The Expanse - Caliban's War - Season Finale - Review + POLL By Kollin Lore (April 20, 2017, 4:04 am)
In this very tense finale, 'Caliban's War,' we see Holden and crew, and Avasarala and crew, fight their way out of their respective sticky situations.
There were parallels between the storylines that made sense on a character stand point, while not being too blatantly obvious. Both leaders, Holden and Avasarala, were willing to sacrifice themselves to save their crew. When all hope was lost, however, it ended up to be the newcomers coming to the rescue - Prax, and his idea of luring the monster out of the ship, and Bobbie wreaking havoc with her power suit.
Though these situations provided a lot of tension, it was the dialogue that really made this a strong episode.
I think it is safe to say that we all knew Holden would not die; however, his predicament was essential to character development. For one, Amos' words to Holden was a memorable moment.
There is a difference between doing the right thing and striving to be a good man/woman. The right thing in one individual's mind may not always be good. Jules' using the Protomolecule in his mind was the right thing to do for the progression of humanity, but it led to actions that were far from morally "good."
Holden, amidst his flaws and erroneous decision making, always adhered to his moral principles. To see Amos recognize this and thanking him was a heartfelt moment, and it especially worked with his character, as he had been someone who questioned his own morals. In this scene, we see Amos finally realizing that he can be a good man, if he isn't already, and that he is on a path to be a good man, and it wouldn't be possible without the guidance of his captain.
We also see Naomi struggling with this same debate of right vs. good. We find out that not only did she leave the protomolecule in the asteroid belt, but she gave it up to Fred Johnson to create balance between Earth, Mars, and the Belt. In her mind, it was the right thing to do for her people, but whether it was the moral thing to do remains to be seen. How will Fred Johnson use the protomolecule?
Naomi's speech is both awe inspiring and frightening. As is the central theme of this series, times will change, but humanity will always stay the same and, with it, the flaws of being human. We are creatures of war, and sometimes to adapt we have to sacrifice the good. Fred Johnson now has the protomolecule and Naomi will live with the consequences. Though her speech was delivered inspiringly, it is frightening when you look at the context behind it and resonant our own lives.
It is these complexities in the characters, this questioning of humanity, that makes The Expanse a great show. The series, and this finale in particular, stretches beyond the excitement of your everyday sci-fi fare and gives us a drama with plenty of heart and depth.
My only qualm, and this is a stretch, is that the episode did not feel like a season finale. Granted, I have been most likely spoiled by having read the books. Thus, knowing what is ahead, I can think of a couple jaw dropping moments from the second novel that would have been better suited for a finale. Looking back at 'Home', for example, Miller's first heartbreaking encounter with Julie Mao and then the crashing of Eros, would have made for an amazing season 1 finale, that of which I actually don't remember. Instead, 'Home' appears randomly in episode 5 of season 2.
However, I can't complain too much, as the episode count is controlled by the network, not the crew of the show, who have, by the way, done an exceptional job at filling out each season. There was not one episode that felt like filler and there was not one wasted scene in each episode that did not serve some kind of purpose in terms of building plot, this rich world of The Expanse, and all of the characters that inhabit it.
The season 2 finale was no exception, and Syfy did both the right thing and the good thing in renewing this show. Bring on Season 3!
What did you guys think of 'Caliban's War,' Season 2 finale? Leave your thoughts in the comment below and be sure to vote in the poll!