The Expanse “Babylon’s Ashes” Spoilers Ahead
In the same brilliant way The Expanse begins, it concludes its story by honoring its characters. It remains true the essence of chosen families, and it brings to our small screens the kind of finale that feels like the most lustrous sci-fi feature film—a perfectly balanced spectacle with high-speed action sequences and quiet moments of revelation and laughter.
There’s noticeable peace amongst the Inners and Belters, and it’s a direct result of the fact that the oppressed and marginalized now have a safe space to speak up. Where on any other show the righteous white man would sand on top, that’s not the case with The Expanse’s “Babylon’s Ashes.” Instead, it gives the series the kind of ending that honors those who’ve tirelessly been front and center of the battlegrounds. Camina Drummer’s position as President of the Transport Union showcases what it means to have people in a place of power capable of indeed denouncing the darkness behind eons of radicalized hatred. She is skilled, she is worthy, and it’s the kind of position that’s rightfully earned.
As someone who values a cookie-cutter sweet ending and who’ll never deem such decisions a cliché, I’ve always been amazed at how The Expanse could make me feel so much amidst its more dreary storylines, and that’s primarily due to the element of chosen families. It’s because of the Roci crew. It’s because of characters like Chrisjen Avasarala and Camina Drummer. The Expanse’s “Babylon’s Ashes” finishes in such a way where if the series ever decided to pick things back up, it could do so in a heartbeat. Open-ended and yet wholly satisfying.
A Meal, A New Beginning
When it comes to The Expanse, a shared meal often equates to a new beginning. It’s what happens with the first lasagna night, and it’s what happens in “Babylon’s Ashes” with Clarissa’s continued effort to make matters right.
A character who learns that her days are numbered decides she’s going to make the best of it, and she does so in a way that once again showcases what it looks like to write a proper redemption arc. She quickly becomes a favorite character through all this because she chooses to do the right thing despite the cruel forms of fate life continues to present her with. The technology could advance in five years, right? Who else is choosing to believe that she makes it? I certainly am.
In their laughter and quiet reflection, the scene brings to life the authenticity behind their loyalty, and the fact that they’re now on the same page. The show has always been about unlikely acquaintances, and it goes out honoring that beautifully through the kind of performances that are a marvel to take note of. You only have to look at each actor’s expression in that scene to see how much care and compassion lies beneath the characters’ for every person in this room.
Marco Inaros was far from redemption, and quite frankly, it’s fair to assume no one expected that from him. His story, more than anything, was about Filip and the hope that the seeds Marco planted wouldn’t darken him beyond repair. And sure, sometimes the big bad sees the light at the end too, but this was never how his story was going to pan out.
“Babylon’s Ashes” is about cutting the rotten ties and strengthening the restorative ropes, which thankfully happens to Filip in the end. The decision to literally change his last name exhibits that he’s en route to washing the blood off of his hands.
Filip logs his name with Naomi’s last name as he escapes with her voice-over, stating that all you can do is hope that your words have impacted someone was perfect. Truly—perfect. It’s everything I would’ve expected from the show to keep to its more ambiguous ending while leaving the audience with that very sense of hope that one day, Naomi will indeed see that—she’ll know that she has had an impact on her son after all. He made it. He’s safe. And one day, he could likely come home. Their worlds can combine in the way they were meant to, and the family she’s always dreamed of can be a reality.
This show isn’t a romance, but we’ve always said that Jim and Naomi’s relationship has been one of the best things on our TV screens, and their final moment is precisely why that rings true today. Whatever lies ahead for them—they’ll be by each other’s side forever. They all will and this quiet shot solidifies that fact.
They aren’t the kind of couple who need to tirelessly remind each other how much they love one another because it’s shown with their actions and the ability to communicate with few words in a room full of people or completely on their own. It’s brought to life by Naomi threading their fingers together and Jim placing his other hand over theirs for added security. It’s the serenity of this final moment that transcends beyond what words can say towards something more significant—the verity that together, they’re something else entirely. They’re everything.
This series never needed to subvert expectations or rip the rug right out from underneath its viewers for the sake of a roaring plot twist; instead, it ends its spectacle through the ilk of quiet intimacy that shows us everything will be okay. Jim and Naomi have always been the steadfast beacon of hope on The Expanse, and thereby, choosing to have the two of them beside each other as the final character shot is worth noting. It’s the kind of shot that promises these close quarters are a safe space, and these characters will make it no matter what dangers lie ahead. It’s the kind of shot that solidifies the attribute that this show’s greatest strength is its found families, and by virtue of their love for another, the world around them is an infinitely better place than where they started.
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