The Expanse wrapped up last week, but we’re still thinking about that series finale—and we weren’t going to turn down the chance to chat with one of the episode’s biggest heroes, and one of the show’s toughest characters overall: fierce former Martian Marine Bobbie Draper, played by Frankie Adams.
In case you haven’t watched all of season six, we’ll leave the following warning here. (But if you haven’t devoured it yet, what are you waiting for?)
In the finale Bobbie is in the thick of the action, facing fire from all sides as part of the ground assault on a crucially positioned rail gun array. But when we first meet her in season six he had a somewhat more staid gig, working as the bodyguard/sounding board/right-hand woman of UN Secretary-General Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo). And, well, Bobbie says it herself: She hates politics.
“I think at the beginning, she’s obviously sort of being a bit of a diplomat with Avasarala,” Adams told io9 over video chat. “She does it because she loves Avasarala, but I think she knows that’s not really where her skills lie and not really what she’s passionate about. When she finds out that the Roci is going off on a mission, there’s this slight moment of excitement, like, ‘Ohhhh, maybe I could get involved in that!’ and that’s when Avasarala is like, ‘You hate your job.’ I think you can say it’s quite a stark contrast to the end, where I’m, like, grinning in the pilot’s seat of the Roci.”
We asked Adams about Bobbie’s spectacular season six moment: What did she think was going through Bobbie’s head when she made the bold decision to stride solo into battle, very much risking her life in the process?
“I think, you know, her entire life has prepared for a moment like that. She can see that the options are just dwindling, and there is not really much that they can do in that moment,” Adams said. “She knows that there is actually an option, and that is to sacrifice herself, and I think she’s ready. I mean, I hope you see that in my face, but it’s kind of like, ‘Well, I’m happy to to die for the people that are here that I’m fighting for, and to save everyone else.’ There’s a lot of bravery and honor in her face. She’s just really ready. There’s no fear for her at all to die, because that’s what she feels like her purpose is.”
There’s groundwork laid for her decision earlier in the season, in a scene between Bobbie and her Rocinante crewmate, Amos (Wes Chatham). In a bar on Ceres Station, Amos is indulging in booze and brothel visits as a way to deal with feeling uncertain about whether or not he wants to continue fighting alongside Roci captain James Holden (Steven Strait), who’s made what Amos considers to be perplexing decisions. “That that scene that I have with Amos in the bar, and he’s sort of confused about why we’re doing this and why are we fighting for this? I feel like Bobbie is really eloquent and mature in this moment, sharing her experiences, and she’s come to the fact that we fight for the people that we’re fighting with; it’s not really about win or lose, it’s the same place for everyone. I felt like that was a big growth moment for her.”
All of the Expanse characters have evolved as the show’s progressed, but we’ve really seen Bobbie grow up, from a young, hotheaded soldier to the seasoned battle veteran (who’s still hotheaded, when she needs to be) of season six.
“When you first meet her, she has that one focus—the betterment of Mars—and once that all crashes, her whole journey becomes about identity. She’s kind of lost and a bit of a floater, figuring out ‘Where do I belong?’ And then I think in the end, she feels a sense of belonging with the Roci crew, this group of misfits that all were lost for a bit there. She’s a lot more grounded and more playful in the end, which I really enjoyed playing. She’s not as serious and angry as she was in the beginning.”
Bobbie’s most playful moments come with Amos; you could safely characterize their friendship as “competitive.” At one point, when he remarks on her Martian power armor (about which Adams said: “After you were wearing it for a couple of hours, it did get very, very uncomfortable and heavy, but it looks so great on screen. So I didn’t really mind”), she shoots back that he couldn’t handle it, and calls him “pee-wee.”
“I didn’t even know what that means,” Adams laughed. “We don’t say that in New Zealand. So in the read-through, I said it, and then I was like, ‘What? What does that actually mean?’ And all the Americans like, ‘Really? Seriously?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I’ve never said that,’ but they explained it to me. But yeah, I mean, Wes and I are good friends in real life and we always talk shit with each other a bit like that. I love that they integrated that with the characters.”
As for the “X-Ray” bonus feature where you actually see Bobbie and Amos physically brawl it out to see who’s tougher, Adams had this to say: “That was our last day on on set, because we had to shoot that right at the end, and Wes actually wrote that with the writers. That’s why Amos wins, I think, because Wes wrote it. [Laughs] But I had so much fun doing that.”
The Expanse season six is now streaming on Amazon Prime.
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