The Expanse Kicks Off With A Big Bang—And Suddenly All Of Humanity Is In Peril

A single spark: that’s all that’s needed to ignite an all-out war between a future version of Earth controlled by the United Nations, an asteroid belt inhabited by an overtaxed human population, and Mars, home to a populace that lives outside the UN’s jurisdiction and under the control of a technologically advanced military power.


A distress signal: intercepted by an ice freighter destined for the Belt now delayed by a duty to investigate. While the crew of the Canterbury know all too well what too much time drifting among the stars can do to a person…


…their new Executive Officer makes the executive decision to send the data on the distress call to HQ, thus making a trip to the stranded ship mandatory (and cancelling the few short days of vacation the crew had been looking forward to on the Belt). Holden, the XO, recruits a small, less than willing rescue squad and heads towards the marooned ship in a lifeboat (or the spaceship equivalent of a lifeboat).


While the rescue squad have no idea what to expect, we do. At the top of this first episode we get a peek inside the disabled ship Scopuli and meet the one person who seems to be the sole survivor of whatever happened on board. She looks scared, and we’re also allowed a brief glimpse as to why that might be.


Back in the Belt, Miller, a police detective in the port city of Ceres, receives an off-the-books assignment to track down Julie Mao, the young heir to a powerful dynasty and family-run corporation. Hmm.

There’s a lot of dissatisfaction circulating around the Belt due to the mistreatment of Belters by those on Earth. Belters often breathe dirty air and they never have enough water. In this new world order air and water are at a premium. On top of that, natives of the Belt suffer from low bone density—which makes them very easy to torture back on Earth.


Back on the stranded ship, the rescuers find that a huge hole has been blown in the side of the vessel and that the ship’s reactor has gone offline, cutting all communication. All the pressure doors have been left open—so that no one could hide from whatever has boarded. When Holden and his crew discover that the distress signal they’ve been picking up is emanating from a planted transmitter, they evacuate in a hurry, reaching the lifeboat just in time to see an approaching ship, no longer cloaked in Mars-made stealth technology. The torpedoes it’s firing seem to be aimed right at them but instead of hitting their tiny ship, they connect with the crew’s freighter that they were about to return to.


Just before the impact, Holden receives one final transmission from his ship. “There’s something you should know…” says his navigator girlfriend. The explosion cuts off whatever she was going to say next.

A single spark.

The Expanse Series Premiere: By the Numbers

3: Competing factions on the brink of war at the beginning of the series—Earth, Mars, and The Belt

23rd: Century The Expanse is set during

2: Number of resources—water and air—worth more than their weight in gold in the Belt

1: Severed limbs lost in ice mining ventures deep in space

4: Number of crew members who leave the Canterbury to investigate the distress call coming from a marooned ship

4: Number of Canterbury crew members that survive the attack from Mars’ stealth war ship

5: Number of major mysteries we’re left wondering about after the first episode of The Expanse