The Expanse: “Congregation” and “Abaddon’s Gate”

The Expanse ends Season Three with an episode that expands the show’s horizons for a Season Four that will be happening.

Title: “Congregation” and “Abaddon’s Gate”

Cast and Crew

Directors: Jennifer Phang, Simon Cellan Jones
Writers: Ty Franck, Daniel Abraham, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Hallie Lambert.
Adapted from the novels by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (as James S.A. Corey)

Steven Strait as James Holden
Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal
Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata
Wes Chatham as Amos Burton
Frankie Adams as Bobbie Draper
Elizabeth Mitchell as Reverend Doctor Anna Volovodov
Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala
Thomas Jane as Joe Miller
Cara Gee as Camina Drummer
David Strathairn as Commander Klaes Ashford
Nadine Nicole as Melba Koh
Genelle Williams as Tilly Fagan
Anna Hopkins as Monica Stuart
Brandon McGibbon as Cohen
Ari Millen as Stanni
Andrew Rotilio as Diogo
Brock Johnson as Grigori
Chris Owens as Kolvoord
Marci T. House as Soledad
Matt Bois as UNN Lt. Nemeroff


The Ring threatens all of humanity, but a couple of plans exist that may save us.

Time runs short, and a dispute exists regarding which plan might actually work.

High Points

These episode use some strong character moments (and a few contrived ones) to take us to a moment where the series opens up into, well, an expanse. The characters have a new direction, and I hope they boldly go where other SF shows have gone before—but with the more grounded and credible elements so essential to the show. What does an inhabited planet look like in this universe? What about an alien? We won’t be making quick visits to backlots inhabited by people with latex foreheads and an obvious social issue. And we know there’s something out there able to destroy whatever civilization made the Ring.

That could present a problem.

Low Point

The idea of a confrontation between two sides with whom we might sympathize remains a strong concept. The execution here remains too one-sided. We’ve been asked to support one group for too long, while the leader of the other seemingly goes against character (at least a little) so that we can move quickly to the big battle.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 We knew it would come down to the actions of a brave band of heroes, with the fate of humanity at stake and a big payoff. Really, really big.

We’ve arrived at Uranus and Beyond the Infinite.

Effects: 6/6

Acting: 5/6

Emotional Response: 5/6

Story: 5/6

Production: 6/6 Throughout, the show’s aesthetic leans towards the plausible.

Overall: 5/6 Our adventurers now stand as explorers at the mouth of the Amazon, with, one suspects, a substantial budget to propel them forward.

In total, the final two episodes of Season 3 receive 34/42

Lingering Questions

1. Are the Mormons suing for their ship? Did I miss that? And, given the result, will they now see the events as a part of Elohim’s plan?

2. So, now what?

3 replies on “The Expanse: “Congregation” and “Abaddon’s Gate””

  1. That is an interesting question regarding the Mormons. They just disappeared once their ship was commandeered. Then again, they may have taken a “wait and see” approach once the protomolecule business was revealed and it’s unlikely they would have found any sort of court that would listen to their charges during the war. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them pop up again now that we have a cosmic Grand Central operating.

    • The books have some token discussion about a legal dispute against Tycho Station and Fred Johnson, but that’s all. I doubt the show will cover it except as maybe a throw away if/when they re use the character. They’re really just incidental to the plot, which is a shame IMHO, because even though we still have Volovodov the books don’t really get into the whole fascinating issue of how mankind’s religions deal with First Contact and all that might entail.

      Good to see that Drummer survived too. I quite like the character, and they appeared to have put her in a kind of hybrid role of Sam and Bull from the books, both of whom had died by this point, so I was fearing the worst for a few episodes there! That’s definitely my high point!

      Re. one of the questions in the High Point, I recommend a *very* careful re-watch of the moment Holden goes back through the ring, as there’s a tiny bit of tease in there to something that won’t pay off for… quite some time. If you’ve read the books and paid attention to the prologues and epilogues, you’ll know what to look for, and if not good luck figuring out what you’re looking at! :) Nice touch though.

      • Yes– the show hasn’t been afraid to mention religion, so why not explore a little further how the world’s religions deal with the events?

        I mean, other than it will tick off real-world people who disagree with how religion gets presented.

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