A Bleak Backstory Surfaces In “Back To The Butcher”

The definition of the word “terrorist” is flexible. Were the striking workers on Anderson Station terrorists? As an OPA leader, is Fred Johnson a terrorist? Was he a terrorist when, in the employ of the United Nations, he ordered the slaughter of everyone on board the resupply station? In “Back to the Butcher” it’s evident that the label “terrorist” depends on who’s doing the labelling.


Feared they’ll be deemed terrorists by whichever faction they turn to, the sparse crew that escaped first the Cant, then the attack on the MCRN ship, is at a loss over where to dock the small Mars naval vessel they now find themselves piloting. Alex thinks they should head to Mars while Naomi and Amos want to return to Ceres. Holden argues that their best course of action would be to accept Fred Johnson’s strange invitation to dock the newly renamed Rocinante at Tycho Station, an OPA stronghold.


On Ceres, Miller is distracted from the hunt to find the person who attacked his partner by the ongoing mystery surrounding Julie Mao’s disappearance. It’s become obvious, to him at least, that this is more than just a poor missing rich girl case. Mao’s disappearance and the disappearance of the Scopuli is connected to something much bigger. When he tells Detective Muss about his emerging theory, she suggests he might be in over his head. And she’s correct.


But Miller seems determined to go it alone when it comes to Julie. He even turns down Anderson Dawes’ offer to out the OPA terrorist who nearly killed Havelock so that he doesn’t have to share any information on Mao with him. In the end, it’s revealed that he may not have a choice about who he shares his intel with—after discovering what appears to be a data chip hidden in Julie’s robot pet, Miller is almost immediately kidnapped by two people we’ve never seen before, his fate left unknown until next week’s episode.


After eventually agreeing to take Johnson up on his offer and head for Tycho, Holden and his crew enjoy a brief reprieve aboard the coffee-rich Rocinante. Their future, however, is uncertain. While Johnson has reinvented himself as a champion of Belter rights, his past as a UN colonel is dark. Known as The Butcher of Anderson Station, Johnson was responsible for the deaths of thousands of men, women, and children whom he ordered killed after they’d given up their demands and surrendered to the UN 11 years ago. Enjoy that coffee while you can, Holden.


The Expanse Episode 5: By the Numbers

2: Exploding ships escaped by Holden and his crew

15: Police officers injured in the ongoing riots in Medina

1: New use for Miller’s oft-ridiculed hat

3: Possible destinations for the crew of the Rocinante

0: Guaranteed safe destinations for the crew of the Rocinante

2: Clue-hiding mechanical mice