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Warning: spoilers ahead for episode six of season five of “The Expanse.”

Given the appropriate title “Tribes,” the sixth installment for this season of “The Expanse” delivers a little bit of everything. While the previous episode had its own share of memorable moments, it felt like mostly set-up. Not so with “Tribes,” which pays off the escape of Alex and Bobbie, lets us check back in with Avasarala, accelerates the confrontation between Drummer and Marco, and gives us even more fantastic character development with Amos.

The episode also harmonizes its pacing between methodical, rich, quiet moments, and frenetic action sequences. This is no easy task, but “The Expanse” balances it with near-perfect execution.

In the first of the episode’s two most thrilling scenes, we get to finally witness Bobbie Draper doing what she does best: proving why Martian Marines are feared and respected. Making use of the Goliath Martian power armor she acquired several episodes ago, Bobbie takes out an OPA boarding party before Alex plants a grenade that destroys their ship, allowing the duo to breathe a little calmer, for now.

Watching Bobbie use the Goliath armor recalls some of the best moments in the first “Iron Man” film and reminds us once more that the technology Mars has developed is truly amazing. One hopes Marco hasn’t got his hands on some power armor to match his MCRN warships.

We only get a few minutes of screen time on Luna, but it’s worth it. With the death of U.N. Secretary-General Nancy Gao and most of Earth’s high command, the leadership of the planet has fallen to the highest-ranking member of the cabinet left alive: the Minister of Transportation, David Paster. He’s clearly an intelligent man, but as someone who never really wanted to get into politics, he’s noticeably overwhelmed by the gravity of the position and power thrust upon him.

As we’re told most of Midtown Manhattan is underwater, Avasarala is barely holding it together as she tries to talk through the next steps of Earth’s response to three catastrophic asteroid strikes. Before leaving the room, she prepares to reattach an ornate necklace and struggles. It’s a nice touch of writing. Avasarala is definitely still ready and able to lead Earth — which will likely be the case before long — but what she’s witnessed has shaken her, deeply.

For five seasons, Shohreh Aghdashloo has turned in excellent performances as Chrisjen Avasarala, but she really knocks it out of the park in this episode, conveying these complicated emotions with a delicate authenticity.

Holden and a (hopefully) loyal Tycho Station crew take off in the Rocinante in hopes of rescuing Naomi from Marco. He’s joined by Bull and documentarian/journalist Monica Stuart, who, almost dying on Tycho, is happy to get off the station. By essentially adding herself to the crew of the Roci, she’s also given herself a front-row seat next to Holden — smart, since he’s frequently at the center of everything.

On the Pella, Marco Inaros’s flagship of the OPA Free Navy, tensions boil over what to do about Naomi, who warned Holden about the fatal sabotage laid in the Roci just in time. A confrontation ensues between Naomi’s old friend Cyn and Marco himself, with the spat seemingly seconds away from violence. The defiance Cyn shows Marco, in public no less, means Cyn should probably watch his next steps carefully.

Upon getting her agreed-upon meeting with Marco, Drummer’s crew — her family, as she corrects Marco — debates whether to join Marco or face the consequences. Although there are a few holdouts, Drummer and her team end up signing on to Marco’s alliance, an action Drummer is less than pleased with but is without too many options at this point barring a suicidal attack. While exiting back to her ship she seems to pick up that Naomi is nearby and possibly in danger.

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It’s a decent bet that Drummer has something up her sleeve. After receiving the blows of the death of Ashford and now Fred Johnson, it’s hard to envision Drummer not getting her revenge at some point. Conversely, as “The Expanse” doesn’t fall into nearly as many tropes as your typical show, it may not be so clean and easy. Watching her spring her plan into action, whatever it may entail, will be something to see.

The episode belongs to Amos Burton and Clarissa Mao, however. It’s their quest to make it to Baltimore while keeping Clarissa alive that receives the bulk of the episode’s runtime — and with good reason.

These two characters have two of the most compelling backstories of the show, and both are still being explored and filled in. Their journey through snow-packed forests features some of the best dialogue of the season so far. “The thing about civilization is, it keeps you civil,” Amos says, “You get rid of one, you can’t count on the other.” He continues, hitting on the episode’s title and theme:

People are tribal. The more settled things are, the bigger the tribes can be. The churn comes, and the tribes get small again. Right now…you and I are a tribe of two.

After a deadly confrontation with a survivalist, Amos and Clarissa recuperate in his home. Amos hears Clarissa mumble something about “monsters” in her sleep, and it prompts him to ask her about it. We find out its a poem she wrote while in prison:

I have killed,

but I’m not a killer,

because a killer is a monster,

and monsters aren’t afraid.

