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The Expanse's Steven Strait Reveals Holden's Most Important Season 5 Scene

At times, the storytelling and characters on Amazon Prime Video's The Expanse can be remarkably intimate, especially considering the action of the series takes place across every corner of the solar system. But that doesn't mean the scope of the show is small. In fact, one of the main strengths of the series is the way it weaves small personal moments into the larger narrative of interplanetary politics and existential threats posed by ancient alien civilizations.

The series manages to cover a lot of ground and incorporate many different perspectives into its sprawling ensemble of characters. At the center of the action, since season 1, has been the crew of the Rocinante, a scrappy collection of misfits who have found themselves thrust into an extraordinary situation. While they're hardly the only important characters on the series, they are very much the anchor of the ensemble, and often the spool on which the other narrative threads wrap around.

The series' fifth and penultimate (or not...) season, which premiered on December 16, sees a major shift in regard to the way the show juggles the crew of the Roci. Actor Steven Strait, who plays the ship's captain Jim Holden, recently spoke about a scene in the premiere episode that sets the characters off on this new narrative path. For him, it's possibly the most crucial scene his character had in the entirety of the season.

The importance of the Expanse season 5 premiere's Holden and Naomi scene

During an interview with io9, Strait discussed the evolution that Holden has undergone across the five seasons of The Expanse. As the captain of the Roci, Holden found himself dropped into situations that required steady and strong leadership which he wasn't always able to provide. As Strait put it, "his capabilities, frankly, just weren't there." However, by the fifth season, Holden has grown tremendously and, as Strait sees it, "the humility of those experiences has made him a lot stronger and a lot more capable as a leader."

And that is part of the reason why Strait pointed to an intimate scene in the season 5 premiere between Holden and his Roci crewmate Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) as one that was so important to his character. In the scene, Naomi tells Holden that she's discovered the location of her estranged son. Holden starts to get ready to leave, thinking that he is coming with her, only for Naomi to tell him that despite his desire to help her with her mission, that she needs to go alone.

Strait explained, "We worked really hard on that scene...[we] really wanted to make sure that scene landed. It was the foundation for both of these arcs and to really show the relationship that's based truly on respect and trust, and how that powers both of them through their respective journeys—and also allows them, without giving too much away, to push to find each other."

Beyond the difficulty of not being able to help Naomi, Holden is also clearly struggling with another big development: Just as he's finally feeling more secure in himself as a leader, season 5 sees the crew of the Roci split up and heading off on totally different missions.

Holden finds it hard to be away from his crew

It wouldn't be accurate to call the previous seasons of The Expanse small in scale, but season 5 does feel particularly expansive, to borrow a word from the title. That's partially due to the fact that the crew of the Roci have split up and gone off on their own adventures. While Naomi leaves to go after her son, Holden begins investigating reports that somebody is conducting research on a sample of the protomolecule, and Amos (Wes Chatham) is on earth coming to terms with his past.

While speaking about season 5 with Screen Rant, Strait commented on what the fact that the Roci crew has dispersed after so many adventures together means for Holden. He explained, "I think there's an irony as well; he is the most comfortable he's ever been with the responsibilities that have been given to him as a leader, but the personal and interpersonal part of his life has the rug pulled out from under it from the very beginning."

That certainly gives more context as to why Strait views Holden's goodbye scene with Naomi as so critical. In the scene, Holden briefly has a hard time comprehending that Naomi doesn't want him to help, and according to Strait's insights into the character, it's a particularly difficult moment in his life to be told that. As Strait said during his interview, "So, he's confident and capable of dealing with what he has to deal with this year, but it's hard because in the family side of the story, he worries about them and misses them and wants to get back to them."

The first episode of season 5 may have been an important one for Holden, but we're sure The Expanse still has much more in store for the character and viewers.