If your fan service doesn’t sail your boat, if you’re not bothered by nostalgia, and if respecting the canon isn’t the end of it all, then you’re probably already a big fan of “The Expanse” on Amazon Prime Video. And we can tell you that the fifth season is the best so far.
New season, which fell on December 16th, marks a return to top form, which – in our opinion – have not been seen since the first season.
Be without ceremony threw Syfy was probably the best thing that could have happened to this amazing sci-fi show and thankfully now, it benefits from all the benefits created by a world-dominant corporation like
Tyrell Amazon, including a nice big budget to continue the incomparably high standard of stunningly brilliant production design. This show is beautiful.
There’s a strong pre-credit introductory sequence that almost immediately reminds us of the show’s tone and we quickly notice the ruthlessness of one of this season’s villains, Philip (Jasai Chase Owens) – son of Marc Inaros (Keon Alexander) and Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper). Exactly in end of season 4, Inaros launches asteroids clad in Martian stealth technology to Earth, saying, “They’ll never see it.”
Related: Get ready for Season 5 of “The Expanse” with our interstellar action guide
We pick up 173 days after Inaros launched the asteroids, following “rock No. 9” with an iron and nickel core. It passes by the sun, where strong heat breaks it into smaller fragments and is soon discovered by the scientific ship UNS Hasami, near Venus. They are interested in rocks because asteroids have not been on any known chart and as such look like an astronomical oddity. However, scientists on board cannot understand why it is so difficult for them to follow them.
Suddenly, UNS Hasami is embarked, and Philip and several of his followers keep the crew under arms, asking to know what the scientists themselves know about the rock, because they managed to discover it after it broke. The researchers surrender their core data, offering no resistance after which Philip and his robbers execute every scientist without hesitation.
Outside, in space from outside the ship, one of his men remains trapped while taking a communications buffer. Knowing that the asteroid fragments are coming, she leaves him there saying, “My father will be proud of what you did.” UNS Hasami was also destroyed. Opening loans.
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Rocinante is at Tycho Station for lengthy repairs; Naomi talks to Chief Engineer Tycho Sakai (Bahia Watson, who played May Ahearn in four episodes of the second season of “Star Trek: Discovery.”) And once again we hear Naomi’s accent change from Earther (in this case, East London) to much more difficult Belter and back again when he talks to Jim Holden (Steven Strait).
That did not go unnoticed over the past few seasons, but no official explanation has ever been given, and this is not even mentioned in the books. We can only assume that this is an additional layer of nuances that represents a subconscious response that she may not even be aware of when talking to fellow Belters. Sometimes he stutters though.
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Being on Amazon Prime Video, vulgarity also brings a fun comeback. Sometimes it’s completely realistic, and it even enhances the scene. The second time you wonder if it was really necessary.
Fred Johnson (Chad L. Coleman) tells Naomi that her son is on the asteroid Pallas and that he plans to go alone, despite Holden’s objections. And then we come to what is so far, the most interesting plot in the first few episodes, Amos Burton (Wes Chatham), a return to Earth. It is located on The Lazy Songbird, the Belter ferry en route to the moon. He is basically in a backpack, with one bag on his shoulders, and shares scarce bedrooms with three other people. This whole set of the classic is Amos and is proof of how well the writers and Wes Chatham know him.
Amos shares a cabin with two younger Belters who are clearly not quite that worldly. He knocks on the door and two older Belters, much more suspicious-looking, enter and try to get the younger passengers to pay them “extra travel insurance”. Amos was around the block, he had traveled several serious miles and recognized the protective racket when he saw it. He counter-threatens them and they retreat, but promises revenge. Amos grabs a towel and tells the gentle-legged passengers that they will take a shower. He knows exactly what’s coming, and the bathroom doesn’t bother him and any remaining work can be done without interruption. “I hate waiting,” he says.
Four heavy ones enter the toilet while Amos brushes his teeth. “I can’t let it go, who. Bad for work,” the ringleader says as he comes to Amos with a knife. Cut in black. After a few seconds we cut and see Amos, blood dripping from his mouth staggering into the shower and enjoying the feeling of water droplets on his face. Then, with the montage of flashbacks, we witness the struggle that took place, but what adds the finishing touch to this well-written, skillfully directed and beautifully recorded scene is the subtle crescendo of church organ music, which combined with the raging fire seen in his eyes, represents the biblical level of rage which Amos had in him, more than likely exacerbated by events in the last 12 months. I hope with all my heart that we will see more.
Holden runs into journalist and director Monica Stuart (Anna Hopkins) at a bar on Tycho. (She was assigned to record the lives of the Rocinante crew during their return to the Ring Season 3.) She says that sources tell her that despite the official statement that all samples of proto-molecules have been destroyed, someone is experimenting with it in a secret facility in the belt.
Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar), meanwhile, appears to have succeeded Razorback – Old racing top Julie Mao – and flies to Mars to recover with his family and meet Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams). Bobbie presents himself as an underground arms dealer, acting on the instructions of Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) in an attempt to find out who trades in military weapons between Mars and the belt. However, her efforts do not give the clues she had hoped for. Alex tries to fix things with his estranged wife Talis Kamal (Supinder Wraich) and son Melas (Kaden May), but it doesn’t go too far and he has a fight uphill ahead of him.
Returning to Tych, Holden confronts Johnson over rumors of a protomolecule. He does not deny it and simply plays. Holden, however, is lively and plays him a video made by a research team led by Dr. Elvi Okoye (Lyndie Greenwood) experimenting with an alien artifact on Ilus. Holden believes that humans — Earthlings, Martians, and Belters — may inadvertently awaken the race that killed the Ring Builders.
If you remember, this particular prototype of the protomolecule was taken by the Rocinante crew from a cryogenic safe from Anubis and hidden in the wreckage in the second season of the episode “Safe” (S02, E01). Then Naomi later admitted to Holden that she never destroyed the sample and gave it to Fred Johnson in “Caliban’s War” (S02, E13).
Amos arrives at Lovell City, The largest lunar settlement and de facto capital. We first saw this on a TV show and as you expected, it’s wonderful. One of the many reasons why the first two seasons are so good is the production design. The early elements of the story set in Eros, and especially in Ceres, beautifully depict the environment, living conditions, and hardships that must be endured. He is immediately met by two lunatics who escort him to the Avasarale office. What follows is an extremely fun exchange between two equally powerful characters. Avasarala is interested in his visit to Earth so he tells her he will sort out the affairs of a friend who recently died. And that is as far as her questioning is concerned, so we will no doubt find out more later about her interest in the activities of Amos. Could it be that she might seem to use his special skill set later?
UN Admiral Delgado (Michael Irby) shares some alarming information with Avasaral that suggests an ugly game could be implicated in the destruction of UNS Hasami, but the evidence is still vague at this stage.
The final minute of this remarkable premiere episode of the season is a montage set to the sound of a video Avasarala watching in his office at an OPA protest. We see Alex sadly looking at all the empty business premises and estates as the Martians leave their home world looking for life in a new world, not under a dome. Amos continues his journey to Earth, and Marco Inaros looks menacingly at the holographic projection of probably the next armed asteroid, destined to hit Earth – 25 miles from the westernmost tip of Africa – in 12 days, 7 hours and 13 minutes.
The first three episodes of the 5th season of “The Expanse” are also now available to watch on Amazon Prime, together with seasons 1 to 4.
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