REVIEWED: SEASON 3 (ALL EPISODES) | WHERE TO WATCH: AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
The Expanse is one of those shows that easily lives up to its name. Not only does the title evoke the vast and dangerous emptiness of space, but this is a show crammed full of detail and interaction, making catching up on a whole new series of it a little daunting.
Don’t worry though, as the first episode of Season 3 does a valiant job of recapping the show by simply getting on with various storylines and addressing key twists and turns as it goes; expect to be reminded of multiple plot points for the first half hour, until it all doubles down and gets into the action.
In case this show has passed you by, The Expanse is set a few hundred years in the future were Mars is a fully colonised independent world. Earth is a politically stable but poorly resourced place, and in the middle are the ‘Belters’, who are treated badly by both Mars and Earth, despite being their own nation and culture. During the course of the series, the Earth/Mars Cold War has warmed up, and the Belters have made their own discoveries and treacheries. Thrown into the mess are the crew of The Rocinante, a mix of Earthers, Belters, and Martians who keep finding themselves in the thrust of the solar system’s woes.
Season 3 starts with it all kicking off – all the possible factions that could be angry at each other for some reason are, and various interesting characters are in some sort of danger. It’s particularly nice to see the interactions between the politician Chrisjen and the kickass soldier Bobbie. Performances are solid throughout the season, Wes Chatham being notable as the wide-eyed Amos, who manages to be one step behind a full psychotic break throughout the series.
One of the show’s charms is that the landscape and set-up behind the show is continually shifting. Events drive the action, with small scale things having cosmic consequences. This is the most notable mid-season. There’s a shift in tone and direction as several of the major plot arcs reach something resembling a resolution, and this is a little jarring if you’re binge-watching the show. Characters who were on the edge minutes ago are now suddenly calmer and more centred, because the story has skipped forward a few months.
The season then enters a major plot arc that really showcases the various factions. All your favourite characters get a brief moment to examine the big weird elephant in the room, the proto-molecule and its purpose. Though the season feels ‘complete’ by the end, we are very thankful that a fourth is already planned.