TV Review: Season 5 of The Expanse | Comic Years
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TV Review: Season 5 of The Expanse Sets Up Personal Journeys For Every Character

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BY February 10, 2021

The first three episodes of The Expanse season 5 dropped early on Amazon Prime last night. And you know we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning watching, in order to bring you this review! The hit sci-fi show is releasing new episodes weekly on Prime until the season finale in February. But it was good that they released the first three episodes together. Because these episodes do really work together to set up the core stories of season 5 of The Expanse. Let’s dig into the first three hours and see what is in store for the rest of season 5 of The Expanse.

Everyone Gets A Personal Journey In Season 5 of The Expanse

The Expanse Season 5 Image via Amazon Prime

Season 5 begins by splitting up the core members of the Rocinante crew and scattering them all over the solar system. Both Amos and Alex are on their way home to Earth and Mars respectively. They both aspire to take care of personal business. For Amos that means settling the affairs of his foster-mother back in Baltimore. And reliving some traumatic childhood memories in the process. For Alex that means attempting to see the wife and son that he abandoned on Mars. Only to have the door slammed in his face. So to occupy his time, Alex teams up with his old friend Bobbi Draper. Bobbi is working for Avasarala to uncover a conspiracy that seems to involve the highest levels of government for both Earth and Mars. Together, she and Alex work to discover who is selling top secret technology and weapons to the renegade Belters.

Bobbie Draper Image via Syfy

Two Very Different Women Leaders Take On Marco Inaros

Speaking of Avasarala, she is also getting a personal journey this season. She is still sulking a little bit over the losing the election last season, as well as effectively destroying her marriage. Avasarala has been banished to a remote Moon base and drinks in virtually every scene of the first three episodes. She is convinced that the renegade Belter faction led by Marco Inaros is attempting to throw stealth shielded asteroids at the Earth. And of course she is absolutely correct in that intuition. But no one back on Earth will listen to her now that she has fallen from power and grace.

Chrisjen Avasarala The Expanse Image via Amazon Prime

And then there is the character of Drummer who is slowly gathering a fleet of ships. In the beginning of the season Drummer is running around as a space pirate, claiming dominion over her own corner of the solar system. She has also found a new family in her crewmembers. Including a lover who tries to talk her out of seeking vengeance after finding the abandoned ship belonging to her old friend Ashford. He died at the end of last season in a highly emotional scene, at the hands of Marco Inaros and the icy vacuum of space. Drummer uncovers recordings that reveal the final moments of Ashford’s life. As well as Inaros’s plan to attack Earth. She sends them off to Fred Johnson (who passes them along to Avasarala, but the warning comes inevitably too late) and says that this is not her fight.

Naomi Goes In Search Of Her Son And Holden Finds Someone To Save

Naomi Nagata Image via Amazon Prime

Meanwhile, Naomi and Holden are on furlough at Tycho station waiting on ship repairs. But soon Naomi receives news from Fred Johnson as to the whereabouts of her son Filip. So off Naomi goes to Pallas in search of her son, who wants nothing to do with her. In fact most Belters seem to view Naomi as a traitor. After all, she is in a relationship with a man from Earth and occasionally works with Martians. Her face to face meeting with her son doesn’t quite go as expected. Even though she bought him his own ship and everything. In the end, both Filip and her old friends betray her by storming onto the ship and tasing her violently, before throwing her in a cell.

Naomi leaves Holden behind to gloomily check his texts even though none of his friends are reaching out to him. All of the crew members are on their own personal journeys right now, and that means that no one needs Holden’s help. He doesn’t quite know how to deal with that. But not to worry, because Holden soon finds someone to save and balance is restored. Journalist Monica Stuart is back to pepper Holden with questions about the protomolecule. Holden declares that it’s “old news” but Monica isn’t buying it. She has been pursuing her own leads, that of course lead to her getting abducted and thrown into a shipping container. Holden and Fred Johnson team up to save her just in the nick of time as she is running out of oxygen.

Season 5 of The Expanse Gives Us Some Space To Breathe

The Expanse Image via Syfy/Amazon Prime

Separating all of the core characters at the beginning of the season is a risky move. But it works here because we have spent so much time getting to know the characters as a team. Now it is time to get to know them on their own, delve into their backstories, and see how they do when faced with challenges alone. The pacing of the first three episodes is relatively slow, as the writers move all of the pieces into place for the conflict ahead. But this steady pace gives us some time to breathe, after the dramatic cliffhanger of season 4. It also allows each character to come face to face with themselves, and their own personal demons that will certainly affect how they move forward in season 5.

The first three episodes do really work together as the premiere of season 5 of The Expanse. All the storylines eventually come to a head in a dramatic final shot at the end of episode 3. The stealth asteroids finally come crashing down on Earth, sending a huge tidal wave over the coast of Africa. It is a magnificent shot that comes after so much fine cinematography and special effects work that really shows off the (relatively) new big budget from Amazon.

The Expanse Sets Up For An Explosive Season 5

The Expanse Season 5 Key Art Image via Amazon Prime

All in all the first three episodes of The Expanse season 5 set up new arcs for each individual character. These will of course eventually collide as the team gets back together to fight against the renegade Belters. We will likely see Naomi reconcile with her own past, as well as her son and former lover Marco Inaros. And it is only a matter of time before Avasarala is back in charge, since she was the only one who saw this threat coming. The Rocinante will fly again in season 5, and we can’t wait to see what comes next.

The first three episodes of The Expanse season 5 are streaming now on Amazon Prime. The remaining episodes will air weekly until the season finale on February 3rd. For more genre news and reviews, be sure to follow Comic Years on Facebook and Twitter today.

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Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.

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