The Expanse: Static
February 9, 2017 11:14 AM - Season 2, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Dealing with the fallout from the raid on the mystery station. Holden kicks Miller off the Rocinante for killing Dresden. A captured scientist reveals some of the secrets of the protomolecule. Earth and Mars continue to careen towards war, and Avasarala is willing to commit treason to stop it.
posted by fimbulvetr (47 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
FWIW, the AV Club has started covering this show again, and they liked this episode.
posted by whir at 2:07 PM on February 9, 2017


The IO9 review has a good interview with Wes Chatham and Steven Strait that's full of unflagged spoilers about Amos's background, BTW. If you're sensitive to spoilers, I suggest not reading it unless you're current on the books at least as far as the novella The Churn.
posted by Lexica at 4:06 PM on February 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I liked Miller's visit to the Space Mormons. It definitely seemed in character to me given what he was thinking about doing.
posted by Justinian at 5:09 PM on February 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


Cringing at the scenes with the Martian Marines. Dialogue is terrible and the execution didn't transcend it; also, that is not what I expected as a 'Texan drawl' mixed with East Indian (that was the majority ethnicities of the original settlers on Mars, right?).

I know book Alex has a bit of a gut, but its the Marines here who look pudgy in their terribad uniforms.

Love the extra character development that Alex is getting. Hope it's a trend (that he gets more love, show Alex is more fully formed than book Alex for me so far). Liked his/actor's pivot when asked if he still had people on mars.

Sam Rosenberg is a (physical) departure from book, but I absolutely love the characterization. Perfect. Interesting to see if (if the show runs long enough knock wood) the set producers wear/age the Roci. I'm impressed with how well 'Belta' has been constructed and performed. Alli Chung (Sam)'s staged accent is spot on with my mind's ear, with upgrades/overrides. Although it might be a bad hangover from acute 'Stephany Jacobsen in T:SCC' overdose."

Ambivalent about the Eros remix music, but I really look forward to hearing the "razorback" song/lyrics.

Magnet ~ turning off parts of brain = transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMI) or something similar. It's a real thing, but with current understanding, if such specific effects could be produced, they're likely short lived or require continuous stimulation. As a scifi device, it's not bad. Like, super-precise space-lobotomy.

Miller's hair through the series is my most 'under-rated by me' aspect of the show. I agree with the showrunners that it paints the character more accurately than the book's 'porkpie hat.'

Space Mormons: thumbs up. Way up. Well, as entertainment. IRL, this might cause some consternation from several different angles. Book Nauvoo, the generation ship, remains a critical part of the story all the way up to the latest book and likely onward.

LOL Holden always having his arms crossed to accentuate his biceps.
posted by porpoise at 7:20 PM on February 9, 2017


> "full of unflagged spoilers about Amos's background"

Amos - like Alex - yeah, I hope get gets a lot more character love (and sooner) than he does in the books. His background is complicated, complex, and fraught. A *lot* of WTF and a major weakness in the series but... effective?

Book Amos is actually a bit of a shame at handling that class of story, but the show's showing signs that (and the producers are letting them) they are interested in exploring some of those things. Guess it'll depend on the degree that the producers/financiers are willing to let the show go.
posted by porpoise at 7:28 PM on February 9, 2017


I just picked up my childhood copy of D'Aulaires' Greek Myths to refresh my memory of the Andromeda story and found the line "her father had to sacrifice her, his only daughter, to the monster." Ooh. Now I want to look up all the names: what's the origin of James? Naomi? Amos? Frederick? Chrisjen?

(And I'm wondering how, even as a 7-year-old, I didn't recognize the problems with this image as a depiction of Andromeda, princess of Ethiopia.)
posted by Lexica at 8:42 PM on February 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I have to give this show supreme credit for two heart stopping moments so far. My heart was in my mouth when the trace bullets went though the crew cabin of the Rocinante in the last episode. And in this episode when Amos casually asks 'Is the condition, cough, reversible?' Brilliant payoff that was built up over a long time.
posted by bq at 10:23 PM on February 9, 2017 [9 favorites]


I do love the character names. The ship names are just as good.
posted by bq at 10:23 PM on February 9, 2017


I was and remain ticked that the series didn't just do the first book in a first, 13-episode season. There was plenty of padding early in the first season, so if they had cut one episode of s1, they'd be on target to slam home Leviathan's climax which appears to be ready for next episode.

