DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Expanse series finale episode “Babylon’s Ashes” has spoilers. Proceed at your peril. 

Welcome back, Screaming Firehawks! It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the end of the road, but here we are. The Expanse delivers a pulsating, explosive, heart-pounding and heartwarming series finale with “Babylon’s Ashes.” Beltalowda and Inyalowda, I don’t think we could have asked for a better ending to this epic space opera. 

One of the many things I loved about this outing is that none of the main protagonists perish. There are moments where it looks like Drummer, Bobbie, Clarissa and Amos might die, and believe me, my heart skipped a beat or two. The writers even make us think Filip died along with Marco, but, thankfully, he decides to leave and embark on the path of goodness. 

Ultimately, we get a happy ending, which is what I want most from a series finale. While this ending finds our Roci crew essentially flying off into the sunset (space), you can tell the weight of all that’s transpired lays heavily on them. The possibilities of what’s still out there to battle eats away at the always-worrying Holden. 

But Naomi seems to speak to us when she urges Holden to enjoy the peacefulness. Savor those moments. It’s a great life lesson for us all. 

Ready to delve into “Babylon’s Ashes”? Let’s get to it. 

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We open on Laconia, with Admiral Duarte (Dylan Taylor) admiring the protomolecule structure in orbit above the planet. Meanwhile, Gary (Daniel Jun) and Dot (Dianne Aguilar) wait for Cara (Emma Ho) to return home after she gives Xan to the strange dogs. 

Once she arrives, Xan (Ian Ho) is hot on her heels; however, Gary and Dot distrust what stands before them. Gary orders Dot and Cara to stand behind him while he brandishes a knife in Xan’s direction. He cuts Xan’s hand, but the wound closes instantly. The benefits of infusion with the protomolecule, to be sure. 

Gary shoves Xan in a closet and, along with Dot, flees to flag down the appropriate authorities. With soldiers en route, Cara helps her brother escape. We see them running through the forest with the strange dogs by their side. Cara declares she doesn’t care if she dies because those creatures can revive her. 

The protomolecule courses through Cara’s body in Xan’s eyes. The camera pans back to Duarte, marveling at the platforms orbiting Laconia, which come to life so that he can build his precious battleships. 

Next, we see Secretary-General Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), Holden (Steven Strait), Drummer (Cara Gee) and Bobbie (Frankie Adams) standing among UN and MCRN officials. At the same time, they hatch a game plan to take out Marco Inaros. 

The Expanse Season 6 Episode 6 Babylon's Ashes

Pictured (l-r): Dominique Tipper, Steven Strait, Nadine Nicole, Wes Chatham and Frankie Adams on THE EXPANSE Season 6 Episode 6, “Babylon’s Ashes.” Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios.

So far, the plan is to split their forces into three groups, with Holden’s idea to seize Marco’s railguns at the Ring Gate moving to the forefront. Then, they can train those railguns on the Free Navy. Bobbie proposes they send a ground team to the Station within the Ring to gain control of the weaponry and force those at Medina Station to surrender.

Then, Filip (Jasai Chase-Owens) reports to Rosenfeld (Kathleen Robertson) for duty. She persuaded Marco to reinstate Filip as a pilot. Rosenfeld chats it up with Marco (Keon Alexander), who seems undaunted by the approaching UN/MCRN/Belter fleet. He believes they’ll prevail. Plus, Duarte might have something interesting waiting for him on Laconia. 

Meanwhile, Holden and Bobbie gather supplies on the Rocinante before the big battle. For the ground team, they’ll use the ice hauler Giambattista to transport the fighters to the Station. Bobbie notices the old MCRN Tachi logo, a.k.a. the original name for the Roci. She tells Holden some Martians still assert that the Roci is the Tachi

However, Alex believed this vessel chose the people with which it wished to fly. I’m glad the writers mentioned Alex in this episode and that his legacy remains intact. I miss him. 

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Later, Naomi (Dominique Tipper) asks Clarissa (Nadine Nicole) to do a favor for her. Clarissa checks in with her “boss,” a.k.a. Amos (Wes Chatham), for permission. Naomi and Amos reminisce about their first time working together aboard the Canterbury. Naomi believes Amos’s relationship with Clarissa is similar to what they had on the Cant.

Remember the Cant!

Clarissa succumbs to bodily pain while working, so she heads to the medical bay to figure out what’s happening to her. She has Complex Endocrine Collapse Syndrome, and, according to the symptoms, she fits the bill. There’s no approved “course of treatment,” and the average life expectancy is five years. I don’t like this for my girl. Not at all. 

Clarissa decides to whip up a homecooked meal for our crew, and it’s nice to see everyone eating together again. Naomi recognizes Clarissa’s merely trying to “wash the blood off her hands,” a path she wanted for Filip. 

Amos informs Clarissa about joining the ground team at the Ring Gate. Clarissa lightly teases him about being a hero. You can see their genuine affection for each other—nothing sexual — just pure, unadulterated love. 

