Nailing a TV finale is not any simple feat—simply have a look at Misplaced’s oft-mocked ending and the disappointing catastrophe that was Recreation of Thrones’ coda. However with its sixth and remaining season, The Expanse is the uncommon style sequence that pulls it off.
Amazon Prime Video’s sci-fi epic started wrapping up its remaining batch of episodes on Dec. 10, they usually’re among the many sequence’ strongest and tightest in each pacing and plot. That’s not too stunning, contemplating the primary 5 seasons’ capability to nimbly and faithfully adapt James S.A. Corey’s beloved sequence of novels. However this remaining stretch had its personal challenges; specifically, a shortened season that had solely six episodes to tie up the battle between Earth, Mars, and the inhabitants of the Belt, plus cowl the extra fantastical parts tied to the alien protomolecule and the interstellar gate system it opened.
Final season, Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) took benefit of all that battle by organizing his Belter Free Navy and pummeling Earth with asteroids, leaving the planet to slowly die. Season 6 picks up with the darkish aftermath of that assault and the hassle to struggle again in opposition to the more and more highly effective Inaros, centering on the crew of the spaceship Rocinante as they navigate warfare and politics. Whereas a lot of the present has been pushed by the protomolecule and its implications, the spine of The Expanse is its nuanced have a look at inequality and energy. It is a political present carried out proper, and far of Season 6 explores how an extremist like Inaros might thrive in a frayed political local weather, and the way wars cannot finish by bullets alone. By some means it manages to be entertaining on the similar time.
All through its run, The Expanse managed to keep away from lots of the extreme and indulgent whims of status TV. There was no huge stunt casting or quirky facet excursions, however quite an emphasis on direct and environment friendly storytelling. The world feels lived in—the zero gravity results, area battles, and little touches of life sooner or later stay beautiful—and the actors strategy the world with a grounded contact that provides extra drama than any huge, heavy-handed monologue might.
Regardless of the life-or-death stakes, Season 6 nonetheless makes time for the intimate interactions of the Rocinante crew, with every actor getting quiet moments to shine. Central protagonist James Holden (Steven Strait) at occasions seems like he is sidelined within the first half of the season, however pulls off a robust flip within the again half. Cara Gee’s Belter pirate Drummer, who steadily grew to become one of many present’s central threads, will get a satisfying arc to shut her story. And others, like Amos (Wes Chatham) and United Nations Secretary-Normal Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Agdashloo), stay scene stealers; the latter’s propensity for eloquent cursing by no means will get previous.
There are some clear nods to this season being the tip, together with a barrage of cameos from previous common and recurring characters. Just a few of them briefly cease to reminisce on the incidents that set off the conflicts on the present’s begin, they usually handle to suit naturally into the story, demonstrating character development quite than feeling like low-cost callbacks.
The shortness of the season, nevertheless, does go away a way of wanting extra. If solely there have been extra episodes to take a look at the implications of those occasions from a wider scale. If solely a few of these cameos have been prolonged. Yet one more of the excellently executed area battles can be cool to see. For a present so expansive in its universe, there’s nonetheless a need to see extra. Even so, the effectivity of the storytelling—not simplicity, simply effectivity—retains a lot of the penalties in view whereas propelling the story ahead; a lesser dealing with would go away lots of the facet plots aimless or take focus away from the larger image.
On a meta stage, this remaining season is a incredible feat for a present that needed to struggle to remain alive. Canceled after three seasons at SyFy, The Expanse discovered a brand new residence at Amazon that allowed it to adapt the second trilogy of Corey’s sequence, and the present’s writing and manufacturing solely bought higher from there. It’s unclear what’s subsequent for The Expanse—Season 6 works in parts from a novella that units up the final trilogy of novels, so regardless that that is the ultimate season, it will not be a complete finish. Regardless, it is a sturdy conclusion to what has persistently been one of many smartest and most formidable sequence on tv.