The Expanse: Babylon's Ashes   Show Only 
January 13, 2022 6:05 PM - Season 6, Episode 6 - Subscribe

In the thrilling season finale, Inners and Belters fight side by side with the crew of the Rocinante in a last, massive, desperate battle with Marco and his Free Navy, with the fate of the Solar System, the Ring Gates, and of all humanity hanging in the balance. On Amazon Prime now.
posted by ShooBoo (79 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Please y’all, lets avoid book discussion, as some of us haven’t read them thanks!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:17 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]


Quick thoughts: that was a solid B, B+, series ending, that probably could have used another episode or two. No, not every arc was tied up, but what wasn’t tied up stopped at a decent place.

The main focus of the series was the crew of the Roci and some of there friends and family. The show handled them well and that’s the best we could hope for.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:21 PM on January 13 [6 favorites]


That was the tensest, more nerve-wracking episode of TV I think I have ever watched. They've killed off so many characters I loved that I couldn't trust that more of them would not be offed. I'm sad that Pirate Belter didn't live to get a chance to plunder all those ships heading to the Ring.

I'm mostly pretty satisfied. I still would have liked to have seen Filip be the one responsible for the demise of his father, but at least we got to see him finally figure out what a malignant narcissist Marco was and we did get to see Marco get 86'd.

I loved Bobbie faking out Amos and running off to be heroic, but him coming back and saving her. I couldn't track a lot of the fight, but I was pretty worried there for a while. Poor Clarissa! I did enjoy seeing Filip take his mom's name but I still don't like him.

But man, seeing my queen Camina Drummer getting to take charge of everything was wonderful. Holden did the right thing--and the way he did it was pretty freaking clever and made me like him more there than I ever have through the series. That scene with Peaches making dinner for everyone, after finding out she has an expiration date, was really sweet and the kind of thing I live for in my found family entertainment. Chrisjen Avasarala has never looked more beautiful or more commanding than in this episode; my god, I would kill for her clothes at the end there.

I still don't understand anything that's going on on Laconia. As fun as it was to see Duarte pull the plug on Marco, I don't really get what's happening there or why they're letting protomolecule take over that ship or whatever. I don't get how the kids relate. And that ending credits Ring shot--I saw the flickers of red, so does that mean something important, like all the ships that have been disappeared in the red stuff are going to come back? I sure hope not.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 6:26 PM on January 13 [12 favorites]


Realest space battle ever.
posted by whuppy at 6:55 PM on January 13


I lmao when I realized Holden was going to immediately resign. Classiest Holden move ever. I'm sorry Naomi didn't get a lot to do this season. She's been my favorite Roci crew member. But Drummer has eclipsed them all.

Just started reading the books, and they're better than I expected. Maybe one day we'll get the end of the story on screen, but I respect the choice they made that there's more to tell.
posted by rikschell at 6:57 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I've been listening to the audiobooks and they're great. I think I'm less sad about the series ending because I know that there are more books.

Although I'm glad that Drummer is going to take charge, there's a part of me that hopes she doesn't just HATE sitting behind a desk when there are ships to fly and worlds to explore. I doubt that she'd have trouble delegating...to other Belters, of course. What she said was right, though. Two inners and one outer will never set them on equal footing. I've gone back and forth between loving Holden and being completely frustrated by him, and he's ended on my good side. Even if he is a little shit. Avarasala has to learn to unclench and trust... and maybe keep using that lotus app on her phone.

I'm glad Marco disintegrated into the lava like Gollum. I wish that Filip had been the one to do him in (their last conversation - my god, has he ever thought about anyone BUT himself?) but his departure on the little ship (Filip Nagata!) made my heart grow three sizes.

I hope there's more. I feel at peace with it if there isn't, but I hope there is.
posted by Gray Duck at 8:04 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I'd say this was OK, but everything seemed compressed for time, which I guess it was. I kept expecting more stuff to happen between the various events, but instead it was "character has an idea, then cut to that happening like 2 seconds later." Bing bang boom. It deflated some of the drama for me.

The ground assault on the rail gun emplacements reminded me so much of levels in the Halo series -- battling through increasingly difficult waves of Covenant across a narrow bridge, trying to overload the reactor and destroy the Ring...

Duarte says that he has gods to kill, by which he could mean either the Ring Builders or the beings who killed the Ring Builders (who I guess are the ones eating ships when they go over the Threshold? Holden has said that there are beings living in the Rings, but I don't quite remember that from Season 4). Since the Ring Builders are dead, I presume he means that he's trying to kill their killers so that humans (specifically Duarte's Mars 2.0) can access all the old protomolecule technology free of impediments.

FWIW, the description on Amazon Prime referred to the episode as a "season finale," rather than a "series finale."
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:05 PM on January 13


And, oh my god, how far have we come from Pur'n'Kleen and Hat Cop??? What a ride we've been on!!!
posted by Gray Duck at 8:06 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


That was better than I expected or it had any right to be. Endings are rarely satisfying, so given the inherent handicap I think they acquitted themselves well.

