The Expanse season 6 finale sees Marco Inaros defeated by the ring entities awakened by an exploding ice hauler, which imitates the series’ beginning.
Naomi’s plan to blow up the ice hauler Giambattista in The Expanse season 6 finale (“Babylon’s Ashes”) resembles the destruction of a similar vessel, the Canterbury, in the Prime Video series’ very first episode. The Giambattista’s original purpose involved transporting an assault team ejecting cargo as a distraction during the allied fleet’s attack on the ring station. To defeat Marco Inaros’ Free Navy after successfully taking control of the ring space, Naomi overloaded the Giambattista’s reactor to trigger the ring entities during the Pella’s transit through the gate. In the most fitting way, the event that united the crew of the Rocinante and instigated The Expanse’s vast narrative of war recreates itself to bring peace to the Sol system.
The Expanse’s core characters — James Holden, Naomi Nagata, Amos Burton, and Alex Kamal — met on the Canterbury, as each’s employment on the ice hauler stemmed from a unique backstory. In season 1, episode 1 (“Dulcinea”), the Cant was destroyed by a stealth ship while the aforementioned crew members, along with Shed Garvey, were investigating a distress signal aboard a shuttle. They eventually boarded the Martian Donnager, which was also destroyed, but not before the four of them escaped via a warship Holden later named the Rocinante.
In The Expanse season 6 finale, Naomi’s suggestion to dispose of the Giambattista channels the memory of the Cant’s demolition at the series’ beginning, despite the vastly different circumstances. Each taking place at the opposite end of the series’ timeline, the two ice haulers play a key role in the initiation and resolution of its central conflict. Although The Expanse book series contains three more novels following season 6’s source material, Babylon’s Ashes, it’s fitting that the show’s first and last episode share an ice hauler parallel.
Before Naomi proposes destroying the ship to awaken the ring entities, the dispersal of cargo from the Giambattista acted as a shield to absorb some of the rail-gun fire and allow the pods containing assault team members to land on the ring station. This situation resembles The Expanse season 1’s first episode, when Holden ordered the Cant to eject its ice to deflect the incoming torpedoes. However, in this case, time ran out for the vessel, and it succumbed to the threat without offering resistance. By deliberately plotting to defeat Marco’s forces through this method, the Roci crew and its allies use the Cant’s missed opportunity to their advantage, proving that The Expanse’s first major event still runs deep, even in the show’s final season.
The deeper meaning behind Naomi’s ice hauler plan in The Expanse season 6 lies in that the Roci crew finds a moment of redemption through purposing an exploding ice hauler toward a positive end goal. After helplessly watching the Cant disappear from their radar in The Expanse season 1, the three surviving members of the incident — Holden, Naomi, and Amos — see Marco taken off the board following the blast. The destruction of the Cant signaled the beginning of a dark period that saw the Sol system spiral into war, and in turn, the Giambattista’s detonation effectively opens the door for a brighter future.