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This article contains The Expanse spoilers.
In the latest episode of The Expanse, Bobbie Draper reminds the Rocinante crew that they’re harboring a convicted felon, Clarissa Mao, and it’s easy for the audience to forget that she was in a maximum security prison on Earth for blowing up a ship full of innocent people in season 3. The forgiveness she earned from Amos in the intervening seasons has now been extended by Holden in this week’s most touching scene, and saving Bobbie’s life was a big part of her redemption arc.
Co-creator of The Expanse Ty Franck enjoys exploring the new dynamics that Clarissa, played wonderfully by Nadine Nicole, brings to the show. “More than anything it’s nice to see Amos have a friend… and Amos really likes [Clarissa]; they’re obviously growing much closer as friends, and that’s all nice,” he says. “But the other thing that it does is it just gives us a little shakeup of the crew… it makes everybody realign in new ways.”
The Expanse showrunner Naren Shankar thinks that it’s still important to remember that she was motivated by revenge for her family’s downfall. Her father, Jules-Pierre Mao, was the first to attempt to weaponize the protomolecule until Holden and the others stopped him. “When you think about the redemptive aspect of what’s going on here, it’s actually really quite lovely,” says Shankar. “She tried to murder these people! She tried to kill them, and Amos has held out the chance to repair it in the way that Amos can do.”
Pastor Anna was the first to offer Clarissa a path to forgiveness in season 3, and Amos, who trusted Anna implicitly, picked up on this and even offered Clarissa advice about how to stay strong in prison at the beginning of the fourth season of The Expanse. She’s very conscious of the things that she’s done,” explains Shankar, “She’s aware that the people on this ship don’t like her or have issues with her… and how that gets repaired and how that affects other people is really quite lovely.”
Daniel Abraham, who co-wrote The Expanse novels with Franck under the pen name James S. A. Corey, even hints at further insights Clarissa might provide as the season continues. “There are some things that she knows about the Roci crew that only she can know because she has her story and background and her experience and is a little bit of an outsider,” Abraham teases. “And she can tell them things about themselves that they haven’t seen.”
Those who are looking for more insight into Clarissa and other characters in The Expanse should be on the lookout for the small vignettes that take a deeper dive. “We did little X-ray segments at the end of the first five episodes of the season, and one of them is about Clarissa on the ship — it’s really terrific!” says Shankar. “It speaks to her pain; it speaks to her loneliness. I highly encourage people to watch them. They will illuminate the season; they come out at the end of every episode. I think people will really enjoy them.”
The final season of The Expanse continues Friday on Prime Video with four episodes remaining, and Clarissa’s X-ray will air along with episode 604. To access the extra content, look for the “X-RAY” logo in the top left corner of your screen at the end of the installment. Click through to “Bonus Content” and browse the 5 minute shorts that have aired so far.