So the 4th season of the Expanse has dropped on Amazon Prime and I had to binge watch it, well in two days since I was rather tired and even two big mugs of coffee did not help, so the last two episodes I watched the next morning, straight before breakfast.
This season is quite different from the previous one. For one thing it is pretty planet bound. Only Drummer’s storyline is primarily set in space, but her arch is not as prominent as I had hoped. This might change in season 5, but I am getting there later.
We have four main storylines in this season, the one revolving around the crew of the Rocinante who has been sent to investigate a new colony world settled by belters. James Holden is sent by Secretary Avasarala to check out the planet Illus for any traces of the protomolecule and see what happened to a scientific expedition. During their investigation Miller returns, also someone who looks like Miller (minor spoiler). The crew makes new friends and a new enemy who I absolutely loved to hate, Burn Gorman does a wonderful job; he is absolutely brilliant, you just have to see. Also, Amos sort of falls in love, but Amos being Amos, it is complicated, and this part of the story concludes in a way that totally makes sense for him.
James and Alex investigate the alien ruins on the planet, built by the race of the protomolecule, trigger something that powers up the ruins and then stuff gets nasty.
It was also this one subplot involving a medical condition in the wake of the artifact-activation which I thought like “How the hell are they going to resolve this one and why is James not affected”. The reason why James is not affected is absolutely medically correct, fits the whole narrative and is just brilliant , so well done for scientific research once again in The Expanse.
Since I want to keep this spoiler-free, I must move on, so let’s talk about Bobbie Draper.
Bobbie has fallen on hard times since being dishonourably discharged from the Martian Marine Corps and is working as a deconstruction worker in the Martian docks.
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, she soon gets involved with some other people because of her nephew and has more money to spend. She also meets a fellow former soldier and falls in love. During the course of her new job, she uncovers a conspiracy that apparently goes very deep on Mars. She also reconnects with Secretary Avasarala and this is one of the 2 cliffhangers of this season. Because Secretary Avasarala offers her a job early in this season but she only accepts this job in the last 10 minutes off the last episode of this season. So, let’s see where that goes.
But talking of Secretary Avasarala: She has a completely new enemy to face. Many people are unhappy with the way she handles the new situation with the ring gates, and so someone from her own staff challenges her for leadership of the United Nations. Apart from this political challenge there’s also something developing in the belt with a faction of rogue and radical belters who also come to blows with Drummer and Ashford. One of the leaders of this radical group is none other than Naomi’s former lover and the father of her son.
Facing the challenges of repeated terrorist attacks, she makes a few unpopular decisions, that are nevertheless very necessary. One of those decisions leads to one of the most heart-attack-inducing and tense scenes in the whole franchise. It’s on board a spaceship and from a first-person perspective, you will see, what I am talking about. I re-watched this scene three times…
And finally there’s this story arc of Drummer and Ashford. It is not as expansive as I had hoped it would be, what is crucial for the next season. There’s actually some very interesting chemistry going on between the two and there’s one scene where I thought they were going to kiss. Drummer has become the commander of the station in the middle of ring space, something that doesn’t sit well with her since it is a retirement position because of a severely injured back.
Luckily, Ashford offers her a job on his ship as second in command which she gladly accepts. She had previously resigned her command on the station for political reasons. But as I said, I think her role will be far more prominent in the 5th season everything points there.
I was totally blown away by the 4th season of the Expanse , the plots are interconnected it’s all going in a certain direction I cannot really tell yet, but you just feel that all major actors are connected by fate. Also, I hope we will see more of some of the new characters introduced in this season. Especially the children who played a semi-prominent role in this season.
I am talking of course about Felcia Mazur, engineering wizard, and Chike, the little boy Amos almost became a surrogate father to.
I think the conspiracy involving the Mars government, the plot of the belter extremists, the ruins on Illus, the other ring gates, the fate of Miller, and the changing political situation in the solar system enough to fill two more seasons if not more.
I cannot wait for season 5 to air.
10/10 protomolecule artifacts for season 4 of The Expanse.