It's been long enough since I read the relevant book that there were even a few mild surprises. I had forgotten Filip bailed and that Holden didn't even spend a day at his new job.
posted by wierdo at 8:26 PM on January 13


I hope this crew gets to fly again, 'cause, jeez, they're so good. Maybe we'll get The West Wing, but with Drummer.
posted by RakDaddy at 8:41 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]




As a planned wind-down of this series, I applaud it.

Especially the denouement; after the tension, the losses and near misses, and the last ditch effort that that succeeds albeit with grave loss to a main character - that all these heroisms degenerate to "politics" - it warms the cockles of this cynic's heart.

Especially the nod to "maverick" Holden pulling a fast one on Avasarala, but - yeah - Drummer's doing what she feel is needful for the good of the many, and not what she desires (reunite with family).

--

I love how Drummer has a "proper Earther" dress suit, (skinny necked!*) Holden looking like he's pretending to be a grownup in "one of his dad's old suits," Avasarala in a highly detailed expensive business dress again, Amos and some of the Belters in flight suits, and Naomi in an expensive Earther dress (all which give a nod to the books).

Separating this out from the books, I'm satisfied, especially since the books went Ludlum (Jason Borne novels) following aging protagonists into their decline.

*wow, yes, Straight shed a lot of muscle mass over the last couple of years, but he's not emaciated at all; I figure he put in a ton of effort to bulk up/ practical effects (perspective/ costuming, massive creatine loading, certainly HGH for the training) and eased off - which makes perfect sense, visually, for an Earther who has spent the last handful+ of years in microG compared to the same person who was essentially a newbie Earther spaceboy in season 1.

I want to believe that his change in physical appearance was planned.
posted by porpoise at 9:39 PM on January 13


And, oh my god, how far have we come from Pur'n'Kleen

It was a nice touch for the Roci to be hiding behind an ice hauler (remember the Cant) for the assault on the Ring.

I thought that Xan's parents on Laconia could have at least tried to believe it was really him instead of going straight to GET BACK YOU MONSTER! but there was only so much time I guess.

Adding Bobbie and Peaches to the crew is great! The Roci is seriously under crewed, which probably explains where Holden's muscle went, no time for the gym when you're too short staffed and burnt out, and 5 crew members is a lot better than 3. Although even that is still less than half of what it should be.

I agree that the assault on the Ring Station looked like a video game. Wasn't a fan of the CG when it was showing all the shipping containers flying around either, although I did like the initial shot when they were all flying out of the ice hauler.

I've started reading the books and one thing it does a lot better is give a sense of how much time it takes just traveling around space, months from the Belt to the Ring for example, and for things like repairs. I almost wish they had dates on all the establishing shots so we could see how much time was passing. Naomi seemed too content at the end but really it was probably a couple of months since the battle and death of Filip so she's had time to process some of it.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:11 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


I think I judge Expanse episodes based on how much my crushes on Secretary-General Avasarala, Gunnery Sargeant Bobbie Draper and Camina Drummer grow in intensity with each rewatch. On that basis this one was a winner.

Saxon Kane, I also noticed it said "season" and not "series" finale which seems like a backpedal but maybe not. Who knows.

Seems like those ring kids are some sort of weird new zombie Adam and ... uh his sister in the Garden of Ring. A tease that humanity will only get weirder and more protomoleculed maybe. I have to admit the whole season I was dreading it becoming xenomorphs-kill-the-settlers in those opening scenes.

I'll rewatch the episode where Bobbie defects again soon. And this season too.

Oh, and it's President Camina Drummer now.
posted by artlung at 10:48 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]


I feel a little let down because everything went very fast. The CGI was bad, distractingly so. Guess everything was rushed because normally I'm very immersed in the space battles and the graphics really add to the whole world--the smart display things they have, all the interactive AR diagrams, the cuts showing each ship moving through space when we switch to a new scene. When Marco was vaporized I wasn't prepared for it to just happen. Weren't they just talking about the idea at Medina? I think they needed two episodes, because I don't even believe Filip had time to escape in his little pod.

I really like all the dynamics on the anti-Inaros side, but Filip is the story that's going to stick in my craw. I don't believe the character's redemption arc just yet. Although it's good he finally left and changing his name is a pretty big fuck-you to a father who thinks his son is an extension of himself. But I'm not sure what's off about the plot, other than the writing and maybe the performance/direction. How many times have we seen that same dawning-horror look on Filip's face at something horrible Marco has done? This time didn't feel any different. Why is it Marco's callousness at Rosenfeld, and not anything else like the treatment of his own mother? Does Naomi ever find out he's alive? Does he know how to survive out there? (Rhetorical questions; I'll read the books eventually.)

Don't get me wrong, I really like this show. Which is why I want to nitpick this finale.
posted by j.r at 11:21 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed this and, while rushed, it's still a satisfying enough of a conclusion to the main characters' story arcs. I'm very sad that there's no more (TV) Expanse and unlike Holden, I'm not an optimist and don't think it'll be picked up for films/other platforms.

