The Expanse: All Episodes   Books Included 
December 15, 2019 3:53 AM - Season 4 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The Expanse Season 4 is finally here on Amazon Prime. The first three seasons were on SYFY, but despite it being one of if not the best science fiction series around, it got canceled. Fortunately, Amazon picked it up and all 10 episodes are now available. This season is based on the fourth book in The Expanse series, Cibola Burn. Story description for the season is below the fold just in case some people are still not quite caught up with the events of Season 3.

Season description: "With the Ring Gates now open to thousands of new planets, a blood-soaked gold rush begins, igniting new conflicts between Earth, Mars, and the Belt. Meanwhile, on one unexplored planet, the Rocinante crew gets caught in a violent clash between an Earth mining corporation and desperate Belter settlers as deadly, new threats from the protomolecule emerge."

Amazon Prime URL: The Expanse

Episode 1 discussion is here. Per homonculus's suggestion I'm posting this. I feel like because all episodes came out at once and it's bingeable, having one big thread about it makes much more sense.

On July 27, Amazon renewed The Expanse for a fifth season.

Cibola Burn on The Expanse Wiki.
posted by KTamas (28 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm only up to episode 8 so far myself, but my overall impression is that they improved on Cibola Burn immensely. That book has always seemed like a terrible slog to me for some reason that I can't put my finger on, even though it's got a lot of stuff I like in it (including Murtry, who I find to be an interesting Lawful Evil foil to our heroes).

There's a lot of stuff that departs from the book here - Bobby's career on Mars, Avasarala's political campaign, Naomi dealing with a gravity well - and I think it all works really well and manages to deliver a large amount of worldbuilding without needing to resort to exposition dumps about the economic conditions on Mars and so forth.
posted by whir at 7:09 PM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Murtry is superb. Superbly evil. I liked the book - I got a bit of a "slog" feeling from it too, but I found it suited the grim atmosphere on Ilus.

I think the series is doing the books justice.
posted by dazed_one at 7:18 PM on December 15, 2019

I was hoping they would condense the books to half a season. The Avasarala stories felt pointless - was there anyone besides Arjun we saw twice? There are too many plot lines to have the characters so split up - they are all acting by themselves in a room.
posted by rebent at 7:56 PM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

So I think there are some choices I really don't understand why they made.

First: in having Naomi take the drugs at all. The point for her was that she doesn't want to, why should she take one just for some mission or any mission. It's a fight between her and Holden. She sees no point in being on one planet. In turn, she does a lot of cool stuff in space, and on the Edward Israel. Whose plotline they largely evaded - no Havelock, no some-engineers-getting-gun-happy.

Second: I really don't like how they made Avasarala so seeking for direct power. In the book, sure, she does set Holden up to cause trouble, but it's because she sees the problem with the collapsing Mars Empire having nothing to sell but weapons. My partner thinks it's because they have to keep all the actors and can't do so without something to keep them front and center, but I think it wasn't a good choice. In the book, she's kind of a mentor to Gao, not a competitor. (Similarly, I think the Bobbi stuff is to keep the actress. Supposedly it's a plot from novella brought in, but I haven't read the novella, so can't speak how accurate it is.)

That said, there were also some truly glorious bits, like every time in Mars having semi-fascist propaganda in the background really sells how that collapsing empire is in fact going to go bad fast. And I'm kind of glad they left out 'Ehvi has a crush on Holden' because that shit made absolutely no sense if you aren't able to see inside her head.
posted by corb at 9:41 AM on December 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

I thought Bobbi’s storyline on Mars was interesting. I liked seeing her at loose ends, with no expertise but war and fighting — especially since we were also seeing Mars as a whole in virtually the same position.

Avasarala’s storyline was OK, I thought seeing her in an election against a non-aristocrat was cool. I really wish we had seen more of regular Earthers, though. My favorite scene was the town hall when at least they got to field questions from regular people (and Gao ultimately wiped the floor with Avasarala). What was the novella with a lot of information about that damaged scientist from Earth, with the mother who died after a long illness? I just want to see lots more of regular Earthers on Basic, I guess. Seems weird that we just don’t see a lot of them even though there presumably ARE a lot of them.

