The Expanse

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Cast

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Reviewer

Emily Clark

TV Series Review

Hundreds of years in the future, humanity has managed to plant colonies around our solar system. Earth and the moon colony Luna are ruled by a futuristic United Nations. The domed colony on Mars is its own independent military power.

And though they disagree on policy, they also all depend on the resources buried deep within the Asteroid Belt.

These resources are mined by colonists known as “Belters.” Because they were born and raised in space without gravity (and sometimes given sub-standard growth hormones), many of them have deformed bones and muscles. They depend on the scientific research of Earth and Mars to sustain their lives in the Belt. But they’re also tired of getting caught in the middle of disagreements between the Earthers and Martians.

Many Belters have formed their own military faction known as the Outer Planets Alliance (or the OPA). Labeled as a terrorist group by the U.N. and the Martian Congressional Republic, the OPA seeks independence for its people and control of precious resources, such as air and water, that are so vital to life in space.

But as tensions start rising, something in space awakens, threatening the survival of all.

A New Hope or Threat?

Summarizing what’s happened over the course of four seasons without giving away too many spoilers isn’t always an easy task, but I’ll give it a shot.

The thing that awakened in space? It’s essentially a bioweapon called the “protomolecule.” If it infects a human, it turns him or her into a giant, radiation-craving monster with super strength. It was created by a long-dead alien species as a method of wiping out entire solar systems.

The protomolecule is also intelligent. When humans try to destroy it, it uses evasive techniques to crash land on Venus instead, where it builds a structure called “the Ring.” This Ring is then shot back out into space beyond the Belt. And when humans enter it, they discover it’s actually a gateway to at least 1,300 other habitable solar systems.

The powers that once fought over resources are now vying for control of these newly discovered systems. Everyone wants a piece of the action, and while some leaders support the colonization of new lands, others can’t help but wonder about that dead alien race that created all of this.

Why did they created the Ring? Why did they create the protomolecule? And most importantly, what was able to kill such an advanced species?

Expansive Concerns

The Expanse ran for three seasons on the SyFy channel before getting cancelled. Then Amazon picked the series up. Based on the novels by James S.A. Corey (a joint pen name used by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), it primarily follows the crew of the Rocinante, made up of Earthers, Martians and Belters alike. But the show steers far away from other space operas (such as Star Trek) in terms of family-friendliness. Sex, nudity and harsh language (including the f-word) all come into play. (We also see some depictions of same-sex relationships, including one involving a female Christian reverend.) Nobody bats an eye when mass genocide is committed since the world is overpopulated anyway. And while our heroes on the Rocinante are always willing to protect each other (and the universe at large), they’re also willing to do whatever it takes—lie, cheat, steal, even murder—to do so.

Episode Reviews

Dec. 16, 2020: “Exodus”

The crew of the Rocinante takes a much-needed reprieve from their gig of saving the universe, unaware that a terrorist has hurled asteroids cloaked by stealth technology towards the earth.

Terrorists shoot four innocent scientists as they beg for their lives. (We see their blood floating in the air since there is no gravity.) Later, the terrorists needlessly allow their comrade to die in an explosion after he gets trapped in the wires of a ship. A man beats up and stabs several men (though they all live). Someone jokes about an execution.

We see the backsides of a few naked men in a communal shower. We also see a shirtless man dressing. A couple cuddles on a transport vehicle. Two men (who are most likely in a romantic relationship) share a bed. A man tries to reconcile with his estranged wife and son. A woman searches for her long-lost son from a previous relationship. We hear some sexually charged jokes.

Several people drink in a bar. Black-market dealers smuggle military weaponry. People are forced to pay money to thugs for “protection.” People lie. We hear multiple uses of the f-word and s-word as well as “p–s” and “h—.” Christ’s name is also misused.

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Emily Clark
Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

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