The first three episodes for season 5 of The Expanse are now streaming on Amazon Prime. If you are new to The Expanse, it is a science fiction television series based on the book series written by James S.A. Corey. In the future, humans have colonized the solar system, and the main factions that have developed are humans on Earth, Mars, and in the Belt (asteroid belt and beyond).
WARNING. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Throughout the first four seasons of the show, a ragtag group of humans from all factions is attempting to save humanity from an alien protomolecule. While trying to save humanity, they also have to navigate complex political systems and factions on the brink of war. This ragtag group consists of James Holden (Earther), Alex Kamal (Martian), Naomi Nagata (Belter), and Amos Burton (Earther). This group eventually becomes the crew of the ship the Rocinante.
At the end of season 4, it appears that the threat of the protomolecule is in the past. Season 5 sees the Rocinante crew split up–Amos goes to Earth to deal with the death of a friend, Alex goes to Mars to try to reconnect with his wife and son, Naomi goes after the son she abandoned, and James oversees repairs of the Rocinante.
The first three episodes follow each of the crew members on their respective “side quests.” Meanwhile, James learns that some protomolecule remains in the hands of a Belter faction, and we learn that a terrorist Belter, Marcos Inaros (father to Naomi’s son), is planning an attack on Earth. Not much happens in the first two episodes other than learning some backstories for our main characters and a slow burn of advancing plot. Unfortunately, the backstories are not that interesting.
While back on Mars, Alex reunites with an ally, Bobbie Draper, a former Martian marine, who is investigating illegal arms sales by high-ranking Martian military to Belter terrorists. Meanwhile, James investigates the kidnapping of a reporter who obtained information about an attempt to infiltrate the Belter faction who has the protomolecule.
At the end of episode 3, James has a good lead on the group trying to obtain the protomolecule and is preparing to seize a ship with crew that may have the information he needs, and Inaros’ attack on Earth has succeeded in the form of an asteroid impact. Now that the attack by Inaros has occurred, the plot should pick up at a better pace.
So far season 5 is interesting, but it lacks the mystery the show originally had. One of the great things about season 1 through 4 was the mystery of the protomolecule, where it came from, who created it, what it does, etc. So far, season 5 lacks that mystery and has been more politics in space. It is still early in the season, and there is potential. Hopefully, the slow burn that was the first three episodes will ignite a more interesting story. Episode 4 is set for release on Wednesday, December 23, 2020. The additional episodes will be released each Wednesday therafter.