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The Expanse Season 6 review: A befitting end to a great sci-fi space drama

The fan favourite sci-fi show ended its run on Amazon Prime today, with the sixth and final episode of Season 6, Babylon’s Ashes.

  • Prathibha Joy

  • OTTplay

Last Updated: 10.44 AM, Jan 14, 2022

cover image
A still from the show

Story: In the distant future, man has colonized the solar system and there still exists a massive class divide, which is one of the central plot points of The Expanse.

Review: I can’t believe it’s finally over. The Expanse ended its three-season run on Amazon Prime Video today, with an hour-long finale, which tied up several arcs, but also hinted at the possibility of more stories. There are, after all, three more books of source material that can be adapted. Fans have been speculating that the reason one particular story arc has not been addressed fully is because the makers see the potential in getting the show aboard another network and do justice to the stories of the remaining three books. Fingers crossed!

I have to admit, I was late to join the The Expanse party, having been introduced to the show a few years ago only, around the time that Jeff Bezos renewed it after it was cancelled by Syfy. The show, based on the books by James SA Corey, which is the pen name of author duo Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank, had an instant impact. Set in a distant future, where humans have colonized the solar system and are divided into three groups – Earthers, who live on Earth, Martians, from the independent martial power Mars and Belters, who live at stations across the Asteroid Belt, the show began with Detective Miller’s (Thomas Jane) hunt for a missing girl, Julie Mao (Florence Faivre). His hunt, takes him across space with the motley crew of the ship The Rocinante, which includes Earthers James Holden (Steven Strait) and Amos Burton (Wes Chatham), Belter Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) and Martian Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar), and introduces us to the protomolecule (an infectious agent of extra-terrestrial origin) and the devastation it can unleash when in the hands of the wrong people.

Over six seasons, the protomolecule was one of the main story plots of the show, but the central crux has always been the socio-political divide between Earthers, Martians and Belters. Earthers were the have-its, Belters the have-nots, while the Martians were also fairly well off with exceedingly advanced military prowess. The problem with the Belt having to literally scrape and scavenge for survival and deal with the oppression unleashed by ‘the Inners’ (people from the inner planets of the Sol system), pushes a faction led by Marco Inaros to an uprising against their oppressors. Inaros is a man of few words and more action, and his Free Navy uses heavy-handed measures to get their way, steadily gathering support from Belters across stations along the way.

By season five he had acquired enough stealth technology from rogue Martian military officers to be able to launch a deadly attack against Earth, which, literally involved throwing rocks. And when I say rocks I mean, dinosaur wipe-out level asteroids. In the sixth and now, supposedly, final season of the show, the stage was set for a final show-down between the crew of The Rocinante, (which, incidentally had to get rid of Alex’s character after the actor playing him had sexual misconduct allegations levelled against him), and Marco Inaros’ Free Navy. From spending all their resources to counter Inaros’ attacks, to finally getting even and maybe an upper hand, the Innners, their Belter allies and the crew of the Roci have their work cut out for them. Inaros, after all, will not make it easy for them and he’s got a few aces up his sleeve.

Who will emerge on the side of victory is anyone’s guess! In the end, it was Holden, who brought peace to the world.

The Expanse is not just for sci-fi fans who fancy a space odyssey. This show is so much more than space ships and blaring guns, it is as much about the socio-political divide, as it is about its characters, each with a compelling backstory, which defines who and what they are like.

The principal cast aside, there’s Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), Sergeant Bobbie Drapper (Frankie Adams), Camina Drummer (Cara Gee), Clarissa Mao (Nadine Nicole), Klaes Ashford (David Strathairn), Fred Johnson (Chad L Coleman) and so many others, some of who lasted all six seasons, while others only got a few episodes, who brought this show to life. The Expanse would not be the great show it is without the contribution of every single member of the cast and crew. In fact, if you follow the show’s social media pages closely enough, you will see that not everything is CGI and that there’s so much effort that goes into creating the world of The Expanse. Thank you for everything and here’s hoping we meet again!

A still from the show

Verdict: Do not, and I repeat, do not, brush this off as a sci-fi nerd’s dream come true. If you have not watched the show yet, now might be a good time to catch it, because you can binge all 62 episodes. For now, the show has come to and end. The hope is that it is a short-lived one and that The Rocinante and the world of The Expanse will be back on our screens soon enough. If it doesn’t, it may even compel you to get some reading done in the form of Persepolis Rising, Tiamat’s Wrath and Leviathan Falls – the last three books in the series.

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