Paciing-wise, though, this season is doing a great job. It banged out the Thoth station in two gripping episodes; the Inners' political drama is up to 10 and still rising, the Martian Marines... okay, they need work. Martians aren't getting a lot of depth in general; not on the Donnager and not here, and not in that weird moment last season where Roci encountered a Martian patrol. It's one thing to say they are a martial (ahem) society, but it's another to never actually show civvies; the books assure us there are civvies.

Oh, as I was saying, Pacing. This episode moved a lot of pieces into place, and chopped some wood on the foreshadowing front. Now, we just need to see Eros do its thing, and the belters' big showpiece in response, and we can kick into gear the second book... which I can't even remember the name of, much less the plot, except that the whole system was on pins and needles due to the events that're about to happen. Shit, time to reread.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:52 PM on February 9, 2017


I almost completely lost it when I saw that Belters play one-wall handball ON SPACE STATIONS!

I grew up in NYC (Rockaway Beach) and handball courts are as common as basketball hoops. Seeing Belters playing 1-wall had me almost out of my seat. I kinda dig that that's what Belters play. Not only is "Hit a ball against a wall" an incredibly basic game mechanic played by lots of cultures, but a ball is a compact, light item to keep in your gear bag when you live in space. I can just imagine you're in dock for a while, not long enough to get a room but long enough to get bored. So you pull out your ball, look for a likely neck-tattoo, and ask "Oye coyo; to wanya go kula ere da wowl?" ("Hey buddy; you wanna go ball to the wall?"). Or maybe you know you're going to be burning at 1G for a LONG TIME till the next dock, and the crew starts a new ladder tournament every time they ship out.

And regarding tatuyingi belta, Naomi's neck tattoo is the circlet type that mimics the burn scars older Belters (like Anderson Dawes) used to get from the shitty helmets that were around at the time. Drummer has a tattoo on the right side of her neck, but it's not a circlet.

Drummer points at Naomi's tatuyingi and says "I can see you're from some rock." Which makes sense. Rock hoppers spend lots of time in their suits, long enough to get burned. But I'm thinking this implies that there is a a bit of cultural divide between station-raised Belters and rock-hoppers.

In S1E1, Miller points Havelock's gaze at "that piss-poor rock hopper" w/ the tremors from the rejected growth hormones. Dawes' family were "dirt-poor rock hoppers". Alex is worried about the refugees from Eros; "they're rock hoppers, they don't have the skills for this place", meaning the bustling metropolis that is Tycho Station.

Miller, Sematimba, Drummer — they're all Belters but don't have the circlet because they're station-raised. Miller has never left Ceres before. He's is a Belter who gets space-sick. Rock hoppers like Diogo don't.

The rock hoppers are going to be the ones who spend the most time in zero-g, so their bodies are the most changed from compared to Earthers. But they're also the "country bumpkins" of the belt.

Drummer can look at a neck circlet and read "you're from some rock". What I wanna know is: can Naomi look at someone's tatuyingi and read more? Are the designs purely decorative, or is there information about how you are and where you're from encoded in them?

I fucking love this show.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:54 PM on February 9, 2017 [12 favorites]


yea, I am so enjoying this show! I just re-watched this episode, and Amos is the real standout for subtly portraying what's going on in his head with the slightest of eye movements. Also his expressions while he's drinking Miller's booze are priceless.

hey Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey, is that you in this ?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:32 AM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sam Rosenberg is a (physical) departure from book, but I absolutely love the characterization. Perfect. Interesting to see if (if the show runs long enough knock wood) the set producers wear/age the Roci. I'm impressed with how well 'Belta' has been constructed and performed. Alli Chung (Sam)'s staged accent is spot on with my mind's ear, with upgrades/overrides. Although it might be a bad hangover from acute 'Stephany Jacobsen in T:SCC' overdose."