I still don't understand anything that's going on on Laconia.

This is where I'm at as well. It was both too much and not enough time spent on that part. It didn't intersect with the main story except very briefly in this episode and it wasn't clear enough to stand alone either. Just a little odd.

It might be a terminology thing but series/season is somewhat interchangeable in the UK at least so I won't read too much into it.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:42 AM on January 14


I also haven't read the books but based on the cues and story beats we got, on reflection I think I just have to smile that the showrunners think seeding the strange dogs plot cannot wait, when I think it would've been sufficient if this season really narrowed it's Laconia angle specific only to Marco's feelings that he's got a trump card, only with gradual dawning realisation (at least on our part) that that was a false ally. Keep to that beat, and expand the Ring entity threat, at least in a way that doesn't leave its employment in this season as a mere plot device to remove Marco from the chessboard. A lot of that Laconia set could've just been kept to mere audiovisual production design, without having to build the set. (if we're talking budget) More time with the Earthers at Ceres for example (like, based on previous Fanfare comments, I think people missed out the darker Avasarala colours wasn't so much her being Vader but her employing her dressing as political messaging as usual, and she was opting for clearly Belter colours, with that extravagant Earth silhouette), or just providing the story bridging to explain how that Ceres Belter went from cussing out Drummer to sitting beside her in the final negotiation scene? There's a missing beat too, to indicate the switch from Drummer agreeing with Avasarala on Holden's appointment, to seeking out Holden to set up their independent transition plot. Even a glance to speak just outside the camera while maybe the Martian President has a final exchange with the UN would've been juicy.

But overall, I think this is a solid cap to the show. I actually like that they didn't get into the urge to wrap up everything. The niggling messy part of the story is actually a strength for this show.
posted by cendawanita at 5:27 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


On rewatch, the flaws become a bit more visible, scenes are bit too rushed and plot dictated. But there's just enough of the characters in those scenes to smooth over the rough spots. Which makes sense, they've had years to develop, and we no longer need an episode or season to establish where a particular character is mentally or emotionally.

As good as all that characterization was, the action was also spectacular, with stunningly clear portrayal of the plan to attack Marcus and how it all fell apart. He's always been a brilliant strategist and by all rights should have won. Splitting up opposing forces, then disguising his own ship to take on weaker ships to establishing an alliance with renegade Martians, he made great moves. He just under estimated how much hate his enemies might have, prompting them to do suicide run on his ship and even though he still could have won if the Martian leader hadn't made a breakthrough with protomolecule, probably.

Could. Probably. Assumptions based not having the ever brilliant Naomi around, someone who was determined to stop him, even if meant killing her own wayward son.

Dominique Tipper killed it, again, in her portrayal of character who's had a hard life and made hard choices. Her rage and grief and frustration over her actions were palpable as she came to terms with stopping Marcus at the loss of Filip.

In the thread for last episode, I speculated that Drummer would get played by Chrisjen when the war was over. Glad to see that I was right that Chrisjen would still be playing politics. Sure, she'd be nice to the Belters and help them, but it was a position of strength, where she wouldn't have to trust the Belters more than she felt comfortable.

But Drummer (and Holden) fooled her, and everyone else, by giving Drummer full control of newly created Transport Union and thus control of the Ring. It was a particularly sweet move on Holden's part, to actually be an ally and help the Belt, especially with his status throughout the belt.

Final questions/notes:
Mars almost receded into the background by the end.

Filipe survived, correct? But seemingly didn't meet up with his mom.

Did Bobbi and Amos hook up or what? Nothing was indicated either way, but intriguing possibilities!

Glad to see Josep and Michio in the crowd and presumably as Drummer's support system.

Yeah, Laconia arc was settled, but it stopped at a fairly decent point. Weird and not doubt bad shit is happening out there. Maybe we'll see what it was someday.

I can't wait to rewatch the entire series!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:41 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]





The assault teams easter eggs


That's awesome and I briefly caught wind of Henderson and Hicks and was like "Hey there..." but got distracted by the show, lol.

Also, how awesome was Amos's ride in the ejection seat? Hella harrowing and intense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:43 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Why is it Marco's callousness at Rosenfeld...

It wasn't. It was when Marco told Filip that if Filip had died Marco would have "lost a part of himself". I don't remember the exact dialogue, but I'm 95% sure that this is a callback to Naomi warning Filip about Marco's narcissism, and that he doesn't truly love Filip the way that a father should love a son. This was the moment that Filip heard it out of his own mouth.

I think Filip taking out Marco would have been a bit too on the nose and emotionally unbelievable -- even an on-screen reunion with Naomi would have felt too accelerated for me. I liked the open-ended and bittersweet ending of this plot thread.

