Looking Back on The Expanse S1:E1

Dive into "The Expanse" S1:E1 – a rich sci-fi saga of politics, mystery, and humanity, spanning Earth, Mars, and the Belt. A must-watch for fans.

An AI-generated image representing the expanse.
The Expanse season one, episode one is worth revisiting.

In science fiction television's vast expanse —pun intended— few shows have sparked the imagination and captured the hearts of fans quite like "The Expanse."

Originating from the acclaimed series of novels by James S.A. Corey, this gripping saga has carved a unique place for itself in the science fiction genre. With its intricate plot, richly developed characters, and a setting that stretches across a colonized solar system, "The Expanse" offers a compelling blend of political intrigue and human drama.

The show's journey has been as dramatic as its storyline. Initially aired on SyFy, "The Expanse" faced cancellation after its third season. However, captivated by its complex universe, the show's passionate fan base rallied for its continuation. This fervent support led to Amazon Prime Video stepping in to save the day, giving the series a new lease on life with subsequent seasons.

While the series effectively ended with season six and some unresolved plot lines, the rich narrative world of "The Expanse" remains a treasure trove for both long-time enthusiasts and newcomers to explore. This series demonstrated the power of community and fan advocacy in the modern era of television. In fact, that is one of the reasons I wanted to go all the way back to season one, episode one.

World-Building in 'Dulcinea'

The inaugural episode of "The Expanse," titled "Dulcinea," serves as a masterclass in world-building, setting the stage for a series as profound in its narrative as it is expansive —more puns— in its scope.

The episode introduces us to Julie Mao, who finds herself in a dire situation that immediately hooks the audience with mystery and intrigue. When I rewatched "Dulcinea" for this review, I was reminded how important —dare I say paramount— Mao was to season one.

This episode skillfully portrays human nature and societal issues within a futuristic context, reflecting the timeless human struggles against a backdrop of advanced technology and space colonization.

"Dulcinea" intricately maps out the geopolitical landscape of a future where humanity has spread across the solar system, focusing on three primary powers: Earth, with its dense population and advanced technology; Mars, a militaristic and terraforming society; and the Belt, a collection of asteroid settlements where inhabitants, known as Belters, face exploitation and hardship.

This vivid depiction of diverse worlds and cultures sets the tone for a series that delves deep into the complexities of interplanetary politics and human drama.

Main Characters and Locations

"The Expanse" intricately weaves its narrative across various locations, each with its distinct political and social landscape. Earth, portrayed as the cradle of humanity, is now a technologically advanced planet under the governance of the United Nations, yet grappling with its own set of political challenges. In contrast, Mars is depicted as a militaristic society, with its people dedicated to the colossal task of terraforming their planet, aspiring for independence from Earth.

The Belt, a network of asteroid settlements, introduces us to a community long exploited by the inner planets, struggling for equal rights and resources. This setting is a hotbed for the series' exploration of class struggle and resource scarcity.

A screen capture from the first episode of The Expanse.
Screen capture from The Expanse S1:E1 via SyFy.

Central to these locations are vital characters who bring the story to life. Detective Miller, with his hard-boiled demeanor, Jim Holden, a reluctant leader entangled in interplanetary intrigue, and Chrisjen Avasarala, a shrewd UN politician, are among those who navigate this complex universe. Their actions and decisions intricately link the fates of Earth, Mars, and the Belt, making "The Expanse" a compelling tale of politics, survival, and humanity.

Details and Aesthetics

"The Expanse" is a visual and narrative tour de force, presenting a rich tapestry of themes such as colonization and the inherent conflicts of human nature. The series masterfully blends these themes with a visual style that brings its complex world to life. The show's aesthetics, from Earth's sprawling urban landscapes to the Belt's harsh industrial environments, are rendered with meticulous detail. This attention to visual storytelling enhances the narrative's depth, immersing viewers in a futuristic and strikingly familiar world in its portrayal of human struggles and societal dynamics.

Series Mystery and Appeal

At the heart of "The Expanse" lies a gripping central mystery involving Julie Mao and the enigmatic protomolecule. This mystery unfolds in a manner that tightly weaves the fates of the show's characters across different locations within the solar system. The interconnectedness of these characters and events is a hallmark of the series, crafting a narrative that is as complex as it is compelling. This web of intrigue drives the plot forward and deepens the viewer's engagement with the show's richly developed universe.

Overall Recommendation

"The Expanse" stands as a testament to the power of science fiction to create vast, visually stunning worlds and profoundly resonant with political and human themes.

Its strength lies in its ability to weave a complex tapestry of interstellar politics, societal struggles, and personal narratives, creating a rich and engaging universe. For fans of intricate sci-fi worlds that mirror our own societal issues, "The Expanse" is a series that merits exploration and admiration.