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Episode Recap: Congregation
As survivors join together on the Behemoth, a life-or-death threat tears them apart.
Aboard the Rocinante, Anna and Amos have detained Melba, and though she struggles to activate her endocrine enhancement implant (that thing where she bites down hard and gets superpowers), Anna informs her they put her on blockers. Melba rages that this is none of Anna's business, but Anna says she made it her business when she let Tilly die. "I've killed better people than Tilly Fagin," Melba sneers, which earns her a quick backhand slap from Anna, whose fury surprises even herself. Amos strongly believes the smartest and quickest thing to do is to execute Melba, but Anna says that's not what they do. Amos looks dubious.
Elsewhere, Naomi and Alex try to make sense of what's happening. They've pieced together that Holden left the Sphere on the MCRN skiff, and now they're docked at the Behemoth. Why that is gets answered when they finally receive Ashford's message offering the Behemoth as a refuge. Naomi determines that she needs to head back to the Behemoth to get Holden, and while initially she plans to take only Amos and Anna with her, Alex says he's coming too. They'll have to leave the Roci behind for the moment.
Holden is being held in isolation aboard the Behemoth. After MCRN Captain Lucas can't get Holden to tell her anything — he only wants to talk to his crew — it's Ashford's turn to interrogate. He takes a friendly approach with Holden, who tells his story, starting with Miller appearing to him. He describes what he saw when he completed the circuit: He was able to see the civilization that created the protomolecule. He describes the Ring as a roadway, from this civilization to others. But something came along and killed them all. "We are in a graveyard," Holden says. "We need to get out of this place and never come back." Ashford emerges from the cell and declares that Holden has gone insane.
In the corridor, Captain Lucas is joined by Draper and the other Martian soldiers from the skiff. Draper strenuously presses her belief that Holden isn't crazy and would help them all escape if he could. Ashford isn't sure they can trust that Holden's loyalties are with them. Lucas says Holden will stay in OPA custody. Ashford then requests the Martian soldiers surrender their weapons if they want to stay, which Draper does begrudgingly.
Elsewhere on the Behemoth, Drummer is being scanned by a medic, who recommends she be put in a medical coma to speed up the healing process. Apparently Drummer's back was broken so bad that she needs to re-grow her spinal cord. And yet, because she's Drummer, she wants to tough it out. After some tense words with the medic, she leaves, and Drummer is left to let out a silent scream and pound in futile rage at her useless legs. She then spots some mech supports on a shelf and gets an idea. And, because she's Drummer, she pulls her gurney along and reaches the supplies she needs.
Aboard the Thomas Prince, Dr. Kolvoord approaches the just-arrived Commander Kunis with a request to join him when he goes to the Behemoth. Kunis is brusque, but he lets Kolvoord make his case, which essentially goes like this: the Behemoth is equipped with an incredibly powerful communication laser, which Kolvoord thinks might be strong enough to cut through the interference at the Ring gate and get a distress message to the other ships. Kunis doesn't seem 100% sold but says he'll speak to the captain of the Behemoth. The Rocinante crew arrives on the Behemoth, greeted by a delegation led by Diogo, who is REALLY feeling his new authority. They take Melba into custody and — above Amos's objections — relieve the Roci crew of their weapons. Amos, Alex, and Anna are sent to the medical bay to be of help, but not Naomi. As a deserter, she's being taken into custody. Amos looks about ready to stage a civil war over this, but Naomi talks him down. She was expecting this. This was so can get some answers as to what happened to Drummer.
A smirking Diogo brings Naomi into the Behemoth control room, where she takes in the new power structure: Ashford from the Belt, Captain Lucas from Mars, and Commander Kunis from Earth. She demands answers about Drummer, and when she seems satisfied that Ashford didn't depose her by force, she starts asking about Holden. Ashford, however, makes it clear that seeing Holden will be in exchange for her helping fix the ship's power grid.
Elsewhere, Melba is brought to a cell, having been made powerless by the chemical inhibitor. When the Behemoth crew members leave her, a voice calls out from one of the other cells: "I'm James Holden. What are you in here for?" Melba can only laugh bitterly at the irony.
