The fifth season of The Expanse ends today with the season finale episode "Nemesis Games" releasing on Amazon Prime. The episode brings more than one shocker for fans to digest, but the final scene is sure to stir up some conversation. SPOILERS for the episode follow. Fans now know that The Expanse's sixth season will be the show's last, meaning that the television version of the story will wrap ahead of the 28-year time jump that separates the sixth book in the series of novels the show is based on from the final four books of the series. Those last books introduce new threats to the galaxy as enemies nearly forgotten after Marcos Inaros' war on the inner planets subsided come back to haunt the solar system.
With only one season left to go, it was unclear how much of those threats we'll see in The Expanse on television, but closing moments of "Nemesis Games" brings them to the fore. We learn of the Martian defectors who have taken the protomolecule through the ring gates and formed a new faction in the Laconia system. We also get a glimpse at the powers that were awakened by humanity's continued toying with protomolecule.
Fans might be wondering what this could be setting up for The Expanse's final outing. When ComicBook.com asked showrunner Naren Shankar about that, he said that the scene is at least as much about paying off plot threads from previous seasons as it is about setting up what's to come.
"It isn't disconnected from the narrative of season five. It's fundamentally intertwined with it," Shankar says. "And in reality, the end of episode 10 is the epilogue to the fifth novel. That is the scene. Sauveterre gets evaporated. We introduce him a little bit differently in the show than the character is introduced in the book, but it has to do with plenty of plot threads that would have not had an explanation. Like how did Marco get those ships? How did he pay for them? Why was he stealing the protomolecule? And that's the answer. Now those things have ramifications."
The season confirms all of James Holden's fears about what the protomolecule's continued existence might bring down upon the galaxy. Now it's up to humanity to deal with the consequences.
"For the last several seasons, Holden has been concerned about what they might be waking up with the protomolecule," Shankar explains. "They found that artifact on Ilus in season four. At the beginning of season five, he talks to Fred about his concern that we're waking up the things that destroyed this immensely powerful civilization millennia ago. And the end of season five is like, 'Yep, Holden's right.' Something's woken up, and that's not good. And not good at maybe the worst time, because the entire solar system is embroiled in this war, which is the thing that Holden has been concerned about from the very beginning. Our eyes are not on the thing that's really the big concern."