The Expanse makes an explosive exit in its final excursion of the season. The felota finally hits the fan and any loose ends left in your travels get tied up, one way or another. Though the early episodes felt lacking as they were released, Episode 5 draws it all together. After everything, The Expanse: A Telltale Series has wings; it just had to limp away from an awkward liftoff.
It’s decisions galore as Camina and her newfound pirate pals assault the Artemis to take her ship back. Forget exploring in the dark; forget the circuit box puzzles; this one is wall-to-wall action and twists, some of which you control. Who will be left standing with Camina when it’s all over? The choices are up to you (well, some of them are). Episode 5 takes The Expanse out with a bang. All your friends and enemies are together in one place, and Camina gets cleverly set up final moments with each of them. It’s a blast to see how everything converges at the end and finally get those big payoffs to your previous decisions. I was admittedly sour about the first couple of episodes. But now that everything is released, the full season of The Expanse would make for a smooth experience that you could wrap up in an evening or two. I still didn’t care for the slow rollout of a Telltale game, but that’s all in the past.
Get your thumbs ready; the quicktime events are flying fast and furious. This is the most frantic episode of The Expanse; fitting, as it’s the grand finale. Telltale has done action sequences in its games, but this one has the most punch I’m aware of. Camina is in the mood for murder, and rightfully so after all she’s been through. The drama is high, the tension is high and it’s just a grand time of payback and relief. It’s an entirely satisfying finish to the series, as Camina gets the chance to let her frustrations out. She gets to punch people in the face a lot more than she did in the TV series, and you get the feeling she was often itching to do so.
Now that The Expanse is over, it could act as a “season 0” for the TV series. Telltale expressly created The Expanse with newcomers in mind, without the need to have consumed all six TV seasons. I think it works fine as a standalone story and is a capable prequel. The essential characters from the show appear off-camera in The Expanse: A Telltale Series through audio recordings or Camina’s flashbacks, and these smaller vignettes work fine as an introduction to those characters. It would also provide an earlier introduction to Camina, who doesn’t appear in the TV series until season 2. Of course, I would expect fans of the show would enjoy this side story and the deeper exploration of Camina’s growth into her eventual role as a ship captain.
The Expanse is an example of Telltale at its best. The wild scenarios are inspired. It puts a unique spin on the property it draws from while maintaining similar themes and a similar atmosphere. It introduces compelling new characters who feel like they belong in an already-established world. It adds a further layer by developing an established character in a way that could be considered canon for the IP she’s from and lands the original actor to reprise that character’s role. As Telltale creations, all the new characters do the trick, but Khan and Toussaint were especially fascinating to dig into and plenty entertaining. On the other hand, while I enjoyed the exploration to a degree, I still don’t care for hiding some of the character development behind finding items you aren’t aware you need to find. I doubt that portion of the game made much of a difference in the final outcome, but it still feels like a cheap way to force replayability if you want to go back and see everything.
The final episode puts Camina neatly into place for when she shows up in season 2, whether Telltale puts together another season of their own or not. They could find room to do that with Camina. On the other hand, it could potentially follow at least one other character who first appears in Episode 4. There are so many teases of main series characters that it would be fantastic if some of them showed up in the (animated) flesh for one last run, especially as there’s no evidence that the TV series will continue. In any case, this is assuredly the last anyone will see of the Artemis.
There is already more to come from Telltale with a second season of The Wolf Among Us, so that’s encouraging for their future as a renewed and rejuvenated studio. The Expanse: A Telltale Series is a fun sci-fi jaunt that both fans and non-fans of the TV series can enjoy. It could expand the horizons for some people who came into the IP fresh, or be one last excursion for those who already love it. Prequels often feel unnecessary it takes something special to come up with a good one, and that’s something Telltale has succeeded at. Exhuming a series that’s already finished isn’t always a good idea, but when you have the capable hands of the Telltale crew, you’re in for an enjoyable ride. So, strap in because you might not survive the Gs if you don’t. Fingers crossed that this won’t be the last we hear of The Expanse: A Telltale Series.