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The Okoye Detail You Missed In The Expanse Season 5 Trailer

In Amazon Prime's The Expanse season 5 trailer, we see the interplanetary feuds from previous seasons grow to new heights. The storyline so far has followed the first four books of James S. A. Corey's The Expanse series, beginning on Syfy before it was canceled and picked up by Amazon for season 4. The first of the Amazon seasons provides our deepest dive into the protomolecule plotline yet, and though Corey's novels let that particular narrative field lie fallow for a couple books, the season 5 trailer suggests the show isn't going to follow suit.

The protomolecule is a highly adaptive, infectious alien chemical that acts like a sophisticated virus, relaying instructions to the chemical makeup of the lifeforms it's infected and altering them into radiation-hungry beings. On the show so far, the protomolecule has been used to make supersoldier hybrids and to just generally cause all sorts of problems. That is, until the only extant samples of protomolecule are destroyed by James Holden (Steven Strait). 

Unfortunately, alien stuff never stays dead, and the protomolecule ultimately rises from the Venusian ashes of its season 2 descent to assemble a Ring Station beyond the orbit of Saturn that opens several portals to unknown worlds in the galaxy. These new worlds are literally littered with protomolecule artifacts, as Holden and company learn on their visit to Ilus in season 4. The source material suggests that Holden and the crew of the Rocinante might get a protomolecule breather for a couple seasons after successfully quieting the alien artifacts on Ilus, but the season 5 trailer suggests otherwise.

There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it detail in the trailer that revolves around biologist Dr. Elvi Okoye (Lyndie Greenwood) from season 4, and it might suggest that the protomolecule story isn't ready to lie as dormant as it does in the book series.

What is that strange yellow-brown liquid around surrounding Fred Johnson?

In the season 5 trailer there's a clip from a scene that shows Fred Johnson (Chad L. Coleman) standing in a lab while a strange yellow-brown liquid flows in the air around him. Reddit user u/comtrend1979 discovered that a holographic panel in the shot ties this scene to Dr. Elvi Okoye. The panel reads "RPT/RN OKOYE E." U/comtrend1979 goes on to pose a question that asks if this might be a visual from the experiments done with the "bullet" by Okoye on the planet Ilus.

The bullet is alien technology made by the Unknown Alien Aggressors and used to destroy the aliens who built the protomolecule some ridiculously far time in the forgotten past. Holden and "Ghost" Miller (Thomas Jane) use the bullet for its intended purpose: to shut the protomolecule down. Could Dr. Okoye's protomolecule research come back into play as early as season 5? As book readers will no doubt note, Dr. Okoye doesn't return to the story until the penultimate novel, entitled Tiamat's Wrath, which takes place after the series' massive time jump. During Tiamat's Wrath, Dr. Okoye is still researching the protomolecule, even though she's now working for the Big Bad Laconian EmpireIt's entirely possible that the TV writers decided to keep the protomolecule story alive in season 5, even as we move into the story content from the more politically focused next three novels in the series. 

Apparently, other fans of the show were following Okoye-related lines of thinking as well. "I agree 100% with this. I suspect this will run like the Bobby storyline from season 4," says Redditor TDNib before explaining a second theory that revolves around Johnson investigating a ship that had disappeared or "gone dutchman." Oddly enough, as u/lolariane points out, Okoye is on a ship that almost "goes dutchman" way down the line in The Expanse book series. Since we know that season 5 is supposed to be based on books 5 and 6, it's possible that a storyline from further in the series could be used to bring more attention to the character Dr. Okoye — and the protomolecule.