Episode 1 of The Expanse Season 6 begins on Ring #672, Planet 2, with a girl called Cara. She finds some strange alien creatures but as the camera pans up and shows the space above the planet, a menacing ship hovers above.
Meanwhile, Earth continues to be battered with multiple meteor strikes. Despite their best efforts, the planet is being battered, something that’s only made worse by the Free Navy stations declaring their loyalty to Marco. Gaunt Belter – the same Belter who gave the speech back on Ceres in the first episode of season 1 – smugly proclaims that now those on Earth know what it’s like to be a Belter. Things are about to kick off in a big way.
Bobbie continues to work with Avasarala, trying their best to fight off Marco Inares’ threat. With 200 asteroids destroyed so far, casualties have been at a minimum but the damage is still great. Along with numerous casualties on Earth, these strikes are also re-purposing the atmosphere. Picking up snow from the ground, Avasarala likens what’s happening to a nuclear winter.
On the Rocinante, the gang are 187 days into a recon mission. They’re scouting out the Free Navy, narrowly avoiding death every which way – including a close call with a Drive on a lowly asteroid.
Another intel report comes in regarding the Free Navy. There’s footage of a rogue MCRN gunship which Holden deliberates over whether to pursue. Amos thankfully keeps him on-mission. That’s just as well given Naomi brings more pressing issues. She’s found evidence of a spotter ship that’s been guiding the meteors onto Earth. This ship could well be the Azure Dragon. Holden realizes the significance of this, as the team set their sights on destroying thee ship.
At the Ceres Station, the Free Navy are in control. With Earth so preoccupied with stopping Inares’ asteroid strikes, imports are drying up for them. Filip is distracted though, and is becoming ever-more erratic by the day. While he’s still loyal to Marco’s mission, he’s also got his own doubts. While this inner conflict is going on, Marco gives a speech about how Ceres Station is going to be their capital from now on.
The thing is, they lack the political know-how to actually give the people what they want. Filip understands this and questions Rosenfield’s nonchalance to important topics like distributing goods out to those who need it. Filip’s frustrations eventually explode later in the episode. After shooting his fellow belter Yoan, hee throws a glass at the wall and breathes heavily.
Back in the Belt, a Free Navy Bounty Hunter ship arrives, trying to find Camina and the others. Michio panics when it matters most, leading Drummer to take over and torpedo the threat. The trouble is, they only have 3 missiles left which spells big trouble for all involved. They need to rearm and refuel, and their options are limited.
Even worse, the pangs of mutiny grow ever-more bitter as Josep deliberates over whether to get rid of Michio. She keeps making mistakes and is becoming a liability. Camina eventually makes the difficult choice and decides to drop her off at the next port.
Avasarala arrives on the U.N.N. Zenobia where numerous reporters – including Monica – question her about the rumours spreading. Apparently she’s enacted a truce with Marco. That’s not true of course, but Avasarala’s radio silence is not helping anyone.
In private, she updates Bobbie on what Holden’s plan is regarding the spotter ship. Bobbie is visibly angsty, in one of this episode’s more subtly beautiful scenes. She’s a marine, itching for action, and it’s obvious she’d like nothing more than to part of this operation. However, Avasarala reminds her how important a big win is for Earth’s chances going forward. They need hope, and the Rocinante could be the key to that.
The Episode Review
The Expanse roars back with a decent opening chapter, reintroducing all of our characters and continuing the threat from Marco Inares. While the brewing conflict between Earth, the Belters and Mars was a lot more intriguing and complicated in earlier seasons, this dangerous threat from Inares and co. is enough to whet the appetite nonetheless.
That enjoyment though stems from the continued great visuals, the strong character work and interesting story. It would appear that Filip is going to play a pretty big role going forward but having not read the books, that’s speculative guess work from this reviewer! Interestingly, the opening also seems to hint that a conclusive finale is going to be very difficult to achieve with so much going on (and 3 books yet to be adapted too!)
Either way, this flagship sci-fi series looks set to bow out on a high regardless of what material is adapted. Let’s hope the show continues to deliver across its remaining episodes.