The Expanse (2021) – Strange Dogs, and Azure Dragon

The final season of The Expanse is a six-episode finale, attempting to not only move the story continually forward but wrap up narrative threads. The first episode, Strange Dogs, was written by Naren Shankar and dropped on Prime on 10 December, 2021.

Fans of the novels will be delighted with a glimpse of one of the planets through the ring-gates, Laconia, and some of the strange creatures that inhabit it alongside the humans colonizing it, but the crux of the story is very much in our solar system.

Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) with Filip (Jasai Chase-Owens) at his side has seized a number of stations throughout the system, including Ceres, and is leading his Free Navy, predominantly crewed by Belters, into constant conflict with Earth and Mars. Filip is beginning to feel locked out by his father and is suffering from the repercussions of his own actions including dropping asteroids down the gravity well of Earth. He’s been drinking, screwing, and ultimately clashing with those around him.

Chrisjen (Shohreh Aghdashloo) continues her work as Secretary General with Bobbie (Frankie Adams) working as her aide, but both of them are getting frustrated with the state of affairs.

The crew of the Rocinante are working to track down Free Navy forces, and while there is some tension on the ship, not least of which because of Clarissa (Nadine Nicole) joining the crew, Holden (Steven Strait), Amos (Wes Chatham) and Naomi (Dominique Tipper) are back together, and soon find a possible lead on the ship that is triggering the continual orbital assault of asteroids.

They are ready to set off in pursuit of the…

… Azure Dragon.

After a brief check-in with the family on Laconia, with a hint of things building there, we leap into a very tense episode written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who are collectively known as James S.A. Corey, the author of The Expanse novels.

First dropping on Prime on 17 December, 2021. Filip continues to be manipulated by his father and tries to come to terms with what he’s done, and Drummer (Cara Gee) is picking at the threads of the Free Navy to try to understand Inaros’ bigger plan.

Chrisjen sends Bobbie to join the crew of the Rocinante with a new mission, not to seek and destroy Inaros’ hidden ship, Azure Dragon, which is triggering the rock assault, but to seize it and get as much data off of it as they can.

A tense assault, and a beautifully shot action sequence, on the Dragon, reveal Naomi is still suffering from her time on the remote ship sending out the recorded message, but Clarissa steps up during the assault helping Bobbie, and Holden confirms, finally, that she’s part of the crew.

I loved this episode, and it’s so frustrating to realize that this puts us a third of the way through the final season with only four episodes left to go. But you know it’s going to go out big!


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