Avasarala’s relationship with Arjun and how she grew as a result of the election (and grew apart from him)...I think that honestly, it could have been handled better. There were scenes of her basically having temper tantrums and then she ultimately got a hold of herself, I think that could have been portrayed in a much more interesting way. Like could she have gotten out of the UN Campus bubble a little more, seen and done something that would have been more interesting to watch on screen?

I disliked the stuff going on with Ilus. I actually like that book pretty well, but the two scenes that stuck with me most from the book either didn’t happen or were really underwhelming in the show — the Belter refugees forming essentially a big human chain to get to the Roci, and Elvi “wearing” the alien tech in a fight. Maybe I just missed that stuff. What I actually disliked, though, was that I found a lot of the dialogue and interactions really cheesy. Like when Amos is freaking out about being blind and is sort of catatonic or something and Holden is trying to cheer him up and is like, “look at me. Look at me.” Dude is blind, Holden — that’s what he’s upset about? Haha There were a bunch of moments like that that felt just so...I dunno, just cheesy, I don’t know how else to put it.

Even the interactions between Holden and Miller...and I like Miller, but something just seemed too warm and easy between them to me, especially given that Miller is some kind of ghost. And this is maybe not important but I felt like Miller being a Belter and how that plays into not only Miller and Holden’s relationship but also plays as an echo to Naomi and Holden’s relationship — that seemed oddly handled, to me. Like at the end, when Holden is talking to Naomi about his last words to Miller being that Earth rain doesn’t taste like anything, it doesn’t seem like those last words had any resonance with Naomi as a Belter? Like it’s sad that even as a ghost Miller is wanting a taste of Earth, and Naomi just went through this whole thing of pushing herself almost to death just to try being on-planet for once and realized that she didn’t ever have the choice to do’d think that Holden still thinking of a taste of Earth, rain, being “nothing” and just something totally normal and taken for’d think that that would have resonated with her in an interesting way, but it seemed like Naomi’s perspective wasn’t really imagined with a lot of depth and the moment was skipped over in favor of dwelling on Holden’s sentimentality?

I also had some issues with Wei. I liked Wei a lot and I thought she and Amos had fantastic chemistry, but their relationship was so generic, which I found weird, and on top of that she makes this big point about how she and Amos are two peas in a pod...but Amos is weird as hell, so wtf is going on with Wei that she’s weird as hell, too? We get some random thing about Amos being afraid of the dark but honestly, at that point I was more interested in Wei’s backstory. And how do two apparently weird as hell people have a super generic, non-neurotic, kinda dull romance like theirs? It just seemed unbelievable and anticlimactic to me. Also, Wei eventually talks about her and Amos running away together after their last big score or whatever, and I thought that was odd because does Amos particularly want to run off anywhere? Seems like he likes where he’s at. And aren’t he and the others on the Roci crew rich anyhow, so more money is irrelevant? In my mind, the logical thing would be for him to float the idea (to both her and Holden) of her joining the Roci crew instead. She’s a good security officer and personable, and Amos’s relationships are usually pretty stable, and she would probably enjoy it, so I don’t think it would even have been a hard sell. But even if poaching her away from Murty had just resulted in her leaving Murty...One positive thing to add, though, is just like relationships between Belters are interesting, it’s interesting to see a couple Earthers-made-good(-via-arguable-psychopathy) was interesting. It’s also interesting to think that most of the Earthers who make it out seem to manage it by psychopathy in general? Holden is the exception, but he is the beloved only child of 8 parents who own a huge amount of very valuable land, he’s coming from a pretty exceptional situation.
posted by rue72 at 1:07 PM on December 16, 2019 [5 favorites]

I think the weirdness of the structure is in large part building up to next season, where the cast gets even more separated. They had to keep Bobbie's actor employed, and while her plot line is not thrilling, I loved seeing more of Mars, especially a Mars awash in ideological confusion for the first time.

I found the character study of Avasarala it be fascinating. She's trying to hold onto control because she's rightfully terrified by the extinction not just of the planet, but of the species. Her caution seems totally justified to the viewers, knowing what we know. But her political position is untenable, and I think we've all experienced that trying to hold onto control out of fear generally does not end well. Scene by scene, again, not riveting television always. But I felt like it added up to more than the sum of its parts.