Overall I'm impressed with the way this season managed to wrap things up (leaving the door open for more seasons or a spin-off, but not in an obnoxious cliffhanger). I've been badly disappointed by rushed post-cancellation endings before; I think that they actually pulled it off here. Releasing the episodes one a week may have helped; I'll see how I feel after the inevitable rewatch.
posted by confluency at 6:44 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


Filip is the story that's going to stick in my craw. I don't believe the character's redemption arc just yet.
Agree. If there’s a new season he should go fulfil his destiny by joining a grunge band on Ceres.

There was more Laconia in Season 6 than needed if the purpose was just to explain where Marco got his fancy tech. Maybe that’s a good sign for a Season 7.

Overall this final episode was a decent tie-up. Holden saying, “Hi ho, let’s go back to the bounding main and seek new adventures” reminds me of the Aubry/Maturin novels.
posted by mono blanco at 6:45 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


Releasing the episodes one a week may have helped; I'll see how I feel after the inevitable rewatch.

On rewatch of some of season 6 episodes, I definitely get the following of things being a bit rushed, of some beats or scenes getting dropped or shortened. Thankfully it doesn't feel overly rushed, just sort of gentle single mindedness to get through things.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:49 AM on January 14


I started watching this episode with the same mixture of hype and dread I felt when watching the final episode of The Good Place: wanting to see if some of the arcs resolved the way I thought they would, grateful to the cast and crew for bringing us along on the ride, fearing that they would stumble on the landing...and soooooo not ready to say goodbye to the characters.

It didn't hit every note I hoped it would hit, but it was still damn satisfying.

That said, one of my big questions is what happened to the Ring railguns? Their rate of fire was absolutely terrifying. I'm assuming only one got destroyed due to Bobbi's heroic effort, since Holden brought up the idea of trying to jumpstart them with the Roci, and Inaros wanted his engineers to have a plan ready to bring them back online as soon as possible.

So if there were three left, and the combined fleet got data from that assault, shouldn't there have been a big fight over who got to take them and try to reverse engineer them or equip them for their own use? Surely the Inners can't be happy with the idea of Drummer sitting there with those guns? Or is that the thing that gives the Transport Union equal footing with the other 2 factions?
posted by lord_wolf at 7:25 AM on January 14


re: skinny Holden (the character)

He's been on leukaemia meds for the last few years, hasn't he?
posted by porpoise at 8:13 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


lord_wolf:

I think Naomi said something at the very end of the battle that they had taken out the power source for all the guns, and Amos said it would take weeks for them to hook up the Roci's reactor to power them.

One thing that is a bit funny is that after all the politics, betrayals, deaths, battles, wars, the endgame is... control over a shipping union! In Season 7 of the Expanse: Union President Drummer has to get tough with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Ceres over rising co-pays! When the Union's accounting software goes down, Naomi Nagata must survive a harrowing 18 hour trouble-shooting with tech support! And will the UN agree to a 3.2% increase on shipping fees for hazardous material? TUNE IN TO FIND OUT!
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:05 AM on January 14 [12 favorites]


I'm assuming only one got destroyed due to Bobbi's heroic effort, since Holden brought up the idea of trying to jumpstart them with the Roci, and Inaros wanted his engineers to have a plan ready to bring them back online as soon as possible.

So if there were three left


Five, I'd think, but mostly moot. I get the impression there was only the one fusion plant for all of the railguns, and the original plan was for the strike teams to capture it, depower it so the Roci could land, and then re-engage it for the Free Navy counterattack.

Then Bobbi frags the only power plant because they're getting torn up, which takes all the railguns offline, leaving them without weapons for a counterattack.

I think they kind of rushed through Naomi's solution, unless if it end up meaning they just dumped all their excess mass in the ice hauler, and making it go boom both added shrapnel and mass to the ring aliens' diet?

I'm sort of glad that Checkhov's Nuclear Warhead ended up not needing to be a thing?

And yeah, I think Laconia was sort of an interesting lead in to a second half of a season sort of thing? (oooh aaah we got the protomolecule back HEY HAT COP) But if Duarte was doing something particular for Inaros towards the end of the war, it wasn't obvious. I mean I get the impression he was maybe backstopping the Free Navy on the far side of the rings, and the powerup sequence on the helical ship means Duarte got what he wanted from the Laconia colony, but..
posted by Kyol at 9:08 AM on January 14


I thought that Xan's parents on Laconia could have at least tried to believe it was really him instead of going straight to GET BACK YOU MONSTER!

I gotta side with the parents on this one. If my dead kid came walking at me with jet black eyes, all bloody and saying "GIVE ME A HUG DADDY" I also would Freak The Fuck Out.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:24 AM on January 14 [6 favorites]


Star Trek: TNG once used an exterior shot of Toronto City Hall… and in this episode we get to see the inside of the main rotunda for the Tranport Union press conference. Space Municipal Government!
posted by sixswitch at 9:59 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


The assault teams easter eggs
Kind of amazing the cultural impact Aliens had that Rebelstar II could make the same joke more than three decades prior, and also have Hicks, Hudson, and Vasquez on its strike team.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 10:07 AM on January 14


I was disappointed there was no One Ship short for this episode. I could use another couple of minutes of Expanse because who knows when I'm going to get my next fix. Apart from the books, halfway through Nemesis Games now.

