The Expanse Series (Spoiler-Free) Review

Ladies, gents, and other such creatures, it is a well known fact that love hurts. When you find that perfect someone who completes you, who opens up a whole new world for you. That one special someone who makes your daily schedule a thing of the past, and fills your every waking moment of your existence with their presence. That one special someone who fills your heart with hopes and dreams, and the violently rips it out of your ass by killing off your favourite characters. Ah, yes, love, sweet TV love.

But when you find a love so good and pure, it’s hard to believe that any other show will ever make you as happy again. The bar gets raised, and our cynical, jaded selves shy away from giving any other show a real chance.

I, myself, have recently come out of several long-term relationships. Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Rome, The Sopranos, and Dexter, all captivated me greatly. Therefore, these days, it’s with some trepidation that I give new shows a genuine chance.

Expanse Show Art

I recently stumbled across The Expanse. It’s a sci-fi space opera set in the future. We have colonized our solar system. The main government and aristocracy is still located on Earth, where life is by far best. However, our resources have started depleting – access to clean water and air, mostly, and we have had to result to looking for water glaciers in the asteroid belts.

Enter The Belters. The Belters are commonly the lower class, they are blue-collar miners and workers which live on space stations, and make a living by collecting resources that Earth so desperately needs. However, like most colonies, they work the hardest, most dangerous jobs, and are treated the worst. Life is very hard and impoverished for the Belters. To add to their struggles, the low-gravity environment in space stations has started causing defects in their bone structure. Many of them need operations just to remain functional, and their frail bones make them very vulnerable in out-of-space environments. Tensions are beginning to run high, the word of rebellion is in the air, as the OPA, an activist terrorist organization is trying to convince the Belters to rise in rebellion against Earth.

Detective Miller, a Star Helix police offer trying to restore order during another OPA riot.
Detective Miller, a Star Helix police offer trying to restore order during another OPA riot.

To add to the stewing pot, there is also the nation of Mars. Mars is also inhabited by humans which are trying terraform Mars into a planet fit for humans. They have the most advanced military technology and arsenal, and they are independent from Earth. Their powerful fleet has caused something of a Cold War between Earth and Mars, both competing for solar dominance, yet no one willing to openly attack the other.

Martian military elite
Martian military elite

Our story starts with James Holden, the first officer on an ice freighter, as he receives a distress signal from a stranded ship in space.  The freighter scanners show no immediate life forms or vessels in the near area. Against his captain’s orders, he and his crew address the call and go to aid the ship. They find the ship completely abandoned, with all of the crew missing, though the bloodstains on the walls tell a different story. They also find some strange matter that’s fused to the fusion core, feeding off the energy, and appearing strangely alive. The surprises don’t stop there. No sooner than Holden and his crew decide to leave the ship, a military vessel shows up on their scanners out of nowhere and locks on to their location. A military vessel possessing advanced stealth technology. Only Earth and Mars possess that kind of technology. Has the war begun?

Crew of The Donnager
James Holden and his crew from the Canterbury

This political triumvirate creates a very interesting political dynamic that is very fun and intriguing to follow, somewhat alike Game of Thrones. You have a plot where there are multiple factions, interests, and plots, each interwoven with the other. There isn’t necessarily good and bad guys, there’s a lot shades of grey, which make this very enjoyable and non-linear. There’s a bit of a film noir element in this show, as we have a Jane Doe, and also multi-layered conspiracies which keep you binging episode after episode. The show doesn’t start as explosive as some other shows, but it truly gets more interesting and addictive with every following episode. As the characters get fleshed out little by little, and the layers of socio-political elements start falling into place, you find yourself unable to stop. I strongly recommend this show, it’s definitely worth the go. Happy lovin’!

Earth government official using Gravity Torture on OPA activist
Earth government official using Gravity Torture on OPA activist

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