The Expanse Review: “Hard Vacuum”

As worlds fall apart, our characters move closer to each other.

Title: Hard Vacuum

Director: Marisol Adler
Writer: Dan Nowak
Adapted from the novels by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (as James S.A. Corey)

Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata
Steven Strait as James R. Holden
Wes Chatham as Amos Burton
Nadine Nicole as Clarissa Mao
Cara Gee as Camina Drummer
Olunike Adeliyi as Karal
Sandrine Holt as Oksana
Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal
Frankie Adams Roberta “Bobbie” Draper
Keon Alexander as Marco Inaros
Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala
Michael Irby as Delgado
Bahia Watson as Sakai
Jasai Chase Owens as Felip
José Zúñiga as Bull
Sugith Varughese A David Paster
George Tchortovas Leveau
Anna Hopkins as Monica Stuart
Jacob Mundell as Erich
Alex Hatz as Secretary Yilmaz
Amanda Cordner as Hutch
Andrea Davis as Tesfaye
Christine Sahely as Dahane
David Rosser as Cordner
Joyce Rivera as Secretary Cebotari
Sam Kalilieh as Clarke
Samer Salem as Josep
Stephen Tracey as Bertold
Vanessa Smythe as Michio


Amos and Clarissa reunite with an old acquaintance and propose a plan to get off-world, Holden contemplates a rescue, Drummer questions her deal with the Inaros faction, and the U.N. considers a violent response. In the most remarkable plot….

High Point

…Naomi, still recovering from the effects of her dramatic escape, finds herself on board a ship being used to lure and destroy the Rocinante. The character’s situation and her response to it, supported by an outstanding performance by Dominique Tipper, makes for compelling viewing.

Low Point

The UN one suffers by comparison. They are considering some very real and serious issues. It’s not easy to determine the best response to an attack. Their dry approach is honestly the one political leaders should take, and its contrast with more personal situations may be quite deliberate. It isn’t bad by any means; it’s just not as consistently interesting as the other stories.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6

Effects: 6/6 The Expanse has become the current standard for f/x on T/V.

Acting: 6/6

Emotional Response: 6/6

Story: 6/6 “Hard Vacuum” appear to be pulling most of our principal characters back together.

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6 Bonus: Some salvagers scavengers take a moment to suck bubbles.

In total, “Hard Vacuum” receives 38/42

9 replies on “The Expanse Review: “Hard Vacuum””

    • It might not have been as gripping as Naomi’s plot, but I was again drawn to the real world parallels and partisanship. Yes, a proportionate response is required, but Delgago’s proposal to strike a signifant – and mostly civillian – Belter worldlet and the disagreements / closed door discussions that resulted were a clear sign of lack of progress.

      Two weeks ago we were drawing parallels between the Expanse and the events of Jan 6th, now the differences with the same day’s event couldn’t be more striking; it’s not “Unity” that is being talked about, but “Retaliation”. Earth is also considering launching a major military adventure against an entire, typically downtrodden, people, in effect to get payback against the one man who managed to successfully launch a terrorist attack at the heart of a superpower – sound familiar?

        • Oh, they’re definitely well handled and far more subtle than some other efforts at it, and although the IRL timeliness is somewhat fortuitious, I have no problems with either. If anything, the timing makes the episodes have a much greater impact than they might otherwise have done, and that’s no bad thing for either the show or the viewers.

  1. I might have mentioned in the review, but didn’t: even a scene of characters stopping to urinate was used to further reveal character. It wasn’t really necessary, but it wasn’t completely wasted.

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