Polyamory is not new to the world of The Expanse. It was already established earlier in the series (and in the books) that James Holden is the child of five fathers and three mothers, each of whom contributed DNA to his genetic mix. But season 5 introduces a much stronger illustration of the future practice of polyamory among the crews of the Belter ships Dewalt and Mowteng, Drummer’s fleet of sorts. The support they provide each other, especially as Drummer mourns the loss of Klaes Ashford, is undeniably heartwarming in such a fractious time.
“We are finally seeing Drummer in a love relationship, and it happens to be a polyamorous, beautiful, queer family,” Cara Gee told us about her character in The Expanse season 5. “And I could not be more thrilled to represent that. The phenomenal actors who bring all those roles to life — I’m just so excited for the world to meet them. They are so beautiful, and we had truly a phenomenal time. Hopefully that comes through on screen.”
It makes more sense for a Belter crew to form this sort of bond in the vulnerable reaches of space, where a necessary trust and inter-dependence breeds devotion. Whereas Holden’s Earth family may have truly loved each other, the tax break and vast Montana acreage they received for only having one child between eight adults tempers the romance of the arrangement somewhat. Meanwhile, Drummer’s crew has its cozy communal sleeping space complete with the intimacy of entangled bodies that can only strengthen a family that shares the common goal to survive and thrive.
Gee admitted, however, that it can be tough to play the leader of such a group with her difficult past. “Drummer struggles with being vulnerable. She struggles with how to love, with how to be loved; she has suffered so much trauma,” Gee explained. “In a previous season, she has said, ‘All the optimists I know are dead…’ so to feel hope and positivity even for a second is a huge, unfamiliar feeling for her.”
Among her closest companions in the Belter crew is a woman named Oksana, played wonderfully by Sandrine Holt, whom viewers may recognize from House of Cards, Homeland, or The Crossing. As the crew celebrates a successful salvage, Oksana must coax Drummer through her desire for revenge and feelings of guilt over her part in letting Marco free to seek his revenge against her friend and mentor, Ashford.
The side plot is among the most compelling of the new season, and Gee is clearly happy about the direction her character is taking. “I’ll be really excited to take the audience closer into her personal sphere,” she said. The Expanse season 5 continues with episode 4 on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 on Amazon Prime Video.