The Expanse Season 5 Finale "Shocker" Felt Cheap: Opinion [SPOILERS]

With Amazon Prime Video and Alcon's releasing the season five finale of The Expanse, there's definitely tons to unload on with the series' defining war. Before I begin my rant, I would like to say "Nemesis Games" was a wonderfully done episode with everyone involved putting out some of the best sci-fi on television and this is setting up for an epic final season. Now that we have pleasantries out of the way, I feel like I have to address the 400 lb gorilla in the room and the cheap way the showrunners handled it. This is your major spoilers warning for "Nemesis Games".

The Expanse: Why Season 5 Finale Shocker Felt Cheap [SPOILERS]
Steven Strait as Jim Holden and Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala in The Expanse. Image courtesy of Amazon Prime Video
So as we have Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) struggling on the floating deathtrap of the Chetzemoka, which was rigged to explode the moment another ship attempts to dock it, the crew of the Razorback helmed by Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar) and Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) is on their way to rescue her. Unable to receive messages from within the Chetzemoka, Naomi makes a last-ditch effort to separate herself from the Chetzemoka by running out in her spacesuit, limited oxygen and all to make sure her rescuers see her alone and away from the trap. As she floats and the Razorback gets within reach, Alex is tipped off by Naomi's Belter sign language of what's happened. Just as any space sci-fi survival setting when air is low, Naomi is in the middle of passing out when she's saved by Bobbie in her spacesuit. As this happens, we get a shot of a very still Alex with presumably CG blood emanating from his nose. When the Rocinante crew reunites at Luna, we get an explanation from Jim Holden (Steven Strait) that Alex died from a stroke. There's no CG body or stand-in to mourn over or any scene showing the shock as it happened. Just the crew airing their grief after the fact.

The Expanse: How Season 5 Wrote Out an Actor Who Was #MeToo'd
Still from "The Expanse", Amazon Prime Video

It just looked like something that was obviously reshot and cobbled together…like the showrunners lazily tried to cover for someone who just died or in this case, got fired. For those who aren't aware, Anvar is facing accusations of abuse after the #MeToo social movement empowered individuals to come forward with their claims. I get why the producers and showrunners needed to do what they did with Anvar, but did his character need to "suddenly" die like that and wrote off almost like trash? Nevermind that Alex was very much alive and able to celebrate the victory with his comrades in the party in the books. For the most part, the TV series remained mostly faithful to them. Was re-casting NOT an option? Could they not find a lookalike or at least try to give Alex more organic a "heroic death"? It feels like they simply gave up on the character due to the actions of the actor and gave audiences shock for shock's sake. I don't think fans would care if another stepped into Anvar's shoes to finish the series as Alex. It was cheap and shocking for the wrong reasons and they need to own it. Alex deserves better. My guess is whatever they were going to have him do in the final season will probably be given to Clarissa (Nadine Nicole).

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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