‘The Expanse’ Ups The Action With Its Second Season Finale

A quick review of tonight’s The Expanse finale — and thoughts on season two as a whole — coming up just as soon as I’m an electrician…

For the most part, The Expanse season two lived up to the promise I saw at the start of the year, keeping the various stories feeling more connected even as characters kept shifting from one plot and/or location to the next. Miller’s apparent death on Venus(*) midway through the season robbed the show of its most distinct character, but there are enough other interesting figures — and, more importantly, enough forward plot momentum — to compensate for his absence.

(*) I kept assuming that the protomolecule would find a way to save Miller, or at least transform him like it had Julie Mao, and expected this would be a big reveal in the finale. It could still come — and, please, no spoilers if you’ve read the books — since there’s clearly a powerful force at work that dismantled the research ship without killing anyone, but Thomas Jane could just be done.

The show’s playing the long game at this point, so the finale was focused less on resolving major story arcs than on giving the audience a bunch of really satisfying action sequences to hold them until season three begins. So we got Bobbie Draper playing John McClane as she climbed through the elevator shaft and took out the soldiers threatening Chrisjen, Holden trapped in the cargo bay while one of the protomolecule creatures threatened him (the zero-G scene was pretty darned scary), and Naomi and Prax playing chicken with the creature on the outside of the Rocinante, which led to the beautiful VFX shot of the creature burning up in the void of space after Alex turned the engines back on.

Though he’s the closest thing the show has to a main character these days, Holden has never particularly thrilled me, so his potential farewells to Naomi and Amos didn’t move me the way they were intended. (I also figured, after the bogus radiation scare with Miller and Holden at the end of last season, that he was likely to survive this, too.) But despite being a show that succeeds more on a plot than character level, The Expanse is still capable of hitting emotional beats well, like the big Belter last week helping Naomi get the women and children onto the ship, then giving up his spot so he could be with his people for however much time they had left on Ganymede.

This has become a solid little show (which I know is an odd way to describe such a sprawling narrative). I’m glad Syfy has gotten back into this territory, and I’m glad it’ll be around a while longer.

What did everybody else think?

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