Did Bobbi and Amos hook up or what?

I think they did, and I thought Holden was going to say something about it when they were all in the galley eating the meal, just like Amos busted him and Naomi. Of course that would have made things really awkward with Clarissa so I'm glad they've saved that for another time or made it something never to be spoken of again.

I gotta side with the parents on this one. If my dead kid came walking at me with jet black eyes, all bloody and saying "GIVE ME A HUG DADDY" I also would Freak The Fuck Out.

I thought the progression is uncertainty, like "what is happening, is my baby really back from the dead?", then happiness "it really is him, it's a miracle", then uneasiness "why doesn't he eat anymore and what is this substrate he keeps talking about?", and soon after terror and death for everyone except for his sister.

I like that Filip's arc ended on an ambiguous note. He decided that he didn't want anything to do with a final assault on the Roci and his mother so he bailed. It wasn't any heroism or sacrifice on his part he just left like Naomi did when he was a baby. If he had killed Marco or sabotaged the Pella it would have felt a bit too pat.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:18 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


Hat Cop

I'm inordinately pleased that this lasted the entire series.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:05 PM on January 14 [7 favorites]


Thanks for the explainer, confluency. But hasn't Marco used those words with him before? Maybe I'm misremembering because I haven't rewatched any episodes yet, and saw season 5 when it aired, so it's been a while. But this season we have Filip getting upset at:
1) Marco's terrible handling of Filip killing his friend
2) getting kicked out of command and getting put on drudge duty
3) hearing about the scavenger pilot's sad family story, and seeing the wider effect on Belters
4) Marco blaming everyone but himself after the Rocinante *almost* blew them up
5) finding out Marco was the one who planned the Ceres bombs after all, and killed (more) fellow Belters
6) that final conversation

I guess I just felt like "surely this" the whole time, and so when it finally did happen (with very similar facial acting each time) I'm suddenly wondering "why now?" If they could have had just one more episode maybe they could have put in another beat or two to show me.
posted by j.r at 12:42 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Checkhov's Nuclear Warhead ended up not needing to be a thing

Yeah, I think the purpose of this was more to show Filip that it had been disarmed on purpose and that someone on the other end of it might have been thinking of him specifically (since he was probably aware he was within the camera's field of view when Marco was on comms with the Roci), rather than something that would eventually get fired back at the Roci later.
posted by Kosh at 12:48 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]


I was kind of hoping the Roci could take a chance on the torpedo still being on the Pella and remotely re-arm it and blow it up that way.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:03 PM on January 14


Loved the episode. I just hope another network will take it and continue. But happy for what we got

The brooch that Clarissa gives Amos near the end: was that something we’d seen before? I didn’t really get the significance of the design.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:51 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I laughed when I read it in the books and I laughed again seeing it here:

It still tickles me greatly that Big Bad Marco Inaros is taken out with what is essentially a buffer overflow hack.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:12 PM on January 14 [4 favorites]


The brooch that Clarissa gives Amos near the end:

If you rewatch earlier seasons, Amos is wearing the oni pin almost constantly. He takes it off to visit her in prison at the beginning of S5, and never gets it back because of the destruction from the rock that lands while he's down there.
posted by Alterscape at 2:22 PM on January 14 [4 favorites]


Ahh cool. I guess I never noticed it at all. Oh well time for a rewatch marathon…..
posted by inflatablekiwi at 2:31 PM on January 14


@j.r The relevant bit is in S05E07, about 15 minutes in. I think rewatching that scene with Naomi and Filip, as well as some of the interactions between Marco and Filip earlier in that episode, makes Filip's arc here very clear.
posted by confluency at 2:45 PM on January 14


Glad to see Josep and Michio in the crowd and presumably as Drummer's support system.

Glad Josep got his prosthetic! That “baby arm growing in a jar” scene in Episode 5 was a little Deadpool-like.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 3:37 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I maintain that the Laconia stuff was totally unnecessary (given that they knew the series was being wrapped up) and would've preferred a solid focus on the Sol system shenanigans, but hey, the final scene with the Transport Union was nice.
posted by tautological at 4:39 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I wondered if the Laconia stuff was setting things up for TellTale's Drummer-focused video game.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 5:10 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


I maintain that the Laconia stuff was totally unnecessary (given that they knew the series was being wrapped up) and would've preferred a solid focus on the Sol system shenanigans, but hey, the final scene with the Transport Union was nice.

I get what your saying and agree with it on one level.

But on another level, I love that all three sides were tied up in this war, meanwhile something vastly beyond that was occurring and they don't have clue about it. And the Belters finally get a space of their own, but it puts them closest to the unknown danger.

Including unresolved story arcs in a series finale that are satisfying is very difficult to do, but the creators did a pretty good job.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:41 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


I was very satisfied with this particular ending overall -- it was a good way to stop the series right at this point without the things that happened in later books being too much of a factor.

