The Expanse: All of season 3, spoilers for entire book series   Books Included 
March 4, 2018 4:11 PM - Season 3 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Following the destruction of Arboghast in Venus' atmosphere, many questions remain. Will Bobbie and Avasarala succesfully escape from Mao's ship? Will our band of heroes find Prax's daughter? You already know the answers to those questions because you've read the books!

The new season starts 11 April in the US but promos are starting to come out with some frequency. I just wanted to make a safe place for buklowda to gather in advance of S1E1, so the episode posts could be tv-only.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace (76 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

There is what looks like Razorback interior in the second trailer! Note Avasarala in the back...
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:13 PM on March 4, 2018

For a second I thought I had missed it and was going to panic.
posted by corb at 5:52 PM on March 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

Doesn't look like the drop is until April 11th?

I'm still undecided on Wes Chatham as Amos, especially now with the big hipster beard (instead of the hipster stubble).

From my reading, in my minds eye he's big man baby-looking with very little hair. More genetically 'big guy' strong with a sheath of subcutaneous fat rather than being so cut. You know, the kind of dude who will literally steam when playing sportball in cold rain.

I really like how Amos plays out and develops in the books especially later on. Another bit where I disagree with how the character has been played, but admittedly that kind of nuance is extraordinarily hard to do on tv.
posted by porpoise at 6:20 PM on March 4, 2018

Yeah, 11 April, but

(a) I wanted to be sure a books-too thread would be around before the show started and
(b) The promos are starting and GUYS LOOK THEY HAVE A RAZORBACK SET.

If they follow the patterns of previous seasons I bet they'll finish up Caliban's War, follow the Abaddon's Gate flotilla out to the gate, and that the season will end with Holden and Ghosty Hat Cop interacting on the gate-nexus station.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:55 PM on March 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

That lashing out in the original 'Altered Carbon' thread started a cancer. I really hope that as a community that we can have a healing.

Thank you for starting a 'Books Included' ffFPP - personally I felt kinda insulted by some insistent "show-only!" personalities and decided not to continue to contribute to 'Show Only' threads.

posted by porpoise at 8:16 PM on March 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

GCU Sweet and Full of Grace, thank you for this post. Things got crazy last year (understatement) and I somehow missed the December release of Persepolis Rising. I rectified that last week and was hoping for somewhere to discuss in no particular order; Peaches (did she even have a redemptive arc?), Amos calmly walking the Earth in the 4th book, Michio Pa's group marriage in previous books, the huge time jump, Captain Draper and how many seasons away from Laconia are we?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:25 AM on March 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Tiny trailerette with maybe the gate opening?

Character promos for Avasarala, Bobbie, Holden . Probably Razorback at the beginning of Avasarala's? Video didn't want to start until I clicked a second or two in on the timeline bar thingie dingus.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:32 PM on March 7, 2018

New trailer (US only, sorry). Razorback! More Cotyar! More Drummer! Angry protodudes!

Are they nuking/dropping rocks on Earth already?

Didn't see any shots of Elizabeth Mitchell or David Strathairn, so it looks like this is all from the Caliban's War first chunk of the season?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:44 PM on March 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Episode titles from

The Expanse - Episode 3.01 - Fight Or Flight
The Expanse - Episode 3.02 - IFF
The Expanse - Episode 3.03 - Assured Destruction
The Expanse - Episode 3.04 - Reload
The Expanse - Episode 3.05 - Triple Point
The Expanse - Episode 3.06 - Immolation
The Expanse - Episode 3.07 - Delta-V
The Expanse - Episode 3.08 - The Investigator
The Expanse - Episode 3.09 - Aberrations
The Expanse - Episode 3.10 - Dandelion Sky
The Expanse - Episode 3.11 - Objects In Motion
The Expanse - Episode 3.12 - Congregation

3.13 not listed but presumably Abaddon's Gate.

