The Expanse returned last night and hit the ground running. The first episode of the third season picks up directly after the events of last season's finale, running with some great tension in the Avasarala and Bobbie scenes while on board the ship we've come to know as the Rocinate there's more of a slow burn as the crew digests changes, surprises, and questionable decisions.
Spoilers after the screenshot
While the show's a cut well above the SyFy Channel's usual mediocrity, its biggest flaw is that most of its cast seems to be the usual stock of unimaginative performers, a problem that's not likely to get better now that Steven Strait is a producer. But his character, Holden, didn't have a whole lot of screentime last night, most of the drama centring on Naomi (Dominque Tipper) and Alex (Cas Anvar), both of whom are played by actors giving slightly more interesting performances than the others.
We have the irony of Alex emphasising the importance of a sense of family in the crew coming with the revelation (or reminder? I honestly can't remember if we knew this) that he's neglecting a family back home on Mars. This nicely adds to the tension of whether or not this crew of misfits are really doing the right thing, especially now that Naomi has made the highly contentious decision to give the protomolecule to Fred Johnson (Chad L. Coleman), a decision she seems to have made peace with even if no-one else on board likes it.
Elsewhere in the solar system, people are engaging in strenuous activity despite abdominal wounds. At Fred Johnson's Tycho station, one of the series' many wonderful hard boiled dames, Drummer (Cara Gee), is doing upside-down crunches with an open wound above her belly. It's too bad her commitment to her abs isn't shared by a commitment to her arms which look as thin as vermicelli noodles. I feel like I'm going to want to see her throw a credible punch at some point, I'm enjoying the energy the actress is putting into the role.
The physically much more believably badass Bobbie (Frankie Adams) is meanwhile overseeing the shit still going down on the ship where Avasarala was trapped last season. It's so nice to see Shohreh Aghdashloo again, one of the shining points not just on The Expanse but in television in general. She didn't have much to do in this episode where Bobbie and Cotyar (Nick E. Tarabay) were doing most of the moving and shaking but it's fun watching Avasarala keeping up her moxy well out of her element. I hope we don't have to go too long without seeing one of her trademark gorgeous costumes.
I was a little disappointed Cotyar's gut wound hadn't finished him off between seasons, he's definitely vying with Steven Strait for the show's title of dullest actor. Bobbie has a really effective EVA sequence though and the tension in her suit just about running out of power works marvellously.
It's good to have this show back and I look forward to next week.