My main beef with this season has been that the Laconia stuff has felt utterly disconnected from everything else. They provided the fancy railguns and that's it. I fully expected a post-credits screen with protomolecule-enhanced Laconian warships to come through the gate, but I guess that'll be saved for future movies/series if at all.

The other beef has been Filip. His attacks of conscience have been entirely too weaksauce IMHO, and his assholery has been considerable. He's had plenty of chances to redeem himself earlier and chose not to, and it's driven away whatever sympathy I was supposed to have for him. When he bailed on the Pella and changed his name I still had a bit of a smile, but a few minutes later I kind of wished he'd shared his dad's fate.
posted by Foosnark at 5:50 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Filip's redemption may be less about him and more about Naomi. We see him escape and change his name while she's talking to Holden about how we'll never know if our efforts to make things better work out, but we have to try. Naomi thinks she failed her son, but ultimately she did succeed. She may never know, but she did what she did, and something very, very small, but also something good, came out of it, and maybe Filip will do the same thing somewhere down the road.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:11 PM on January 14 [6 favorites]


Very pleased! Surprised they stuck the landing in the short season. I do think it would have been interesting to see it with 2-4 more episodes to breathe...but not disappointed at all.

While I enjoyed the Laconia stuff--it's from the Strange Dogs novella if you're looking to connect with the books--I agree it just floats out there, unattached, without adaptations of the last three coming.

I enjoyed how they conveyed the utter swarm of just cargo containers--by making them look like contemporary inter-modal containers! I'm sure they'd look different in the future, but using that design (here and earlier when Drummer raided them) allowed them show, not tell here.
posted by stevis23 at 9:53 PM on January 14


I have a theory that the Laconia scenes were a backdoor pilot (except spread out over a season), in an attempt to bait JB to fund another series, since he took over The Expanse from SyFy at the end of S3 when the rings first opened, so presumably tempting him with "let's see what's on the other end of the rings" is a reasonable gambit.
posted by axiom at 10:12 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


Considering the amount of stuff they had to squeeze into a one-hour episode I was pretty happy with this.

Loved the cargo containers and Drummer's sincere "It's very clever actually" foreshadowing it.

Laconia: I think we could have done without that whole thing. It wasn't long enough to get me to really care about the characters (despite having a child die and come back as a zombie!). Maybe it will become the seed of another show or whatever, but I maintain that it was just taking away time from our favorite characters. (And budget! How many more cool spaceships could we have had if they didn't have to CGI those weird butt-dogs?)

Filip: I said last week that his only possible purpose was to shoot Marco in the head and he probably wouldn't be able to do that. Yep. I'm glad he escaped but only because it's a potentially good thing for Naomi.

Bobbie, Amos, Peaches: Loved all of their scenes. Sad there won't be more.

President Drummer: YES! I loved the whole political drama at the end although I would have loved to see it in a longer episode.

In Season 7 of the Expanse: Union President Drummer has to get tough with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Ceres over rising co-pays! When the Union's accounting software goes down, Naomi Nagata must survive a harrowing 18 hour trouble-shooting with tech support! And will the UN agree to a 3.2% increase on shipping fees for hazardous material? TUNE IN TO FIND OUT!

Am I the only one who would LOVE that show?
posted by mmoncur at 1:36 AM on January 15 [7 favorites]


I think the Laconia scenes were a good reminder of how stupid the never-ending in-solar-system wars are, when you consider the broader context that thousands of new systems are being explored and humans are having their first contacts with sentient aliens...
posted by starfishprime at 2:06 AM on January 15 [5 favorites]


The Laconia scenes felt like time wasters to me, I kept waiting for some sort of payoff that never arrived.

Meanwhile, Naomi's speech at the end was a payoff. All through the series, we've seen that large events are mostly a mess. But small acts of grace can pay off in unexpected ways. So Naomi did save her son after all, even though she may never know about it.

And Filip is a dumb idiot punk, but he may go on to redeem himself.

The point is to keep going and trying, and that really resonated for me.
posted by champers at 4:13 AM on January 15 [9 favorites]


The battle scene was great and I loved Holden's final fuck-you but this episode really confirmed my fears about the season being too short and compressed. I feel somewhat ripped off by this and am baffled as to why the producers/funders would sabotage such a great series at the end.
posted by octothorpe at 5:31 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


It sounds like it came down to money, just didn’t want to pay for a full 10 episode season.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:41 AM on January 15


What was Holden even doing at the negotiations at the end? We have the Earth contingent, the Martians, Belters, and then Holden somehow there too. Sure he's famous and a hero but that shouldn't get him a seat at that table.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:58 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


I liked the finale... It was clear they were never going to resolve all the story lines... I hope we can get a spinoff series or movie in the future... I still only have read the first six books so I have three more to read 🙂
posted by Pendragon at 7:10 AM on January 15


He was at the table because Avasarala had already decided to put him in charge of whatever compromise got hammered out at the table. She just wanted him where she could keep an eye on him during the lead up to that.
posted by Mogur at 7:11 AM on January 15 [7 favorites]


My head canon is that Drummer said she wanted Holden at the table 'cause he's a friend. Chrisjen agrees, 'cause yeah he's an inner and a naive optimistic, who could probably help control Drummer.