I'm confused. Sam Rosenberg wasn't in this episode. Are you thinking of Cara Gee's character who plays Drummer, Johnson's second in command ?
posted by Pendragon at 4:44 AM on February 10, 2017


Looking around, Alli Chung played a tech named "Sam Rosenberg" who got stuff out of Lopez's suit in S1. Glancing at reddit, it looks like the showrunners got cold feet about whether they wanted to introduce Sam that early. Cara Gee's character is only listed on imdb as "Johnson's second in command" but, again glancing around, she's identified her character on twitter as Drummer, who is the Tycho security head from a later book. But she's definitely taken up the part of Sam that was Naomi's confidant... all we need now is for Alex and/or Amos to fall for her.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:30 AM on February 10, 2017


hey Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey, is that you in this

Yup, that's me! Lexica & I are homies w/ Nick Farmer, the linguist who created the Belter language for the TV show. Yes; we have gone full-Belter haircuts since halfway thru S1.

I also make a brief appearance in Nick's Ars Technica interview about creating Belter. It was filmed at the bar I used to work at where we were having Belter language meetups during S1.

Actually, another homie from AT was ask d to be interviewed for the Adam Savage special, but he couldn't do it. So he told them "You should talk to this Bartender in Oakland who's taught himself to speak Belter." I was really psyched during the Skype interview when they said "aim your cam towards a blank background and we'll edit it to look like you're sending a video message on on of the show's comm units." XĂ©lixup!

Also, Nick did a panel w the guy who created Dothraki for Game of Thrones and Trigdasleng for The 100 last year discussing constructed languages. Halfway thru the Q&A Nick get's asked "What's the coolest of thing about creating Belter" and he replied "When I go to my faveorite tiki bar in Oakland, and the bartender is speaking Belter at me".

So I manipulated my place in the line so I got the last Q, and not only asked a 2-part question in Belta, but gave a short recruiting speech for the OPA to the crowd.

No Dothraki speakers were in the audience that day.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:11 AM on February 10, 2017 [36 favorites]


very cool!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:34 PM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


I've just started listening to the podcast The Churn, which features interviews with the authors of the books (who are also heavily involved in the writing of the show), and it's pretty good. This week's episode also has Wes Chatham (Amos) on it, saying some things about the character of Amos that are pretty similar to the things he said in the IO9 interview above. They seem to be trying to avoid spoilers from the book, though they do talk about some book elements.
posted by whir at 4:53 PM on February 10, 2017


I have to note I have not read the books but I was thinking about the repercussions of the thing on Eros "making" something and that the people it absorbed might still be alive somehow. I'm pretty convinced that Miller really is seeing Julie and it's not 100% hallucination. Unlike a show like Lost (not based on novels) or GoT (barely following the books) I don't know if this is something that's addressed. Do I even want to know?
posted by fiercekitten at 5:16 PM on February 10, 2017 [3 favorites]


The Expanse isn't really a puzzle you have to solve. Most mysteries are answered fairly promptly.
posted by Justinian at 6:41 PM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


This second season is so good. But I know from my casual watching friends it's still pretty confusing. One friend of mine got Eros and Thoth mixed up and has no idea why people are attacking either of them. Hell, I'd forgotten about Thoth in the books myself; why couldn't all of that just happened on Eros?

But that's just my complaint that it's a complicated space opera with lots of moving parts. I love that about the show! Just that they are very close to the edge of comprehensibility. The books don't quite have the same problem because the narrative structure is more linear. The grand story is complicated, but each chapter is very focused. The TV show has a lot more cutting back and forth between POVs and plot sequences.

I almost completely lost it when I saw that Belters play one-wall handball ON SPACE STATIONS!

I know, awesome! Imagine playing that game at various different gravities. Not to mention Coriolis forces. I also liked that Naomi got to have a bit of Bechdel time together, sweaty physical time, without it being some boy fantasy erotic silliness.
posted by Nelson at 7:17 AM on February 11, 2017 [4 favorites]


Love the show and the episode, except for the martians. The first book didn't have anything from chrisjen avasarala, so for the show they made up some suspense, then made it disappear into a puff of smoke. I feel like the same thing is happening with the marines. right now she is doing nothing but engaging in drama that feels like its going nowhere.
posted by rebent at 7:20 AM on February 11, 2017 [1 favorite]


So I manipulated my place in the line so I got the last Q, and not only asked a 2-part question in Belta, but gave a short recruiting speech for the OPA to the crowd.

