The Expanse Review: “Nemesis Games”

The current season of The Expanse comes to a powerful but uncertain conclusion– rescues, mutinies, an unexpected death, an inspirational speech, a Rocinante reunion, a new role for the protomolecule, and… whatever happened to that Martian ship.

Title: “Nemesis Games”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Breck Eisner

Written by Naren Shankar, Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck.
Adapted from the novels by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (as James S.A. Corey)

Steven Strait as Jim Holden
Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata
Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal
Wes Chatham as Amos Burton
Frankie Adams as Roberta “Bobbie” W. Draper
Cara Gee as Camina Drummer
Nadine Nicole as Clarissa Mao
Keon Alexander as Marco Inaros
Jasai Chase Owens as Filip
Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala
José Zúñiga as Bull
Sandrine Holt as Oksana
Tim DeKay as Admiral Sauveterre
Jacob Mundell as Erich
Anna Hopkins as Monica Stuart
George Tchortov as Leveau
Olunike Adeliyi as Karal
Lara Jean Chorostecki as Lt. Babbage
Alex Hatz as Secretary Yilmaz
Andrea Davis as Tesfaye
Carlos Gonzalez-Vio as Cortazar
Christine Sahely as Dahane
Joyce Rivera as Secretary Cebotari
Sam Kalilieh as Clarke
Samer Salem as Josep
Stephen Tracey as Bertold
Tommy Matejka as Diplomat
Vanessa Smythe as Michio
Wilex Ly as Serge


After a daring rescue, a mutiny, battles in space, and some casualties, most of the main cast reunite on the moon, and Clarissa Mao joins the crew of the Rocinante.

With the help of some renegade Martians, Inaros’s forces take the Ring.

Then matters grow very complicated.

High Point

The show successfully maintains the tension of recent and current story arcs. “Nemesis Games” may not be as consistently engaging as last week’s episode, but it remains a strong dramatic story which cheats us of the ending we want– precisely because the story hasn’t ended.

Low Point

I appreciate that The Expanse tries different approaches to certain kinds of scenes, but the handling of the battle scenes results in unnecessary confusion regarding what exactly happened.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 The episode gets a point for the conclusion and, although it is an adaptation, another for killing a character who survived the same events in the novels.

Effects: 6/6 The Expanse sets the current standard for SF F/X on TV.


Acting: 5/6 Between the intensity of much of the episode and that beguiling conclusion, we get to experienced some relaxed moments among cast members. Wes Chatham as Amos Burton continues to give us the Guy You Want in Your Corner. Even when he leverages the role to his personal advantage, you still like the guy.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Story: 5/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 6/6 I guess we wait another year to find out what the heck just happened.

At least October should bring us a space-opera fix in the form of Dune.

In total, “Nemesis Games” receives 37/42

6 replies on “The Expanse Review: “Nemesis Games””

  1. This episode was great!! I disagree about still liking Amos, I freaking love that character. The “you can come out now” at the end was awesome.

    I just knew watching that they’d drop the cliffhanger hammer at the end. That cut to black with Inaros talking was utterly chilling. You knew bad stuff was coming.

    Oh, and the mysterious big bads are on the move, apparently?

    • I thought this episode was incredible, with both this and last week’s up for at least an Emmy nomination, IMHO. I was completely drawn in by the first battle and couldn’t believe it was only 1/3 of the way through the episode at its conclusion – I was fully expecting Naomi’s rescue, crew reunion, and the coda to be 10-15 minutes, max. Not that I’m complaining, of course. And on top of that, there was Inaro’s actions and the resulting scenes between Drummer and Michio Pa (which I suspect will probably have a price tag of its own later), and that “You can come out now” scene was sublime; well played, Amos! Well played! I don’t think there was a single weak plot line in the entire episode.

      That ending was definitely coming, if you’ve read the books and are observant as “Laconia” has been identified as a location on the ring image in the credits since the start of the season, so I guess the plan was definitely to do the whole 9 books before Amazon decided the sixth season would be their last. Really not sure what I want them to do with the final season on Amazon now; try and wrap up both the Inaros and Laconia arcs somehow and risk a similar debacle of the final season of Game of Thrones, or stick to the books, finish on a cliffhanger, and hope for a pickup by another suitable outlet. Maybe Netflix might want to take a crack at it?

      • I hope they opt for a cliffhanger of sorts. One where the direct ongoing action of the season is resolved but the larger threat in the background is still noodling around. That would be more satisfying than a rushed conclusion. It also leaves it open for continuation on another “network” or even Amazon, and, done right, can leave a sense of “and there were ongoing adventures”. Kind of like what Killjoys did.

        • Definitely leaning more towards that option, but the Laconia arc is really the core of books 6-8, and almost certainly a lot of the upcoming ninth, so hard to see how they can basically do the opening act, then stop. I’ve also got a sneaking suspicion that the books are going to do that anyway in some kind of “All these worlds are yours… except…” manner given how the real Big Bad is similarly above comprehension in the same manner that the monoliths were in Clarke’s books. Especially so given that both protomolecule and monoliths function as some kind of cosmic Swiss Army Knife created by an alien race that’s maybe a billion years older than us – how could we possibly comprehend, let alone meaningfully interact, with the creators of something like that (other than in the crude manner in one of the later books)?

          • I’m kind of hoping there’s some sort of plan we’re not privy to for continuing the narrative. I’ve not read the books so I don’t have any idea where that story goes so I don’t know how viable that might be. I don’t expect that to be the case at all, but if it is, I doubt they would announce it until the next season is at least partially released.

  2. I’m woefully behind in the novels, and probably won’t catch up until after this show is history. I do appreciate that the brilliance of presenting the Inaros faction and the Free Navy as a kind of “Big Bad,” before reminding us how much bigger the real challenges are.

    And networks/platforms have been known to change their minds.

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