Ghosty Hat Cop!
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:17 AM on March 12, 2018

Kind of a chicken-or-egg question, but I think the timing works out for when the TV series dropped and when the next books started being written:

Do you think Drummer became a POV character in Persepolis Rising because of the scene-stealing performances of actress of Cara Gee in season two?

Or am I wrong? Disabuse me of this notion, if you can.
posted by seasparrow at 8:39 PM on March 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Because Michio Pa is no Fred Johnson and doesn't try to hold on to power for 30 years. Who else can it be? Anderson Dawes is presumably too old by then. I would have voted Sam Rosenberg for Union President but Captain Ashford ruined that. I guess it could be fan service for the show, but I just saw it as continuity across the 30 year gap.

Here's my question, was the Drummer/Sam relationship retconned later or did I just miss it in the 3rd book?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:25 PM on March 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

New trailer

David Strathairn is Ashford! Elizabeth Mitchell is Pastor Anna!
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:34 AM on March 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

I am assuming and hoping this Contorta business does not last too long, though I really REALLY like how they've been integrating Prax in as more crew than client.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:38 AM on April 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

Really excited about this season! And since it's made here in Toronto, I have actually been able to do some of the VFX work on a couple of the late episodes, which makes me happy. Things I spent some time doing yesterday: reading Persepolis Rising, catching up on season 2, watching the first episode of season 3, working on the last episode of season 3. It was a very Expansey day!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:42 PM on April 14, 2018 [6 favorites]

All I know is, once we get to Abaddon's Gate, I have NO idea how they're going to handle the visual effects. I mean I expect some CGI Ghost Cop and gratuitous "this ship's crew was just liquified" 360-degree panning shots, but a lot of this stuff is just hard to imagine.

Can't wait to see how it all looks, especially the captain vs. Bull battle after everything goes to hell during the Interplanetary Gate Race.

I'm about to start Nemesis Games, so sadly, I'm behind some of y'all here. But I won't be rude about spoilers! This series is my hard sci-fi bae.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:23 AM on April 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

They seem to have pulled the "lots of missiles protecting Razorback" gag from... was it in Babylon's Ashes or Nemesis Games? Either way, from the time where Alex and Bobbie are in Razorback investigatin' stuff.

Which makes me wonder if they're planning to compress that out of the show?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:17 PM on April 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

It's been a while since I read the books -- does Book!Anna have a historical connection to the Secretary General? I like what the writers did here in S3E2 to introduce her character earlier/differently, but I'm fairly certain she shows up much later, and essentially at random, rather than having A Portentous Backstory? That said, Avarsarala doesn't show up until Book 2, if I remember correctly, and I approved of / enjoyed how her arc was moved forward to introduce her in S1.
posted by Alterscape at 12:41 AM on April 22, 2018

I don't recall any specific connection to the SG, but she wouldn't have been asked to go to the gate in the first place if she wasn't well-connected to politics in some way.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:38 AM on April 22, 2018

IIRC book-Anna applied be part of the delegation the UN sent out to the ring. She knew Cortez from earlier in her career (seminary?) but their paths diverged, Cortez turning into the Expanse-universe version of Joel Osteen and Anna turning into Anna.

Edit: Nope. Pulled up the ebook and I was wrong. Cortez didn't know Anna.
posted by nathan_teske at 11:26 AM on April 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Well, Anna's rich socialite friend Tilly Fagan is definitely politically connected to the highest levels, but I am not sure such a relatively minor character is going to make the transition to the TV show. I wonder how they will show the Roci crew getting full uncontested ownership of the former ship Tachi. Probably now happens through Anna.
posted by seasparrow at 12:52 PM on April 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

Were Anna and Tilly already friends, or did they meet on the flight out to the ring?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:36 PM on April 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I am pretty sure they met on the flight, where Anna sees past Tilly's facade to realize how lonely she is and how useless she feels.
posted by seasparrow at 2:53 PM on April 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

What fits in here and what fits in the showala threads?
posted by porpoise at 8:33 PM on April 26, 2018

Oh *SHIT* (s03e03) I love Amos' dropping about 'how to walk in pumps' when priming Avasarala on how to walk in magnetic boots.

