Season 5 Of ‘The Expanse’ Continues To Take The Sci-Fi Genre To The Next Level – Review
The Expanse returns for its fifth season next week on December 17, and boy, are you guys in for a treat. Over this quarantine break, The Expanse was one series I decided to binge and I definitely made the right choice. The Expanse is by far one of the best sci-fi shows I’ve ever watched, and easily one of the best sci-fi series to date. Getting to absorb the show over this break has been such a pleasure, but at the same time, a little bit scary due to how many themes and story arcs reflect on what’s going on today in 2020.
*This review will have some spoilers from the season four finale. So if you haven’t caught up, get out of here, go watch it, and then come back and read more about the upcoming fifth season.
At the end of season four, Miller’s plan to shutdown the protomolecule network succeeds but as a result Miller dies again, however, is free from the clutches of the protomolecule. Due to the protomolecule network shutdown, the Belter and Earth colonists decided to stay to continue to develop the colony.
One of things I think is so timely from the season four finale was Chrisjen Avasarala’s (Shohreh Aghdashloo) beautiful and moving concession speech. It showed a politician peacefully giving a transfer of power and going out with class (something our current leader in charge cannot say). After she gives her speech and the episode starts to close, Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) appears on-screen asking for her help. The episode ends with Commander Ashford tracking down Marco Inaros and boarding his ship. Although he almost captures Marco, he is stopped by Marco and Naomi’s son, Filip, and is sent out an airlock to face his demise. Marco reveals that he’s coating asteroids in Martian stealth tech and launching them at Earth.
I had the pleasure of watching the first few episodes of the fifth season and it surpassed my already high expectations. The series continues to elevate the sci-fi television genre. Season five of the series picks up months later with waves of humans leaving the solar system in search of new homes and vast fortunes on the earth-like worlds beyond the alien Ring.
This season really focuses on highlighting each of the crew’s personal backstories and how they start to see the consequences (good or bad) of their past choices. At the start of the season, the crew members are going on their own individual journeys. As someone who isn’t too familiar with the books, I really enjoyed how season four spent time rebuilding the trust between the team. So, I thought it was an interesting choice to separate them like that and the story-telling behind that decision and how its executed works perfectly.
Over the course of the show we’ve seen Holden (Steven Strait) grow confident in his abilities. He’s seen the rise and fall of civilizations, he’s been witness to genocides, he’s gone through all kinds of horrible moments over the last few years that’s nearly broken him. However, through that he’s become a really rock solid leader, and a big part of that is because of his crew who he considers his family. At the beginning of season five, we see Holden alone for the first time in a while. He’s trying to move forward with his life, but of course he can’t escape the protomocules. He is struggling – not only grappling with what happened, but also dealing with external forces showing interest in protomolecules (which he knows is not a good idea) and the aliens who built it, and the mystery of what killed them. that being said, I can’t wait to see how Holden’s heroic journey develops.
Naomi (Dominique Tipper) is the real MVP of the crew. Without her, the crew would likely be dead. This season, we see her reaching out to her estranged son – who we’ve heard about, but have never seen until the season four finale. She’s trying to save him from his father because she knows Marco will get him killed. Throughout the series we’ve seen Naomi be vulnerable at times, but we get to see even more of that vulnerability and her maternal instincts which add even more layers to this incredibly well-written character. Tipper’s acting is superb.
Out of all the characters who we will get more info about, I would definitely say it’s Amos (Wes Chatham). Throughout the show Amos’ history has been vaguely hinted at, but the start of this season we get to see Amos return to Earth to confront his past and the legacy of the life he fought to leave behind. Amos has always been the tough guy, but as the show progressed we slowly start to see him become more human and empathetic to people and that is highlighted perfectly at the start of this season. I’m eager to see where his story arc goes.
I love all of the characters on the show, but I must say Avasarala is definitely one of my favorites. When we catch up with her in this new season she has a new position in the government and she is not too happy about it. I can’t say much about her story arc, but I thought Aghdashloo showed us new layers to the character. Drummer (Cara Gee) has a new crew and is also trying to fight her past, and move on from who she used to be. The first three episodes really show how Commander’s death affected Drummer and how close she really was to him. Much like Naomi, Drummer always has a badass tough exterior, so getting to witness her peel back those layers only made me love her even more.
Now that more colonies and worlds are being explored, Mars is starting to collapse because of things going on on the planet. This makes Bobbie (Frankie Adams) truly question what her relationship with Mars is. I can’t say much about Marco (Keon Alexander), but I will say he is a very good antagonist and seems like a worthy foe for the crew.
Overall, I must say I was really impressed with how well-done the first few episodes of the season were. From the personal story arcs to the well done social/political themes being woven in, season five of The Expanse is setting up to be another amazing season of sci-fi television!