The Expanse: Why We Fight   Books Included 
January 7, 2022 7:21 PM - Season 6, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Books-included discussion for the penultimate episode of the TV series.
posted by schmod (15 comments total)
So, uh.

We’ve got one episode left. We’re getting to see all of Strange Dogs, but probably won’t get to learn why it’s important.

What on earth is going on? Is Amazon going to drop a surprise Season 7 announcement? It’d be one thing to end the show with final showdown with Marco, but why bother with Laconia if that’s the case? I genuinely don’t know what they’re building toward.
posted by schmod at 7:26 PM on January 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I can only think there's going to be a spinoff/sequel to deal with Laconia? Move the story ahead twenty-thirty years and get a new cast.
posted by nubs at 7:51 PM on January 7, 2022

The show diverges sharply this season, although keeping a lot of the beats.

Commenting in the show-only thread, I'm a little surprised that the 'founder effect' and motivation for going rogue and gambling on settling on a new planet as a founder/ founding families isn't more explicit.

Nor experimenting with the protomolecule leading to advanced tech, although the books were pretty fantastical on that account.

Do I recall correctly that Medina Station (the alien station in Ring Space - not what the Behemoth became - correct me if I'm mixing up names) was much less impressive in the books than in the show? The station was made of alien materials that couldn't be worked, so railguns were emplaced using adopted-alien-tech "ceramic lace" (?) bands but the railguns weren't very mobile/ narrow cone of fire/ weren't really locked-in stable?

I'm not sure I'd be as interested in a Laconia (bit heavy handed there, Laconia ~ Sparta --> Spartans were filthy slavers who weren't all that good at war, they were just assholes and jerks with an undeserved reputation) spinoff because the show's characters have been so great.

Also that the +30 years in the books started losing it's way; 'The Expanse' was great because it was "the day after tomorrow after tomorrow" whereas the latest books are the future, but not quite, The Future. Very difficult to write well the science side of science fiction in the intermediate timeframe.

Though, I'd love to see a good "old Amos" as from the books and his relationship with Peaches.

How have the ratings been for this season (or have the preliminary stats not been released yet)? Because this last half of this season has been excellent despite perhaps a slower start.
posted by porpoise at 8:51 PM on January 7, 2022

I have no idea how they’re going to wrap things up in a satisfying way either. I’m guessing Filip deposes Marco in the last episode, Duarte experiments with the protomolecule, and we see Drummer a bit, and that’s about all there’s time for.
posted by tautological at 9:00 PM on January 7, 2022

I’m here for the Naomi/Camina (Caomi?) ship
posted by noiseanoise at 9:55 PM on January 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

Is Amazon going to drop a surprise Season 7 announcement? It’d be one thing to end the show with final showdown with Marco, but why bother with Laconia if that’s the case? I genuinely don’t know what they’re building toward.

So apparently Amazon only contracted for three seasons after they bought the rights from S4 onwards, but can do spin offs, so there seems to be an expectation that spin offs will follow. Laconia seems like one possibility, but Drummer's comment that she seemed out of place in this universe perhaps suggest another option (or maybe the same one?).
posted by biffa at 4:39 AM on January 8, 2022

Thank you for posting a books-included post. My fear I posted in the first episode thread has come true; a lot of folks just see the Laconia story as a distraction and time waster. It's too bad, because I think it's a great story too and well told. But it does seem like an odd choice to shoehorn it in this limited last season.

A spinoff trilogy with a new cast would work. IMHO the only characters you really need to carry over are Holden and Amos. (Much love to you Naomi, but you got underwritten in the last trilogy.) Given the intervening years and other changes they experience you could get away with recasting both actors. I've got no idea if there's a budget for that and given the radically different story it's not clear you could even pitch it as a continuation. But they are good books and it'd be fun to see them brought to TV. I'd particularly like a lot more focussing on Laconia society, give it the same detailed treatment that's worked so well for the Belters.

A Drummer / space pirate / Belter spinoff would be amazing, and totally outside the scope of the books. I worry their story might suffer in isolation though. It's fun as an antidote to all the boring seriousness of the main story but 100% of that and nothing else might be a bit much.

I have a book / plot question. We learn in the novels that the strange dogs are a protomolecule thing. But were they already on Laconia before the humans arrived? It's a little strange that a big plot point is how the Martians procured some protomolecule samples before heading off to Laconia. Did that turn out to be unnecessary, that there's a bunch of protomolecule already on the planet? Or maybe there's only protomolecule tech on Laconia, not the raw material?
posted by Nelson at 8:51 AM on January 8, 2022

My understanding from reading the books is that the Laconians looked at how Holden's transporting a hunk of protomolecule to Illus was sufficient to wake up the Roman tech there (which the female Martian officer learned from Alex at the bar in S5), and decided to acquire their own sample by stealing it from Fred Johnson. They used their sample to wake up the dormant Roman tech on Laconia. Their intent was to activate the shipyards, but they got the strange dogs as well because they don't have the knowledge to control what gets turned on, or manipulate it easily (the Miller-AI was able to control things to some extent on Illus; Duarte et al don't have that).
posted by Alterscape at 11:07 AM on January 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

A Drummer / space pirate / Belter spinoff would be amazing.

I have been pining for a belter anthology spin off series for basically ever. To me, the belter stories are some of the most compelling ones out there, and exploring their culture(s) is something that I think the show actually did much better than the books, and would like to see more of. Having Drummer be the tie-in to that anthology would be pretty rad.

But yeah. I am really bummed because this show is my favorite series since the Battlestar Galactica reboot, and this last season has felt extremely rushed.

When the show announced that this was the last season, I could have seen a way to end the show with Babylon's ashes, and leave the gates/laconia/builders/aggressors storylines alone entirely or just open questions of the future. Having Strange Dogs as a part of the show when they know they can't really finish the story of the Protomolocule is really obnoxious, and seems like one of the only major missteps the show has made. There's no way to tie it together. Six episodes to tell this arc also seems pretty insufficient. I felt like if they knew that they only had six episodes, those minutes could have done more telling us the Babylon's Ashes story. It's a good arc, and a good story to tell.

The writers have said a couple time publicly that Alcon (the production company) is committed to the IP, so we might see more in some format, but it unlikely that we will see more from Amazon. I am glad that we have gotten the seasons we have. I really like this show, and I am extremely bummed to see it leave and not have any comparable sci-fi out there. This show has been miles and away the best science fiction that has graced TV/Cinema in decades. I hope it comes back in some fashion.
posted by furnace.heart at 3:56 PM on January 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

A Drummer / space pirate / Belter spinoff would be amazing.

From what I've read, The Expanse was initially created as world-building background for a never-released MMO, and that world building was then used as the setting for a small tabletop RPG group, and those game sessions in turn became foundation for the books, which then led to the TV shows. I feel like the proper way to do this is to close the loop and have The Expanse finish as a new MMO.
posted by Balna Watya at 8:52 PM on January 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

It's unclear what system they were using before the books were made, but there is an official RPG that's been released. It has been getting some pretty good reviews.

But honestly, and MMO of the Expanse with real-time travel would be really dope, because then I could actually play it and dip into the game once ever six weeks between ports.
posted by furnace.heart at 10:44 AM on January 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

As best as I can guess, the Strange Dogs plot in this season is a backdoor pilot for a spinoff, because there’s seemingly no way for it to fit into the current plot.

Leviathan Falls spoilers ahead.

Here’s my guess for how it goes:
- Predictably, the combined Earth/Mars/Belter army has a final standoff with Marco. Naomi spams the gates to ensure that the huge Laconian ships go dutchman. At some point during the fighting, Sol gate is destroyed. Fillip does something, maybe. Regardless of what happens, this is where the story ends for Naomi, Jim, Bobbie, Peaches, and Avasarala. The Sol system is blissfully unaware of the bullet it has just dodged.

- During the finale, we get some more glimpses of Laconia, and learn about Duarte’s protomolecule experiments. Presumably, this sets up a cliffhanger for the spinoff.

- Our spinoff series begins on Auberon, which becomes the base for the resistance against Laconia. Josep stops by because he’s heard about a guy who can build him an awesome robotic prosthetic. Some combination of Erich, Drummer, Michio, Amos, or Josep lead the attack against the construction platforms.

- Amos somehow ends up a prisoner on Laconia.

- The Leviathan Falls epilogue is flipped. The ship is from Earth, and lands on Laconia or Auberon.
posted by schmod at 6:14 PM on January 9, 2022

Will Bobbie get her Valkyrie’s death in the next episode?
posted by whuppy at 7:49 AM on January 11, 2022

Unlikely, Whuppy, since that supposes a lot of intermediate plot development. I guess they could shoehorn it in, but it would be very different from the timeline in the books if so.
posted by Alterscape at 4:09 PM on January 11, 2022

To clarify: I wasn't thinking about the one in the books, an all-timer that elicits both tears and a "fuck yeah!", but rather something equally heroic during the upcoming raid on the railgun installation.
posted by whuppy at 2:35 PM on January 13, 2022

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