Ricky Church reviews the season six premiere of The Expanse…
The end has begun as The Expanse has returned with the first of its final six episodes. ‘Strange Dogs’ was a nice re-introduction to the series as audiences caught up with the crew of the Rocinante and the other characters around the galaxy while the stakes were getting raised. If this episode reminded us of anything, it is that no one is safe as the end draws near.
As ‘Strange Dogs’ picked up a few months after the events of the fifth season finale, much of the episode spent its time catching up with most of the ensemble cast. Holden and Drummer were each hunting Free Navy ships with their respective crews, Avasarala and Bobbie were on Earth figuring out how to stave off the planet’s imminent demise after the continued asteroid strikes and Marco Inaros was continuing to gain support while Fillip was stuck playing second – or perhaps far below second – fiddle. It was a fair bit to catch up on, but ultimately the scenes between everyone were well balanced and provided necessary information to capture their dilemmas.
Some of the most interesting character moments came aboard the Rocinante as Holden, Naomi and Amos were still getting used to the ship without Alex. Though his absence wasn’t a major focus (since the show undoubtedly wants to avoid the behind the scenes reasons for Alex’s departure as much as possible), it was still felt as Naomi piloted the ship herself or was angry at Amos for bringing Clarissa into the crew, thinking he was trying to fill the void left behind. Meanwhile Filip got some interesting development as he was trying to ride off the coattails of his father as a hero of the Free Navy, yet was continuously rebuffed by Marco, missed meetings and tried drinking and womanizing his feelings away while apparently holding misgivings about the genocide he helped commit against Earth. The fact he’s having all these conflicted feelings and his reacting after shooting his friend in a drunken argument hints he might not be beyond redemption yet.
The cast once again delivered great moments. Shohreh Aghdashloo had some fine moments as Avasarala from berating a group of reporters to having a vulnerable and introspective moment floating in zero-g. Keon Alexander puts even more arrogance into Marco Inaros as the Belter terrorist has become drunk with power with how little he cares for the logistical concerns like food shortages for the Belt since their strikes on Earth reduced food for everyone as well as how comfortable he is delivering false promises in stirring speeches to Belter’s only to agree he owes them nothing a couple scenes later. Steven Strait, Dominique Tipper and Wes Chatham continue their excellent chemistry and though Nadine Nicole didn’t share much screentime with anyone but Chatham, Clarissa should be an interesting addition for the crew.
‘Strange Dogs’ was light on action, but the little of action we saw was tense and the special effects remain quite stunning for a TV series with its fairly realistic space movements, whether it’s ships attacking each other or Amos doing a spacewalk along the Rocinante’s hull. Together with the focus on the characters, the tension and the build-up of whatever is going on beyond the ring gates as Holden seems to be the only one worried about the bigger picture with the Protomolecule, The Expanse delivered a captivating premiere for its final season.
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