This is prime book-discussion material.

He shares that he was a sex worker's offspring (in books, eventually), and was (involuntarily/ statutarily) involved as well - against his wishes? - and this is a pretty candid admission of his past. Implies his being a sissyfied prepubescent boy being sex trafficked.
posted by porpoise at 9:09 PM on April 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

Is it just me or is ShowHolden closer to BookHolden this season?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:08 AM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yep, I see the show/book Holden convergence too. Totally gave me bookfeelings when he was ranting about where they'd go next.

Everyone that complains about Wes Chatham playing Amos, this last ep where he clearly implies he's worn women's heels before? That is why I think he's perfect casting for this character.

To really understand the sense of what Amos went through as a kid, what hardened and damaged him so irrevocably until he became the killer he is now? Just look at Wes Chatham's beautiful, angelic face. Can you imagine how pretty he was as a young teenager, with those wide eyes and sweet dimpled cheeks? I think the combination of androgyny/femininity in Chatham's face coupled with his ridiculously beefy and squat Earther physique really makes sense. Amos was pressed into sex work because he was an attractive child. Yes, it's repulsive to think about, but it makes his backstory even sadder.

Of course, I started the show before I read the books, so that might be why I'm more than okay with it.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:29 PM on April 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

Any other book reader feeling a bit sad that they've made naomi the bad guy this season? in the books she is one of my favourite characters ever. Going against what people think for what they believe is right? that's a holden move. measured, thought out responses that everyone eventually sees are the right thing? that's Naomi. I'm sure the screenwriters have a bigger picture in mind when changing the plot that way, but damn, it gets me. In the books she has the quiet diplomatic skills I identify with, I wish that carried over into the show. That being said, I love how many complex, admirable female characters there are in the expanse.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:31 AM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

I don't know if I exactly read Naomi as being the bad guy here, and there is that whole sequence in the books where she and Holden break up for a while - I'm taking this "Holden is pissed about the protomolecule" bit as sort of an extended version of that story, since they didn't have much time to spend on it when it actually happened in the show last season. In the books it's Naomi pissed at Holden getting too gun-happy, here it's Holden being pissed because Naomi is too eager to level the military playing field in the war, but I can see enough congruency that it seems thematically similar.

I'm fairly sure the rescue of the Martian crew in episode 4 isn't from the books, and I'm not quite sure where they're going with it. I think Mao is already a fugitive by now in the books, isn't he?
posted by whir at 11:28 PM on May 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Mao is already in jail, I think, at this point. What I think they're doing is, in part, trying to connect things in the books that aren't connected. Like - the books exist as a series, but they're pretty stand alone in other ways - if you don't know the characters, it still makes sense as a book. Consequently, there's a new villain all the time, which I think plays differently on TV as chaotic. So I think they're using Mao both to have continuity, and also to keep us thinking about the Maos for when they bring on Clarissa - but I have no idea how they're going to do that, because part of the motivation for her is that her father has been rotting in jail for years.
posted by corb at 8:13 AM on May 4, 2018

I think they're going to go to Io where Holden will play a direct and personal role in either capturing or killing Mao. Not like Miller, but maybe Mao is escaping in a ship and Holden personally fires the torpedo that kills him.

Or he's captured, the Io situmatation is wrapped up, and they do a "Two years later..."
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:15 AM on May 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

It's so interesting to see what changes get made in the transition from books to TV series. I haven't read the Expanse books, but I've been watching The Magicians and I did read that series. So many of the changes in both cases seem to be about building a cast of series regulars plus recurring characters. If you cast someone in an important guest spot, you have to keep bringing them back to make sure they're still going to be available. But they can only afford so many actors, too.

The writers on the Expanse do a really good job of this. Like the SecGen has only become a real character this season, partly because he's kind of a figurehead/puppet, party because the stakes are higher now and out of Errinwright's shadows. They find ways to use a character through a whole season (or kill them off quickly). But they also make us wonder (like, will we see Miller again? surely this can't really be the end of Hat Cop). I love how they juggle multiple plot threads, and the thrill we get when some of them merge.

