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Why Sakai From The Expanse Looks So Familiar

Set hundreds of years in the future when humanity has colonized the entire solar system, The Expanse depicts a galaxy in a state of cold war. A United Nations executive, a police detective, and a ship's officer find themselves in the middle of a vast conspiracy that threatens the foundation of everything humanity has built. 

With a premise like that, it's no wonder The Expanse has captured the hearts and minds of science-fiction fans ever since it first debuted on SYFY back in 2015. The show was subsequently canceled and then picked back up by Amazon Prime Video. The first three episodes of season 5 were released on December 16, 2020, the first salvo in an experiment with weekly releases inspired by the success Amazon saw with this strategy on another big-ticket genre series, The Boys.

With a new season comes a new cast, and one of the most exciting additions to the roster is Bahia Watson, who will play Sakai on season 5 of The Expanse. She's the chief engineer on Tycho Station with the responsibility of fixing up the spaceship Rocinante following damage it sustained on Ilus. Watson fits right at home among the rest of the cast, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone familiar with her previous work. After all, this isn't the first time she's joined a huge sci-fi property.

Bahia Watson got her big break as Brianna on The Handmaid's Tale

Bahia Watson started off in short films and one-off appearances on TV shows, but she finally landed her big break when she was cast as Brianna on Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, a dystopian series that takes place in the aftermath of the Second American Civil War when a totalitarian regime assumes control and oppresses women with their fascistic Christian orthodoxy. Brianna is one of the handmaids seen periodically throughout the series, often alongside Dolores (Jenessa Grant), which suggests the two are likely shopping partners.

Brianna has had several powerful moments on the series. The first came during Janine's attempted stoning. Brianna is one of the first handmaids to throw down her stone in defiance of the command to kill Janine. Later in the series, June (Elisabeth Moss) reveals her actual name to Brianna, who continues the chain of handmaids revealing their names to one another in defiance of the possessive patronym. Brianna may be known as "Oferic" to everyone else, but later in the show, she reclaims her stolen identity.

She'll return to the role when season 4 of The Handmaid's Tale airs sometime in 2021, but she's also kept busy in the long hiatus between seasons of the dark prestige drama.

Watson went on to play May on Star Trek: Discovery

The Expanse won't be the first time Bahia Watson has gone to space. She appeared in a handful of episodes of Star Trek: Discovery as May, who initially only announces herself to her friend Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) in an attempt to work alongside her to stop a bunch of radioactive debris from destroying a planet. Later, when Sylvia searches through the ship's computer, she learns that May isn't onboard, and in fact, that she died some time ago. 

Fifth Sense knock off? Not quite. It's later revealed that Sylvia has a multidimensional fungal parasite in her body, which gives her access to a mirror universe, allowing her to communicate with a being that took on the form of "May," or as it's otherwise called in the world of Star Trek: Tuesday. The parasite was ultimately removed from her body, eliminating the version of May she had been speaking with this entire time. 

That may sound wacky and convoluted, but it's par the course for high-concept sci-fi shows like Discovery, and it will probably look like a walk in the park compared to what we end up seeing on The Expanse season 5 on Amazon Prime. With the way the show's been going so far, it may even end up predicting the future in more ways than one.