This is the best thing that has ever bested. I just wish there was video, my husband's eyes would pop.
posted by corb at 12:07 PM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


So, hmm, I suppose it might be time for me to revisit this show. The books petered out for me around a quarter of the way through instalment 4 of what was originally supposed to be a trilogy, which is a good Hitchhiker's reference and everything, but means a lot of padding. And for some reason we never progressed past the first episode of season one. However, I respect everybody's good taste here, so will Netflix S1 and see how it goes!
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:20 PM on February 12, 2017


Hey unicorncob and longdaysjourney, if y'all are reading, can I just take this opportunity to say you were right and I was totes wrong about Hat Cop.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:34 PM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


Dude I wasn't going to say it, thoughtsy. It's cool though to come in with one impression and then realize there's more to the motivation than what you thought...

He really actually doesn't give a fuck, except now he's playing the long(er) con :)
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:26 PM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


Much as I love Hat Cop, I simply must note that he has been referred to in-show as Detective Chapeau instead.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:43 PM on February 12, 2017 [4 favorites]


It comes from the same root, but the Belta word for hat is "shapu". Detectif Shapu.

Zacomang shapu, "Hat cop".
Pashang fong, zacomang. "Fuck off, cop".

And I've been thinking about the fact that whether or not Julie Mao is a mental projection of Miller's subconscious or some manner of ghost presence appearing to him, it doesn't matter (though I have my suspicions).

But every time she appears to Miller, she's frowning, or at best neutral. The message to her father. Planting Bosch on the deck before shipping out on the Scopuli. The photo of her. The video of her as a student protester chanting "Milowda na anyimals!". Julie Mao has resting revolutionary face, even in miller's visions. Her hair is always tied up bc the series opener showed us what long hair in zero-g looks like unsecured.

The only time Miller has seen Julie smile is when she's celebrating her record breaking victory piloting the Razorback, spraying champagne all over her ground crew.

Then Miller looks into the mirror in s2e3 and says "Us belters". And Diogo looks into the mirror next to him and replies "Beltalowda".

And as Diogo puts the bangin' Eros beats back on, the new Belter anthem, the "call to war", Miller picks up the clippers and starts giving himself a proper belter haircut again.

And then Julie appears in the mirror, smiling at him, her hair down.

The only things that make Julie Mao smile are the Razorback & Miller saying "Us belters".

This show plants it's seeds deep and nurtures them slow.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:25 PM on February 13, 2017 [3 favorites]


This is the best thing that has ever bested. I just wish there was video, my husband's eyes would pop.

There is. Pirate's question is at about 1:06:50.

Pashang fong, zacomang

To be nitpicky, it's zakomang, with a k.
posted by Lexica at 4:09 PM on February 13, 2017 [5 favorites]


Dude I wasn't going to say it, thoughtsy. It's cool though to come in with one impression and then realize there's more to the motivation than what you thought...

You are gracious. Nevertheless, I look upon Hat Cop with new found respect.

Those poor Mormons tho. Hat Cop and Freddie J are going to fuck their shit up. For the greater good of the Solar System (since you can't rely on Earth or Mars actually destorying Eros instead of attempting to weaponise it), but still. It's pretty harsh.

Also, if there's an existential alien threat to the system, getting those Mormons out of the system as a Noah's Ark would have been a good species survival strategy. But I guess it's not to be.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:39 PM on February 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


Much as I love Hat Cop, I simply must note that he has been referred to in-show as Detective Chapeau instead.

He will always be Hat Cop to me.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:41 PM on February 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


Our descendants will have wars over this issue.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:05 PM on February 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


"The Chapeaunistas are redoubling their attack!"

"The Devil you say, Jenkins! To me, Hat Cops! We ride!"
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:22 PM on February 13, 2017 [3 favorites]


Chapeaunistas? Chapeaunistas?

mutters Shapulowda, dagnabbit.
posted by Lexica at 6:13 PM on February 13, 2017 [4 favorites]


Shapulowda

Breakway splinter group. Factional divisions within the ranks of the Chapeaunistas will ultimately be their downfall.