All that said, I'd love to see more of Anderson Dawes this season. That guy is so watchable. But Jared Harris can't be tied down, I guess. Working out the timing of a show like this has to be like a friggin' moon launch.
posted by rikschell at 9:48 AM on May 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Re my comment

whole sentence, unredacted

I *think* the JPM-Mei headfakes are show only but they are terrific and actually deepen JPM considerably, shame on JSAC Corp for missing the opportunity first time thru.
posted by mwhybark at 12:02 AM on May 5, 2018

re Jared Harris

We've often found ourselves backing The Terror with The Expanse this year, and I highly endorse the approach. The Terror is shot as haunted spaceship SF, befitting its production DNA, and as such it is pretty terrific.
posted by mwhybark at 12:04 AM on May 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

just watched ep 6, immolation. If I recall correctly, going to the infected ship to get the transponder codes was the hero's path for Holden at the climax of a book, was that correct? And hatcop was with him all the way?

Honestly, I'm glad they had Naomi and do it instead because holden is such a "one man show" sometimes.
posted by rebent at 3:37 PM on May 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

I will be very sad if we get no ghost hatcop.
posted by corb at 4:04 PM on May 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

Considering the title of S03E08 is "It Reaches Out" and we earlier got a shot of a glowing dot of protomolecule still on the Roci, I'm pretty sure we get the Investigator.
posted by Lexica at 4:29 PM on May 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also there's a preview for next week with a little of the post-title credits that mentions a special appearance by Thomas Jane.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:06 PM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

going to the infected ship to get the transponder codes was the hero's path for Holden at the climax of a book, was that correct?

Yes, in the books it's Holden who goes onto the Agatha King. He finds Nguyen but can't get the transponder codes and shoots him. (I had to double-check the Expanse wiki synopsis for this, which is thorough but mysteriously trapped in a little scrolling window.)

And hatcop was with him all the way?

Nope, in the books as in the show Miller has been dead since Eros, though Ghost Hat Cop makes his first appearance in the very last bit of Caliban's War (where the show is at now) .

I rather like the way the series handled this better, or at least it makes more sense for where the series is at currently. Shooting Nguyen is a bit of a step backwards for Holden's character on the show at least, and it's always nice to see Alex get something to do besides flying the ship.
posted by whir at 6:50 PM on May 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

(Checks that this is the books-included spoilery thread) Miller is/was/has been dead since Eros crashed into Venus, and remains so. The Investigator is not actually Miller, which is a point I'm willing to argue for.

Argh, I love this series so much. And it's the first time that I've thought a TV or movie adaption actually added to the stories.
posted by Lexica at 8:05 PM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Theseus’ Hatcop is good enough for me!
posted by corb at 8:24 PM on May 21, 2018

posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 3:46 PM on May 24, 2018 [4 favorites]

I wanted to ask in the show only thread but figured if would be too spoilery but what is up with the super-power woman with the explosives? Is she some kind of bioroid or cyborg?
posted by fiercekitten at 7:25 PM on May 24, 2018

She has some fake glands that give her a burst of superhuman speed and strength for a very short while, followed by a distinct recovery period during which she is dead to the world.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:33 PM on May 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've really been enjoying the changes that they've been making from the books in order to serialize them for television. They had Naomi alienate herself from the crew (Amos would never have turned on her, she's his boss, whatever she does is right) to get her on the Behemoth. Because they've also changed up the behemoth's bridge crew. Bull was Fred Johnson's trusted security guy who was 3rd in command who is now Captain Drummer, Fred Johnson's trusted security guy. Captain Ashford is now the 2nd officer and is way more aggro, more like Marco Inaros (and Naomi has already mentioned Philip.) Michio Pa seems to have been removed from this timeline and/or compressed into Drummer. Naomi is also chief engineer, which makes her Sam Rosenberg, but Drummer is also Sam Rosenberg in that she is Naomi's station side handball/drinks/karaoke buddy. Watch out Naomi, remember what happened to Sam. And Sam Rosenberg was Camina Drummer's partner.

I assume a lot of this is to simplify the mutiny.

Also, I missed hearing David Strathairn referred to by name and was initially trying to figure out if he was Ashford, Marco or Bull. Figured he was a Belter pretty quick and when he an Naomi didn't immediately get into it figured it couldn't be Marco. I think that this is going to be a more entertaining Captain Ashford.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:41 PM on May 24, 2018 [5 favorites]


More Peaches! If we get more, but compressed, seasons can we skip New Terra and go right to Amos and Peaches walking the post apocalyptic earth? Please?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:45 PM on May 24, 2018

This is my periodic episode of amazement/glee that "Hat Cop" became a thing.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:28 AM on May 25, 2018 [6 favorites]

Yes I'm spamming several threads: IT'S BEEN SAVED!!!
posted by Lexica at 10:59 PM on May 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

per resucitation link:

The announcement was made tonight by Amazon’s boss himself, Jeff Bezos, at National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles where he was an honoree.

per i dunno what thread here in which i promised to dial back my Bezos shit-talkin for a day or two on the condition that see above


well, fair is fair I guess. I'm sort of bemused at trying to figure out the most amusing and challenging ways to instantiate this. If only I could appeal to pseudonymous acquaintances to lend a hand with thinking through the best way to do this.
posted by mwhybark at 1:25 AM on May 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

OH BOY did I love "Delta V"! Delightful episode to come back to news of the show uncancellation on!
posted by mwhybark at 11:48 PM on May 28, 2018

Random thought: let us take it as a given that Captain Sisko is not the only baseball fan in TV SF. Let us further hypothesize that Martians from specifically the Valles Marineris in-universe for The Expanse might prefer Earther teams from Texas. A debatable hypothesis, I grant; but let us grant it.

What is Alex Kamal's favorite team: the Houston Astros, or the Texas Rangers?

(I have my own hypotheses on the matter, but wanted to share the proposition)
posted by mwhybark at 9:02 PM on May 30, 2018

Yes, in the books it's Holden who goes onto the Agatha King.

In the books it’s always Holden that does everything. I’m really glad the show has added to the other characters.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:09 AM on May 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

Really enjoying how they seem to have pulled a lot of the dribs and drabs of Investigator exposition forwards in this latest episode (It Reaches Out). Been ages since I read books 3 and 4 but I'm pretty sure a lot of these bits about his nature took far longer to turn up.

Between that and the way the rest of this episode went it's super believable that they've found a non-hackneyed way to streamline/re-jigger all of Book 3 into the back half of this season. Good job, authors & writing team.

Also, I basically yelled at my tablet when Holden busted out the "MILLER TOLD ME!". So good.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 9:59 PM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

though i have spoiled myself somewhat (i love spoilers), i have not read the books. i keep seeing the "we should talk" quote in discussions and i am wondering - was having the reporter say that line, not Miller, another gentle subversion? or is that true to the books? will we see Miller say it sometime, do you think? we should talk. hah. i am so glad Thomas Jane is back.
posted by lapolla at 11:27 PM on May 31, 2018

cyrusdogstar -- Thomas Jane read Cibola Burn after season 2 and wanted to pull forward material from the Interlude chapters. It helps sell the Investigator as an entity that's not quite sure what it actually is yet. I'm assuming he'll get a lot more coherent now that they're through the ring.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:15 PM on June 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

Well guys I just finished Nemesis Games and I'm seeing this whole season in a slightly different context, lol. I need a full s3 rewatch, now with contextual book-5 spoilers!

Is anyone else feeling like they pulled a lot of Naomi's side-quest details from Nemesis Games into this season's Behemoth storyline? Maybe I need to quit reading books and watching the show at the same time, but it's just sooooo gooooddddd.

I'm sorry we didn't get Bull this season, but the overall character/story arc compression makes sense.

