The Expanse wraps up its second season this week with Caliban’s War. The title is taken from the second book in the series much like season one ended with Leviathan Wakes.
This episode caps off a season that has evolved the show beyond the detective story that dominated the first season.
The show is now a full on space opera, rife with political intrigue and mystery punctuated with intense action. The Expanse looks like it will lean into the action element in this season finale.
Syfy’s description of this finale is “It’s all-out war with the Protomolecule hybrid, while one secret and events on Venus alter things forever”.
There are three specific story threads that are taking place that we can expect to be addressed in this finale.
The first is what will happen with Errinwright (Shawn Doyle), Mao (François Chau) and Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo).
Last week’s episode marked a dramatic shift in the shadow war taking place between the governments of Earth and Mars over control of the Protomolecule.
Errinwright overcame his brief bout of conscience and opted not to fall on his sword for the good of peace in the system.
Instead he decided to assume the role of ‘big bad’ that I previously thought Jules-Pierre Mao was becoming. By killing the Martian defense minister, Errinwright forced Jules-Pierre Mao back into the UN fold and undid all of Avasarala’s work to stop the mad scientist.
It looks like Bobbie (Frankie Adams) and Cotyar (Nick Tarabay) will have to get Avasarala out of a deadly situation and perhaps into hiding.
The second story thread is what will take place on the Rocinante. I think that this will take up the bulk of the episode and likely provide some serious action. Unbeknownst to the crew, the Protomolecule hybrid has made its way onto the ship.
The hybrid easily dispatched two forces of marines so the crew is in for a fight. I do wonder whether or not we may be heading towards a peaceful resolution with the hybrid though.
We saw Julie imprint on the Protomolecule such that it retained her soul in a way. If this hybrid was once Mei, perhaps Prax (Terry Chen) can reach her somehow.
Can a hybrid created from a child and bred for war retain any humanity at all?
The third big piece of this finale is what is going to happen on Venus. This is the most mysterious element of the show right now and it has the potential to be the most impactful.
While the political conflict can change the power structures in the solar system and the fight on the Rocinante is important for the protagonists, what is happening on Venus could potentially change humanity’s understanding of the universe and our place in it.
All we really know so far is that Eros, along with Proto-Julie and Miller in tow, crashed into Venus and that the Protomolecule survived.
Whatever discovery takes place on Venus will likely be a big part of Season 3. The Caliban hybrid is simply a tool of war as far as we know. But Eros had the soul of Julie. Miller was able to reason with her and crashed on Venus by her side. Perhaps the remnants on Venus retain some of their goodness.
It is quite possible that we may see the other side of what the Protomolecule is capable of. On a show that more often deals in shades of grey than black and white, it is unlikely that the Protomolecule is simply an evil that must be eradicated. The truth is probably much more complex.
This has been a fantastic season of an incredible series that deserves far more hype than it has been given. Syfy has renewed The Expanse for Season 3 despite it not getting the ratings it deserves.
They are likely hoping for a Breaking Bad effect where great reviews and word of mouth compel newcomers to binge it in the offseason and catch up. Hopefully they do as this is one of the most consistently compelling shows on TV right now.
It is also a great example of science fiction done right, even on a TV budget.
Here is a clip from the Season 2 finale of The Expanse:
The Expanse airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on Syfy.