I've not read the books, but I've read about them and it seems like this one was the one people figured would be the stumbling block. But I didn't mind a slower paced season. A little breathing space between dense breakneck action lets the mystery and dread stew a little. We know so little about who built the Protomolecule and why they are gone. Bad shit is going to go down on so many levels, and we're just getting set up for that now.
posted by rikschell at 9:22 AM on December 17, 2019

I also like Strait's portrayal of Holden as a good-hearted dingus who keeps getting pulled into shit above his pay grade. He's got that Star Trek attitude of "I want to save everyone always" but the show recognizes that it's a problematic attitude and that Holden is just as capable of making the situation worse as saving people.
posted by rikschell at 9:30 AM on December 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

I thought adding in the Bobbie storyline was done well--I liked seeing more of Mars, and making it about stolen Martian tech made it feed into the plot that Drummer and Ashford are tracking, from the other end. I don't know if that's taken directly from the novella, but I like it.

I thought that the Avasarala line was going to go more into how much she was being driven by fear, and how she might come to grips with that. As it is, I found it a decent enough set of interludes to get my blood pressure down from every time Murtry was on screen. I'm going to now have to look up every nice thing that Burn Gorman has even done so I don't associate his face with my own rage.

With Wei, I think she *thinks* she and Amos are alike, but they're not in some substantial ways. Her combination of pragmatism and medium human decency get her to a similar outward place as Amos's...[gestures inarticulately at the concept of his backstory], but he's got some very non-pragmatic, firm moral lines at his core, even as he has less basic decency that fits with society.
posted by pykrete jungle at 5:37 PM on December 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

I liked Wei a lot and I thought she and Amos had fantastic chemistry, but their relationship was so generic, which I found weird, and on top of that she makes this big point about how she and Amos are two peas in a pod...but Amos is weird as hell, so wtf is going on with Wei that she’s weird as hell, too?

Only partway through the season. Wei likes what she thinks Amos is but doesn't have much of a clue about what Amos actually is.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:12 PM on December 17, 2019 [9 favorites]

Wei likes what she thinks Amos is but doesn't have much of a clue about what Amos actually is.

With Wei, I think she *thinks* she and Amos are alike, but they're not in some substantial ways.

Ah, ok. Now I feel like an idiot, because that makes way more sense! She just assumes that they're more alike and in sync than they are. What's funny is Amos apparently doesn't identify with her like she does him, he really doesn't help her out anywhere near as much as he could and arguably should have. Like, it's kind of bullshit to say "I'll never lie to you" and then let someone walk around spouting all kinds of misconceptions and being ignorant because of your lies of omission. Just saying.

Amos's whole moral code is basically just that he hates bullies and doesn't want to be one. Which I can certainly get behind. But Wei clearly doesn't have the same hatred of bullies or she wouldn't have been so OK with Murtry, so I guess that kept Amos from getting all that attached or trusting her despite apparently liking her pretty well.

I thought Bobbi and Holden were written reasonably well this season, but Amos, Naomi, and Alex were kind of ehhhhh (and sometimes pretty out of character, for Amos and Naomi especially, in my opinion. Alex was mostly just absent), and I thought that Avasarla's storyline was just not executed well at all. They kept telling us what was going on with her (via her rants and via Arjun) but they didn't show us in a very interesting way very often.

They said they were spending way more money this season but I just didn't see it. The settings actually often felt smaller and more practical (from a film making perspective). I felt like in this season I could see the seams in a way I hadn't previously, especially in the writing and acting. Kind of a bummer. Maybe my expectations were just way too high.
posted by rue72 at 8:06 AM on December 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

The constant raising of stakes after the big explosion on Ilus got ridiculous: there's going to be an earthquake, and a shockwave, and a tsunami, and the ships will be falling out of orbit, and the shuttles will explode if they try to land, and they're going blind, and they're running of food and water, and there are toxic slugs that will kill you with one touch.
posted by ShooBoo at 1:26 PM on December 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