I agree with whoever said we should skip the Cibola Burn/New Terra stuff and go directly to book 5. At least with Amazon taking over the show, that "robots springing to life" sequence should look amazeballs. Book 4 felt like more hard sci-fi and a standalone publication to me, while Book 5 felt more like a continuation of the same series as Books 1-3.

Oh Expanse series, I'm so glad I don't know how to quit you
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:55 PM on June 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

I was blown away by Dandelion Sky. This was the part of The Expanse books I felt was unfilmable, the moment the proto-molecule flips its shit and opens wormholes all over the universe. I figured there was no way to turn that into TV. It didn't come across quite as majestic on the screen as I imagined from the books but it was pretty well done. Choosing to focus narrowly on the narrative with Miller made it work as TV, come to think of it that was a smart trick in the book too.
posted by Nelson at 5:22 PM on June 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Totally agree, Nelson. When the Sphere opened up, I was all "ok, the show didn't screw that up."

The book's conjuration is definitely better than the show, but a show didn't need to "go there."

I liked the post-current-show books but they became increasingly mundane, but that's a 'natural law' type problem - the further out you go, the less authentic. Whereas, the early book/ show was fairly hard scifi - and mostly continues to be - as it pertains to speed of travel/ cost in energy and intrasolar distances.
posted by porpoise at 11:24 PM on June 20, 2018

Just watched Fallen World. I really like how they've built the situation on the Behemoth in such a way that I have really strong investment and concern for all the parties involved. I like this Ashford so much better than book Ashford. I miss the presence of Bull, but if Drummer gets his dope robot legs, his absence is forgiven.

I remember at this point in the books being disappointed in the sidelining of Bobbi. In my reading, I sort of forgave it because the situation on the Behemoth needed to get chaotic in a way I think Bobbi would have prevented, between her even temperament and near-monopoly on violence.

So I'm wondering how it will play out, because even if they separate her from her armor like they did to the Martians in the books, she's kind of an ace in the hole.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 11:33 PM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

So far Nadine Nicole has been doing fine, but we haven't seen her as Totally Broken Sad Clarissa yet. I assume we're going to get to. Anyway, assuming she lives up to it, I'm really looking forward to [darmok] Peaches and Amos in Baltimore, [/darmok] especially the bits where Amos is getting too Amos-ey for Amos's liking
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:45 AM on June 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

Regarding Bobbie, holy mother of the hole has she made acting strides this season! Her acting coach and Steven Strait's trainer ought to go into bidniss together.

I haven't gone back to the books re Ashford. TV Ashford is clearly just a different character with the same name. That's fine, actually. What I sort of wonder is if Show is setting us up for Book-Ashford's debility by highlighting and then explaining away his monomania (uniforms, uncertainty about the Very Special Learning Opportunity).
posted by mwhybark at 4:24 PM on June 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh man guys, it was really funny because I was like "oh man, this fight (Naomi/Clarissa) isn't going to be nearly as interesting on the screen and they're going to drag it out because visual medium" and then they just made it over in 30 seconds.
posted by corb at 4:31 PM on June 22, 2018

I liked the decision to cut the Naomi/ Clarissa fight scene down to 30 seconds. It gets the message across.
posted by porpoise at 5:55 PM on June 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

So, my take on s03 with regard to buks.

1. Ashford is a different character, as noted above. Approve.
2. Drummer didn't do that! But it's awesome that she did. Approve.
3. Bobbie hasn't been a Marine for years! And she flips in battle. Mixed thoughts. More in a moment.
4. Clarissa seems pretty close to the books, actually. But compared to Show Ashford, she seems underwritten.
5. Show Anna is more compelling than Buk Anna.
6. Show Holden is very clearly a Man of Destiny. Buk Holden repeatedly tells us that he is not, but the authors want us to understand that his fellow-characters see him as such. I have complicated feelings about this. More below.

More below, subsection 3, Bobbie: Buk Bobbie's primary drive is tied to her PTSD from losing her unit in the initial encounter with the protomolecule hybrids, and to clear her name with the Martian Navy. Up until this episode, we could assume that was true for Show Bobbie. But she fully flips for the Roci crew while gunbarrels are hot, and loses her unit, AGAIN. Show Bobbie is very different from Buk Bobbie, and I would argue that in this instance we have a rare example of the character being less well-written than in the book.

