righteousness, but more importantly, his heart and the lengths he’s willing to go through to save the people who deserve it. Where the next episode takes us and what their relationship looks like following will be due to this moment.
What are your thoughts on The Expanse’s “Force Projection?”
Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) — or, as people often call her, "Goose" — is a romance aficionado who's taken her Master's in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture. She's the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters.