The Expanse: Strange Dogs   Show Only 
December 10, 2021 7:00 PM - Season 6, Episode 1 - Subscribe

The Rocinante crew make a startling discovery on an asteroid; Avasarala and Bobbie contend with the devastation on Earth; Drummer and her family must make a heartbreaking decision; on Ceres, Marco and Filip's struggles turn inward.
posted by kitten kaboodle (34 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It stresses me. I am terribly stressed.

Also, I put the Show Only tag on, but I wasn't sure if that was necessary. If people don't think it is, I'm happy to leave it off.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 7:01 PM on December 10, 2021 [2 favorites]


I thought the whole scene with the reporter was just a way to insert some clunky exposition that 6 months had passed. And given that 6 months had passed, seriously Naomi hasn't piloted the ship? Has Marcos been just making petulant speeches for the belters the past 6 months? 6 months into the war and he's not handling the logistics with a bit more political savvy? Sorry not sorry, it's not the jump in time between seasons, it's the way the writers chose to show it in the worst ways possible.
posted by Catblack at 7:28 PM on December 10, 2021 [1 favorite]


Having Marco just straight up say "Jared Harris was busy again, and we've run out of chances to get him back" was a similarly bold exposition choice.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:49 PM on December 10, 2021 [13 favorites]


Only six episodes in this season and this one was all just basically recap and a little stage setting.
posted by octothorpe at 4:57 AM on December 11, 2021 [3 favorites]


Only six episodes in this season

WHAT

Admittedly I made note of the premiere date and then deliberately avoided any additional information until after viewing, but it never crossed my mind they'd do fewer than 10 episodes, largely because the previous series of that length felt rushed.

If they're genuinely planning to wrap up the 6-book story arc that takes us to the end of Babylon's Ashes in under 6 hours (as opposed to, say, doing a Breaking Bad-style two-part final series) I ... don't have high hopes.

Also seconding pretty much every comment made so far.
posted by myotahapea at 6:35 AM on December 11, 2021 [1 favorite]


First up, I prefer Show Only threads, as most combined threads of adapted shows have a lot of statements that amount to "the book was better and the show is horrible for leaving out this character or plot". Please continue that or I can post Show Only threads and you post the free for all.

This episode was pretty good in terms of the time jump and now worrying us with every little thing that happened in between. Marcos is winning and our plucky heroes, along with most of Earth, are ragged and tired. Naomi and Amos's attitudes were especially noted, as they're both here for one particular fight and not whatever "adventure" Holden might get distracted by. Even if that distraction aka all that alien tech and mystery will turn out to be super important.

It's also great that in those six months, Holden and Naomi haven't warmed up to Peaches and that Alex's sacrifice is still remembered. Too often a major character is killed, the others mourn them for an episode and then they're never mentioned again. But friends and family matter and their death, sudden and not lingers with the survivors. So in that sense, I get Naomi not piloting the Roci in all that time, the wounds are probably still too raw for her.

I do wish Drummer was on the Roci, but appreciate that having her captain of her own ship gives her room to grow as a character. Though what if she took over from Holden, wouldn't that have been fun?

Interesting difference between Filip and his dad, where the former might believe the free belters ideology, while the latter just sees it as a power tool.

Here's hoping that the six episodes force the creators to cut out any fat from this final season and stick the landing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:04 AM on December 11, 2021 [4 favorites]


Not only are there only six episodes this season, this is the end of the show. So I guess the plan is to finish through Book 6 and then not do the last trilogy.

I want to respect the show-only tag (although I'd prefer books included discussions) so I just have to ask, if you haven't read the books does the opening scene on Laconia make any sense at all to you? It's kind of a weird fit (book spoilers). I liked the Avatar-like effects showing us the plants and animals. So much of the TV series has been great for imagining all the industrial setting for the Belters and the weird alienness of Ilus. It's nice to see a natural lush planet.

Anyway the main show is about the Free Navy conflict. Still love the audacious horror of a terrorist group just dropping giant fucking rocks on Earth. Showing the Mediterranean grain farm under snow was a nice way to illustrate the planet-wide catastrophe that's unfolding. The politics of Inaros and Filip and all seemed a bit tiresome to me, Alexander is bringing so much "I am Space Che Guevara bask in my charisma" energy to the role it doesn't leave a lot of room for anyone else. Owens does a great job holding his own though as sullen teen.

It's painful watching the Roci crew all sniping at each other and mad. Remember when Amos was Naomi's faithful puppy? Big strong murder dog, but literally willing to do anything for her? It's great that he has his independence now, not to mention Peaches to take care of. But seeing him straight up arguing with Naomi was sorta sad. Holden's supposed to be using his natural 20 charisma savings throws to keep the crew together but he seems worn out, too.
posted by Nelson at 9:24 AM on December 11, 2021 [2 favorites]


I hated the saccharine Avatar effects. That scene felt like something out of a different, worse show. I guess we’ll see more of that planet in the coming episodes and then it will make sense. I am curious about what’s beyond the ring, but then “humanity discovers limitless new worlds of possibility; has a war about it” is a depressingly plausible story.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:35 AM on December 11, 2021


I want to respect the show-only tag (although I'd prefer books included discussions) so I just have to ask, if you haven't read the books does the opening scene on Laconia make any sense at all to you? It's kind of a weird fit (book spoilers).

This is what I mean about combined threads for adapted, there's always someone (usually several someones) coming in saying "this is weird or wrong because book" and i'm like "just let me enjoy the story".

Sure, there's no context for that scene at the moment, but presumably the show will come back it and it'll make sense later. Especially since Holden mentioned the ship in the sky has similar markings to something else they've seen before.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:54 AM on December 11, 2021 [7 favorites]


I really dug the disaster effects. The cutsey Laconia* stuff, far far less.

Kind of glad that they're stringing out the episodes instead of in one dump.

Continuing to like Keon Alexander's Marcos and still can't buy Steven Strait's Holden supposed matching 20 Charisma score.

Avasarala's rocking the high collared plunge neckline leather jumpsuit.

Wait... spaceships have thruster sounds in space now? When did that change?

*I appreciate Bret Devereaux' history blog, especially his eloquent hate for the Laconic Spartans (Spartans of Laconia), and understanding the naming of that planet thusly adds colour, whether intended or not.
posted by porpoise at 6:01 PM on December 11, 2021 [1 favorite]


I seem to have enjoyed this ep more than some. Ah well.

Some things I liked:
1) Laconia - because I thought it was referencing a Jurassic Park movie and I kept waiting for the little girl to get eaten. I found that whole scene quite tense. Who the hell lets their kids wander into a strange wood?
2) We see Marco's palpable boredom at actually governing a state instead of just leading its glorious liberation. That's the kind of tragic flaw that gives me hope for his demise (because, boy do I hate that guy)
3) everybody's stressed, everybody's disintegrating. War is a grind, not an adventure.
4) love love LOVE watching Filip self-destruct.
posted by Mogur at 5:33 AM on December 12, 2021


Laconia is the town in New Hampshire that sits on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, which made an appearance last season. Do the authors have some connection to New Hampshire?
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:48 AM on December 12, 2021


Hey, at least it isn't Vancouver.
posted by schmod at 7:11 AM on December 12, 2021 [1 favorite]


Setting aside the books, we've got 5 episodes left, and a lot loose ends.

So, it was mildly concerning that there didn't seem to be much economy of storytelling in this episode.

Not only that, but we've created several new plot threads that appear to only be loosely-related to the general arc that the season is going to take. If the season had more breathing-room, I'd say they're fantastic character-development moments – but it feels bizarre that an entire episode barely advanced the plot, when so little time is left.
posted by schmod at 7:19 AM on December 12, 2021 [1 favorite]


I think we got some good plot movement: Laconia (though it’s a mystery for now), discovering that there’s a ship coordinating the Earth attacks, Filip becoming disillusioned. Less so on Earth and with Drummer, but I’m confident Drummer will be very important to the conclusion.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:45 AM on December 12, 2021


but I’m confident Drummer will be very important to the conclusion.

They could completely stick the finale but if Drummer gets screwed somehow, the show creators are dead to me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:28 AM on December 12, 2021 [9 favorites]


They could completely stick the finale but if Drummer gets screwed somehow, the show creators are dead to me.

True. I can't help but contrast the hardscrabble desperation of Drummer's crew searching for ammo, versus the *stacks* of supplies that seem to fill every spare inch of the Roci.
posted by Mogur at 9:27 AM on December 12, 2021 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Drummer, the new announcement trailer (Youtube) for Telltale's The Expanse video game dropped on Thursday and my heart is all aflutter... <3
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 9:41 AM on December 12, 2021 [4 favorites]


Book author's Twitter:

My god, watching the internet's angry ass-weasels lose their shit because #TheExpanse has ONE non-binary character that matters to the story makes me deeply happy.

I guessed after reading this it was Sanjirani, but only because I knew Joanne Vannicola is nonbinary -- didn't even notice in the episode, and had to do some digging to confirm.
Makes you wonder just how desperate to be triggered these people are.
posted by myotahapea at 1:07 PM on December 12, 2021 [10 favorites]


What happened to Bull? I thought he was going to become the new pilot after Kas Anvar got fired.
posted by RakDaddy at 5:11 PM on December 12, 2021


^^
Author's Twitter* has a couple responses about the Bull character as well.

Quippy version:
Running Tycho?
(I mean, I ask because I don't actually know. Bull doesn't ask me for permission.)

More thoughtful version, in response to someone's tweeting they appreciated that the irreplaceable Alex character wasn't just replaced with someone else meant to fill their spot in the crew family:
We agree. It also comes dangerously close to the "replaceable brown guy" trope.

