The Expanse narrows its spotlight in season five, leading to a reduced stage for its scattered characters

I’ve only written a couple of reviews for The Expanse this season noting how, after a slow start, the show upped the stakes and became highly interesting… mostly because, after those two episodes, it got very dull and very plodding.

Please don’t misunderstand, the show is still a good show, but I do feel like this season was a turn in the wrong direction. The stage of The Expanse grew and grew every season, finally becoming truly interstellar last year. This season, we’re back in the solar system, the Ring is only seen in the opening credits and at the end of the last episode, and the crew hardly have any time together… Heck, I don’t think they were all together once all season.

I’ve always seen this series as Game of Thrones in space, but given how Game of Thrones ended up, maybe that’s not the greatest analogy. Okay, it’s a space opera with a large stage… season five reduces that stage to deal with a largely domestic issue. Yes, the show has some very big events and it’s mighty bonkers how quickly Earth is devastated by a terrorist attack, but so much of the season afterwards is devoted to repetitive survivalist stories and repetitive stories of chasing the bad guy while the bad guy repetitively plots.

Quick and simple and to the point: I would rather watch a bad show than a boring show and, sadly, I felt more bored by the fifth season of The Expanse than I care for. Granted, the show was not short of character moments and I do believe that the season truly belonged to Dominique Tipper who was absolutely amazing as Naomi and her one-woman wrecking crew of acting, but I feel as though the entire season was more of an interlude than a chapter in the story. The mystery of the protomolecule was largely sidelined, the action kept close to home, and the stage of the series unnecessarily diminished.

To be honest, this felt like one of those movies that saves all of the best stuff for the sequel… which is so annoying.

I’m not going to say that season five was bad: It most assuredly was not, but the limitations that the narrative put on the scope of The Expanse felt restrictive when it didn’t need to be.

It’s a good thing I love these characters.

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