About two minutes into season 6 of The Expanse, rumored to be the last and final and never will it come this way again (maybe), I thought, “Did they change writers or something?” Because, about two minutes into it, I thought I was watching the introduction of a 1980s-type cheesy scifi series, with ootzy cutzy precocious kids and darling alien animals cavorting around a near-Eden because, if there’s anything Babylon 5 and Star Trek Next Generation taught us, the future is bright, I gotta wear shades. But, about forty minutes later, I knew what happened: they didn’t change writers, the writers are just tired of it.
How else do you explain such a superficial, out of character, and ultimately dissatisfying end to what I consider the best TV series in all of TV history? And just exactly like other recent epic great series (Lost, Game of Thrones) the last season turns out a sore disappointment.
What’s with you guys?
If you haven’t watched Season 6 yet, then stop reading this, just stop. Because I’m not going to spare you.
Let’s start with the ootzy cutzy kids. Since they’ve been on Laconia for more than five minutes, I’m sure they’ve been told at least once that (a) this is an alien world (b) the evolution is different than ours and (c) we don’t understand everything that’s here yet, so be careful. Indeed, Mom and Dad say as much when weepy little girl in-desperate-need-of-a-smacking-around tells them she fed earth food to a local animal, killing it. Then the puppies restore it to life. Sinister looking puppies, at that. Something she doesn’t tell her parents. But they’ll find out soon enough.
And what kind of crazy parents let their kids meander through an alien landscape of different evolution and chemical base and unknown puppies? Thinking Child Protective Services needs to get involved here.
So, okay, endure that for a few minutes and, whew, now we’re back into the main story. In which James Holden does something so incredibly stupid that it could only be a plot device. I don’t have any further explanation for his disarming the missile. Even Naomi tells him how stupid that was. Because, really, if your choice is doing the one thing that will so disable and disorganize the Free Navy that they will instantly and immediately no longer be a threat and the war is over and thousands, if not millions, will be saved, or spare your girlfriend’s feelings, what would you do?
If you say “spare your girlfriend’s feelings,” please stay out of any job or position where fates are in your hands.
And how is it we got into that situation to begin with? I mean, if we were in downtown Mayberry and James and Marco happened to run into each other, that’s one thing, but we’re not in Mayberry, we’re out past the Belt. Awful lot of space out there. Them running into each other is an amazingly fortuitous circumstance.
As are the Ring Entities.
And I’m guessing Amos swallowed some wuss pills and is now in touch with his inner little girl. The producers needed him to ‘evolve,’ I suppose, into an early 21st Century ideal man as envisioned by Hollywood and woke culture, instead of remaining the brutalized sociopath seeking redemption that has made him one of the most intriguing and heroic characters in the entire show. I thought revisionism only applied to the past, but, apparently, one can impose present standards on future behaviors, even if it’s at odds with the character that you spent five seasons building.
Indeed, about the only two characters that remain true to themselves are Drummer and Avasarala. Thank God. Drummer quickly became my favorite character after Detective Miller, and Avasarala, well, she has my undying love. So I’m happy about that.
And I’m happy about other things. The rail gun assault was magnificent (although, personally, I’da just blown Medina Station and the rail gun to bits but, yeah, okay, reasons) and Bobby was badass and humanity is still the collective bag of crapheads they will always be, no matter what miracles are offered. But this was a letdown. Too much left unresolved. Too hurried.
Too tired of it.
If there’s one gigantic piece of evidence that everyone is just tired of this, it’s laying further explanations at the feet of the written source material. Yeah, we know, there’s short stories and remaining novels and the books do this and the books do that but that’s cheating. Media remains within media and you don’t get to reference source material as your escape plan. If you can’t resolve it in your show, then you can’t. But it’s a copout to smugly raise an eyebrow and nod at other info.
So, it ends. Not with a bang. But a whimper.