The constant raising of stakes after the big explosion on Ilus got ridiculous

Yes - and I loved every moment and escalating turn. Had an Alien/Aliens vibe. These are uncharted worlds connected by the ring gate, and terrifying unknowns ought to be the norm.
posted by 6ATR at 2:07 PM on December 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:10 PM on December 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

On reflection, I think that Amos is the sort of person that a Michael Mann or Clint Eastwood hero thinks is a good man--one with a code--but he's not. He's better than a powerful narcissist or nihilist, but he's still not engaging with people in a fully human way. His saving grace is his self-awareness of that, and a desire to not do the wrong thing, such that he aligns himself with people he considers morally upright.
posted by pykrete jungle at 8:21 AM on December 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

I absolutely loved the raising of stakes at every turn. In part because, in the later bits, it IS reflective of what you get in a natural disaster. Because we watch the news, we think, "Oh, there was an earthquake and then they fixed things!" In a truly catastrophic earthquake, the next step can be cholera. Or rioting. Or both! I also thought it was a good raising-of-stakes because it dealt with what was in the end a small group of people. Contrast this with, say, Crisis on Infinite Earths rescuing THREE BILLION people from an alt-Earth and, well, it's a good example of raising the stakes to the limit without making them absurd.

It was clear to me through the whole season that Wei has an idea of Amos in her head that does not align very much at all with the person he is. He says, "I'll never lie to you," but that won't stop her lying to herself. She thinks those words are a statement of love from him, when it's just a statement of who Amos is as a person. When Wei kisses Amos before he goes down into the caves, he looks completely puzzled. Which makes sense. He hasn't formed any emotional attachment to her, but she has to him, and she doesn't understand that he hasn't formed an emotional attachment.

Regarding Amos's issues with the dark: throughout the series they have layered in that Amos is a survivor of trauma. Losing his vision is a trigger for him because it brings him back to that point of trauma. He references when he was 5 and locked in a basement and thought he was dead. In the novella The Churn, we learn a lot more about that. Suffice to say, he wasn't locked in a basement so nice men could come down and play toy soldiers with him for a while. I thought it was a great illustration of how even the strongest people have their breaking point and even the toughest people have the thing they just can't take.

I didn't have the problem with Naomi taking the gravity drugs that other people do. Naomi's a practical person. She sees that Belters are going to colonize many planets, and she wants to at least give herself the option to go down there. I didn't get the sense she was doing it just for this one mission; my sense was that she was doing it to give herself the option going forward. In the books, she does it just so she can meet Holden's parents in person, and I thought this was even better for the character.

As far as Alex's character not being what it is in the the books Alex doesn't have all that much of a character. Again, I don't see any gap between his character here and in previous books. Alex is a peacemaker. He'll hide Naomi's secret because she asked him to, but if her life is at risk he'll reveal it.

I was really amused by the scene where Holden goes down into the machine, the doors start closing, Alex's hat falls off as he's yanking Holden up, and Holden catches the hat and returns it to Alex after barely squeaking out. It was hilarious and absurd.

I don't remember Miller trying to break free from the protomolecule as part of the book plot. I like that he had some agency as part of the show. Also, dang was Thomas Jane dishy when he had the hat off.

Very glad that they got rid of Elvi's crush on Holden. Lyndie Greenwood brought a lot to that role. After seeing her in Sleepy Hollow it was hard for me to wrap my head around how she'd play this role, as I was picturing her angry badassery in that series. Obviously, she's capable of a wide range of things, and I appreciated her gentle thoughtfulness here. It made me want more of her character in the future.

Burn Gorman was incredible as Murtry. He is also once again playing a character with a problem with his leg (in Pacific Rim he walks with a cane). In the books he's pretty much unalloyed evil. I liked that in the show they constructed it so that you could sort of see his side, at least at the beginning.

I can understand why they cut the "Engineers Gone Wild" plot from the TV show. It would have required introducing even more characters for not that much payoff. Same with the "human chain" part; they seemed to just go with the idea that the ship had a much lighter crew.

I greatly enjoyed the layering in of the Mars story. I have read the novella; the storyline kicks off with something inspired by the novella but then goes in a different direction that really serves the story as a whole. Great example of "show don't tell." We learned how Mars is going south via seeing it rather than via infodumps. We got to see what happens when a place that has had full employment for centuries suddenly has to deal with absorbing a large workforce. And the scene with Ashford and the Martian gave us hints about the Martian faction we're about to learn a whole lot more about.

