The Martian

Commander Melissa Lewis Character Analysis

As commander of the Ares 3 mission, Lewis takes her responsibility to protect her crew extremely seriously. She is also the crew’s geologist. She was previously in the navy and is still considered military personnel. Lewis and her husband Robert collect 1970s memorabilia together, and (much to Watney’s chagrin) Lewis brought an extensive collection of files containing disco music and 1970s TV with her into space.

Commander Melissa Lewis Quotes in The Martian

The The Martian quotes below are all either spoken by Commander Melissa Lewis or refer to Commander Melissa Lewis. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Broadway Books edition of The Martian published in 2014.
Chapter 11 Quotes

Earth is about to set. Resume 08:00 my time tomorrow morning. Tell family I’m fine. Give crew my best. Tell Commander Lewis disco sucks.

Related Characters: Mark Watney (speaker), Commander Melissa Lewis
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 12 Quotes

“Holy shit,” Beck laughed. “Holy shit! Commander! He’s alive!” “I left him behind,” Lewis said quietly. The celebrations ceased immediately as the crew saw their commander’s expression. “But,” Beck began, “we all left togeth—” “You followed orders,” Lewis interrupted. “I left him behind. In a barren unreachable, godforsaken wasteland.”

Related Characters: Commander Melissa Lewis (speaker), Beck (speaker), Mark Watney
Page Number: 145
Explanation and Analysis:

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Commander Melissa Lewis Character Timeline in The Martian

