The Expanse – Season 6 Review

The Expanse reaches its final season by adapting the Sixth book, and to be fair to them they didn’t cut any corners with the adaptation, even if it meant leaving plot-threads hanging, sadly… Still, in six episodes does it give us a satisfying ending to the Marco Inaros / Belter “Free Navy” rebellion plot? Why yes, yes it does. Let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

Holden and the crew of the Rocinante fight alongside the Combined Fleet of Earth and Mars to protect the Inner Planets from Marco Inaros and his Free Navy’s campaign of death and destruction. Meanwhile, on a distant planet beyond the Rings, a new power rises…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Amos is caught as his parents bicker. We’ve all been there.

As mentioned Season Six is a svelte 6 episodes long so the plot certainly doesn’t branch far away from Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) and the Free Navy of Belters fighting against the Earth and Mars fleet. The crew of the Rocinante, James Holden (Steven Strait), Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) and Amos Burton (Wes Chatham), plus Clarissa Mao (Nadine Nicole) who joined at the end of the previous season and Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams), who joins the crew unofficially for the majority of the season, are thankfully still in the forefront and are still really enjoyable to watch interact. Even Clarissa, who didn’t leave much of an impression last time fitted in as, well, someone who really wanted to fit in to the established crew. They find a Free Navy ship that has details on how terrorist leader Marco Inaros has been sending asteroids towards Earth and therefore tying up all their navy in defence rather than offense. This leads to the Rocinante happing across Marco’s main ship with the man himself on it but Holden deactivates the would-be fatal missile because he couldn’t bare to be the man responsible for killing Naomi’s son Filip (Jasai Chase-Owens), who was also on board. This actually pisses her off more than makes her happy, which I understand (could’ve pretty much ended the war right there…) but it led to some good drama between crewmembers heading into the final showdown.

What was also entertaining was a “will he / won’t he” story focusing on Filip and his ever-heavy guilt over being apart of so many people’s deaths and how he begins to see his father for the monster he clearly is. Meanwhile a group of Belters led by Camina Drummer (Cara Gee) run small-scale attacks on the Free Navy and soon steals a large shipment of food and supplies from them, giving them to the Belters on Ceres who had been intentionally left starving by Inaros in order to further tie-up Earth and Mars’ hands and stop a full-scale conflict. Eventually Drummer would meet with and agree to fight alongside Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) and the other allied forces against Marcos. All these roads led to the finale, where Marcos and the Free Navy are heading to Medina Station, which along with a small planetoid with super-powerful Railguns on it were guarding the Sol system Ring Gate and therefore if he could make it there the Free Navy would have the infinite resources of all the Ring Colonies on his side.

Marcos with another rousing speech, just moments before leaving his people to starve as a stalling tactic. Sounds like a pretty typical dictator to me!

As the two space navies clash we see Drummer and her group fight Marcos and damage his ship but they too are damaged, leaving Marcos with a free shot at the Ring. As Holden, Naomi and Clarissa hold down the fort on the Rocinante Bobbie and Amos are among a team of soldiers sent to take control Railguns and therefore kill Marcos as he arrives but sadly it doesn’t go according to plan and the guns are destroyed instead. Luckily as a side-story all season Naomi had been investigating a phenomenon where some ships heading into the Ring Gates are zapped by odd red energy and vanish and it’s here they reveal that the Ring Gate can only take so much mass going into it over a certain amount of time before it happens, so she sets and a trap and unloads a whole bunch of stuff into the Ring as Marcos and his ship arrive, zapping them into nothingness. Naomi is heartbroken that she killed her own son (though in reality Filip finally decided to leave his father and strike out on his own moments before the ship arrived at the Gate, though she may never know this fact…) and soon Earth, Mars and the Belters meet at the conference table to discuss peace. Drummer is insistent that things have to change this time but Earth and especially Mars are weary of trusting the Belt, which is clearly only going to lead to the same thing happening again.

Instead they pick James Holden to front a new, neutral company named simply “The Transport Union” that would govern fair passage through the Rings, but Holden’s opening speech puts Drummer in charge instead, something that drives Avasarala nuts but Holden soon manages to convince her that this was the only way to stop another Marcos from emerging. James and Naomi share their thoughts at the end of the series, including the former speculating on some unresolved plot threads just to rub it in! … Oh well, it was a great final episode, so I’ll let him off…

The Bad:

Not the cutest “dog” I’ve ever seen, but maybe it is cute for the planet Laconia…

The only bad will depend entirely on whether or not they eventually adapt the final three books or not. The opening of all six episodes spent a good five or ten minutes on a Ring colony planet called Laconia, where we see a young girl named Cara (Emma Ho) play with some of the local animals and discover a “Dog” that can bring things back to life. One day her brother Xan (Ian Ho) dies so she brings his body to the forest and the “Dogs” bring him back to left, except his freaky eyes and blue blood gives off serious Protomolecule vibes. Cara’s parents are rightfully freaked the hell out run from him then we then see a ship with Protomolecule stuff on it above the planet that was implied to be somehow looking through Xan’s eyes. It was an interesting cliffhanger, and from what I know the Laconians are a pivotal faction in the last three books, but if this is the “Final Season” as advertised then it seems odd to devote so much airtime to something that’s never going to be followed up on, especially since frankly it wasn’t that interesting for the first four episodes at the very least… I always admire Expanse’s “roughly a book per season” adaptation rate but they probably should’ve skipped this bit. Again, unless they do come back for more down the line, in which case it will be nice to see this pay-off…

If that does happen then you can mentally take this paragraph and move it up above the “Bad” tagline…

Overall Thoughts:

The Rocinante hangs above James Holden. A perfect picture to go out on!

The Expanse goes out in style with six episodes that tie up the Marcos Inaros / Free Navy plotline very well. It also heavily teases the next big plotline despite this being “The Final Season”, so here’s hoping they did that because they know something I don’t… Either way, great stuff as per usual, it’s a shame to see the end of such a great sci-fi series, but at least it survived its cancellation and gave us three more seasons. Can’t argue with that!

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