The extent Season 5: Review of episodes 1 to 3
Let’s stop the bullshit: the first three hours of The extentThe fifth season of is the best opening act this show has ever offered (and considering next season its last, arguably the best we can ever get). For a series that has always taken its time exposing the intricate grid of its interlocking narratives (sometimes to its detriment), there’s a noticeable change of pace in the opening moments of season five – and it’s absolutely to its advantage. , as strong as a return bounce from a an extremely uneven and disappointing fourth season I could maybe imagine.
The extentThe fifth season of is the best opening act this show has ever offered (and considering next season its last, arguably the best we can ever get).
The season premiere, “Exodus,” is an apt title for a show that seemed very happy to leave behind the weird and disappointing stories of Ilus; opening with Felip Inaros’ assault on a science vessel near Venus, The extent literally shoots out of doors, with unexpected ferocity. With all the remaining hanging threads of “Cibola Burn,” it was a given season five that would open with a little more momentum (after all, there are stealth asteroids hurtling towards Earth) – but there It’s always surprising how quickly “Exodus” kicks its characters into high gear, often with a Martian boot in their ass.
Sometimes it turns out that more can be better: compared to the last two hours of season four, the pacing of season five is a godsend, a balance between plot and character that is often needed The extent four or five episodes to really dig. With only twenty episodes to work on, it seems the writing team has carefully re-examined its natural storytelling rhythms; and that consideration pays off, from the flashy moments like Amos’ first fight scene to the touching scene Camina shares with a bottle of whiskey in the final minutes of “Mother” (directed by Thomas Jane, returning to lead the episode after Proto -Miller’s touching final season last season), The extent moves with a sense of purpose through these early chapters, which in turn helps drive some much-needed drama in this season’s building conflicts (it also helps that series mainstay Breck Eisner directs the ever-loving fuck of the first two hours, some of the best TV productions I’ve seen in 2020).
It’s hard not to keep comparing this season to last, because they’re so contrasting in what The extent does better than any show on TV: where season four struggled to occupy a large chunk of its characters in one place, season five breaks down the crew of The Roci among the cosmos, never losing pace as he circles the galaxy to their various stories (he also noticeably limits himself to a side of the Ring, which really helps reset the scope and stakes of the series a bit – while pontificating about opportunities on the other side of the Ring is fun, it doesn’t serve the immediate needs of its many characters much, and intelligently moves away from it).
Holden’s short-lived retirement, Bobbie’s growing desperation, Alex’s undying need to be loved (and listened to), Fred’s inherent shadow…all of these things are woven into the larger story of the Martians funding secretly an attack by Belter on Earth, while the OPA scrambles to hide the protomolecule among the stars of its research labs. And The extent deftly navigates them all in these (quite expensive) three episodes, as it digs into Naomi and Amos’ past, and looks to the uncertain future of Holden, Avasarala and Bobbie.
Whether The extent can sustain the difficult ballet of the narrative plot and the engaging character development over the course of ten episodes remains to be seen; every season of The extentwas marked by notable ebbs and flows in quality, most often seen in the second halves, as its complex puzzle boxes and interpersonal conflicts chaotically build to a climax. The conviction of these opening hours, however, gives me a lot of hope: there is no denying the feeling The extent is back in this dramatic opening salvo, setting the stage for what we could possibly remember as the show’s biggest season. High expectations, yes – but if we’ve learned anything from the crew of The Roci over the past 49 episodes is that a little unbalanced hope can go a long way.