Unlike others, I didn't mind Avasarala's plotline. Again, show don't tell. It shows how being "electable" and being good at the job aren't necessarily aligned, and the way that "how will this look to the electorate" can corrupt someone's thinking. I was sad that they recast the role of Arjun, however. I really like the actor who played him in S1, Brian George. Who is also nearly 20 years older than the new Arjun! Recasting with someone who is in their 40s changes the whole tenor of the relationship and removes some gravitas. It makes me wonder if they were trying to imply a "de-aging" of Avasarala.

I loved the way they weaved in the Marco Inaros plot. And the casting of Filip is incredible. It's rare that you get someone playing the child of two characters who looks like they could be their child. I also really like what they did with Ashford last season and this season. Wondering what's next for Drummer.
posted by rednikki at 3:50 PM on December 24, 2019 [8 favorites]

I really liked the treatment of the Ashford character. He and Drummer quickly became favourites of mine.

After a badass action sequence, we not only got to see Ashford understand Belter nature well enough that since, culturally, they'd want to space* him if he surrendered - and so used it as an opportunity to share intel once/ if his body is recovered but he also understands human nature well enough.

Strathairn sells it that the character believes that there is an opportunity for Filip to be redeemed - so shooting him (and risking hand-to-hand with Marco) would have been a waste with no certain result. If he had shot Marco (assuming he managed to kill him), Filip would have used "murdered my father!" to irredeemably radicalize and carrying out the bombardment anyway.

Cibola Burn is probably my least favourite of The Expanse novels and that it got better (but much more complicated and messy) in Nemesis Games.

My memory is super fuzzy, but this season isn't a complete resolution of Cibola? There's more? Or does the Roci go into drydock now and the crew splinters for a bit? I recall liking the detail that Roci has been so extensively patched up that she's barely the same ship, and that she's getting longer in the tooth and not the top of the line anymore (and the crew having difficulty re-outfitting her consumables).

Hopefully next season includes Amos reuniting with Clarissa. I really liked that aspect of Amos' character growth - to an outsider, it could kinda-sorta look like he's creeping on her, but really it's almost purely a mentorship/ trying-to-heal-Clarissa thing.

Huh, I had no idea I was two books (and a couple of shorts) behind (Persepolis Rising, Tiamat's Wrath). Apparently only one more to be released sometime next year. Worth reading?

*quibble - I would have assumed that Belter culture would be absolutely "zero waste." Like, I wouldn't be surprised if they went Full Fremen and instead of outright spacing someone, they just... er... vacuum distilled the volatiles (ie., water) out of the body before spacing the leftovers. Or even go so far as to reclaim the CHON (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen) from the bodies - not to mention micronutrients. I guess it depends if CHON mining (and processing into forms that microbes/ algae/ plants can turn into human-bioavailable forms) in the belt is relatively painless (qv also Waterworld and turning convicts into compost).

Stripping an outcast of their electronics/ gear seems like a no-brainer. But spacing has been depicted mostly as a punishment/ fear rather than a rehabilitation (see Bull "threatening" to space the drug dealer near the beginning of the Behemoth's maiden voyage). That society would waste it's resources in you out of spite/ to-instill-fear could be perfectly valid.

But, yeah, strange paths to the establishment of most culture/ cultural practices.

posted by porpoise at 11:13 PM on December 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

This is my favorite analysis of Amos as someone who is both autistic and suffering from C-PTSD from his youth as an unregistered child prostitute in Baltimore, written by someone who is also both.

This season feels like they very much leaned into that. “I needed parts, you weren’t using them.” “So does this mean we aren’t fucking any more?” “You’re so weird.” Amos is autistic AF.

The reason Amos was freaking out so bad about going blind is because it reminded him of being prostituted as a child; “I grew up in a basement in the dark, waiting for them to come.”

Amos is one of the best written characters on TV.

When he told Murty “You made me kill Wei,” that fascinated me. As I read it, he was saying Murtry lied to Wei; in Amos mind, Murty was never going to bring her along. He was just another abuser and liar. So Murtry lied to put her in Amos’ path. And that never goes well.

