The Expanse leaves the airways and it also leaves a number of plot threads resolved, at least outside of the novels.*
Titles: “Why We Fight” and “Babylon’s Ashes”
Cast and Crew
Directed by Anya Adams, Breck Eisner
Written by Mark Fergus, Naren Shankar, Ty Franck, Daniel Abraham et al.
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
Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal
Wes Chatham as Amos Burton
Frankie Adams as Roberta “Bobbie” Draper
Nadine Nicole as Clarissa “Peaches” Mao
Keon Alexander as Marco Inaros
Jasai Chase Owens as Filip Inaros
Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala
Cara Gee as Camina Drummer
Kathleen Robertson as Rosenfeld Guoliang
Anna Hopkins as Monica Stuart
Joanne Vannicola as Nico Sanjrani
Samer Salem as Josep
Ted Dykstra as Gareth
Beau Dixon as Martian Prime Minister
Stuart Hughes as Liang Walker
Gabriel Darku as Yoan
Vanessa Smythe as Michio
Conrad Coates as Admiral Sidiqi
Krista Bridges as Admiral Kirino
Craig Arnold as Lt. Hannu
Daniel Jun as Gary
Dianne Aguilar as Dot
Emma Ho as Cara
Ian Ho as Xan
Felipe Aukai as Martian Diplomat
Todd Thomas Dark as UN Diplomat
Hannah Gallant as MCRN Fleet Liaison
Jordan Dawson as UNN Lieutenant
Andre Colquhoun as Ceres Medic
Several characters converge on Ceres, make plans, and forge alliances. On Laconia, meanwhile, Cara brings her dead brother to the “dogs,” which restore him to life in some form.
The Rocinante takes on difficult mission to assist in the battle with Inaros.
The finale features the battle that has been coming, and it has been staged effectively, with several characters completing important character arcs.
Holden recognizes the reality of the situation. Demagogues are inevitably self-serving, duplicitous, and evil (in effect if not always intent), but the people who support them often have legitimate grievances which have been ignored.
The unfinished nature of the series loomed large as a low point, long before we arrived at the finale. They manage to resolve some matters and set up future plots, but the situations on Laconia and with the proto-molecule continue to hang over future earth.
Effects: 5/6 The series manages an incredible range of effects, and I have always lauded them for that. I suspect they were pressed a bit for the finale; a few of the battle scenes incorporated some problematic CGI.
Emotional Response: 6/6
Story: 5/6 The story holds together, and “Why We Fight” gave us some interesting character moments. The finale, however, was rushed and confusing at times and, out of necessity, left significant plot threads dangling.
Overall: 5/6 The Expanse has set the new standard for SF series set in space.
In total, “Why We Fight” and “Babylon’s Ashes” receive 35/42
*Of which I have read two.
Curious language note: For a show with its own Belter language, it sure manages a lot of “F” words in the final season. Before they reached (and passed) a dozen, my wife and I were joking about the poor person who might be playing some sort of drinking game with that word in the finale. I suspect he or she would have missed the final act entirely.