The Expanse Season 2 is a good space opera television series that’s loosing its momentum. Read my spoiler free Season 1 review if you are new to this sci-fi series. In this post, I briefly talk about Season 2, including full spoilers.
I really liked the world building in Season 1. A lot of time was spent explaining the different factions and the political tension between them. I haven’t read the books so I’m only reacting to the show and don’t know where the story lines will go from here.
Overall, aside from the Roci crew story line, the Season 2’s plot wasn’t strong enough for me. Earth and Mars story lines aren’t as interesting as what’s happening with the Roci crew. Political and military thrillers need to grab your attention and keep you in suspense, like a well written page turner.
Chrisjen Avasarala was first introduced in the pilot episode interrogating a tortured prisoner. The writers need to go back to what makes Chrisjen compelling. Chrisjen should be all about navigating the muddy moral waters and machinating her next political maneuver. It’s hard to build tension and develop a character when there are no real hurdles for Chrisjen to stumble over. Sometimes there should be no right decisions. Then she’ll have to pick her poison so to speak and we as viewers can get invested in what will happen to her next.
The actresses playing Chrisjen and “Bobby” are capable. But the writing isn’t doing Bobby any favors. Martian Marine gunnery sergeant Bobby Draper is no Kara “Starbuck” Thrace. One of the cool things about the cold war with the Martians is the air of mystique around them. Although we’ve seen them in Season 1, now that the veil is lifted off they’re not as interesting or mysterious as I’ve hoped, despite Martians being a supposed technologically advanced super power.
This brings us to the driving force behind the story lines: the protomolecule. I’m sure that the protomolecule will be used as story device in many different ways as it evolves over the seasons. The human-protomolecule hybrid for use as a weapon isn’t exactly the freshest sci-fi idea. This turn of events never held my interest. It does give the Roci crew something to actively deal with; however, I wanted that story line to run its course so we can get back to what interests me most: Eros and what happened to Miller.
One of my favorite moments is when Eros with Miller and Julie Mao on board crashes onto Venus. I like that moment where Miller ponders if they will die or if there is something that’ll happen next. When Season 2 didn’t pick up on this story thread again, the show had to reboot for the second half which didn’t really take off for me. I’d hate to think the show’s best actor and character is gone for good, so I’m interested what’s in store for Season 3 should Miller return.
Like I mentioned, I mostly liked the adventures the Roci crew got themselves into. Naomi had some good standalone moments helping some of the citizens escape Ganymede. I also liked Amos acknowledging his sociopathic tendencies that the show manages to get some humor out of it.
Alex is best playing off of Amos though I do like his obsession as a pilot. Holden continues to be a solid leader. He had a great moment by not abandoning Amos to die when a tough call had to be made. Other than that, he didn’t get as much development as I’d hoped, unless you can count his relationship with Naomi as being important.
Some of the other new characters rounded out the cast nicely. Prax comes off as a fairly well formed character considering the short amount of time he’s been on the show. His backstory is clearly laid out and he has his own motivations that doesn’t always fall in line with the Roci crew. He’s not a soldier, he sees things through the perspective of a botanist and I like that the writing always keeps that aspect in mind. Further, Cotyar is a good foil for Chrisjen and I hope to see his role expand.
The Expanse Season 2 has its bumps in the road. It wasn’t as fresh and addictive as the first season. The show is still set up to have a good third season, especially if it focuses on its strongest characters and actors. Some of point of view story lines for Anderson Dawes and potentially bringing back Miller would definitely get me back aboard the Expanse quickly.