The Expanse Season 6 Ending Explained & The Biggest Unresolved Questions

After six seasons and two networks, "The Expanse" aired its last episode on January 14. The final season, which was only six episodes long, provided some closure for the crew of the Rocinante but also left lots and lots of opportunities (ring gates, if you will) open for the world of "The Expanse" to continue growing. 

We have an overall review of the final episode elsewhere on /Film, but this post will get into the details of the very ending of the final episode "Babylon's Ashes." What happened in those complex battle scenes? What's in store for the crew of the Rocinante? Read on for a detailed explanation of what happened in the last few minutes of "The Expanse."

An Epic and Complicated Battle Plan – Drummer's POV

The big battle against the Free Navy starts with an all-out attack against Earth, Mars, and Drummer's Belter faction. It's an all-out battle, and Drummer's forces are going up against what they think is one of Marco's freighters, not Marco himself. As the battle progresses, however, Drummer realizes that the freighter her faction is after is actually Marco's ship in disguise. Marco rips up her faction, including leaving a major gash in her ship. Drummer is wounded but not down, and she's willing to give up her life she takes down Marco with her. She gets ready to run a collision course into the Pella, Marco's ship, but her Belter ally, Walker, beats her to it.

Walker does a good job damaging the ship, but doesn't kill Marco (though he does get his second in command, Rosenfeld). Marco and the rest of the Free Navy get away from the Earth-Mars-Drummer fleet and are now able to make it to the ring unopposed.

An Epic and Complicated Battle Plan — The Rocinante's POV

The Rocinante crew have their own secret mission while the rest of the fleet go against Marco. They head to the ring gate with a freighter ship called the Batista and aim to take over the rail guns the Free Navy grafted onto the ring station. The plan, which Drummer grudgingly calls "ingenious" earlier in the episode, involves the Batista expelling thousands of containers or pods through the ring, some of which include soldiers. With so many pods, the rail guns won't be able to get them all, and the goal is for the surviving troops (which include Amos and Bobbie) to land on the ring station and take over the rail guns.

The mission is a risky one, and one with high casualties. The rail gun takes down several of the soldiers, but not all. Bobbie and Amos (thank goodness!) make it down to the ring station along with a handful of other soldiers. It's bleak though, and the Rocinante crew have their own problems trying not to die. After a grim sequence, Bobbie manages to blow up the power generator for the rail guns, shutting them down. This saves the remaining fighters and the Rocinante, but now the team is vastly outnumbered as the Free Navy fleet burns to the ring unopposed.

Use the Ring Against Them

The Rocinante is getting ready to fight a battle they know they can't win when Naomi has an idea — what if they could wake up those red ring entities that have been swallowing up ships when Marco and the Free Navy pass through the ring? She thinks if they send all their torpedos toward it and blow up what remains of the Batista, they can wake up those entities and end Marco once and for all.

Naomi's plan works! The Pella with Marco on board gets consumed by the ring entities and the war is effectively over. The ending is almost anticlimactic in some ways, but Marco is gone, and Naomi thinks her son, Filip, is gone too. We see the agony Naomi goes through, thinking her son is dead. We find out at the very end of the episode, however, that Filip left the Pella before it went through the ring. He finally sees the horror that Marco is doing, and wants to separate from him.

A New Post-War Order

With Marco gone, the war is basically over. The winning side — Earth, Mars, and the Belter faction led by Drummer — now have to negotiate to determine what to do with Medina Station, the station that controls traffic through the ring gates and the thousands of habitable planets that reside there.

Drummer, understandably, wants Belters to control the station; it's their due after centuries of oppression from the inner planets. Earth and Mars want none of it, of course, and they come to a compromise wherein Holden becomes the first President of Trade Authority, the organizational body that will control Medina and hence access to the other rings. Everyone agrees, but Holden's first act as President is to resign and make Drummer the President. Avasarala is angry — she's been woodwinked after all — but Holden urges her to keep things as is and she seems to acquiesce.

The last shot of the series is back on the Rocinante. Holden is back as captain and Bobbie and Clarissa are officially new crew members and part of the family. We end the show with a shot of Holden and Naomi resting in bed. Holden, being Holden, is fretting about the issues still out there, and Naomi says, "Let's just stay here, for a minute." And so we do, as the Rocinante travels through space.

Plot Threads Remain Dangling Out There for a Movie Pickup

The show has a satisfying ending, but there are still loads of threads out there that remained unanswered. This isn't surprising given there are three more books in the series the show is based on, and there is ample story left to tell if "The Expanse" ever gets picked up again for another on-screen adaptation.

The biggest thing hanging out there is what's happening on Laconia, the ring planet where Admiral Duarte's Martian faction have set up camp. We don't know what happens to Cara and Xan, her protomoleculed brother, for one. And we don't really know what Duarte's plans are either. We also don't know what's going on with the mysterious ring entities that keep swallowing up ships or what those "strange dog" protomolecule creatures are all about.

On the personal level, there are also some unresolved issues. We found out that Clarissa's life expectancy, for example, is only five years given the mods she implanted. These open issues are things that "Expanse" fans undoubtedly crave to see explored on the show. But the show is over, in this form, at least, and the creative team provided enough closure to give us some satisfaction on where we leave the Rocinante crew and the rest of humanity.