My favorite hard sci-fi show, THE EXPANSE delivers a realistically rendered future of space colonization, political and class struggles, and plenty of action as James Holden and the crew of the gunship Rocinante navigate the rival powers to stop the destructive proto-molecule, a powerful form of alien life. The show was canceled at the end of Season 3, though thankfully Amazon picked it up for a fourth season. While season 4 wasn’t as exciting as previous seasons, Amazon didn’t skimp or mess with the show too much, resulting in a fantastic continuation of an epic story of humanity’s ascent to galactic domination, if only it doesn’t destroy itself first.
In season 4, the Ring is blockaded by the three power blocs Earth, Mars, and the Belt, as the governing powers have decided to cautiously explore the worlds on the other side before allowing colonization. When an energy company sends a research mission to a planet called Ilus, they find refugees from Ganymede, who ran the blockade to establish a new home and mining claims. Fearing another human interaction with the proto-molecule, United Nations chief Avasarala dispatches Holden and his crew to investigate. They find themselves caught not only in the middle of a conflict between the Earthers and the Belters, but something much bigger, as it appears the planet may be alive.
While this is going on, we see the struggles of other characters still in the Sol system, as Mars loses its drive to terraform and militarize, the politics of an overpopulated Earth fall into turmoil over the decision to hold off on a landrush to colonize the new planets, and the Belters split between those who want to play as equals to the other powers and those who see terrorism as the only solution to the Belters being the runt power.
Overall, the season isn’t as strong as the first three, with plenty of monologues that provide nice reveals but long stretches of talking heads, and not as much action. When the action arrives and builds towards the climax, however, THE EXPANSE feels very much like the old show. In short, I loved it, and I’m hoping Amazon continues it and THE BOYS so they can keep getting my monthly subscription.