WARNING: If you don't want to know what happened in this episode, don't read this photo recap!
While Alex and Amos watch Holden's goodbye message, telling them why he embarked on his own to find the Ring station (and telling them not to chase him), Holden gets a lowkey pep talk from Miller, who, because he's an apparition and not a person, doesn't need a suit to float in space. Miller seems to think Holden is a man of destiny.
The UNN Thomas Prince is on final approach to pass through the Ring, and everybody onboard is somewhere on the spectrum from excited to nervous to scared. Anna is definitely one of the excited ones; so excited, in fact that when one of the officers, a nervous-looking man named Nemeroff, approaches her to share his frightened feelings, she blows him off to get a better look at passing through the Ring in silence.
The Thomas Prince passes through the gate without incident, save for some lights and instruments blinking off for a second. The scientist, Kolvoord, checks the instruments to get some clues as to what they're floating in, while Anna just wants to appreciate the beauty, at least for a moment. Kolvoord spots the station at the center, as well as the objects in orbit around it: Maneo's ship, the Behemoth's missile, and the MCRN probe. "What is this place," Anna asks with wonder. "Where angels would fear to tread if they had any goddamned sense," Kolvoord answers her. An unseen Nemeroff, looking sick to his stomach, slinks off.
Naomi, on her ship, tries in vain to hail the Rocinante. Who does contact her is the MCRN Xuesen, who tell her that they are apprehending those aboard the Rocinante and not to interfere. Naomi seems very unlikely to comply.
And who's on the drop ship from the Xuesen? Our old pal Bobbi Draper. She's been reassigned as a gunnery sergeant, and once again is taking orders from hardass Martian men, despite the fact that she has personal ties to the Roci and knows all about the ship and its crew. After she expresses extreme doubt that Holden is guilty for the crimes he's accused of, her superior officer asks her if she's up to the task of apprehending him. She says their task is to stop Holden before he does any harm inside the ring, and she intends to do just that.
Back in space, Miller alerts Holden to the MCRN presence, so Holden turns on the burners to get as far away from them as he can, quickly. Miller cautions him that the Station is gonna squash him if he goes too fast, so he eventually relents.
On the Roci, a freaked-out Alex is trying to figure out what to do, while Amos advocates for a go-down-swinging strategy. Alex is frustrated by Amos's inability to feel fear (not since he was 5 years old, Amos says), but Amos tells a story of a friend from Baltimore who said if the end ever came, she'd head to the roof with a bottle and then jump off with her cats in tow ("like a freaking pharaoh"). "Don't worry," Amos tells Alex, "I'll take you with me too." Alex seems less comforted by this than Amos probably intended.
Back on the Thomas Prince, while Anna and Kolvoord debate different aspects of the Ring, Lieutenant Nemeroff approaches Tilly Fagin and says the XO (the one she's blackmailing to stay on the ship) would like to meet with her. He's once again looking scared as hell, and once again, Anna sees this and brushes him off.
Aboard the Behemoth, Ashford complains loudly to Drummer — loud enough for Diogo and some other Belters to hear — that they need probes built, but Naomi isn't here to do it because Drummer let her leave the ship. Drummer seems to sense that there's something brewing here, but she stifles it and instead sternly suggests some farm equipment that can be easily converted to probes.
When her MCRN colleagues can't get Holden to respond, Draper gives it a try … and it works! Sort of. Holden is surprised to hear from her, but half of his conversation is spent telling the Miller that only he can hear. He eventually tells Bobbie he's gotta go, and she's forced to admit to Mayer, her superior, that Holden did not sound particularly rational.
Rational or not, though, Holden's made it all the way to the Station. As he prepares to touch down, the surface of the Station shifts in order to open up a shaft for him to enter, almost as if inviting him in. Holden hesitates and demands more information from Miller before heading in. Miller says that what's out here is the remains of a civilization; "all that's left is some locked doors and a timer," he says. Holden just needs to figure out how to pick the lock. And that seems to be enough, and with the MCRN bearing down on him, Holden heads in.