It’s initially played as both an innocent, lighthearted moment and a dramatic beat for Clarissa. Upon looking at Amos, however, we realize the poem’s message has hit home.

Amos dwells on the words — while he’s killed many men before, he’s not afraid. Pondering whether he may, indeed, be a monster, Amos recoils out of the moment, and utters the words that abruptly end the episode: “I need to get back to my crew.”

It’s evident by the episode’s conclusion that Amos realized his true tribe is the crew of the Roci. Like the settling effect of civilization he refers to earlier in the episode, Holden and his crew act as Amos’s true north star, Amos’s guiding light. Beyond camaraderie and a chance for adventure, they help to steer his moral compass away from his darker tendencies. Away from them for too long, Amos has reverted to a version of himself he worked so hard to escape from.

Avasarala may be a part of the effort to pluck Amos — and, more awkwardly, Clarissa — out of the woods and back to the civilization of the deck of the Roci. However Amos gets back to Holden and company, for his sake, it better be soon.



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Convicted fundraiser who tried to work his way into Biden’s inner circle sentenced to prison

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Amajor Democratic bundler, who raised large sums for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and consorted with Joe Biden, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for what prosecutors said was a “mercenary” political influence scheme.

Imaad Zuberi, a Californian businessman was sentenced Thursday for schemes to funnel foreign money into U.S. political campaigns, then take millions of dollars for himself.

The Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. Assistant Attorney Daniel J. O’Brien said Zuberi was “purely a mercenary, funneling money to whomever he believed would do his bidding.”

Among the many unsealed court records, Zuberi was seen photographed with Joe Biden and Barack Obama when they were Vice President and President. He was also pictured with former President Bill Clinton and former presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. He took pictures with former Republican Rep. Paul Ryan when he was speaker of the House as well as the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Also included in the Times report was a hacked email chain released on WikiLeaks. Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook messaged colleagues saying, “I’m OK taking the money and dealing with any attacks.” Jennifer Palmieri responded saying, “Take the money!”

He also attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party in New York City in 2016 as well as serving as a co-chair of The Trump Presidential Inauguration Committee.

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Zuberi made more than $950,000 in unlawful donations to the political committees of Obama, Clinton, McCain and others. Zuberi’s activities extended as far as a recent attempt to work his way into the Biden circle, according to Politico.  

In addition to the money he made, Zuberi also raised $270,000 for Hillary Clinton and $1.3 million for President Obama.

Zuberi, 50, pleaded guilty to a “three-count information charging with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)” for making false statements on a FARA filing as well as tax evasion and illegal contributions to political campaigns. He also pleaded guilty in a separate case earlier in June 2020 to a count of obstruction of justice.

“Zuberi turned acting as an unregistered foreign agent into a business enterprise,” Assistant Attorney General for National Secretary John C. Demers said in a Department of Justice news release.

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Cruz responds to pictures of him on Mexico flight, with Texas struggling from deadly winter storm

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Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed Thursday that he flew earlier this week to Mexico with family members, following the emergence of pictures appearing to show him in an airplane cabin and at a check-in counter, as fellow residents to recover from a deadly winter storm.

Cruz said in a statement that he accompanied his daughters on a flight Wednesday night to Mexico because they had the week off with school canceled.

“Wanting to be a good dad,” said Cruz, who also stated he is returning to Texas on Thursday afternoon.

The storms has been connected to at least seven deaths in Texas and knocked out power to as many as 2.5 million residents. The number of residents without electricity as of Thursday morning was down to less than 1 million, officials said.  

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“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Cruz also said. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”

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South Carolina House passes bill that would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected

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The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 79-35 to pass legislation that would prohibit most abortions. 

The bill must pass through a procedural vote in the House on Thursday prior to heading to GOP Gov. Henry McMaster who has indicated that he will sign it, according to the Associated Press. Two Republicans voted against the legislation while two Democrats voted for it. The state Senate passed the measure last month. 

The bill requires doctors to carry out an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and if a heartbeat is identified an abortion can only be performed in certain circumstances.

The legislation would not penalize a woman for obtaining an unlawful abortion, though the individual responsible for performing the abortion could face consequences.

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The outlet reported that other states have approved similar or even more stringent abortion prohibitions which could be implemented if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. All of the other states’ abortion bans are currently entangled by court challenges and if the South Carolina bill is approved it will likely face litigation that prevents it from going into effect, according to the AP.

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