‘The Expanse’: Dominique Tipper Used Pain Charts to Film ‘Hard Vacuum’

Naomi Nagata has been struggling with incredible difficulties during Season 5 of The Expanse. We’re talking both emotional and physical difficulties, as she tries to wrest her son Filip Inaros out from under the control of her ex, Marco Inaros. The eighth episode, “Hard Vacuum,” sees Naomi Nagata putting her body under incredible duress — and apparently it wasn’t easy for Dominique Tipper either. 

Dominique Tipper weighs in on Naomi Nagata’s choices

Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata on The Expanse
Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata on The Expanse | Kurt Iswarienko/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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[Warning: Spoilers for Season 5 of The Expanse ahead.] Naomi Nagata has struggled with some challenging emotional hurdles during Season 5 of The Expanse. Specifically, she’s had to try and reconcile, to some degree, with her estranged son Filip Inaros. 

Filip Inaros has been radicalized by his father, Marco Inaros, and has already taken part in killing millions on Earth. Nagata recognizes that Filip is being manipulated and emotionally abused in the same way she was, and hopes against hope that she can save her son. 

“I think she thought she would be able to convince him, for sure. It’s probably the most illogical we’ve ever seen Naomi; it’s kind of a heart-led, ‘f*ck it and see’ situation, which is so unlike her,” Dominique Tipper told Vulture

“I think it was very naïve of her, frankly. But I think Naomi’s always represented hope, and I went into those scenes with that perspective, thinking that her reasoning would be enough,” she added. 

Eventually, Nagata realizes that if it’s going to happen at all, it isn’t now — a fact that’s driven home when Filip hits her, and joins Marco in sentencing her friends on the Rocinante to death, using the Chetzemoka as a lure. 

‘The Expanse’ star struggled with ‘Hard Vacuum’

Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata, Wes Chatham as Amos Burton, Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal, and Steven Strait as James Holden on The Expanse
Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata, Wes Chatham as Amos Burton, Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal, and Steven Strait as James Holden on The Expanse | Kurt Iswarienko/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

“Hard Vacuum” sees Naomi Nagata struggling to find a way to prevent the Chetzemoka from sending out its false distress signal, luring in the Rocinante crew. The ship is wired with a bomb, and Nagata tries to find a way to either disarm the device or change the distress signal. 

However, she does so with limited resources, including oxygen. Nagata must make several forays into a maintenance corridor without life support in an effort to change the signal, wearing a suit with no oxygen reserves. She struggles to make it back in time with each journey, and each attempt at changing the signal reduces the amount of oxygen left in the airlock.

Dominique Tipper took into account the scientific results of exposure to vacuum, pressure changes, and a lack of oxygen while filming her scenes for The Expanse

“Physically, I was given a lot of information on what would happen during the space jump and the aftermath of it. … I had these pain charts, and I just had to think about every single ounce of it, then throw it all away, take what I knew, and perform it,” she told Vulture. 

Tipper also had to film herself gasping for so many times that it quickly became a challenge. 

“Oh my God, literally a hundred times. It was a nightmare! [Laughs.] It was honestly a very unenjoyable experience,” she explained. 

“There was so much to remember, there was almost no acting required. I was sick of it by the seventh, eighth, ninth time I’d done it. I was like, I’m done, this is fine, I’ll fall on the floor because I feel like doing it anyway.”