With season two, The Expanse builds further on its impressive, growing legacy as first-rate science fiction television. Tensions between Earth, Mars, and the Outer Planetary Alliance continue to rise in the wake of the tragic, mysterious contamination of Eros Station by the “protomolecule,” which the crew of the independent warship Rocinante—captained by James Holden (Steven Strait)—quickly learns is evidence of a conspiracy to weaponize possibly alien technology. The crew of the Rocinante, along with rogue Belter detective Josephus Miller (Thomas Jane), align with the OPA in an attempt to eliminate the threat of the protomolecule, as well as prevent war between Earth and Mars. Their dangerous exploits send them all across the colonized solar system, headlong into ever-escalating human conflicts and baffling scientific mysteries.
Characterized by rich, compelling worldbuilding, impressive visual effects, and an inexhaustible supply of high-stakes situations, The Expanse is gripping, addictive stuff. It gets terrific emotional mileage out of its core created family, the crew of the Rocinante. While Holden remains merely a capable straight-arrow hero, it’s the ensemble dynamics between him and brilliant engineer Naomi (Dominique Tipper), quirky pilot Alex (Cas Anvar), and humorless, violent mechanic Amos (Wes Chatham) that make the story sing, as they continuously insert themselves into perilous situations to make controversial decisions about the fate of the system. But theirs is just one compelling journey: the series continues to follow the gutsy, scheming efforts of Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) to mitigate the warlike impulses of her rivals in the United Nations on Earth, as well as introducing welcome new characters Roberta Draper (Frankie Adams), a hard-nosed Martian marine, and Prax Meng (Terry Chen), a botanist from Ganymede, both of whom get swept into events. The season weaves these threads together into a thoroughly compelling adventure that plays out like historical record of futuristic human conflict. A great show that I’m excited to follow further.