The Expanse ended its first season with a two part finale event, that, when paired with episode eight, made for a strong end to the season that easily out-weighed the first seven episodes combined. This review will cover both episodes together, and as always you can expect spoilers. And if you’re having a look at this review to help you decide if you should finally commit to giving SyFy’s newest space opera adventure a go, well the verdict is in! The Expanse is a show unlike any other, and while it may not appeal to all fans of sci-fi classics like Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, there’s still a lot here that’s worth exploring.
Things start off right back where it all began, with a girl named Julie Mao. We follow Julie from even before when we first met her in the pilot, right up to the moment when she’s found by Miller and the Roci crew. Julie’s final days were less than fun in every possible way as she was captured and forced to watch her shipmates being murdered before the events of the pilot where she first introduces us to the blue crystals. She makes it all the way to Eros before succumbing to her infection at which point her father was informed of her death.
Now it’s only fair that we take a second to talk about Earth since Chrisjen’s story did feature somewhat in this episode, though as always it seemed less crucial than the rest of the plots. Really, they likely could have waited until next season to introduce the Earth plot and been better off for it. After some poking around at her recently deceased friend’s home, (we now have reason to suspect that it wasn’t suicide as she’d been told) she learns of new experimental drives. One of the last Earth moments of the season found Julie Mao’s father entering the playing field, though we won’t truly know what’s going on there until next season. Still, clearly he is part of the larger conspiracy which was a nice twist to throw in for the finale.
Of course, most of this week’s episodes takes place on Eros as we’re still dealing with the fallout of everything that happened last week while also letting us enjoy having Miller teamed up with Holden, Naomi and the gang. Things move quickly from here, though there were still a few moments where the pacing felt a little strange or even forced. Things start to go horribly wrong on Eros when the men who have been in contact with Julie’s father start running experiments using the samples they’ve taken from Julie’s body. All over the station people are ushered into pods and hit with intense levels of radiation… just to see what happens? Thew crew gets separated with Holden and Miller sticking together while everyone else has a three hour window to make it through the station and leave the ship with or without their unofficial captain. Most of both group’s adventures through the station aren’t particularly plot driven, (though who knows if Holden and Miller being infected with radiation will be a plot point next season) but still manages to be intense throughout. Of course they are all ultimately reunited but there are a few casualties along the way. I especially liked Amos here although he’s a strange character to root for. I still don’t feel like I’m as invested as I should be after an entire season with the crew of the Roci, but at least we’re moving in the right direction.
After a slow start, it’s safe to say that the first season of The Expanse was memorable if nothing else, and the final three episodes were well paced and didn’t fail in their one main job: to have us wanting to come back for season two (which has already been ordered for 2017). But alas, this is the last episode for the year and now we have to find yet another sci-fi show to obsess over. Thankfully, there seems to be quite a bit coming up on the horizon!