The Expanse S6: Chatham and Nicole (interview) say they’re in denial about the ‘final season’

Photo: The Expanse: Season 4.. Image Courtesy Amazon Studios
Photo: The Expanse: Season 4.. Image Courtesy Amazon Studios /

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the fifth season of The Expanse, was the chance to explore Amos Burton’s (Wes Chatham) backstory among the streets of Baltimore, MD on Earth. Fans have gotten used to the tough Earther, the “I am that guy,” as the one you always want to pick in a fight.

Based on the novella The Churn, it was a delight to see where all his angst originated, as he traveled back to his messed up childhood to visit with (and eventually helped break out of prison) someone else dealing with her own messed up backstory, Clarissa Mao (Nadine Nicole), “Peaches.” As they struggled to make it off of Earth as Marco Inaro’s (Keon Alexander) stealth terrorist rocks pummeled the planet, their journey provided fans with the highlight of Amos’s and Clarissa’s differing attitudes towards survival violence (we all know where Amos stands).

As The Expanse Season 6 starts, Clarissa has joined the Rocinante crew, working alongside the captain, James Holden (Steven Strait), who she tried to kill in previous seasons. (Amos persuading Holden to let her join the Roci crew, provided a hilariously shocking reaction from Holden by the end of S5.)

But obviously, Clarissa Mao has a lot to atone for, including those she’s murdered in the past. Guilt underscores her narrative, which continues throughout The Expanse’s Season 6.

Culturess participated in a Zoom press room for The Expanse’s sixth season junket, where I asked both actors Nadine Nicole and Wes Chatham about the ravages of guilt for their characters, the complexity of filming those space scenes, if this is indeed the end for The Expanse, and the all-important why the hell can’t Amos ever develop an intimate relationship question.

Culturess: How much does guilt play into both of your characters?

Nadine Nicole: A lot… I mean, that is pretty much the arc of season five as we know. And then coming into season six, there’s a bit of shift of focus. I think that there’s always going to be a huge sense of guilt that she’s going to carry with her for the rest of her life, for the things that she’s done. And she’s aware of that, and she’s ready to carry that with her. But then there’s also a shift in her that is open to seeing if she can become a better person, trying to live a different life, to be of service to her friend that she trusts, that’s given her a bit of wings, and to a possible future tribe or family that may accept her, if she can win their trust and earn it.

Wes Chatham: You know, I think that Amos, I don’t think he feels guilt the way that other people feel it, and I think he has a hard time understanding it in others. When he sees [Clarissa] suffering under so much guilt and shame, he’s trying to help her the best way he can, to free himself from it. And one of the reasons that he’s questioning Holden’s motivation now is that he’s starting to really suspect it’s coming from some guilt, some sense of responsibility that he doesn’t understand where it’s coming from.

Culturess: And can you tell me what it was like filming on your last day? What your feelings were?

WC: You know, what’s interesting, is that we’ve kind of been in this routine for seven, almost eight years now: where you go in, you shoot, you shoot five, six months, you come back, you do press, you get ready to go back, and you do it again. So when we wrapped, I knew consciously that this was probably the last episode. But it’s still, I still haven’t processed it yet. It still felt like another finale, that we’ll be back, and then I’ll see everybody. And so, I haven’t really, really processed the whole experience yet.

NN: I’m also in complete denial.

Culturess: You know, can I ask, like, why can’t Amos get a girlfriend or have a relationship, like what is going on?

WC: You need ask Ty [Franck] and Daniel [Abraham] [show creators] and Naren [Shankar, showrunner] that.

Culturess: Because he seems like such a nice guy. I know he’s got his issues and his hang-ups but you know…

WC: He is such a nice guy! Thank you for saying that. You’re the first one to say that.

Culturess: I said with issues.

WC: Yeah, with issues, but don’t we all have issues? [laughs]

You know what, I don’t know if he is available in that way, emotionally. and I think there’s a reason why he chooses brothels and things like that because I don’t know how comfortable he is with the intimacy.

Culturess: And can you tell me about that space fight scene, you know where you were in the ejected chair? Was that kind of awkward to film?

WC: That was mind-blowing to watch because of the way it was shot. You know, I was on this crane, and the crane was spinning around in circles. And there was a camera on a crane, and the camera was going like counter-clockwise, and then zooming in and zooming out. And then they were having all these massive light things and they were creating G-force with a helmet and spinning around. So there was a lot of practical getting jerked around and having the lights explode and everything like that… But  when I saw it, finished, it’s breathtaking, breathtaking.

Culturess: Yeah, I have to wrap up, but it really translates well in the end, so thank goodness, right?

WC: Absolutely.

You can see the full interview below:

Next. The Expanse: How Keon Alexander’s Marco displays “toxic masculinity” and trauma. dark

The first episode of The Expanse’s Season 6, “Strange Dogs,” already dropped early (the show is so great to its fans) on Amazon Prime Video and is available for streaming. The second episode, “Azure Dragon,” drops Friday, Dec. 17, with the remaining episodes hitting Amazon on Fridays.