The Expanse: Back to the Butcher
January 6, 2016 8:53 PM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

In a flashback, Fred Johnson visits Anderson Station. In the present, he offers to help the survivors from Canterbury and Donnager. The survivors ponder his offer. Havelock recuperates from a boo-boo. Miller searches for Julie Mao and flops his hair.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe (32 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Lemme know if you want your face to look a little different."

Okay, now he's Amos.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:53 PM on January 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


I was pretty sure from the trailer that Jared Harris was playing Fred Johnson, so when he was introduced as Dawes, I was surprised. Okay, though; I can definitely buy this guy as Fred.

Chad Coleman was on two seasons of The Wire, but that voice will always be Coach from Left 4 Dead 2: "Who the hell...puts an evac station...up thirty flights of goddamn stairs...?"
posted by Sunburnt at 9:52 PM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


As a relatively new father to two girls, the Anderson Station stuff was really hard to watch.

So the hand signals used by Belters originated from the way children with developmental difficulties brought on by their low oxygen environment communicated?

Miller using his cracked handheld (do those things have a name?) since the beginning of the series and then having Dawes casually give him one in good shape just to pass along some information was a nice touch.

Kinda bummed the Martian officer didn't make it to make the crew a bit more diverse in background, but I'd still probably take Shed over him.

Enjoyed the reference to Terminator this episode.

Would rather not have too many cliffhangers, thanks.
posted by ODiV at 9:55 PM on January 6, 2016


The Anderson Station stuff was amazing, as were the little bits, like Amos' line and Alex looking at that picture which told you enough about Alex, but if you have read further and you know the story behind the photograph is an extra level of detail.

So the hand signals used by Belters originated from the way children with developmental difficulties brought on by their low oxygen environment communicated?

No. It developed from a need to communicate using hand signals in spacesuits (probably based on deepsea divers I'd imagine), and probably morphed on from there to include other phrases, much like the Belter patois has.... although at least I could understand Jared Harris.

Would rather not have too many cliffhangers, thanks.

The books are basically designed like that, so as to be neigh on unputdownable.

The show's pretty restrained in some respects.

Fred doesn't look like I expected, but most earth-shattering of all was the fact they pronounced Rocinate, which considering I've been reading it as ROCK-IN-ATE.
posted by Mezentian at 11:11 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


CULTURAL LITERACY DUDE Also and less importantly it's Don Quixote's horse
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:52 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, well if Terry Gilliam had made the damn movie I might have known!
(Quixote is one of those stories I feel I know well enough I never need to see a version, and while I am sure I have seen versions, I can't even remember the name of his donkey-riding off-sider... although I can remember Don-Wan Kihotay, so in conclusion: there is no culture here.)
posted by Mezentian at 3:23 AM on January 7, 2016


Man, I'm 100% good with Chad Coleman as Fred Johnson because he was just on Walking Dead as Tyreese, who famously kills several dozen zombies by himself using just a hammer.

So when I saw Chad Coleman in his spacesuit on Anderson Station as the last person standing post-massacre, I was like, "yep. believable."

He's got the ability to flip between gentle and aggressive really quickly, so I'm excited to see what happens next!

I can't decide if I love or hate Miller's devil's lock and his cheap, knock-off Deckard impersonations, so by default I love it because he's giving me permanent space fedora feelings, because I think that's how he's supposed to read. Everything from the chopsticks + noodles to drinking and having woman problems to propping his feet up while casually running through tech-driven missing persons clues... yep, low-budget Deckard.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:13 AM on January 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Deckard! Right! I knew the scene where he grabbed the guy by the collar in this episode reminded me of something. It was exactly what Deckard does to Taffy Lewis!
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 9:42 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I can't even remember the name of his donkey-riding off-sider

Sancho Panda.
Also, I just learned that Brad Garrett did the voice of the horse on that cartoon so my further readings of the books (just started Cibola Burn last night) will take a hard left turn.

posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:25 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I actually did not know that was Don Quixote's horse, but that's hilariously appropriate.

I'm pretty Miller-neutral, but I find his hair amusing.

I still love all the dirt and grime in Ceres; kudos to whoever actually let the props people do weathering, because it looks far more believable that way. The makeup people who do Havelock's girlfriend also genuinely make her look strange and Belter-ish.

I think you meant Sancho Panza, unless Dreamworks has done yet another panda cartoon?
posted by tautological at 12:45 PM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I can't decide if I love or hate Miller's devil's lock and his cheap, knock-off Deckard impersonations, so by default I love it because he's giving me permanent space fedora feelings, because I think that's how he's supposed to read.

Today I learned devil's lock. From the first episodes I've been referring to the actor who plays Miller as Off-brand Mickey Rourke. I was taken aback by the scene in his apartment because he looked so much younger without the hat. It's not so much that the hat ages him, I think it adds gravitas.

