‘The Expanse’ Season 5 Spoilers: What Happened to the Barkeith During ‘Nemesis Games’?

[Warning: The Expanse Season 5 spoilers ahead]. Season 5 of The Expanse just closed out with its finale episode, “Nemesis Games.” The episode was a satisfying culmination of several story threads coming together and leaving fans both relieved for the present, and concerned for the future. One new thread, forming towards the end of the episode, sees the MCRN ship Barkeith defecting to Inaros’ Free Navy in return for a system beyond one of the ring gates — and a mysterious anomaly that happens during transit. 

MCRN group defects to Marco Inaros

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

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Season 4 of The Expanse saw Bobbie Draper tracking down a series of black market deals on Mars, eventually discovering that Marco Inaros and his Belter Free Navy have been buying up Martian weapons, ships, and equipment. 

In case this weren’t enough, the end of Season 5’s finale, “Nemesis Games,” sees a portion of the MCRN fleet going rogue. The Barkeith, headed up by Admiral Sauveterre and Lieutenant Babbage, is joined by several other Martian ships heading towards ringspace alongside Marco Inaros. 

Inaros and the Martian ships destroy all three of the UNN ships defending the ring, leaving Earthers and Martians alike on Luna shocked. Marco Inaros tells Sauveterre that, per their agreement, the Laconia system is theirs. 

Sauveterre makes it clear to Inaros that they are parting ways, and that he expects his group’s sovereignty on Laconia to go unchallenged by Inaros in the future. He tells Inaros that they’ve set up a minefield to that end. 

Additionally, the Rocinante crew realizes that a missile containing the remaining protomolecule sample was sent through the ring before the Zmeya was destroyed. 

‘The Expanse’ villain is working on the protomolecule 

Cara Gee as Camina Drummer of The Expanse, Season 5 of which just ended
Cara Gee as Camina Drummer of The Expanse | Rafy/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Unfortunately, things only seem to be getting worse for the denizens of The Expanse, judging by the final scenes in “Nemesis Games.” 

After Sauveterre and Marco Inaros have their conversation, he and Babbage proceed to watch a transmission from protomolecule scientist Paolo Cortázar. Cortázar confirms that the protomolecule sample has arrived. 

He then goes on to explain that they will continue to pursue their research both on the protomolecule and what appears to be an alien superstructure left behind in orbit, either in space or high atmosphere. 

“We are already seeing beautiful results. By the time you arrive, I hope to be ready for third phase construction. I am confident that the structures are stable, and I believe, still intact,” Cortázar reports. 

“With enough time and proper equipment, I have no doubt that I will be able to decipher the control patterns,” he adds. He then reports on a series of interconnected structures below ground, similar to Ilus.

What happened to the Barkeith during Season 5 finale

Wes Chatham as Amos Burton of The Expanse
Wes Chatham as Amos Burton of The Expanse | Rafy/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

[Warning: spoilers for Season 6 of The Expanse ahead.] The end of “Nemesis Games” sees the Barkeith entering a troubling situation. As the ship passes through the ring, something goes terribly wrong. 

Time freezes, similar to the anomaly The Expanse viewers have seen occur in the past. Everything appears to disintegrate into swirling red particles. 

According to The Expanse’s fandom wiki, this is the same type of ring anomaly that occurs whenever too much mass attempts to pass through the ring gates at once. The wiki then confirms that the Barkeith “goes Dutchman” and never reappears through the ring gate, ostensibly being destroyed.

Based on the Season 5 finale, this is going to have big ramifications for Season 6 of The Expanse, though it remains to be seen exactly what causes the anomaly — if it’s a natural occurrence, or if the unknown aggressors that destroyed the ring makers are behind it.