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The Expanse’s “Why We Fight” is a Quietly Profound Series Penultimate

The Expanse “Why We Fight” Spoilers Ahead

Screenshot from The Expanse "Why We Fight"
©Prime Video

Sometimes, a series’ penultimate episode packs so much, it leaves very little room for the finale to explore the more volatile inclines—and usually, I’m all for that. But The Expanse isn’t that kind of show. It’s best during its quietly profound moments where a single decision changes the trajectory of the entire route, and it continues to orbit around the ongoing theme of found families beautifully. That’s certainly the case with “Why We Fight,” as the episode openly answers its titular question through the final few moments with the kind of performances that leave us all clad in goosebumps. 

The Expanse “Why We Fight” takes the concept of found families into account when it forces characters like Amos Burton and Camina Drummer to question their loyalties and to make the decisions that will change their lives for better or for worse. Why we fight has been a running theme throughout the series as the tireless wars within the universe have taken far too much from people while seldom giving in return. And neither is wrong in their reservations—the conflicts between Inners and Belters have relentlessly put the people trying to do the right thing at risk of losing more often than not.

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The People Worth Fighting For

Naomi Nagata and Camina Drummer in The Expanse "Why We FIght"
©Prime Video

And so, it takes us to the conversation with Naomi and Camina—the first time the women have seen each other since Season 3, and it hammers down on the importance of agency once again. Naomi Nagata makes her own decisions. She chooses what she believes is best for her, but more than that, she chooses to give people the benefit of the doubt. She decides to believe in the idea that people can grow and change because she has seen it firsthand on the Roci. 

There’s a tremendous amount to be said about the whole “fuck you” of it all—the weight and the heartache that Cara Gee capsulizes into these words as she cries in Naomi’s arms, realizing that her family is gone and the losses they’ve all endured. Camina Drummer is seldom told that it’s okay not to be okay, and though the blatant words aren’t uttered aloud here—she is given a chance to feel all that’s within her through the kind of moment that alters the trail of her decision making.

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Drummer has always admired Naomi, and the same goes for the latter—Dominique Tipper’s almost child-like joy in working with Cara Gee again was so palpable in those scenes, I was nearly moved to tears by her smile alone. And then the actual tears prompting my own meant I was a mess. There are always standout performances on this show, and Gee’s work in this episode is going to stay with viewers for a long, long time.

In the end however, it’s about finding that proper middle ground where the showcase of change is discernible, and everyone realizes that they’re fighting for the same thing. They’re fighting to protect the universe from Marco Inaros and The Free Navy. They’re fighting for something bigger than what they’ve been taught to believe and the people they’ve been conditioned to hate. This isn’t about the war, but it’s about the choices—it’s about understanding that good and bad are both fighting to prevent bloodshed.

It’s about the quiet conversations that will result in the kind of outcome that will clarify why this story is so distinct in its exploration of violence and humanity.

Chrisjen Avasarala and Camina Drummer in The Expanse "Why We Fight"
@Prime Video

The series’ way of thus bringing together two of the most stubborn women might just be its most beautiful decision yet. Shohreh Aghdashloo and Cara Gee were close to perfect in their delivery of the emotions their characters touched on, and I will forever be in awe of how the Academy continues to disregard the truly top-notch performances in The Expanse.

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Because this moment is so much more than deciding to fight for the same side. It’s looking into the eyes of another human being and understanding that their words are a beacon of hope they can hold on to. The Expanse’s “Why We Fight” beautifully brings trust front and center through the chains of reservations and eons of heartaches. There’s a plethora of heartache they’ve both lived through and combining forces lessons the pain from the cuts in an organic way that doesn’t suddenly equate to removing all the scars, but it stops the bleeding.

Amos Burton and Bobby Draper in The Expanse "Why We Fight
©Prime Video

The middle ground also comes down to questioning why and how it all matters for Amos too. In the end, what matters is who’s covering your flank, Bobbie tells him over drinks. And that’s the perfect point of this penultimate episode—it’s about finding your people after the darkest nights. This is why Amos stays because deep down, he knows he can trust Holden through any battle—he knows that when it comes to his defense and when it comes to everything he’s stood for, he’s safe here. They all are.

“They watch your back, and you watch theirs.” It’s a promise—an undeniable force of loyalty that doesn’t require anything more than the epiphany that, if nothing else, they each have their people. These battles have been worth it because of the person they fought to protect, who in turn were fighting just as hard for them even while they made mistakes.

And as they prepare for that battle, what matters above all things is that right now, at this moment, they know that they’re fighting for the people they’ll always love more than anything else.

What are your thoughts on The Expanse’s “Why We Fight?” Let us know in the comments below.

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Gissane Sophia View All

Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) or, as people often call her, "Goose," is a Christ fan above all and a romance enthusiast who's taken her Master's degree in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture.

She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks' Society Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters. She's a member of The Cherry Picks and can also be found writing features for Looper.

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