*re: book v. show issue, they are the sole writers of the books but also part of the writing/producing team of the show, so they have input in these decisions.
posted by myotahapea at 12:23 AM on December 13, 2021 [1 favorite]


To get a bit philosophical about it (apologies, overslept and am muzzy-headed and prone to meandering) I appreciate it from a story perspective -- having a hard time replacing someone you care about, even if it makes your daily life exponentially more difficult, and also Sol system's in crisis so it's probably harder to find good pilots -- and from a meta perspective.

Cas Anvar's inappropriate behaviour is a Big Deal which was handled really well by the show and production company, particularly as it would have been far easier for them to question or brush aside or both-sides the accusations in order to keep a core character around for one final season.
Rushing to fill the pilot's chair would have been another way to do an 'everything's fine, nothing to see here' brushing-over-the-traces, but they chose to make everyone sit with the discomfort. That empty pilot's chair is the consequence of toxic masculinity and shitty behaviour, and the world is worse for everyone when these things happen.
posted by myotahapea at 12:41 AM on December 13, 2021 [9 favorites]


It's going to be interesting once the full run is over to consider and compare it to Babylon 5, in my mind. I'm still not sure if I'll ever read the books though, because the faithfulness of this adaptation throws into relief how much the source material itself is derivative. Does it ever break out of that? Don't answer that yet, I'll come back to it at the end of the season, i guess.

I bring up B5 in part because yeah, whatever Book!Holden is, the show's Holden doesn't have that quality and the show has its own internal guardrails that won't let the show to become its own thing (beyond clever réorganisation of key story beats) until it becomes non-negotiable re: Alex and lol, Dawes. Yet, Drummer won't have been where she is in the minds of the fandom (and eventually back into the source text) if not for the actor's performance. In the long run, this becomes my main challenge in fully recommending the show, unless they're like me, and they're always entertained by the outsized political influence the United Nations has in the eyes of pop culture.
posted by cendawanita at 4:54 AM on December 13, 2021


I read the first book this year and the first season is so close to the book that it seemed like a pointless exercise.
posted by octothorpe at 6:01 AM on December 13, 2021


later books do deviate... the audiobooks are excellent if you want to listen to a well written told story
posted by kokaku at 11:12 AM on December 13, 2021


I haven't read the books so don't know what's "supposed" to happen but it feels like there isn't enough time to bring sufficient resolutions to the Free Navy, Filip, and Drummer storylines. Of course last season I was as surprised as the Earthers that Marco was able to move so quickly so why not "easy come easy go"? I'm not at all worried about longer term stuff like the fate of Earth, the rogue Martian system, and the things in the ring gates as at best I figure we'll get hints over what'll happen next but those are more stories for the future than things I'd really like to get resolved now.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:04 PM on December 13, 2021 [1 favorite]


Have people been able to access the first webisode? I can't see it on my tablet. Was it available on tv?
posted by biffa at 4:58 PM on December 13, 2021


Didn't even know it existed but I just checked after looking it up in Wikipedia and was able to access it. You need to watch the episode, then touch the screen so that the X-Ray menu shows on top, touch All and then Bonus Content will show up and it is in there. Ridiculous they make it so hard to access.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 5:45 PM on December 13, 2021 [3 favorites]


So I guess the plan is to finish through Book 6 and then not do the last trilogy.

According to wikipedia:

However, the authors of the novels and writers on the series, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, have stated that they view season 6 as a "pause" rather than a conclusion and that Alcon Entertainment "is very committed to the IP"

I suspect this means the will come back to the final trilogy at a later point.
posted by crossoverman at 2:25 AM on December 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Didn't even know it existed but I just checked after looking it up in Wikipedia and was able to access it. You need to watch the episode, then touch the screen so that the X-Ray menu shows on top, touch All and then Bonus Content will show up and it is in there. Ridiculous they make it so hard to access.

I'm not sure what touching my TV screen would do to help. I've done everything that I can and I can't find these damn things.
posted by octothorpe at 7:29 AM on December 19, 2021


They really did hide this bonus content didn't they? I just successfully watched it in my web browser. I went to S06E01 on Amazon Prime and pressed play. Just as it starts playing, in upper left are two little boxes. One of them says "Bonus Content". Press that and you get taken to a new view (no URL) labelled "One Ship" and/or Ankawala. Press play on that and you get to a video that's 5:54 long.
posted by Nelson at 7:38 AM on December 19, 2021


That worked. I wish I didn't have to watch on a tiny laptop screen though.
posted by octothorpe at 7:53 AM on December 19, 2021


I feel bad for Michio. Yeah, she slipped and pressed the wrong button, but come on, who puts the "Fire Missile at Target" button right next to the "Send Signal to Target" button? That's just bad design.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:00 PM on December 26, 2021 [2 favorites]


Michio pressing the wrong button is me trying to airdrop a file to my ipad and then accidentally pressing "Decline" on the ipad.
posted by snofoam at 1:09 PM on February 2


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