During its last round, “The Expanse” serves a last supper for us who continue to fight for our humanity.
In the first seasons of “The Expanse”, Earth and Mars are at war, placing Earthlings James Holden (Steven Strait) and Amos Burton (Wes Chatham) and the asteroid belt Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) in opposition to Des Martians like Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams). Clarissa Mao (Nadine Nicole), the daughter of one of the richest families in the solar system, held more power than any of them and vowed to kill Holden.
Years later, a moving scene shows them sitting together for dinner.
It is not a majestic feast served at a negotiating table. It’s a humble meal cooked by Clarissa, who Burton nicknamed Peaches, and it’s a remarkably friendly and calm break before the crew embark on what could be a suicide mission.
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Last suppers are commonplace before vast battles with huge stakes. Yet this one impresses audiences with its hard-earned significance. These people have met as enemies, but they end this story as a family, the crew of a neutral ship called the Rocinante.
Past seasons of “The Expanse” focus on the political machinations contributing to tensions between Mars and a United Nations-ruled Earth ruled by increasingly powerless Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo). Now, as the story draws to a close, showrunner Naren Shankar takes us back to the grassroots advocacy for us all to recognize our common humanity.
Key to this is the interpretation of family in the novels of James SA Corey, as the term has specific and legally binding meanings. Blood relations are a primary definition, of course. There are also matrimonial cooperatives, mixed units of choice made up of people who form a unit to achieve financial security for themselves.
Pirate Fleet Commander Camina Drummer (Cara Gee) takes the lead of a polyamorous family that pilots their ship, the Dewalt, lending an added weight of faith and trust to individual duties.
Conversely, Naomi’s regrettable connection to the Solar System’s greatest threat, the terror Belter Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) is genetic. Their son Filip (Jasai Chase-Owens) allies with his father, who shows off his heir while holding him hostage when it suits the situation.
Finding parallels between Inaros, Filip, and power-hungry corrupt families in our own reality is not difficult. Indeed, the sixth season amplifies the despotic and abusive nature of Inaros and the way he twists his son’s psyche. The same dynamic plays out in the relationship between the 45th President and his inane and stupid children.
But Shankar draws inspiration from a fictional story set before this leader took office, following the playbooks of a number of charismatic dictators as well as storylines from Corey’s 2016 novel “The Ashes of Babylon. “. At the same time, the season examines the puzzle of trying to do the right thing in the face of raging evil.
“Was I trying too hard to be good when I should have been ruthless?” The wonders of Avasarala. Viewers will surely have their own opinion on this. We’re not in the room with her – Bobbie is. “I still think we’re the good ones,” Bobbie breathes, “and I’d rather do a little less soul-searching and a lot more retaliation!”
Thoughtful and beautifully rendered sagas like this don’t happen often in sci-fi television, not when streamers try to replicate the success of speculative works like “Squid Game” or land the next one. ” Game Of Thrones”.
The irony is that the TV adaptations of Corey’s novels were meant to accomplish this goal for Syfy, who started the show as her attempt to regain the magic lost by the departure of “Battlestar Galactica” before moving on to Prime Video. This show has Cylons; This one has a protomolecule that transforms space travel and leads to a mad race for control of resources and police the network of doors to other parts of the universe opened by its discovery.
Each is simple machines. Mars and Earth wage war against each other, then find a common cause to defeat the extremist threat posed by Inaros and his Free Navy. The Inaros faction is weaponizing asteroids, shooting them at Earth, Mars and the Belter colonies under the control of these planets, killing millions of people.
Avasarala watches his grand plans to feed Earth’s population crumble as the same defenses preventing asteroids from hitting Earth contaminate the air with toxic debris, degrading the environment. Inaros calls all those who are not with him enemies loyal to the “Inners” and, like all autocratic henchmen, he abandons his sworn allies when it suits him.
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This brings “The Expanse” back to its foundational take as a parable about the resilience of humanity and the insurmountable flaws in our coding, something that Marvel Cinematic Universe tales sweep widely but seldom manage to exploit with such conciseness.
Inaros brings out the worst of those he claims to avenge and encourages his followers to view his opponents as less than human. World leader royal Aghdashloo knows she has blood on her hands too, but cannot fully subscribe to the wisdom of staying on the high road.
An exhausted civilian points out that the battle is not between the Interior and the Belt. âThese are the ones who want more hate and the ones who just want to live,â he says. “I’m so tired of the hate. Just tired. I can’t even wash my hands. There is no water.”
âThe Expanseâ maintains poetry in its scripts and plot even though the last few episodes end too well, culminating in solving an impossible conundrum with a strategy that strains credibility. Shankar also makes the odd choice of splitting a subplot that adapts the new “Strange Dogs” which never logically fits into the main plot. It might be an attempt at a backdoor pilot for a sequel, or a bit of fan service, but it comes across as the narrative equivalent of a vestigial limb.
Fortunately, even this unnecessary detour is a feast for the eyes and takes nothing away from the main action on Rocinante, or Drummer’s fierce rebellion, or Avasarala’s retribution.
Politics will always be what it is, but the last lesson in “The Expanse” is an old one. Salvation does not come from governments or industry, but from individuals uniting against the darkness, for a simple chance to sit together at a table and share a piece of the peace.
The sixth season of “The Expanse” premieres December 10 on Prime Video, with new episodes opening Friday through January 14.
Watch a recap of Seasons 1-5 on YouTube:
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