On the Thomas Prince, Lieutenant Nemeroff enters his quarters looking troubled, but calm. He stares at a monitor that is showing the status of the Station, and the longer he does, the more agitated he becomes. Suddenly, a look passes over his face. He reaches for his weapon, sticks his gun in his mouth, and fires.
Elsewhere, Melba watches footage of Holden from the documentary crew and tracks the Rocinante's course. She's trying to figure out a way to get to the Roci before the Martians can. Failing that, she looks into the possibility of exploding the ship entirely.
On the Behemoth, Ashford is approached by Diogo, who airs out his frustrations with Drummer and says Ashford should be captain. And while Ashford sternly warns Diogo to keep his fool mouth shut about such things, he doesn't exactly dismiss the idea either.
Anna and Kolvoord are still speaking intelligently about the nature of what they're seeing, quoting St. Augustine and such, when Anna gets asked by one of the officers if she'd say some words at a service for Lieutenant Nemeroff, who died "while cleaning his service weapon." Anna knows a euphemism when she hears it, though, and gets emotional imagining that this scared man she saw has now taken his life.
Melba continues to skulk around the ship, this time asking around for a mech suit. As she turns a corner, she bumps right into Tilly, who recognizes her from back on Earth. "Clarissa?" Tilly asks, shocked to see her, but Melba just keeps on walking past.
After Anna gives a lovely eulogy for Nemeroff in which she says they should all be there for each other more, Tilly approaches her and says she's seen a familiar face. She explains that Jules-Pierre Mao's family has been disgraced, with some in hiding, and that she thinks she saw his daughter Clarissa, whom she knew socially. She's reluctant to bust Clarissa if she's just trying to escape her father's reputation. Anna encourages her to reach out and trust her judgment.
Aboard the Station, Holden descends to a chamber of some kind, constructed seemingly of protomolecule. It looks like the inside of some kind of nervous system, and as Holden is standing there, the molecule creates some kind of structure that doesn't quite meet at the middle. Miller, certain of the mission now, tells Holden to "complete that circuit." He says if Holden does that, he'll get his answers. Or at least the next clue. Holden hesitates, instead asking Miller if he remembers dying on Eros, and whether there was anything left of Julie when he found her. Miller stays silent, though.
On the Thomas Prince, Tilly approaches Clarissa/Melba and tries to reach out, but Clarissa stonewalls her. Tilly presses forward though, saying that whatever her father did, she shouldn't have to suffer for it. Clarissa, though, snaps that her father was innocent and it's Holden who has to pay. She then bites down on whatever it is that's been giving her superpowers, and Tilly has no idea what she's in for.
The MCRN arrives in the chamber with Holden, demanding his surrender. Draper tries to make him think of Amos, Alex, and Naomi and how he's putting them in danger. Holden won't yield, though, even when Mayer draws his gun. "It doesn't want to hurt us," Holden says of the Station, and indeed, when he advances and the Martians open fire, their bullets are held in stasis in mid-air.
But firing the weapons did activate something in the chamber. A piece of machinery begins to transform, so Mayer throws a grenade at it. Bad idea. The Station, seemingly in self-defense mode, lifts Mayer up and then pulls him apart into a million little pieces, just like it did to the Arbogast over Venus.
While this is happening, everything within the Ring is going haywire. The other ships get knocked around enough that Melba's impending attack on Tilly is thwarted (momentarily, at least). Miller tells Holden it's now or never to complete that circuit, so Holden sticks his hand into the space between columns. When he does, he sees … everything. The beginnings of the protomolecule, everything it's created since Eros. He also sees dozens of portals within the atmosphere of the ring, each seeming to peek out onto other star systems. He sees inside one of them to what looks like a star exploding. When his vision completes, Holden falls to the ground.