No doubt, The Expanse if the best science fiction / space opera on television these days. While other premises, like Falling Skies or Stargate Universe chose to focus on the drama, and less on the space, The Expanse, based on the series of novels by the same name, went full-on space adventures, and it is gorgeous.
The first season established the world of the series: almost 200 years into the future, humans have colonized the solar system, but they never forgot how to make wars. James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante, a gunship salvaged from a blown Mars ship, were witness to something horrifying: a conspiracy involving stealth spaceships, unknown glowing blue particles that kill, and the mass murder on the Eros Station. With them, was the ex-cop Miller who went to look for Julie Mao, the first victim of the blue particles. Meanwhile, on Earth, Undersecretary Madame Avasarala tries her best to prevent war between Earth and Mars.
Season 2 picked right after the first season ended, but expanded the picture. The conspiracy behind the blue particles (now named Proto-Molecule) slowly uncovers before our eyes, as mysteries unfold. While the first season was somewhat slow-building, this season almost never pulled the leg from the gas pedal. When the Proto-Molecule turned the entire Eros Station into a spaceship cruising to Earth, ready to cause another mass extinction, with Miller inside, and the Rocinante chasing, it was amazing. When the Rocinante helped the Somnambulist escape the Martian blockade on Ganymede, it was thrilling. And when Fred Johnson and Anderson Dawes both “wanted” the best for the belt, thus almost starting another war with Earth, it was suspenseful.
This year we’ve had the addition of Sergeant Bobbie Draper, a Marine of Mars, who witnessed another creature created by the Proto-Molecule, with Mars behind it. Mars wanted to use her as a scapegoat to sign peace with Earth, only to quietly keep working on the Proto-Molecule, but Avasarala, knowing when being lied-to, managed to pull her onto her side. The trio of Avasarala, Cotyar and Bobbie were the comic relief of the last 3 episodes, and it was great for the series. In fact, this season was somewhat lighter and funnier that the first one. But, it is very well established that Bobbie will be entirely loyal, until someone crosses her, like Mars did. By then, she’ll do everything to waste that someone.
Let’s not forget that we’ve (possibly) lost Miller this season. It was back in episode 5, when he convinced Julie, who was “driving” Eros, to crash it into Venus, instead of Earth. While it is possible that he (them?) made it out of it, they surely won’t be the same. Oh, Miller, you sick ex-cop, only you could think about ramming the Nauvoo into Eros. At least now we know why we were told about it in the first place. Though I wished we would see it journey to another solar system. Oh well. Miller managed to kill the mad scientist Dresden, but still was likeable enough to join another mission and be cared about by the Rocinante crew. He and Holden were a lot alike, that’s why Dawes said to Holden, “you remind me of someone. Only the hat is missing”.
Everyone of the Rocinante crew has his own unique character: Holden, the cold caring Captain who needs someone to correct his path every now and then. Naomi, the heart of the ship, a true Belter who wants to do good. Amos, the best bully to have around, who hides something dark but is very likeable. And Alex, great pilot who maintains an interesting relationship with his ship. They finally learned how to work together this season, and Prax, the new addition, a botanist who might / might not stick around, is great as well.
I still think a lot about the season finale and the entire season. The Expanse has great stories which keep you hooked, and keep your mind wondering about the episodes long after you’ve seen them. It is so good to have this series on Television!
What does the future holds? I guess next season the Rocinante will return to Tycho, to Fred Johnson, who now has the Proto-Molecule, and will agree to their return. The Venus expedition probably will be examined by the Proto-Molecule, which may learn how to build ships. Avasarala might not return to Earth after Errinwright’s coup, and will go to Tycho as well. We need all our heroes in one place. Since now we know Mars were behind it all, it will be interesting to see what Earth and the Belt will do about it. Oh, and it’s about time we see Luna, the moon colony. Perhaps Avasarala will go there?
Oh my, season 3 is so far…