But Carina knows Drummer a bit as a person, not so much as tool to use. She know how much he loves Naomi and thus feels for the Belter cause. That's why Holden doesn't look bored out of his mind at the table, he wants to make sure the Naomi's people don't suffer.

I have no idea how the Martian Prime Minister feels about this, 'cause we don't know the character (this is not a request for book readers to fill in details, thanks).

Only later is Chrisjen reminded of how much a wild card Holden can be.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:49 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Enjoyed the finale, and this season. Like everyone says it was definitely rushed. Mostly they pulled that off but I got pretty lost in this last space battle, a whole lot was happening in a short amount of time and I don't think I could reconstruct who did what to whom.

The effects / cinematography of the space battle didn't help here. Filming space battles is hard because you don't really have fixed reference points in the battlefield. Except here they did; a big part of the battle takes place at Medina Station. But for most of the sequence we don't see the station in view at all; instead all we see is some featureless swirly blue background. (Is that what space looks like in the ring space?) The Rocinante is literally trying to dive towards the station and fly around it at low altitude but they didn't show the spaceship in the same frame as the station enough. Weird choice but it felt like a budget limitation, like they had to do the CG for the battle without the station model available to them. Later we do see the station though!

Anyway that's a nitpick, my larger complaint is with the choice this season to focus on the space battles. It felt like the drama in every episode was a space battle. And yeah, that's fun, but the best part of this story is the other stuff. The personal interactions, the political drama, Avasarala's outfits, the grim humor.

What I did love was the marine assault on Medina itself, the attempt to fight their way down the walkway, the enemies firing from above, Bobbie's heroic personal assault and Amos' coming to help. All that was just fantastic. So was Amos' rocket chair ride, him just yelling with fear and anger and misery. And then lands ready to do the damn job. What a hero.

Back to narrative.. I felt the end of Filip and Marco's story was not well done. Filip's arc is compelling but the writing meant he had to do it almost entirely with actions and expressions, a few more words would have been good. And having Marco and his ship just disappear to the deus ex universum? What a strangely unsatisfying ending. It was exciting that Naomi and crew caused the gate to eat Marco's ship but I wish they'd shown that agency a little more effectively.

The Laconia segments sure ended up being an enigma, didn't they? I think the show would have been stronger not including them at all. But they were well made, and are a great story, and it makes a lot of sense as a story teaser for future seasons of the show.

I've read a bunch of industry gossip articles (this one is good) and my impression is the showrunners and writers are fully ready to do more seasons but no one has stepped forward and offered to buy them. It's not a bad gamble in this current content market to have a story and fan base ready to go, we can only hope...
posted by Nelson at 9:02 AM on January 15 [4 favorites]


But for most of the sequence we don't see the station in view at all; instead all we see is some featureless swirly blue background. (Is that what space looks like in the ring space?) The Rocinante is literally trying to dive towards the station and fly around it at low altitude but they didn't show the spaceship in the same frame as the station enough.

They weren't diving towards the station at first. The blue is the inner surface of the bubble encapsulating ring space, and the Rocinante was flying in an arc at that outer boundary, brushing the surface of the bubble, to give them the best chance of evading railgun shots until they could reach the narrow blindspot where the station would shield their actual approach to the center.
posted by Pryde at 10:16 AM on January 15 [4 favorites]


was it perfect? no. but I was deeply deeply satisfied with this ending. they did great considering the constraints.
posted by supermedusa at 10:38 AM on January 15 [3 favorites]


But Carina knows Drummer a bit as a person

Who is Carina ?
posted by Pendragon at 11:52 AM on January 15


Carina is Drummer, that was probably supposed to read "Carina knows Holden a bit as a person, not so much as a tool to use."
posted by axiom at 11:55 AM on January 15


Yep, meant Camina knows Holden
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:32 PM on January 15


We liked it and were on the edges of our seats during the battle sequences. I figured (not having read any of the books at all) that we were due to lose one or more of the principles. Yes, agreed that it felt a little rushed, but as satisfying as we could have asked for tbh.
posted by jquinby at 2:52 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: The West Wing, but with Drummer.

Other thoughts:

Avasarala is going to run rings round Drummer when it come to the battles of day-to-day politics. I wish that weren't the case, but c'man ...

That close-up on Naomi's face when she thought she'd killed her son was stunning.

Could someone translate "Tenga we chesh gut, Rocinante" for me, please.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:06 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Good hunting!
posted by mono blanco at 3:50 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


The assault teams easter eggs

I'm not to this episode yet but I do sort of wish they'd included a Wierzbowski, T. just so that someone could yell his name again.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:26 PM on January 15


I didn't love this season for the same reason as others- too short- but I thought this was really great, considering. And yeah, the Laconia interludes did seem like a back-door pilot attempt.