More below, subsection 6: Buk Holden insists over and over again that he is nobody special and that religious destiny does not play a part in his life experiences. The books also explicitly define him (to what I perceived as an absurd degree) as a privileged man who is impossibly charismatic and as a result immature and unformed, unused to not having his way. Show Holden (Strait) for the first two seasons was absurdly underequipped to meet this character description, for whatever reason, and presumably as a result these elements of the books were downplayed. Show Holden s03 is effectively portrayed by a new actor, one who has an expanded range and physicality, and the show simultaneously began to address the dropped threads of destiny and religious charisma centering on the character. To my unquestionable surprise, they were successful.

This also prompted me to re-evaluate the books in this regard. I am a non-religious person who characterizes my beliefs as wishful agnostic, meaning I wish I were an atheist but because I do not think a meaningful and true test for the existence or non-existence of god can be constructed, the most accurate way to express my belief system is agnosticism. This is so not a big deal to me. I literally go for years without thinking about religion and that's awesome. I prefer to just avoid the topic in conversation because it can upset people, and I certainly do not aim to do that.

So when I read the books I appear to have completely overlooked the entire, almost certainly intended, Holden-as-Messiah subtext. I just read him denying it and went, "oh, of course, because there's no supernatural, obviously". In fact, I read the copy that delineates his charismatic qualities and so forth as expressing an essential disapproval of his foolish ass, and I very much enjoyed that reading.

Well, you know, authorial intent counts for nothing, and I intend to continue reading the books this way. But the show has clearly shifted my understanding of that authorial intent, and not incedentally also delivered what I would argue is the best motion-media science-fiction expression of religiosity, faith, and the supernal or supernatural or unknown, of all time. It's still hewing to the restraint with which the theme is expressed in the books, but in the show it is unmistakable.

And it has not chased me out the airlock as it does so, which makes it unique in my many years of dedicated SF motion-media appreciation. So, show, kudos to you. But watch it! I've got my eye on you.
posted by mwhybark at 7:48 PM on June 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

A lot of the things I don't like about the rework of the book to the show is actually about speeding up and simplifying what happened on the Behemoth. Like - I feel like it really meant something to have everyone figuring out what side they were on, and fighting and dying to make it happen. It meant something that Anna was having to watch piles of corpses adding up.

I think that the mutiny-lite made more sense in the show, because Ashford was a way better written character. But - I miss a lot of the complexity and the loving focus on the Belters for it.
posted by corb at 9:59 PM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I kinda figure there's time for showing Belta life on the Behemoth next season now, and at the same time Show gets to figure out how they want to handle The Churn, by far my least favorite book. I totally get why they wanted to write it - end-of-the-world books are kind of a rite of passage, and they have an artistic and fan obligation to give Amos a book - but I found it tedious. I have a hard time imagining it becoming a season, or a half season. In fact, because the central, precipitating event in the book is so unsettling, I wonder if they will retain it for the show. We do have hints that Naomi's ex and/or her son will be putting in an appearance eventually, though.
posted by mwhybark at 11:09 PM on June 28, 2018

TV Ashford is such a great character and David Strathairn has so much fun chewing up the scenery I'm OK with the massive rewrite they did. OTOH I really liked the original story in the book a lot, the depiction of just how marginal and fractious Belter life is. Although I also remember how disoriented I was reading Abaddon's Gate, there were so many new characters and ideas introduced. They did a good job on the TV show corralling all that and focusing back on the main characters we know and love plus developing Boomer and Anna.

I'm really curious how they decide to produce more shows now. I hope being at Amazon gives them more freedom with respect to seasons and show lengths and stuff. I'd love to see The Churn done as a two parter, for instance. I'm kind of dreading Cibola Burn, it's my least favorite story, and I honestly don't think the actor Strait can carry that much narrative as Holden.

