The fourth season of The Expanse is now available on Amazon Prime. One of the outstanding performances is provided by Dominique Tipper. As Naomi Nagata, Rocinante’s first officer, Tipper has a lot of weight on her shoulders. This weight is partly physical: when Naomi steps onto the surface of a planet for the first time in her life, Tipper does an admirable job of conveying the pain and wonder of this experience. But the weight on her is emotional too.
A few weeks ago, Polygon sat down with Tipper to discuss a particular scene that could set the tone for both Season 5 of The Expanse and the following ones.
(Ed. Note: This interview includes spoilers for Season 4 of The Expanse in general and Episode 5 in particular.)
The Rocinante Mars gun lands on the planet Ilus.Image: Alcon Entertainment / Amazon
Part of the challenge of The Expanse’s latest endeavors is to combine the plot of two different novels in a single television season. Season 4 includes Cibola Burn and parts of Nemesis Games, the fourth and fifth books in S.A.’s elaborate science fiction novels. Corey. In order to accommodate everything in 10 episodes, some characters and narratives were folded into each other and entire storylines were created from all the material to fill the gaps. All of this goes without saying when it comes to television, streaming or any other way, but some elements of this compression were more sophisticated than others.
Naomi’s bow is particularly striking. In Nemesis Games, Tipper’s character spends most of the time alone. Your narrative, which contains pages of the background story, is provided exclusively through an internal monologue. Much of this story has to do with Naomi’s estranged lover Marco Inaros and the unimaginable trauma he went through during their relationship.
“It’s always about translating books on screen,” Tipper said to Polygon. “There are two reasons. I take what I read and try to do it justice. When you read a book, you have all your own thoughts on what it means and how it feels to you. I think we have probably had our own experiences with the characters we read. “
Tipper’s challenge for season four was to deliver all of the internal, emotional work in just a few scenes. Perhaps the most difficult of these scenes is about Naomi’s attempted suicide, which she revealed years earlier.
It takes place in the med bay of the Rocinante. Lucia Mazur, played by Rosa Gilmore, recently tried to kill herself. Naomi is there when she recovers and tries to bring her to her senses by telling Lucia how Marcos manipulated and tortured Naomi. It reveals the despair she felt and how it almost led her out of an airlock.
“If you want to die,” says Naomi, “I can’t stop you, but there is a way from where you are to where I am. We only bought you a little time. You decide what you want to do with it.”
Life is fragile, Naomi seems to say, and even more fragile if you hover in a tin can in space. On the rugged edge of the galaxy, death is always within reach. Living is often more difficult, and Naomi defines it as a decision that Lucia has to make on her own.
It is a remarkable, generous moment between the two women. Instead of pathologizing Lucia’s attempt to kill herself, Naomi opens her own soul. The camera pulls in tightly, and every nuance of its performance takes place in the brightly lit, sterile environment of the medical facility. The goal is to splash cold emotional water on Lucia’s face. Naomi encourages her to work hard and keep going, hoping to get the other end of the experience out more.
It’s an unusual way to deal with attempting suicide, and Tipper has paused.
“I was really nervous about this scene,” she said, “because I think suicide is a very sensitive issue and not enough talk about it.” But often when it is talked about it is made malicious in a way that I don’t really like. ”
Domique Tipper as Naomi Nagata, who steps on the surface of a planet for the first time in this life. Picture: Alcon Entertainment / Amazon
“When I read that, I thought it was one of the most beautiful, effective (scenes) I’ve ever seen,” she continued. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen (treated that) before. (…) Within the subject of people making their own decisions and maybe just giving them food for thought, but not insulting them for what they might want to do “I don’t know what people will take from it. I hope it’s good things.”
At the end of season four, however, we learn that Naomi’s speech can equally well apply to any citizen remaining on earth. In the course of the last episode, we learn that Marco has lined up a series of massive iron rocks coated with Mars stealth technology to hit the planet. Season 5 is likely to begin with an absorbance-level event that could make any survivor on earth look for a reason to continue.
It is likely that Tipper’s appearance in Med Bay des Rocinante will reverberate as the series progresses. If the earth wants to die, neither Mars nor the belt can save it. The decision to persevere is left to those on the planet who have to decide what to do with the remaining time.
According to cast members, the filming of Episode 5 of Season 5 of The Expanse didn’t end until this week. The next 10 episodes are therefore close to their premiere in 2020.