I respect that Murtry punched him for that, as if to say “Fuck you, don’t act like she didn't make a choice as a killer.”
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:12 AM on December 28, 2019 [6 favorites]

Re: Amos & Clarissa; Ty Franck has officially said that Clarissa will never end up as Amos’ romantic partner because “Amos is aromantic”.

His advice with Clarissa on how tio survive: “Eat, shit, sleep. Take everything they give you, give them nothing.”

I hear 8yo Amos repeating that to himself in that dark basement beneath the bordello, and I See the man he became.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:51 AM on December 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Phew, finished this. Amazon changed almost nothing about the show. Maybe a bigger budget, the effects looked expensive. But then the big change, the binge drop, the whole season at once. I hate that. It's totally killed the discussion here on Metafilter, for instance. I miss our week by week discussion. But I think it's totally unrealistic given the reality of binge streaming.

Cibola Burn is my least favorite book. I thought they did an excellent job turning it into a good TV show, it made me appreciate the book more. And then the additions. Interweaving Avasarala's politics in was pretty good, although I wish they gave her more consequential to do. Bringing in Bobbie's story from Gods of Risk was brilliant. I forget, was Gods of Risk solely about the drug trade or did it get into the Mars-is-collapsing and Martians-are-stealing-weapons thing? I think they moved that up from one of the other novels into the book. It worked great. (One missing thing; they've left out travel time entirely in the solar system now. For a show that prides itself on hard scifi it's quite an omission. IIRC it's not a particularly interesting part of the book though.)

TV Ashford is the best thing about the show. So much so I've kind of forgotten the pastiche of book characters that got rolled in to him. David Strathairn is a fantastic actor and nails the wry humor just right. Also he's fantastic opposite Drummer. Usually he's the wiser, more careful one. I love the inversion where he gets the politics wrong with the execution trial of Marco, then acknowledges it later.

Amos / Wes Chatham continues to be awesome too. His delivery of that line "So does that mean we're not fuckin' anymore?" (episode 3, 18:22) is just brilliant. The perfect combination of bad ass, adult sexy man, and yet naive simple child. Didn't much care for the writing when he went blind though, they needed to show him struggling a bit more with it or something to sell it.

Even Felcia's role and acting (Kyla Madeira) were super well done. Gives us a glimpse of the tension of the Belters, the difficulty of wanting to stay true to your culture but to give your children opportunities. Of course the real limit for the Belters is how many can't handle gravity, as evidenced by Naomi.

I'm worried about where the show goes from now. Season 5 is funded, hopefully released in about a year. But the next novel (Nemesis Games) splits all the characters up entirely. Season 4 had a bit of that structure already, but it's gonna be tough for Season 5. Also if through some miracle there's going to be even more, the entire show gets turned upside down starting with book 7, Persepolis Rising, which begins "so after 30 years...". Maybe that'll be the time to stop the show, although this last trilogy of novels is shaping up to be really great and I'd love to see it on TV.
posted by Nelson at 8:10 AM on January 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

The constant raising of stakes after the big explosion on Ilus got ridiculous

The Expanse is a tabletop RPG, and this season is the game's Tomb of Horrors. A series of ridiculously escalating deadly traps and tricks. Also it feels like a lot of the action is driven by an impatient DM trying to get the dummy playing Holden to go into the damn ruin already.
H: What's there to do on this planet anyway?
Not much. Just lithium mining and some bad politics. Oh, and there's a Mysterious Alien Ruin with treasures and secrets beyond imagining inside.
Eh, whatever.

DM: No, really, Hat Cop wants you to explore that ruin
Oh, ok, I explore the ruin.
You trigger a massive lightning storm.
Oooh that's bad. I leave the ruin, never to enter again. Let's go back to making Charisma saving throws to sort out political problems.
time passes

DM: You really should go look at that ruin again.
Nah, too busy. I'll go elsewhere.
exasperated. Fine. The planet blows up. A flood is coming and the ruin is the only safe spot.
No! We'll just evacuate everyone to the ships.
All your shuttles blow up. Also, your ships' engines fail for reasons and they are in peril. Perhaps you really ought to go to the ruin to figure it out.
Fine, we'll go to the ruin. But I'm not exploring it. Too dangerous.