The timeline below shows where the character Commander Melissa Lewis appears in The Martian. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Solitude and the Human Need for Connection Theme Icon
Looking for something to kill time, Watney finds Commander Lewis’ data-stick, and discovers she brought many seasons of dated TV shows. He decides to watch... (full context)
Chapter 5
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Solitude and the Human Need for Connection Theme Icon
...soil. Watney takes a break, planning to listen to whatever music he finds from Commander Lewis’ personal USB drive. He signs back in for a log entry, Sol 38 (2), to... (full context)
Chapter 6
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
The Media Theme Icon
...explains Mindy’s findings, including images showing that the MAV fuel plants have been removed—something Commander Lewis would never have done before the MAV took off. (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Bureaucracy vs. Human Endeavour Theme Icon
Annie suggests contacting Lewis just to be sure, but Venkat and Teddy argue that the news could distract the... (full context)
Chapter 7
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Bureaucracy vs. Human Endeavour Theme Icon
...to power the MAV before the crew arrives. Upon the Ares 3 crew’s arrival, Commander Lewis removed the RTG from the MAV, buried it 4 km south of the Hab, and... (full context)
Chapter 9
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Solitude and the Human Need for Connection Theme Icon
...the solar cells charge for twelve hours each day, he reads Poirot novels and watches Lewis’ seventies TV shows. The days are becoming repetitive and routine. (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
...a day. On Sol 75, he reached a valley and decided to name it after Lewis. On Sol 77, he reached an unnamed small crater that’s on his map, and he... (full context)
Chapter 10
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Solitude and the Human Need for Connection Theme Icon
...the Hab’s signal for a moment, then loses it. He notes that he’s still watching Lewis’ 1970s TV shows. On Sol 93, he gets a steady signal—he’s 24,718 m away, which... (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Bureaucracy vs. Human Endeavour Theme Icon
...where it can communicate with NASA. Then he returns the RTG to the place where Lewis had buried it. (full context)
Chapter 11
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Solitude and the Human Need for Connection Theme Icon
...behind, and asks NASA to tell his family that he is well and to tell Lewis “disco sucks.” The Sojourner is not responding to NASA, but they tell Watney they’re working... (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Solitude and the Human Need for Connection Theme Icon
The Media Theme Icon
...the camera with a thumbs-up and a note that says “Ayyyyy!” In an homage to Lewis’ 1970s TV shows, he’s posing as the Fonz from Happy Days. (full context)
Chapter 12
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
The Betrayal of the Familiar Theme Icon
...the Ares 3 crew evacuated Mars. Watney complains about waking up early and cracks jokes. Lewis tells the crew that there’s a dust storm coming, but they’ll have time to do... (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
...Watney’s suit decompressed and then went offline—he’s likely dead. While the crew prepares for takeoff, Lewis searches for Watney’s body. The MAV is starting to tip, making takeoff dangerous. Lewis finally... (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
...emphasizes that the crew was not at fault. Most of the team is overjoyed, but Lewis blames herself for giving the order to abandon Watney. (full context)
Chapter 13
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
...working on a supply probe that will arrive around Sol 856. In an email exchange, Lewis blames herself for Watney’s situation. Watney replies saying that Lewis did the right thing. Another... (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Bureaucracy vs. Human Endeavour Theme Icon
Solitude and the Human Need for Connection Theme Icon
...the members of the investigation and stating that he will refute any blame placed on Lewis. (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Bureaucracy vs. Human Endeavour Theme Icon
...how they are micromanaging his efforts to repair the water reclaimer. In another italicized flashback, Lewis and Beck successfully set up the Hab. On Sol 118 NASA denies Watney’s request to... (full context)
Chapter 16
Solitude and the Human Need for Connection Theme Icon
...computer nerd, then gives her tips on how to be “more cool.” He adds that Lewis had forbidden male crewmembers from “hitting on” Johanssen. (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Bureaucracy vs. Human Endeavour Theme Icon
Mitch believes it’s Lewis’s right to make the decision, and he is almost certain she will say yes to... (full context)
Solitude and the Human Need for Connection Theme Icon
In Watney’s message to Lewis, he tells her once again not to blame herself for leaving him behind. She made... (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Bureaucracy vs. Human Endeavour Theme Icon
...the file, they find instructions for the Rich Purnell Maneuver. Vogel explains the maneuver to Lewis and the crew, and they discuss whether they should mutiny and carry out the maneuver... (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Bureaucracy vs. Human Endeavour Theme Icon
The Media Theme Icon
...to know that the crew mutinied—which will make it difficult to fire him or court-martial Lewis and Martinez. (full context)
Chapter 19
Solitude and the Human Need for Connection Theme Icon
Lewis and her husband, Robert, get to have a five-minute video chat. Robert tells Lewis he... (full context)
Chapter 22
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
The Betrayal of the Familiar Theme Icon
Aboard Hermes, Lewis and Martinez are discussing the fact that Watney entered the dust storm the day before.... (full context)
Chapter 25
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Aboard Hermes, Lewis is telling Martinez, “You killed Watney.” It quickly becomes clear that Watney is not actually... (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
...the MAV is now far more dangerous than the infamously accident-prone Soviet space ships. Meanwhile, Lewis and the Hermes crew review the rescue plan. Martinez will pilot the MAV while Johanssen... (full context)
Chapter 26
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
...he wants Vogel to release his tether so he can go a bit further. Vogel refuses—Lewis has told him not to. (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
...On Hermes, Martinez can’t figure out why the MAV is moving slower than it should. Lewis radios Watney, but he doesn’t reply. As Watney loses consciousness, the canvas tears further and... (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
On Hermes, Martinez is relieved to find the MAV is now steadying. Johanssen tells Lewis the MAV will reach orbit, but the distance at intercept will be 68 km. They... (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Bureaucracy vs. Human Endeavour Theme Icon
The Media Theme Icon
...the front of the ship, and radios Hermes to tell them the canvas has ripped. Lewis tells him they have a problem with intercept velocity. Watney suggests that he could poke... (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Bureaucracy vs. Human Endeavour Theme Icon
The Betrayal of the Familiar Theme Icon
On Hermes, Lewis asks Vogel, the resident chemist, to make a bomb that will blow the inner airlock... (full context)
Science, Human Ingenuity, and the Fight to Survive Theme Icon
Solitude and the Human Need for Connection Theme Icon
The Media Theme Icon
In a message broadcast all over Earth, Lewis radios Hermes to announce that all six of the Ares 3 crew are safely aboard... (full context)