Over the course of its first five seasons, The Expanse well established itself as possibly one of the best science fiction series on television…. Certainly on current television, if not of all time. Its adherence to true science and exemplary character development are two of the main reasons. Likewise is the way in which the series (generally) stays true to the source material from James S. A. Corey. So how do those characteristics shape The Expanse Season 6, the show’s final? As with the previous five seasons, the sixth delivers…. Mostly.
Wrapping up the (pardon the pun) expansive saga that unfolded over six novels and multiple novelettes wasn’t going to be an easy task. Cas Anvar’s departure from the series in disgrace also left showrunners a big hole from which to dig out. All in all, though, it’s hard not to call The Expanse Season 6 a success. It wraps up multiple storylines, including the Inaros family drama between Marco, Philip, and Naomi. Holden once again struggles with the delicate balance between necessity and morality, and Cara Gee masterfully carries Drummer’s emotional character arc over from Season 5. But….
The Expanse Season 6: a condensed conclusion
One of the biggest drawbacks of the series’ final season is its length. Coming in at a scant six episodes, The Expanse Season 6 often feels rushed. That’s especially true with the series’ final episode. Why? Sadly, it all comes down to money. As creators Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham explained to Gizmodo, making the season only six episodes “was a decision between Amazon and Alcon Television.” Franck would add with a laugh that these were “not six inexpensive episodes.” Even just reading the words you can almost hear a hint of Franck’s regret that the season wasn’t longer.
Despite its forced shortcomings, The Expanse Season 6 still gives us everything we’ve come to love and expect from the series. Steven Strait (James Holden), Dominique Tipper (Naomi Agata), and Shohreh Aghdashloo (Chrisjen Avasarala) all shine in their final outing. The implied sexual tension between Amos (Wes Chatham) and “Peaches” (Nadine Nicole) further provides an often comical and relatable human touch to the season. Frankie Adams, as always, makes Bobbie Draper a fan favorite. The final season’s biggest strength, however, still lies in its exceptional storytelling.
Drama, action and intrigue in full effect
From a sheer storytelling perspective, The Expanse Season 6 does still pack quite a punch. As short and condensed as the season is, it nevertheless provides a mostly satisfying end to an incredible ride. It’s always difficult to see something we love come to an end. Bringing the story of The Expanse to the screen was a Herculean task. As a whole, fans should be more than satisfied…. Even if we will truly miss Holden’s well-intentioned self-righteousness, Amos’s dry wit, and, of course, Avasarala’s smoky and sultry voice uttering the word f*ck. In all honesty, I may miss that the most.
The first episode of The Expanse Season 6 is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now. Remaining episodes will air every Friday until the series regretfully comes to a close.