Doors & Corridors
The Seventh Man
The Weeping Somnambulist
Here There Be Dragons
The Monster and the Rocket
Bigger, bolder and more complicated than before, the second season of The Expanse effortlessly improves on the first season in every way. With 13 episodes instead of 10 this time around, the season is more methodically paced, giving time to flesh out the supporting characters whilst still keeping the spotlight firmly on the main cast. When the action does pick up – complete with hand to hand combat, dog fights in space and gun battles – its well shot and shows just why The Expanse is one of the best sci-fi shows on TV right now.
With the story picking up right where season 1 left off, newcomers to the show will feel severely lost in the continuing space saga. Its highly recommended that those who haven’t watched the first season go and watch it before jumping into the show. The events of which are heavily referenced throughout and play a major role in what happens this year. Having said that, the second season of The Expanse focuses more heavily on the fallout from the disaster on Eros station and the future involving the mysterious proto-molecule. This mystery is cleverly woven through the episodes, with an evolving plot that sees the returning crew of the Rocinante stuck in the middle of the growing tensions between the Earthlings and Martians. Its tense, thrilling and regularly shocking in a season that manages to exceed expectations and surpass the first season’s three-way split story.
The returning characters are very much on form this year, with some great script work helping to elevate and grow their personas. There’s just a hint of humour thrown in too that helps to alleviate some of the more tense and stress inducing scenes with a season that stays consistently moody through most of the 13 episodes. You can really feel the tensions between Earth and Mars this year and not just because of the excellent score. The composition helps a lot, focusing on the civilians as much as the main characters. Nowhere is this more prevalent than the scenes that show the ensuing suffocating mass of refugees after a space battle scrambling for emergency rations. There are numerous scenes like this that focus on the life of these people as much as the main cast and the ramifications of the actions taken by the characters. It really helps to give the show a life beyond what we see on screen and more importantly, gives a gravity to these choices that’s rarely explored in these sort of shows.
Its not just the returning characters that manage to outperform themselves this year either. Hard faced Martian Sergeant “Bobbie” (Frankie Adams) is incredibly well written with a solid character arc and good motivation throughout. Adding to this, some minor characters last year are given more screen time and with an increased focus on the growing tension between Mars and Earth, there’s some great episodes that show just how tense relations are between the two factions. You really get the feeling that war could break out at any time. Its intense stuff and The Expanse manages to effortlessly convey all of this whilst never feeling convoluted or bloated.
It’s hard to fault The Expanse and even during some of its more slow paced episodes, there’s still a lot to like. Pockets of action nestled throughout the season does a great job of breaking up the monotony in this complicated character driven space thriller. With the season ending on a cliffhanger and the inevitable third season green-lit for next year, it’ll be interesting to see if the show manages to maintain its momentum with a second season that’s brilliantly written and acted, confidently boasting an improvement in every way. Whilst its not without some pacing problems early on, this can easily be forgiven with this ambitious second season that far exceeds expectation.
Verdict - 9/10