New developments in The Expanse season 5 set up an exciting story for Camina Drummer in the final season. While most characters in Amazon’s The Expanse bear a strong resemblance to their literary counterparts, Cara Gee’s Camina Drummer is a hybrid of various book figures with an added live-action spin. Drummer originally served as Fred Johnson’s right-hand woman on Tycho station, where she made friends with Naomi Nagata and the Rocinante crew. Drummer then helped save the Sol system as captain of the Behemoth, but left after disagreeing with Johnson passing information onto the Inner planets.
When The Expanse season 5 begins, Drummer has started a tight-knit scavenger crew consisting of several small ships, but despite their free-swinging piracy lifestyle, Camina is still tormented by the death of her close ally, Klaes Ashford, in season 4. To settle her thirst for vengeance, Drummer resolves to catch Marco Inaros, only to find her crew mates are less than enthusiastic about the idea, and most actually support Marco’s ideals. When the invitation arrives, Drummer has no choice but to accept and merge with Marco’s Free Navy. Drummer and Inaros are two big Belter personalities destined to clash sooner or later – and space isn’t big enough for both of them.
To her credit, Drummer has tried valiantly to keep the peace by respecting her crew’s vote and following the company line, but “Hard Vacuum” sets up her future fightback in The Expanse season 6. After Marco’s “crew exchange,” Drummer’s is forced to accommodate Karal on her ship – a hardcore Free Navy loyalist. The episode includes a moment where Karal eyes Drummer’s captain’s chair coyly before trying out the seat for herself, and the message here is clear – Karal, likely under orders, has designs to undermine Drummer’s leadership until she’s the captain now. Tension is already brewing, and the pot only needs the tiniest of stirs to spill over. Instead, Karal takes that metaphorical pot, and kicks it straight out of the airlock by revealing to Drummer that her close personal friend, Naomi Nagata, is dead.
Having remained stoic in the face of Marco Inaros for most of The Expanse season 5, Drummer explodes in a fit of rage, and the camera lingers on her itchy trigger finger as she considers shooting Karal dead. Evidently, Drummer has found the limit of her patience, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Drummer isn’t alone in her distrust of Marco Inaros – Michio (loosely inspired by the Michio Pa book character) supports her cause. With tension rising and a divide forming among her people, The Expanse is surely building towards Drummer forming an offshoot crew heading into the sixth and final season.
By killing Fred Johnson, no one is left to represent the moderate Belters, while Marco is sending out a clear message – join him or die. Just as Marco rose up and galvanized the Belters who were disgruntled and angry, someone needs to gather together Fred Johnson’s supporters and start fighting back, before any hope of peace between the OPA and the Inners is lost forever. That “someone” has to be Camina Drummer. With 3 ships in her arsenal, Drummer and Michio could feasibly escape from Karal and the others in a single vessel, and set about on a journey through the Belt to gather a force capable of opposing Marco. To add insult to injury, Drummer could even make her breakaway in the Tynan – Klaes Ashford’s old ship.
Drummer becoming the pirate queen of the OPA harks back to some expert foreshadowing by Fred Johnson earlier in The Expanse season 5. The Tycho leader told Holden that the most important step the Belt can take is to start policing itself. For this reason, it’s imperative that Drummer doesn’t allow Marco Inaros to speak for the entire Belt, and doesn’t let the millions of deaths on his hands go unpunished.