Part of me would like to see a full spin-off going off the books entirely, embrace the pulp sci-fi setup of "here's 1000+ solar systems, let's see what's out there!". Star Trek with Belters. But I'm guessing the TV show will focus on the core narrative, the politics of expansion beyond the gates and the events of Nemesis Games. I wonder how they'll handle the way so many books split up the core characters and send them off on separate adventures.
posted by Nelson at 7:24 AM on June 29, 2018

This is to record my hope that season 4 begins with a tight shot on Avasarala bringing max-level swearing.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:40 AM on June 29, 2018 [6 favorites]

I really liked how Ashfords character was rewritten, in the books he was pretty uniformly a petty jerk, but the show made him into a much more multifaceted and sympathetic character, which is a lot more interesting to watch. I hope they do the same to Murtry!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:00 PM on June 30, 2018

Are you guys talking about Nemesis Games but saying The Churn? The latter is a 60-page short story about Amos' origins before the series started. Nemesis Games is book 5, the follow-up to Cibola Burn...I admit for a book that was bursting with original storyline potential, I found book 4 quite a slog. Robotic insects waking up from millennia of slumber shouldn't be nearly so hard to envision or plow through for a hard scifi fan like me, but then again, I couldn't force myself to read the last 117 pages of Seveneves, either. Even after 6 different tries!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 5:44 PM on July 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

I believe you are correct. I my head, The Churn is the crap the asteroid strike threw up and the consequent running in place on Terra. I regret the error.
posted by mwhybark at 6:33 PM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

That said, it does seem like a lock that we get that backstory, Amos-in-Baltimore episode next season. I guess there must be a bit of debate about letting Wes Chatham play it or recasting to show the passage of time. Seems most likely they'll go with Wes and, I dunno, move the story forward or only show child Amos for a scene or two. I did enjoy that novelette quite a bit, in fact.
posted by mwhybark at 10:38 AM on July 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ilus confirmed for season 4.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:14 PM on July 11, 2018

Interesting new discussion over on the TV-only discussion about how Melba / Peaches' character doesn't really make much sense. They're right, she just sort of shows up and is avenging death angel for.. reasons. It made me realize how much they cut from the book in removing her entire backstory. Now I'm intensely curious how they'll play it in future seasons given how she becomes such an important part of the ongoing story and the other characters' development. Will they fill her backstory in?
posted by Nelson at 8:35 AM on September 6, 2018

Just look at Wes Chatham's beautiful, angelic face. Can you imagine how pretty he was as a young teenager, with those wide eyes and sweet dimpled cheeks? I think the combination of androgyny/femininity in Chatham's face coupled with his ridiculously beefy and squat Earther physique really makes sense.

What I like about this aspect of the casting is that the books say again and again that Amos looks like a giant baby, and I just took that to mean he was this hairless, pale, mountain of a man. But this version of the character looking like "a giant baby" is so much more unsettling! Wide eyes and round cheeks is not really what I would have expected, but that actually makes so much more sense for the character, because I think there's supposed to be a childlike and even appealing quality to him that makes his remorseless violence and stark way of seeing the world even more unnerving than it would be otherwise. And I mean, his behavior and perspective are unnerving because they themselves are childlike in a strange way, too. His lack of cynicism, his sincerity, the trust he's willing to place in others -- all of that is pretty childlike, I think. He's clearly smart and capable, but emotionally immature to the point that for the most part it's like he's a particularly brutal five-year-old. Unsettling.

Hmm I've been thinking about the character a lot since reading the latest book and doing a series rewatch (I'm in the middle of the rewatch now). I don't know that I have anything insightful to say about him, though. *shrug*
posted by rue72 at 2:41 PM on June 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Several commenters here and in the Show-only discussions expressed their desire that the show skip over the next book. It looks like they are going to be disappointed. Amazon trailers for season 4 seem to show a whole lot of Ilus, and a whole lot of Adolphus Murtry.
posted by seasparrow at 12:06 PM on July 27, 2019

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