The Expanse Is Wasting Its Best Character In Season 6

Caution: Spoilers ahead for The Expanse. 

Camina Drummer finally emerges from the shadows in The Expanse season 6, episode 4 ("Redoubt"), however, the Prime Video series has wasted the character in the first three installments of its 6-episode final season. Drummer began season 6 on the run with a rising bounty on her faction's head after betraying Marco Inaros' Free Navy in the season 5 finale. Through the first half of the season, she meets with Liang Walker, a Golden Bough faction leader, and Free Navy dissident, and coordinates to plunder Marco's supply depots. Drummer makes her move in episode 4, as her and Walker's crews execute the raid, but The Expanse season 6 should have invested in her story earlier.

Drummer has followed one of the most compelling character arcs in The Expanse. Introduced in season 2 as Fred Johnson's second-in-command on Tycho Station, the strong-minded Belter went on to captain the Behemoth on its journey to the ring gate in season 3, and helm the same vessel—now named Medina Station—in season 4. The Expanse season 5 saw Drummer assume a path away from politics, leading a polyamorous crew of Belter pirates who reluctantly joined the Free Navy to avoid certain death.

Related: How Expanse Season 6 Can End Drummer's Story (& Subvert A Hated TV Trope)

Drummer’s storyline in The Expanse seasons 5 and 6 derives from the book character Michio Pa’s arc in Babylon's Ashes—the series' sixth novel. The Prime Video series addressed a portion of this storyline with Drummer in season 5, but The Expanse fails to take advantage of accelerating its timeline and hardly gives Drummer anything to do in season 6's first three episodes. After stealing Marco's supplies, Drummer and her faction set off for Ceres Station, though her heightened involvement feels too late in the game to properly illustrate the so-called "pirate queen" Michio Pa's riveting story in the book.

Instead, The Expanse season 6 should have introduced Drummer in the fight against Marco much earlier with a stronger emphasis on her relief efforts and clashes with Free Navy foes. This way, it would raise the stakes for her the whole way through and deliver just as many thrills as the Roci crew's endeavors. Episode 4's raid sequence could have taken place over multiple episodes instead of purposing the previous two episodes toward merely planning the act. In the book, Michio Pa undergoes a more thorough process of amassing Free Navy defectors at her side and coordinating her pirate fleet's strike against Marco. The Expanse season 6 should have further highlighted this angle instead of largely confining it to the season’s latter half.

Drummer's wasted existence through The Expanse season 6's first three episodes is frustrating because her already well-written arc warrants a better setup to her ending. Drummer easily stands as the hero of The Expanse, having nearly sacrificed her life for the greater good multiple times. Furthermore, considering Michio Pa's crucial role in Babylon's Ashes, Drummer's emulation of her arc demands a grander spotlight. Keeping Drummer on the sidelines for too long undermines her importance to the series. In a 10 or 13-episode season, which The Expanse has followed in the past, a slower-paced setup would have worked fine, though, with just six episodes, a brilliant character such as Drummer deserves more than an underdone storyline through half of The Expanse season 6.

Next: Why The Expanse Season 6 Is So Short

The Expanse releases new episodes Fridays on Prime Video.

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