With Kolvoord looking on, the Behemoth fires its communication beam at the gate of the Ring. It doesn't get through, it only heats up the temperature of the Ring slightly. Regardless, Kolvoord looks at the results on the monitor with much interest. Later, Kolvoord requests that Ashford allow him to send a skiff out towards the station with a nuclear warhead, to blow it up. With the atmosphere inside the ring at a stand-still, the explosion won't harm anything, but Kolvoord thinks the photos in the explosion could run enough interference to break the other ships free. In the medical bay, Amos helps out Anna with a patient and learned that she was a nurse before she was a pastor. She mentions her clinic in St. Petersburg for the Undocumented. This appeals to Amos. Anna in general seems to appeal to Amos.
Drummer is working on building her little mechanical legs when Naomi finds her. After Drummer swats away a few apology attempts, Naomi just gets to helping her assemble her machine. She tells Drummer that Holden is on the ship and could be the key to getting them all out of this mess, if she could only talk to him. Drummer says if Naomi helps her build the legs, she'll walk her to Holden's cell personally. On the command bridge, Ashford gets a tip that some supplies are missing. Ashford then glances across the room and sees Diogo — the man he put in charge of inventory — goofing off. He harshly reprimands Diogo and then calls all Belters in the vicinity near, telling them that everything they do is to buy them all one more day alive. It's do or die out there, so do your effing jobs, "or I will space you myself."
Anna pays Melba a visit in her cell. She's not there to gloat nor to rage at Melba for letting Tilly die. She's not there looking for forgiveness for her lapse into physical violence. She says she simply doesn't care about Melba. "I keep looking for a way to care about you," Anna says, almost detached. Maybe Melba is damaged or had terrible parents. Maybe it's a brain tumor (it's not). Ultimately, Anna says it wasn't mercy that kept her from letting Amos execute Melba, it was vanity. She didn't want to think of herself as a vengeful person." "You're a coward," Melba spits at her. "You should've let him kill me. Anna replies, "You don't get the easy way out."
Later, the skiff with the nuke attached floats out towards the Station. Kolvoord gives the order to detonate, and it does. As predicted, the explosion is contained within the energy field, but Kolvoord is looking at the readings on his monitor; he definitely thinks the explosion had an effect, though he'll need more time to analyze. Meanwhile, the Belters on the command deck, seeing no immediate change, see it as a waste of a nuke.
Meanwhile, aboard the station, the protomolecule is moving. Drummer and her robo-legs lead Naomi to Holden's cell. Holden and Naomi embrace, at long last. Holden explains everything to Naomi: Miller, the speed limit, the Station, the vision he saw, the end of all things. Naomi tries to tell him that everything that's happened isn't his fault, but he doesn't really believe that. He needs to do something. "It's going to destroy you," Naomi tells him. "It doesn't matter," Holden says. "I have to fix it." All the while, Melba is overhearing this from the next cell over. Probably a good thing Naomi didn't realize that.
Kolvoord reports to Ashford on the results of the nuclear experiment. The nuke didn't affect the field of matter inside the ring, but it's changed the behavior of the Station, which is not emitting magnetic pulses towards the ring gate. Ashford recalls what Holden told him, about the beings "burning through whole solar systems like they were cauterizing a wound." The pulses are getting stronger, and Kolvoord estimates that whatever is going to happen, it should happen in the next seven hours.
Monica Stewart — now working as an impromptu news reporter — broadcasts a message of unrest among the scared and injured people of the fleet. With the MCRN, OPA, and UNN presenting a united front telling the people to remain calm and wait for them to analyze the data, rumors of those magnetic pulses sent to the Ring gate have everybody freaked out.
Ashford conferences with Lucas and Kunis about their options. They're not great. He says they now know that the Station is acting hostile towards them — towards all of humanity — and that given Holden's statements about burning through solar systems, they can surmise that the Station is likely planning to wipe out all life. Unless they can use the Behemoth's laser to pierce the Ring and collapse it. Everyone inside the Ring would be lost forever. Lucas: "No one on the other side would ever know what we did." Ashford: "We will have saved the human race. Not a bad way to die."