Feature Article

The Expanse Season 4, Episode 1: A Strong Main Story Surrounded By Madness

We're in too deep.

There were plenty of early screenings for TV shows at New York Comic-Con this year. HBO's Watchmen and Hulu's Castle Rock were among them. Now, we're getting a better look at what Amazon Prime Video's acclaimed sci-fi show The Expanse will offer up in Season 4, as we got to check out Episode 1 of the new season, which releases on December 13.

The Expanse is a series where a lot is dropped on its viewer's right from the get go. I wouldn't go as far to say that it's high concept, but it is a futuristic series where a lot has changed in the world. Humans have left Earth and are living in space, with some settling on Mars. Tensions between people who have settled outside of our home planet and those who remain here are high, but that's the premise of the show and the first season.

However, within Season 4, things have obviously progressed tremendously, and the landscape has completely changed. It can be a bit rough trying to keep up with where everyone has been the past three years. Jim Holden is haunted by the essence of Joe Miller, who appears randomly. There are refugees from space trying to get to Earth, but the gravitational differences are either killing or hurting them--something the first season plays with early on--and Chrisjen Avasarala cusses a lot more because the show is on Amazon now--and it is delightful. However, it sometimes moves too quickly, and it can be hard to keep up.

The focus for the first episode, which we saw at New York Comic-Con, was Holden and company travelling to another planet to lend support to a science team that was stranded there when their ship crashed. There are also some unfriendly locals there who aren't keep on seeing anyone else land on their planet. To top it all off, there is a deadly swarm of locus force attacking people, ships, and whatever else it comes across, wrecking havoc. Is it alien or controlled by humans? Who knows? Burn Gorman makes his series debut in the opening episode of Season 4 as Adolphus Murtry, a scientist who isn't exceptionally well-defined in the opening episode, but there is something intriguing about him. This story is the hook that will drag viewers in, as it's one of the few small-scale things going on in the episode.

There is a lot happening in this opening episode featuring moments that obviously harken back to earlier stories. Clearly you shouldn't dive in head first at Season 4 like a lush wandering into a random bar 10 minutes before last call, but there is enough happening in here to make you want to come back for more, hoping the gaps in the story will be filled in future episodes. Or you can do the smart thing and go back and watch the first three seasons.

The Expanse, as a whole, is a heavy show that isn't afraid to deal with politics and sci-fi logic on top of emotional character arcs and relationships. It's layers on top of layers on top of layers. It's packing a lot into a tight-knit package. The show and this episode can be extremely confusing at times because at times, everything is being thrown at the wall at once, but luckily, the main story toward the end of the episode is exceptionally intriguing and shows promise. It may not be for everyone, but for those looking to fill a sci-fi void in their lives, The Expanse may be what you're looking for.

Season 4 of The Expanse comes to Amazon Prime Video on December 13, 2019.

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Mat Elfring

News Editor of GameSpot Entertainment. Continues to Bolieve. Waiting for Netflix to give him millions for a TV series no one will ever stream.

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Reviews: 5

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They finally got some forward momentum the last few episodes. Last season felt like a lot of checking-in with like 5 different parties.

Can't wait to see where they take it this season

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Best sci-fi tv series since Farscape, such epic space adventures.

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