In space, they say, no one can hear you scream. That's definitely not true on the internet, though, and the screams most certainly were loud after SYFY canceled The Expanse after three seasons.
Those screams, however, were both loud and heard. And like a lone rescue ship plucking an astronaut floating in the void, Amazon Prime Video rescued The Expanse from oblivion and as breathed at least a couple of new seasons of life into it.
And it's a good thing, too — the story's really starting to get interesting.
And wouldn't you know it — Amazon has released Season 4 a few hours early.
So you can now catch up with the old gang — and the new foils — and see just what the blue goo is up to.
Or if you're new to The Expanse, read on to see just what the hell we're talking about.
Watch The Expanse
Watch all of The Expanse
Amazon Prime Video rescued The Expanse after SYFY spaced it following Season 3. All of the previously aired episodes are available on Prime Video, with Season 4 on the way.
When can you watch Season 4 of The Expanse?
Season 4 of The Expanse will premiere Dec. 13 on Amazon Prime Video, which is available on every major piece of hardware on which you can stream video.
What's the story of The Expanse
This might get just a little complicated, but stay with us. (Or watch the video above.)
It's hundreds of years from the current day, and humanity has made its way throughout the solar system. Mankind is mostly made up of three factions — Earth, Mars, and those who live among the asteroid belt. They're known as Earthers, Martians, and Belters.
Earth and Mars don't get along so well these days. Earth has a massive space-based military. Mars has a smaller fleet but extremely dedicated marines. Belters are more about making an honest living and making money off of whom they can. They're also supported by a group called the OPA — the Outer Planets Alliance — which is a sort of labor union and occasional terrorist organization against the Inners. (That'd be Earth and Mars — the inner planets.)
Earth in this day and age is run by the United Nations, and it has all of the political machinations and in-fighting you'd expect. And that's important because certain members of the U.N. happen to be working in secret with a super-rich businessman on some super-secret things. We'll get to that in a second.
Meanwhile, James Holden (Steven Strait) isn't in command of an ice hauler. (If you don't know why ice is important in space, read Seveneves.) He swears he doesn't want to be in command, but that lie is pretty easily seen through by all of us. Especially when he slyly ensures his ship responds to a distress signal from a derelict ship. That goes poorly, though, and Holden and what's left of his crew end up being taken prisoner by a Martian ship, the Donnager.
And this is all in the midst of some mysterious blue goo that has been up to some seriously bad stuff on the asteroid where that derelict ship was found.
When the Donnager is mysteriously attacked by some "stealth ships," Holden and crew end up taking the Donnager and setting off. It's theirs now.
(We're skipping over the crew dynamics here, but suffice to say there's a lot going on here, too.)
Meanwhile, on the Ceres space station, cop (excuse me, Star Helix officer) Joe Miller (Thomas Jane) is tasked — off the books — to find a missing girl, with whom he sort of begins to become obsessed.
Seriously, though, get to the good stuff
OK, OK. Jumping way ahead for the sake of expediency — and this really is where the spoilers kind of start, so be warned — it all works out like this:
- The blue goo is a "proto-molecule," from somewhere outside of our solar system.
- Nobody really knows what it is. Or, rather, what it eventually will be if left alone to do whatever it is it's doing.
- And what it's doing in the meantime happens to be killing people left and right. But there's some serious potential there. Maybe as science, but certainly as a weapon.
- And that's why super-rich Earth dude — and someone from the U.N. — have been experimenting with it and cultivating it — including testing it on a whole space station full of people.
- Meanwhile, Holden and his crew of the newly renamd Rocinante meet up with Miller on the Belter station Tycho, and this is where the stories start to merge.
Earth and Mars are on the brink of war over the blue protomolecule, and the stealth ships that nobody seems to know anything about. Miller's missing woman is involved in the whole thing. And, oh, by the way, her father is the rich dude bankrolling the whole endeavor.
And that's just the first season, before an asteroid threatens to destroy Earth.
There's a lot going on here, but not so much that you can't follow it if you start from Season 1. (Don't accidentally start on Season 2. You'll be very confused. Trust me.)
The acting is mostly very good for this kind of show that was born on a cable network. And it should be, with known names like Thomas Jane (Boogie Nights, Hung), Shohreh Aghdashloo (24, House of Sand and Fog), Jared Harris (Chernobyl, Sherlock Holmes, Mad Men, Fringe) and, later, David Strathairn, Elizabeth Mitchell and Terry Chen.
And that's to say nothing of all the new faces you might not know. It's a stellar cast, to be sure.
And one more character that deserves mention — gravity. It's not just shrugged off because zero-G is a pain to shoot, particularly for a TV show. And there are times in the first three seasons — and get yet another tease of its affects on those who grew up without it in Season 4 — when it's very much an invisible actor unto itself. And it's a very nice touch.
So where is The Expanse in Season 4?
We're definitely skipping over some more (and very weird) stuff here. But most of our heroes are still with us. Most of the villains are less of an issue, if at all.
And the giant Ring Gate thing outside Saturn has become myriad portals to worlds far beyond our solar system, and everyone (rightly) expects ol' mankind to go make a mess of things.
The official description reads thusly:
Season 4 of The Expanse, its first as a global Amazon Original, begins a new chapter for the series with the crew of the Rocinante on a mission from the U.N. to explore new worlds beyond the Ring Gate.
Humanity has been given access to thousands of Earth-like planets which has created a land rush and furthered tensions between the opposing nations of Earth, Mars and the Belt.
Ilus is the first of these planets, one rich with natural resources but also marked by the ruins of a long dead alien civilization. While Earthers, Martians and Belters maneuver to colonize Ilus and its natural resources, these early explorers don't understand this new world and are unaware of the larger dangers that await them.
When can you watch Season 5 of The Expanse?
Yes, we're already talking about Season 5, because Amazon has already green-lit Season 5.
We don't know when it's coming yet, just that it is coming. We might get it later in 2020. Or we might just have to wait.
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