The Expanse 2×1 & 2×2 Review: “Safe” & “Doors & Corners”
You guys, The Expanse is back! Our favorite hyper-realistic space opera has come up for another round of political intrigue, spaceship battles, and kickass female characters. Based on “Safe” alone, The Expanse seems to have another successful and engrossing series of episodes in store for us.
Over the past few years, pop culture has had a seeming obsession with the dystopian narrative, and it has been done to death in all forms of media, particularly television and film. I do think, however, that we are starting to move past that and back into “hope” and The Expanse seems to be a glimmer into that shift. Whereas season one was dreary, albeit universe-building, season two seems to be finding its voice for what is yet to come. And a lot of what is to come is a strong, female voice.
Even more than one year ago when season one aired, this show is timely. The political turmoil among the Belt, Mars, and Earth is ever more apparent, and the Belters are definitely feeling the worst of it. But even as we see the after effects of the genocide on Eros and the destruction of Phoebe Station, it is the female characters who have the strongest voices. Between Naomi trying to find a vaccine for those infected on Eros to Bobbie being the toughest chick we’ve ever seen, the women of The Expanse take this show a step above. Of course, Chrisjen Avasarala is the one pulling all the strings from afar, and frankly, she is the only one making Earth’s storyline interesting (sorry Mao family). It will be intriguing to see how her choices continue to be the most important of the show. “Never listen to what people say. Always watch what they do.”
Speaking of female characters, we also got our first look at Mars and new character Bobbie Draper. Admittedly, after hearing about her character and participating in the press room at SDCC, I was unsure about how Mars and Bobbie were all going to fit into the already engrossing story. But after seeing her in action, Frankie Adams’ portrayal of the somewhat aloof Bobbie works really well in the Mars narrative. We know so little about her, but she is intense and can give one hell of a rally speech.
Aside from the amazing women on the show, the best part is seeing the crew of Roci in action. Amos and Naomi continue to have the best chemistry on the show. And how awesome was it to see Miller added in the mix? His brooding demeanor rivals Holden in scenes where they are not together, but when the entire crew is together, it somehow works. One of the best scenes in the premiere was the crew bonding over cheese-less and tomato-less pasta. At least in the future, we can be assured that we will still be bonding over cheese.
I need to give some acting kudos to Wes Chatham and his portrayal of Amos. I am not an actor and cannot imagine how difficult it is to play a sociopath, but this guy is good. When Amos and Miller were fighting, it felt like Chatham was in a legitimate trance until Naomi set him straight. Kudos to Chatham for pulling that off; for being a good guy, the portrayal is chilling. I hate to see how he is going to react to Naomi and Holden hooking up though. Despite Naomi thinking that all will be fine, I definitely have my doubts. And frankly, I am not sure how I feel about Naomi and Holden hooking up in general. They have great chemistry to be sure, but I just think that it is going to end up doing more harm than good. I guess time will tell.
Aside from story, The Expanse has always done a great job with the technical aspects of the show, and “Safe” and “Doors & Corners” were no exception. The special effects and graphics were once again top-notch, and the cinematography was interesting and artistic without being too pretentious. The production also definitely stepped up the Belter accent this season which helps to create a more concrete culture, although it was sometimes difficult to understand what they were saying (and I consider myself above-average with accent comprehension!). I hope that we continue to learn more about the culture, and I appreciate the effort that the producers, writers, and actors are making to keep everything extremely realistic. And how great was that music during the battle scenes? I am definitely enjoying and appreciating the extra attention given to the small details like this that are so often overlooked.
Overall, this was a solid season premiere. It wasn’t as exhilarating as the series premiere, but the producers obviously used the formulas for what worked in season one and replicated them: intriguing characters playing politics in an all-too-familiar looking future.
- “We’re the only ones who know what’s going on down there, and we’re the only ones who can stop it.”
- “Doing nothing is the same as doing the wrong thing.”
- “Never listen to what people say. Always watch what they do.”
Definitely words to apply in present day.
What did you think of the season opener of The Expanse?
Erin has reviewed many shows over the years including Orphan Black, iZombie, Penny Dreadful, and Killing Eve. She has a keen eye for on-screen chemistry, and loves to tackle the subject of casting. She is also our horror aficionado. She live tweets shows, and loves to share her feelings. Erin has a BA in History, and likes to analyze the lore behind historical fiction. She attends San Diego Comic Con every year and has also attended C2E2 and WonderCon.
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