The Hat Cops, however, stand united.

The Hat Cops! United! Will never be defeated!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:16 PM on February 13, 2017 [5 favorites]


Look man if you gotta ram a generation ship that's dead empty except for a skeleton crew against a living, breathing, evolving neomorph that's consuming 100k human resources, I'd say that's a damned good use of what's available for minimum loss of (understood as human) life.

I mean, it's gotta be like a huge tax write-off for the church this way, yeah? Sucks I know. But... you gonna put an angel on the tip of a Spaceship, and... well... Symbolism. Also, doesn't Holden have a shitload of land in Montana and no heirs, no plans to go Earthbound again? So yeah, Holden could just donate Montana to the Mormons.*

*Not spoilers, this is me speculating on something I'd write if The Expanse were my show. He's steadfastly altruistic in the face of almost war, and so if it came time to settle up Holden could wing it with his land parcel.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:31 PM on February 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


Chapeaunistas? Chapeaunistas?

mutters Shapulowda, dagnabbit.

...

Breakway splinter group. Factional divisions within the ranks of the Chapeaunistas will ultimately be their downfall.


Chapeauverlords, surely.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:15 AM on February 14, 2017 [4 favorites]


Also, doesn't Holden have a shitload of land in Montana and no heirs, no plans to go Earthbound again? So yeah, Holden could just donate Montana to the Mormons.

It's only 22 acres. Not really enough to compensate for the Nauvoo.
posted by Lexica at 10:47 AM on February 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I don't think it would occur to him to pay for the Nauvoo. Crashing it into Eros is the right thing to do, and even the Mormons would agree with that. What's that? They aren't agreeing? Well, that makes no sense at all.
posted by Mogur at 3:40 PM on February 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


Damn right, Mogur, those are the Space Mormons I want in my dystopian future. The ones who care about right and wrong more than their own self-interest.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:57 PM on February 14, 2017


"Under the Authority of the Outer Planets Alliance, we are hereby seizing the Nauvoo under Eminent domain. Signed, Fred Johnson"

See, all nice and legal. ;-)
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:26 PM on February 14, 2017


Oh, I fully expect the Space Mormons to be really angry about their lost ship (and I get the sense that his control of subcontracts is what keeps Fred Johnson in power. He may have more jobs in the pipeline, but in the short term a lot of his own residents will be at loose ends.)

(and you really don't want a bunch of belters at loose ends).
posted by Mogur at 5:38 AM on February 15, 2017


I am slow sometimes. I just realized something about 'CQB' (season 1) -- why those stealth ships kept attacking even though they suffered well over 50% casualties in the initial assault (and 100% when the Donnager blew up, which was foreseeable). That had been bothering me for a while, as I couldn't see a corporation just finding so many suicidal people with good combat and tech skills.

But now we see the violent security guards on the secret station, and learn about the brain-alteration technology. Damn.
posted by Mogur at 5:17 AM on February 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


In the book they were psychopathic, which let them suspend any notions of scientific ethics vis-a-vis human trials, and goal-obsessed.

In one of the short stories, the name of which escapes me, we see the inside of a prison in which the Thoth survivors are kept, and it reads like a prison movie where that alteration resides as the elephant in the room: these scientists will violently protect their self-interest, betray their fellow prisoners and lovers. It rather suggests that, having altered mentation, they are prison-normal.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:08 PM on February 16, 2017


"The Vital Abyss" is the short story in the belter prison barge.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:32 PM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm lost - what / where was Thoth? Non-book reader, here, obviously. Was that the asteroid that the dead space ship was on?
posted by kanewai at 4:26 PM on March 12, 2017


Thoth is the name of the spin-station where Dresden set up home base for protomolecule research. It's the startion the belters raided. The mad scientist's secret lair.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:41 PM on March 12, 2017


Metafilter: The Space Mormons I want in my dystopian future.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:29 PM on November 23, 2020


Amos had a really interesting reaction to the brain-altered scientist. It made me think that he experience similar brain alteration.
posted by medusa at 4:10 PM on December 25, 2020


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