DM: OK, you're in the ruin and set up camp. You're running out of food. You really need to figure out a way to stop this planet from killing everyone. Perhaps the solution is in the ruin?
Nah, I'll just stay here, keep making those Charisma saving throws. People need me.
Getting angry. Did I mention everyone has Space Parasite Blindness now? You've got one day to see your way to the center of the ruin.
No, I'm Holden. Let me make a constitution saving check. I'm entitled. Ha, natural 20, see? I'm not blind. I'm gonna stay here and be king.
Did I mention there's neurotoxic Space Slugs eating everyone to death too?
So? I gotta stay here and keep the peace.

time passes
Fine, fuck it. Holden, Miller just exploded in your head and basically drags you bodily to the center of the ruin. There's a green force field that slides you all the way to the secret at the middle. You even get a nap on the way. Now, can we wrap this campaign up before the sun comes up and we have to go to school?
That poor DM spent so much time making the inside of the ruin interesting and the characters just kept ignoring him. That's how you get space slugs.
posted by Nelson at 8:18 AM on January 4, 2020 [25 favorites]

Given that the Expanse is based on a tabletop game, it is not impossible that this is how the story evolved.
posted by rednikki at 11:32 PM on January 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Everyone should go check out the season 4 episodes of The Churn podcast. Syfy Wire axed the previous seasons' hosts and replaced them with Ana Marie Cox (yes, that Ana Marie Cox) who's both a fan of the books/show and can actually conduct a decent interview -- e.g., her interview with Wes Chatham dug into how Wes contextualized Amos' backstory through the me-too movement. Definitely worth the listen.
posted by nathan_teske at 4:44 PM on January 6, 2020

Regarding Amos's issues with the dark: throughout the series they have layered in that Amos is a survivor of trauma. Losing his vision is a trigger for him because it brings him back to that point of trauma

But this man lives in space?! Literally a dark void. And he not only is in space all the time, but he’s a mechanic, so he has to go into all these creepy ship interiors and do space walks for external repairs — all of which put him in extremely dark places routinely. In his line of work, isn’t being scared of the dark a pretty major practical problem? Something his coworkers/roommates would be aware of?

Not trying to harp on it, to me it’s just an example of my issue with the writing overall this season. The fun of show!Amos as a character is that pretty often, when you think he’s going to zig, he zags. But that wasn’t going on this season because this season things were much more on-the-nose. That’s not a problem for super earnest characters like Holden, maybe. And Ashford going 100% on being a Space Pirate with chanties and everything actually worked well. But for the characters that are generally more opaque, like Avasarala or Amos, I don’t think it worked so well.
posted by rue72 at 8:34 PM on January 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

> But this man lives in space?! Literally a dark void. And <> he has to go into all these creepy ship interiors and do space walks for external repairs — all of which put him in extremely dark places routinely.

He does these things of his free will tho. With tools and competency and purpose. What's happening to him on Ilus is totally different, and much more evocative of his trauma.
posted by theony at 9:27 PM on January 16, 2020 [8 favorites]

This seems as good a place as any to note that The Expanse has been pre-emptively renewed for a sixth, but final, season.

Anvar has not been invited back, but AFAICT they haven't announced whether there will be NuAlex or they're just Poochie-killing him.

My own expectation is that the show will end with the Free Navy defeated but with Laconia still lurking out there mysteriously. Mayhap in a few years they'll be interested in doing the last 3 books with a new cast, but from here I can get why they're bailing after S6. It's already an expensive show and the changes in the last 3 books mean more expenses for aging makeup or cgi, lots more location shooting instead of sets, and all that.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:57 PM on November 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don’t think they /can/ NuAlex, he inhabited the character so thoroughly, down to voice. I’m also not sure how you kill someone like Alex off off-screen without it feeling like a cheat.
posted by corb at 11:28 PM on November 24, 2020

It's always a big question of who's available and who can legally work in Tronna, but the suggestion I've seen pretty often is Sendhil Ramamurthy who grew up in San Antonio. He at least serves as a reasonable existence proof.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:08 AM on November 25, 2020

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