It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the end of the road (showrunner Naren Shankar hopes it’s not) for The Expanse, the most incredible sci-fi series ever made — and that’s not hyperbole. But, here we are, on the day of the series finale, living in abject denial that our show comes to a close.
While The Expanse harbors significantly more pros than cons (the only negative is that it’s ending), its most vital asset, undoubtedly, is the multifaceted, powerful women ruling the solar system. You’d be hard-pressed to find a cast of female characters with more agency and resiliency. The show doesn’t waste time telling us they’re badass; they just are.
Not only that, but most of them are women of color, as curating a diverse universe is a hallmark of this epic space opera.
So, in honor of the Belters, Earthers and Martians that comprise this vast mythos, I want to share what I learned from the women of The Expanse. I’ll carry their strength, empathy, tenacity and wisdom with me forever.
I learned a lot from Naomi’s (Dominique Tipper) journey on The Expanse. It’s important to hold tight to your loved ones and fight for them with every fiber. That leading with love and compassion propels you further than allowing hate to fester in your heart. Sometimes, making the right decision isn’t always easy. It’s vital to do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do, not because you might get a pat on the back.
All we can do is our level best in any given situation. And, as far as survival is concerned, you do what you can to live another day, even if that means soaring out of the airlock to the nearest ship.
As someone who’s experienced sexual trauma, PTSD, anxiety, grief and abuse, I don’t think I can adequately articulate how much Naomi’s story impacted me. Her bravery and courage, especially when entrapped on the Pella last season with Marco, profoundly resonated with me. She’s proof that I can survive anything.
Thank you, Dominique Tipper, for portraying her so beautifully. Thank you, The Expanse writers, for crafting her powerful story.
While we didn’t spend much time with Julie (Florence Faivre), her story set the stage for an unforgettable six-season saga. The Mao family is central to the plot. I learned from Julie that determination catalyzes everything, and a willingness to stir the pots of change can make all the difference. Motivation coupled with action breeds possibilities beyond imagining. I could teach myself archery in a day if I wanted to!
Oh, bosmang; my bosmang. Drummer’s (Cara Gee) resilience amid countless tribulations, her grit from dwelling in an oppressive system catered to the Inners, is more than admirable. She taught me how to fight with everything I’ve got. I learned to be persistent while in the fire, to not take “no” for an answer when that “no” could severely endanger innocent people.
I might find family in the most unexpected places, and it’s okay to lower my walls and let love in with the right people.
Drummer taught me to utilize my voice and stand confidently, immovably, as a force for good. Use that voice to amplify those who can’t speak. I can’t merely “talk the talk” — I must “walk the walk.” Her conviction motivates me to stick to my guns. Even if I’ve got a massive, gaping hole in the side of my ship, I’ll still pursue the baddies with everything I can muster.
Dr. Elvi Okoye
Elvi’s (Lyndie Greenwood) intelligence is unrivaled, and even though we only had one season with her, I learned about the importance of curiosity. To always remain curious regarding the world around me. Never lose enthusiasm and retain a desire to learn more about the universe’s wonders.
You don’t have to be a skilled fighter or warrior to be a badass.
Speaking of badass warriors, Bobbie’s (Frankie Adams) physical strength knows no bounds, and I’ll forever love our fave Martian fighter. But, more than anything, I learned about internal strength from Bobbie. It takes courage to speak truth to power and own your voice unabashedly. Bobbie remains firmly enmeshed in her inner and outer strength. I’ve struggled with owning my voice and telling myself it matters.
Bobbie’s unwavering loyalty to her loved ones (first Mars, then the Roci crew/Avasarala) reminds me to fight for what’s important. Her ability to bravely walk away from what she knew, to step outside her comfort zone, is a vital lesson for us all.
Reverend Doctor Anna Volovodov
Like Elvi, we had only one season with Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell), but she left an indelible mark on the show, notably her brief reappearance in Season Six for Monica’s documentary. Her kindness and empathy resonated with me and is a stark reminder that we can be a shining light in the darkest of places. She also taught me to see the good in everyone — even Marco Inaros (I don’t see him as a villain in the broad sense, anyway).
Sometimes, folks need an outsider’s perspective to glimpse their inner luminescence.
Oh, my dear Peaches. Clarissa’s (Nadine Nicole) redemption arc is beautiful and one of the most well-crafted plots in sci-fi (along with Filip’s story). I learned from Clarissa that it’s never too late to change. Nobody is “too far gone” or beyond redemption. We can rectify our mistakes and atone for our past. It’s cliché, but tomorrow is another day. It’s another chance to course-correct and make amends.
Clarissa’s inner light shines through, and her genuine willingness to do better makes me want to be a better person. She’s evidence that we never stop evolving. Human growth lasts a lifetime.
Regardless of our past transgressions, we can become a part of someone’s crew.
I had to include some women from the “other side,” and, despite Karal’s (Olunike Adeliyi) short tenure on The Expanse, her presence left a mark. Karal wanted a better life for Belters, and she resolved to do whatever in her power to make that dream come to fruition.
That determination — courage under fire — should remind us to do the right thing. Perhaps the main takeaway here is to ensure our decision-making along the way doesn’t put innocent people in danger.
Her strength and self-sufficiency tell me I don’t have to aspire to have those qualities; they’re inherently a part of me.
I learned from Monica (Anna Hopkins) about the power of the truth. She’s emblematic of genuine journalistic integrity — particularly resonant in the age of “fake news.” Monica’s curiosity, tenacity and intellect exhibit a different kind of strength. Amid all the lies we see in the media and our government, the truth is more crucial than ever.
Not only that, but she’s a survivor — you have to be if you’re in the journalistic field, especially when reporting from potentially dangerous places. That independence and survivalist instinct reminds me it’s only me, myself and I at the end of the day.
From Michio (Vanessa Smythe), I’ve learned about the importance of healers and builders. Where would we be without them? Like Elvi, Michio isn’t a fighter, but, according to Drummer, that’s why she fell in love with our Polyam Belter Fam. Michio taught me that working selflessly for others reaps benefits for all involved. Putting goodness out in the world can come back to you.
She helped me examine my legacy. Will people remember me for cultivating something positive? Will they recall my abilities to heal those who needed it? People who build and heal elicit those talents from a place of immense strength.
Even Rosenfeld (Kathleen Robertson) made the cut! Rosenfeld taught me to act cool, calm and collected in any situation. “Cool heads prevail,” and Rosenfeld’s stoicism kept Marco’s hot-headedness and impetuousness somewhat in check. Like Karal, Rosenfeld had some self-interests in mind, but I believe she also fought for the betterment of the Belt. Who wouldn’t want to fight for a cause greater than themselves?
Secretary-General Chrisjen Avasarala
Lastly, but not least, I learned from Secretary-General Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) never to beat around the bush. She taught me to stay open to new ideas and experiences and listen intently. Blatantly say what I have to say without worrying about what others think. I must own my power and never be afraid to squash a few male egos along the way.
There’s a difference between exhibiting niceness versus kindness, and Avasarala showed me that, even if some might not think you’re “nice,” you can always be kind.
I learned always to remain accountable for my actions and grow from my mistakes — that I gain wisdom through my experiences and those I encounter on my life journey.
Words can pack a punch, and Avasarala’s verbal prowess inspires me as a writer. There’s nothing like an elegant expletive woven into the conversation, a stiff drink and a fashionable outfit everyone in the solar system can admire.
What have you learned from the women of The Expanse? Sound off in the comments below!
All seasons of The Expanse are now streaming on Prime Video.
This article was originally published on 1/14/22.