TL;DR – If this is the last we get of The Expanse, well, it was a solid opener to go out on.
Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this series.
The Expanse Review –
Today we have a show that is filling me with joy and sadness. Joy, because The Expanse is one of my favourite adaptations and one of my favourite shows. Sadness, because this is the last season that we will get on all accounts. Well, today, we start our dive into the final season.
So to set the scene, during Season 5, The Free Navy attacked Earth using asteroids covered in stealth composites. Since then, rock after rock has been flung at Earth, and while they are mostly shot down, debris still rains down on the planet, causing dirt to clog the atmosphere and the temperature to plummet. Meanwhile, on Laconia, Cara (Emma Ho) explores the new environment when she stumbles upon a strange dog that she has never seen before. All while orbiting above lies something … waiting in a web. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
It feels appropriate that we started this season with every single person in the cast being at their lowest point. Okay, well, everyone bar Marco (Keon Alexander). In a bit of change from the books, the impacts keep coming giving a series of small cuts rather than the big slashes. This creates a weariness for everyone. You feel it in Chrisjen’s (Shohreh Aghdashloo) responses, “every rock kills us a little more, even when they miss” that tired feeling that everyone is one loss away from falling apart. Drummer (Cara Gee) is barely holding on, and her marriage is falling apart, and Naomi (Dominique Tipper) has been worn down by having to hunt her own people.
This episode works as both a catchup for everyone for where everyone is, a reorientation of the universe, and a moment of hope in the end. That moment of hope is essential because, without it, the pain of the episode would have been overwhelming. I mean, Drummer and Josep (Samer Salem) telling Michio (Vanessa Smythe) that they need to hide her away was heartbreaking to watch. The only person not hitting rock bottom is Marco, who is revelling in the chaos. Goodness, I respect the hell out of Keon Alexander’s acting because he is playing one of the most engaging narcissists on television. It is both a delight and horrifying to watch, as is watching Filip’s (Jasai Chase-Owens) grief for his actions finally catch up with him.
From a production side of things, this season is just six episodes long, the shortest in the series so far, even though some of the episodes are a little longer. This does mean that the narrative does need to rush forward in places. Now that we are back on Ceres, we also get some new sets, which are a delight because this show revels in all the little details. However, one thing that can’t be controlled is the impact of COVID, which is probably why the show had to kill off Anderson Dawes because of restrictions around availability. This is sad because Jared Harris is one of my favourite actors, and it does mean we will miss Dawes last and best scene from the books. But there is a silver lining in every cloud because Nico Sanjrani (Joanne Vannicola) is an instant presence on the show. In those short scenes, they show a commanding presence, which, given they’re acting across from Marco, is telling.
In the end, do we recommend Strange Dogs? Well, everyone might be at their lowest level, but that means that everything in the season can only go up. I honestly wish we could get more, but I will enjoy what time we have left with The Expanse because it is that good.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Expanse
Directed by – Breck Eisner
Written by – Naren Shankar
Created by – Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby
Based on – The Expanse by James S. A. Corey (Ty Franck & Daniel Abraham)
Production/Distribution Companies – Alcon Entertainment & Amazon Studios
Starring – Steven Strait, Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham, Frankie Adams, Cara Gee, Nadine Nicole, Keon Alexander, Jasai Chase-Owens & Shohreh Aghdashloo with Kathleen Robertson, Anna Hopkins, Joanne Vannicola, Gabriel Darku, Ted Dykstra, Vanessa Smythe, Samer Salem & Emma Ho