The Expanse Season 6 Episode 6 Babylon's Ashes

Pictured (l-r): Wes Chatham, Nadine Nicole, Frankie Adams, Steven Strait and Dominique Tipper in THE EXPANSE Season 6 Episode 6, “Babylon’s Ashes.” Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Avasarala’s meditation suffers interruption on the Zenobia when she learns it’s time to strike. Drummer also gears up on the Tynan for a battle of the ages.

She checks in with Liang Walker (Stuart Hughes), who believes they should plunder Marco’s supplies after inevitably killing him. 

Even though Group One spots Marco first, Drummer and her team prepare to fire. There’s a hit, but something appears to be amiss. We see debris and parts fall away to reveal a sleek, new Pella, unharmed and undeterred from its course to the Ring Gate. 

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Suddenly, the Tynan receives a massive blow from the Free Navy, leaving a large hole in its wake and killing some of Drummer’s crew. Thankfully, after a tense moment, we see Drummer’s alive. Unfortunately, the Free Navy decimates Walker’s vessel, but he says his goodbyes to Drummer before the explosion. Other ships suffer the same fate, much to Drummer’s dismay. She orders her forces to retreat and regroup — stop pursuing Marco.

But not to worry; leave Marco Inaros to Camina Drummer. That’s my bosmang, sémpere (forever)!

The Pella takes a few hits, including a significant blow that kills Rosenfeld. Filip sits by her side while she dies and calls for a medic, but it’s too late. 

Meanwhile, we see Bobbie and Amos situated in their pods aboard the Giambattista. Holden, Naomi and Clarissa prepare to launch the pods on the Roci. 

It’s go-time! We see the pods release from the Giambattista, with their trajectory aiming for the Station, where the railguns dwell. Amid the debris, fired shots from all sides and the flying pods, the Roci loses power. 

Clarissa volunteers to remedy the problem. She struggles to descend the staircase while the Roci shakes and jolts. Suddenly, Clarissa yelps and Naomi calls out for her. 

Thankfully, whatever she does works since the power switches back on in the Roci. We see Amos’s pod open up as he circles the Station, and he’s promptly ejected. 

Naomi finds Clarissa unconscious, but she revives the former. Clarissa tells Naomi she didn’t activate her mods; she used good ole elbow grease to fix the power issue. She wants to earn her keep on the Roci. This moment is a precious one, indeed. 

The Expanse Season 6 Episode 6 Babylon's Ashes

Pictured (l-r): Wes Chatham, Nadine Nicole, Frankie Adams, Steven Strait and Dominique Tipper in THE EXPANSE Season 6 Episode 6, “Babylon’s Ashes.” Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Amos lands on the Station, and Bobbie’s not far behind him. The Free Navy fires upon the ground team, so Bobbie and Amos corral the other fighters to strategize their next move. Holden informs them that, unfortunately, the Roci must remain behind Medina Station. Otherwise, the railguns will turn on them. 

That’s when Bobbie takes matters into her hands. She bravely, boldly flies toward the railguns while shooting at them. It’s one of the most badass moments on the show. 

Of course, the enemy retaliates, but Bobbie keeps going. Bobbie fires on the railguns and successfully eradicates them. Sure, the objective was to gain control of them, but, at this point, destruction is the best option. 

Bobbie falls while Free Navy forces continue to fire on her. Amos shields her body with his, taking the brunt of the bullets. It’s a sweet moment, proving Bobbie’s theory on war from the previous episode: It’s about protecting your fellow soldiers in the field. 

Suddenly, the firing ceases, and we see the Roci soaring above Bobbie and Amos. F**k yeah, Rocinante!

Meanwhile, Duarte informs Marco he’ll no longer assist the Free Navy and officially closes the Laconian Gate to all outsiders. Marco’s on his own now. 

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Filip wonders why Rosenfeld’s death and the deaths of their fellow Belters don’t elicit an emotional response from Marco. Conversely, Marco wonders why Filip doesn’t appreciate or understand what he’s given his son. Marco reveals a higher purpose emboldens him — their freedom is more important than anything. 

Marco delivers a moving, eloquent, impassioned speech to his crew, urging them to continue the fight. Victory rests in their sight! While they all chant “Beltalowda,” Filip sits motionless, unmoved by his father’s monologue. Clinton Shorter‘s stunning score punctuates Marco’s words. 

Holden and the Roci crew calculate their next step now that the railguns are out of commission. The new plan is to move on the Ring Gate and counteract Marco themselves, but Naomi comes up with something better. What if they rig the Giambattista to blow, thereby provoking the Ring entities to “wake up”? All of that matter and debris flying toward the Ring will surely stir those entities to act. 

Then, they can hope those entities will obliterate the Pella.

While the team preps for the final push, Naomi revisits a memory featuring baby Filip. She knows this will kill him, too, along with Marco.