I actually did not know that was Don Quixote's horse, but that's hilariously appropriate.

The first episode was named Dulcinea which was the name of Don Quixote's unrequited love.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:05 PM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Miller wears that crap more or less to troll people.
posted by Justinian at 5:31 PM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I love how towering the Belters are. It's there in the books but the visual aspect is just so great and striking. The physicality of folk like Havelock's girlfriend, the shop-owner, and the gravity-tortured earthborn belter are just an awesome dimension to the series.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:41 PM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mrs. Example can never remember Miller's name, and just refers to him as "Hat Cop".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:46 AM on January 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Was Hat Cop on the force with Axe Cop and Flute Cop?
posted by Sunburnt at 7:59 AM on January 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've liked Thomas Jane ever since I noticed him in Deep Blue Sea, which is a totally fun big-budget b-movie. Jane's good at this kind of world-weary character. I've often thought that he would make for a good Snake Plissken if the Escape From... franchise is ever resurrected.
posted by brundlefly at 1:30 AM on January 9, 2016


I've often thought that he would make for a good Snake Plissken if the Escape From... franchise is ever resurrected.

I believe I have some good news and some bad news (or all bad news, frankly)....
posted by Mezentian at 2:31 AM on January 9, 2016


I just watched this episode last night. For me this episode really started to pull everything together. I have liked all of the episodes so far, but this episode is the one that finally made me feel like this could really work long-term as a series. I think it is because I feel like the characters and the setting are established enough and the cast is comfortable with what they are doing. It just made me excited for things to keep going.
posted by bove at 9:31 AM on January 12, 2016


Just curious, is ANYONE watching this who hasn't read the book? I am and I'm surprised to find that most of the discussion here is book-related.

I've enjoyed the action scenes and I like Hat Cop* but I find the politics entirely confusing. I really get the impression I was supposed to read the book first.

* Sorry, that's his name now.
posted by mmoncur at 12:46 AM on January 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


I haven't read the books and have been watching. I'm on the fence about whether I'll keep watching. I don't seem to like it nearly as much as everyone here who has read the books. I don't dislike it, it's just that I'm not sure I like it enough to make it worth my while.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:23 AM on January 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised to find that most of the discussion here is book-related.

I try to focus on what's on the screen, but it's hard with an adaptation, especially in the first of five books, not to allude to the books and the changes.

I find the politics entirely confusing. I really get the impression I was supposed to read the book first.


I think they're a little clearer on screen, in a way.

Part of me thinks this show was designed to be binged, but part not.

Anyway, must dash. There's a new episode to watch.
posted by Mezentian at 5:15 AM on January 13, 2016


I never read the books, either, but then I enjoy being confused. :)

Also, just when I say I'm glad there's no flashbacks, they have to go ahead and do a flashback. Dammit.
posted by Mogur at 10:54 AM on January 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


I haven't read the books (although I just downloaded the first one) and I think I'm following it fine.
posted by brundlefly at 11:29 AM on January 13, 2016


New episode!
posted by Mogur at 1:15 PM on January 13, 2016


I have not read. Am trying to resist temptation to read.

God damn miller's hair is distracting.

I just noticed this time tht Holden is named for Holden Caulfield.
posted by bq at 9:48 PM on January 16, 2016


Anubis is the God of death. Naomi was a refugee fleeing persecution. Amos was a prophet who insisted on righteousness. Scopuli is probably a reference to the supposed home of the sirens - who foundered ships.
posted by bq at 9:59 PM on January 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


My husband has listened to the books on tape and we are watching the show together so I get some insights that the show might not delve into as deeply - but I am enjoying it so far without a lot of previous knowledge
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 6:26 PM on February 5, 2016


God damn miller's hair is distracting.

I know. I had the same hair cut at 19.
And now I want it again.
posted by Mezentian at 11:57 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I know. I had the same hair cut at 19.
And now I want it again.


ME TOO! I'm seriously tempted to go back to that haircut now.
posted by mmoncur at 12:39 AM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I honestly love Hat Cop's schtick, but then Raymond Chandler is one of my favourite authors, so... (And I love it all the more for the fact that it's apparently intended to piss people off. Because I like Raymond Chandler, and I like Elliot Gould as Philip Marlowe in particular, and a big part of the reason why is the way everybody treats him like he's the biggest pain in the ass they've ever met.)
posted by tobascodagama at 8:10 AM on February 6, 2016


Non-book person here.

I think Miller's hair is more or less the same do that Naomi has. It's super short on the sides, a bit more in the center of the back of the head, and a lot on top, more or less a style that was referred to as a "safety hawk" when i was in high school. I think I have seen it on one or two background players as well, so I am guessing it's supposed to be a relatively common style.

Dug the literal code switching by Brown on Anderson Station. Readers: is the Anderson Station business intended as a literal historical reference to the Ludlow Massacre?
posted by mwhybark at 10:00 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]




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