The Expanse Season 4 Review

 

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Episode Guide

New Terra
Jetsam
Subduction
Retrograde
Oppressor
Displacement
A Shot In The Dark
The One-Eyed Man
Saeculum
Cibola Burn

 

 

A lot of good TV shows are cancelled every year. It’s one of the worst parts of this job and out of all the recent announcements, The Expanse was the one I never expected to see on the chopping block so prematurely. I, like many others, were shocked and disappointed by this news but much like the crew of the Rocinante, The Expanse fought back from the brink of certain death to come out the other side stronger and more determined than ever before. With a bigger budget, glossier visuals and a continuation of the politically charged narrative, Amazon Studios showcases why it made the right decision revitalizing this show, delivering an impressive slice of hard sci-fi in The Expanse’s fourth season.

If its been a while since you watched The Expanse, I strongly recommend checking out some recaps online. The accompanying one from Amazon isn’t bad but feels much more geared toward those needing a brief reminder on what they’ve recently seen than an in-depth update on the intricate relationships and situations affecting our characters.

With The Ring network now open and thousands of worlds waiting to be discovered, much of this fourth season revolves around the implications this discovery brings, both politically and socially. At the heart of this is, of course, our main Rocinante crew; Amos, Naomi, Holden and Alex who are given a mission to visit the recently discovered planet Ilus. Once there, they realize things aren’t as simple as they seem, with Belters inhabiting the planet and the RCE touching down and immediately causing hostilities to flare up between the two sides. As the season progresses, more about the strange alien ruins there are revealed, along with serious ramifications that affect everyone on Ilus. That’s to say nothing of Murtry, who continues to kick the proverbial hornet’s nest as war threatens to break out at any moment.

Alongside this main plot line are several subplots running parallel to this which converge at the end of the series in a perfect, smooth transition. Bobbie returns to Mars and discovers the planet has a rotten core and a dark secret, Belter terrorist Marco causes havoc across the system while Avasarala finds her position threatened on Earth thanks to an upcoming election. All of this culminates in a thrilling finale that leaves things wide open for the fifth season and makes the slow burn across the nine episodes prior worth waiting for with some much-needed action.

What The Expanse lacks in wide-sweeping planetary fights and battles in space, it more than makes up for with its visual design. Interior ships are detailed, the barren wasteland of Ilus looks bleak and mysterious, while the Martian city gives off an uneasy metropolitan feel, one reinforcing the uneasiness that something isn’t quite right there. The colours are on-point too and there’s some really nice shots here, including an impressive one-shot, handheld camera movement during a tense segment in the finale. All of this combines to give The Expanse far more of a big-budget feel this time around and the show is all the stronger for it.

Much like the book, this fourth chapter does take a backseat to a lot of the action seen last time around and those expecting more of the proto-molecule and alien lifeforms seen last season may find themselves a little disappointed. There’s a lot more emphasis around old rivalries flaring up in the face of new discoveries and this pretty much encapsulates the entire season.

If you’re looking for another dose of hard sci-fi, topped off with a side order of political intrigue and gorgeous visuals, The Expanse Season 4 is the perfect dish to gobble up. While it may not be as action packed as the previous season, there’s enough here to make for an impressive watch nonetheless. It’s another reminder of why shows like this sometimes deserve a lifeline and with plenty of book material still to adapt, the future finally looks bright for our space-faring pioneers. The Expanse is quite simply the best sci-fi show on TV right now and this fourth season only reinforces this.

 


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  • Verdict - 9/10
    9/10
9/10

3 thoughts on “The Expanse Season 4 Review”

  1. Ok, just finished Season 4. And must say that it can’t compare with the previous 3 seasons. For me it was a tedious watch. Production value has increased but perhaps it was a different writing team. Plot was confusing and dialogue were tropey. The entire season could have been crammed into 3 or 4 episodes tops. The previous seasons perhaps crammed too much into too few episodes. Whoa but what a ride! Now the show has money but don’t seem to know how to use it properly. All the drama that played out on too many episodes were proven mute and unnecessary at the end. The “traffic” was unnecessary but to drag out the season. I didn’t read the books and perhaps they were really faithful to it but it did not carry out from the pages into the screen. Not so well done like previously. The previous seasons were so much better IMO. This season is only serving as transition onto the next season but could have been crammed into fewer episodes. Way too many boring and superficial characters that were cliche and served no real purpose on the overall story. They’re just there to waste time and fill up episodes and when they’re gone you don’t miss them or the story affected in any way. Main characters seem to become stupid overnight and don’t seem to learn from their past experience. They run around like headless chickens and seem way too angry and tense for no real reason. Now main characters shout at each other way too much only to heighten up tension artificially. A little disappointed. Still a good show but you can pretty much fast forward most of the episodes. You can just watch episode 1 and 10 and skip the rest and you wouldn’t miss much. This could have been a Disney production, so much wasted potential but with lots of money and special effects. Hope Season 5 improves.

  2. I’m right in the middle of episode 5 of season 4 and can agree with the review. But it is much much slower now than all previous seasons. I didn’t realize the show was previously canceled and later picked up by Prime. But it explains why the production value has significantly improved. Night and day. Season 1 clearly had very little money but it was never a problem. The show makes it real for the imagination and low budget and crappy props does not take away but adds to the gritty feel. Excellent casting. The acting, writing, direction and editing were first rate in creating an immersive experience and keeps viewers (like me) coming back. Very quickly you are drawn into all characters’ plights and motivations. It is kinda like Joss Whedon’s Firefly. Seasons 1 – 3 were fast paced and thrilling. Season 4 has been very slow so far and the plot and characters’ motivation and actions seem muddled somewhat. I’ll keep watching as it’s truly the best sci-fi in years. Perhaps the pace will pick up in the latter half.

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