The Expanse Review: “IFF,” “Assured Destruction,” “Reload,” “Triple Point,” and “Immolation”

We’re closing in on the end of Season Three. Actually, it might be the end of the series.

And the world as we know it.

Cast and Crew

Directors: Breck Eisner, Thor Freudenthal, Jeff Woolnough
Writers: Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck, Dan Nowak, Robin Veith, Georgia Lee, Alan DeFiore
Adapted from the novels by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (as James S.A. Corey)

Steven Strait as Jim Holden
Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata
Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala
Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal
Wes Chatham as Amos Burton
Frankie Adams as Roberta “Bobbie” Draper
Elizabeth Mitchell as Anna Volovodov
Terry Chen as Praxidike “Prax” Meng
Shawn Doyle as Sadavir Errinwright
François Chau as Jules-Pierre Mao
Byron Mann as Admiral Nguyen
Chad L. Coleman as Col. Frederick Lucius Johnson
Nick E. Tarabay as Cotyar
Cara Gee as Col. Johnson’s Second in Command
Brian George as Arjun Avasarala
Leah Jung as Mei Meng
Alden Adair as Staz
Andrew Rotilio as Diogo
Carlos Gonzalez-Vio as Cortazar
Conrad Pla as Colonel Janus
Eli Martyr as Onudo
Jonathan Whittaker as Sec-Gen Gillis
Peter Outerbridge as Captain Martens
Hugh Dillon as Sutton
Sarah Allen as Hillman
Mpho Koaho as Richard Travis
Dewshane Williams as Sa’id
Ted Whittall as Michael Iturbi

Premise

After conflicts both interplanetary and interpersonal, we finally get something like a happy ending.

Except it’s not the ending, and just what is that rough beast slouching towards humanity?

High Points

The Expanse does a better job than any recent SF series of balancing big moments– space opera and disturbingly relevant political commentary– with small ones– family, relationships, and a parent’s quest to save his child.

Like true spacefarers, the show never wastes anything. If something—anything—gets mentioned in an episode, you can expect it will eventually be important.

Low Point

SyFy has cancelled the show, leaving its future in doubt. Can you imagine, a network cancelling a successful SF show with a huge fan base? And after only three seasons?

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6

Effects: 5/6 The visual effects remain impressive. If a few shots seem weaker than others, consider how much this show attempts for television, and how often it succeeds.

My main complaint is the continued insistence of whooshing noises in TV-space.

Acting: 5/6 The show boasts a strong cast. The characters feel plausible, but their personalities prove difficult to define. The Expanse suffers from a dearth of iconic, easily-likeable people. I’m really beginning to like our rag-tag band o’heroes, but they have no Spock or Captain Reynolds or Tyrion.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Story: 6/6 These episodes do a remarkable job of bringing disparate plots together to a perfect, false conclusion.

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6

In total, these third-season episodes of The Expanse receive 35/42

7 replies on “The Expanse Review: “IFF,” “Assured Destruction,” “Reload,” “Triple Point,” and “Immolation””

  1. zocalo says:

    Gutted at the cancellation, although it was never really likely that it was going to make it through all nine of the planned books in the series. Hopefully the show can find a new home that is more suited to its prime target demographic of young(ish) male adults who have mostly cut the cord and watch shows on line.

    You listening, Amazon or Netflix? Seriously, I’d subscribe for this show alone if you make a decent go of it.

    • J_W_W says:

      I would love to see this on a streaming service. But as you mention the streaming services I already pay for, my fear it would end up on a different service that I’d also have to pay for.

      • zocalo says:

        I guess Hulu or one of the others is possible, but Netflix already has some rights for distribution of the show which probably makes it the more likely suitor out of all the potential candidates. I mentioned Amazon because they also have some experience with producing their own shows, so might be prepared to do more than just act as a distributor – that they might also one-up Netflix and get a few more Prime subscribers out of the deal, is just a bonus.

        I’m also struck by the irony here. Abraham and Franck are apparently protogés of GRRM, and while it looks like the Expanse will only be finished in print, GoT is looking increasingly likely that it’s only going to get concluded on screen. Never mind a Dream of Spring, I’m dreaming of two more books, damnit – and not spin-offs like “Fire and Blood” either. Focus, GRRM, focus!

        • Brian says:

          In the last year, I’ve made peace with the fact that we may never see the book series finished by GRRM.

          I haven’t started The Expanse yet, but I was planning on going through it once it was finished. Hopefully Amazon or Netflix will pick it up.

    • lost says:

      You know, I’m kind of surprised Expanse survived as long as it did. It’s not all action and explosions. I rather suspect the audience figures are lower than the network would prefer compared to the production costs, or maybe they are dropping. I haven’t checked.

      Still, it’s not like SyFy has shown much indication over the past while that they really want anything other than fake paranormal documentaries that cost nothing to produce and bring in the credulous in droves. Or have they moved on to some other brain-rot inducers?

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