I loved watching Amos and Bobbie get to go full Space Marines.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:21 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Kind of amazing the cultural impact Aliens had that Rebelstar II could make the same joke more than three decades prior, and also have Hicks, Hudson, and Vasquez on its strike team.

I remember reading the first issue of Image comics Brigade (back when all you needed was a Rob Liefeld cover to launch a comicbook) and two of the redshirts were called Boggs and Rains - Alien 3 was released in May and that comic came out in July/August
posted by Molesome at 2:24 AM on January 17


Avasarala is going to run rings round Drummer when it come to the battles of day-to-day politics. I wish that weren't the case, but c'man ...

I had said something similar previously, but actually seeing how things played makes me think otherwise. Drummer (and Belters) are in control of regulating who goes in and out the Ring. They have the firepower to back up that control. What would Avasarala gain by attempting to subvert that control, especially after peace has been achieved? Why would Drummer even entertain these games much?

Avasarala would definitely try 'something' at first, but she'd find that Drummer isn't trying to achieve further power for herself or trying to do Earth wrong. Drummer would just want to do the job and go home at night. And who in their right mind would start picking fights with Drummer?

In the end Avasarala would respect Drummer, because of who Drummer is, how she works, and that's she's better to have as an ally than enemy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:52 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


This was an adequate ending of a much-better-than-average series. The characters are compelling, surprising, new and sympathetic ( except the 'bad guys' who are bad in recognizable, miserable, normal ways (they aren't 'super bad' they're just fucked and shitty - nothing exciting and valorous (even Rosenfeld, Inaros' no.2, is bad only for the ends - she reminds Inaros frequently that he's killed or alienated everyone around him - she's not a true believer, she's just out for herself and she thinks he can bring her closer to her own goal. About which she is wrong (and not 'Oh burn! You're so wrong!' She just made a determination that in the big picture, she could back the psycho horse. I guess that's a bit of narrative moralizing there, but it's not super black-and-white.)))

The end credits, where the red whisps flit over the inky-blackness-of-the-infinite-vastness-of-space, is so preposterously provocative. I mean, "Come ON!" of course there's gonna be another season! I'm a little upset about there not being another season but at the same time I kinda expect there will be.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:39 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


In the end Avasarala would respect Drummer, because of who Drummer is, how she works, and that's she's better to have as an ally than enemy.

One thing that the compressed season deprived us of is a bit more of Avasarala reckoning with her history of ruthlessly taking advantage of Belters. We saw some of that introspection. But there could have been more.

In S01 don't we meet her as a powerful person torturing a Belter? She mentions those hooks in this season. I can't help but a chastened Avasarala might use her power differently.

With the hell rained down on earth, everyone's a Belter now.
posted by artlung at 9:08 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


When everything was over, I was thinking about all the actors who had really stamped their characters as their own. Amos, Alex, Draper, Marco, and especially Avasarala and Drummer. Although I'm sure other actors could have done fine jobs in those roles, I just can't imagine anyone else in them.

But not Holden. Not to take anything away from Steven Strait's performance, but Holden is so ordinary that it's easy for me to imagine other actors portraying him.

And then I thought "Maybe that's the point." Holden's place in the story is to be the moral center, the guy who does the right thing, the guy who tries to balance competing agendas to achieve the most honorable result. And maybe the point is that an ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances can be that moral center. That any of us can be that moral center.
posted by adamrice at 11:34 AM on January 18 [11 favorites]


Remember, all Holden had to do to avoid being involved in all of this was to ignore that original distress call. Many would have, but Holden literally couldn’t. He had to do the right thing to ease his conscience.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:34 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


Holden, a boring guy raised by six parents. Eight parents? Strait's contribution is just that - the influence of those eight parents and their lovingly pushing him to be 'good' is in everything he does (like giving over to Drummer). An actor who chose to play the 'good' and not the 'pushing' would have turned Holden into Kirk. Which would have ruined the show. Well, this, better version. It might have saved the show with some demographic of exec. ("I like this show, it's got a really relatable main character - and then some ethnics to round out the demographics!" (you know one of his assistants has pee'd in his coffee. More than once.))
posted by From Bklyn at 11:47 PM on January 18


I'll never be able to prove it but I'm confident the casting call for Holden was "a Jon Snow type."
posted by guiseroom at 12:04 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Holden: this tweet mentioning and showing he was played by the same guy who played sullen teen firestarter Warren Peace in the superhero movie Sky High broke my brain.
posted by artlung at 5:14 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Jon Snow, you say?
posted by migurski at 11:11 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]


> "Avasarala is going to run rings round Drummer..."

I thought there were some major hints this season that Avarasala is, let's say, not going to be around to have the chance to do such things for very much longer.
posted by kyrademon at 2:53 PM on January 22


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