Naomi pushes the “overload reactor” button, which forces the Giambattista to explode, catalyzing the Ring entities. 

Suddenly, we see Marco realize what’s happening, and he orders his crew to “Veer off.” But it’s too late. The angry Ring overcomes him, and searing flashes of crimson erase him from existence like Sauveterre and Babbage aboard the Barkeith

Still of Keon Alexander in The Expanse Season 6 Episode 4 "Redoubt"

Pictured: Keon Alexander in THE EXPANSE Season 6 Episode 4 “Redoubt.” Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Ding dong, the witch is dead!

Aw, this probably means Tadeo died along with Marco. I want to think he made it out beforehand on a skiff.

Everyone on the Roci cheers save Naomi, who collapses into Holden’s arms in sorrow and pain. 

Later, Holden, Avasarala, Drummer, Sanjrani (Jo Vannicola) and other vital UN/MCRN officials meet to create a new plan for the future. A Transport Union to stand guard at the Ring Gate and ensure what’s left of the Free Navy cannot mobilize and regroup. It’ll also help monitor transport to the Ring colonies and put the kibosh on piracy. 

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Drummer stands up for Belters, refusing to accept nothing less than equality across the board. Everyone must work together and stand on equal footing. This scene summarizes the crux of The Expanse — the real issue from the get-go. Holden even chimes in that Marco wasn’t wholly wrong. One hundred years of oppression, Belters’ suffering at the hands of the Inners, bred Marco Inaros. 

Avasarala believes someone impartial and apolitical should lead the Transport Union, who’s helped the Belt, Earth and Mars.

Everyone stares at Holden. Ever hesitant to accept a leadership role, Holden vows to think about it. But first, more coffee, please!

Next, Holden gives his acceptance speech as the new President of the Transport Union. Naomi, Amos and Monica (Anna Hopkins) are present, along with Michio (Vanessa Smythe) and Josep (Samer Salem) with his brand new arm. Avasarala and Drummer flank him on both sides. 

During his speech, Holden expresses his excitement to work with Drummer as his Vice President. So, his first action as President is to resign. He’s leaving the Transport Union and nominating Drummer as his successor. She’s now the prez! Beltalowda!

Drummer steps to the podium and prepares to answer questions from the press while Avasarala pulls Holden aside. She’s furious with him for pulling this stunt, but it was a team effort. Drummer was also in on it. Holden believes this is the best move if they’re all to continue forward, unified. 

Still of Steven Strait in The Expanse Season 6 Episode 3 Force Projection

Pictured: Steven Strait in THE EXPANSE Season 6. Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Later, the Roci departs Ceres Station. We see Bobbie in the pilot seat, presumably filling the role of Alex as the resident Martian pilot. Clarissa gifts Amos with matching devil pins. Their relationship is adorable, and I hope she tells him about her diagnosis soon. 

Holden wonders whether he made the right choice in stepping down from the Transport Union. Naomi delivers a monologue about doing the right thing even if you don’t get a pat on the back for it. 

We see Filip leave the bridge amid Marco’s speech and board a skiff by himself. He speeds away from the Pella before the Ring decimates it. He names himself “Filip Nagata.”

Admittedly, this moment broke me. What a beautiful scene that showcases Filip’s growth and Naomi’s impact on him. I hope they reunite soon, or she learns of his survival. I also love the constant mirroring between these two, notably Naomi tending to Clarissa and Filip sitting by Rosenfeld’s side. 

Of course, Holden, true to form, worries about the future. What if the Ring entities cause more destruction? What about the protomolecule sample (that went to Duarte)? Naomi encourages him to leave tomorrow’s problems on the backburner. They sit in silence together, entwined. 

The Rocinante flies into the vast expanse of space, a glowing speck in an enormous, breathtaking universe. 

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The Expanse is a once-in-a-lifetime series, and nobody knows this better than a Screaming Firehawk. The curators of this show bless us with six consistently incredible seasons, rich with intricate sci-fi magic, tour de force performances, stunning visuals and a gripping story. 

Who could ask for anything more?

Beltalowda, I might need to write a second piece to illustrate how much this show means to me. But know this: “Babylon’s Ashes” encapsulates everything The Expanse stands for: the underlying beating heart is family, communion and unity. We must find ways to overcome our differences and strive for genuine equality. Only then can we forge ahead into the future as a cohesive, unified body. 

And, of course, in the case of those like Marco Inaros, Jules-Pierre Mao and Sadavir Errinwright — power corrupts. 

Duarte’s cooking something significant on Laconia with the protomolecule. Plus, there’s Cara and Xan’s story. So, do I want a spin-off? Yes, please, I’ll take 10. Or I’ll take a prequel series exploring the origins of the OPA and the Butcher of Anderson Station. 

Regardless, I don’t want to leave this universe. But, if this is the end, it’s a damn great one. 

Seasons One-Six of The Expanse is currently streaming on Prime Video. 

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Melody McCune
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