The Expanse: Second Season, Books Included   Books Included 
March 30, 2017 12:10 PM - Season 2 (Full Season) - Subscribe

As book and show continue, things are often different for the crew of the Rocinante. This is a catch-all for speculation on why, wherefore, what's going to be done with it, etc.
posted by corb (24 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The major difference that happened, thus far, is that Errinwright actually confesses to Avasarala. What does this mean for how the show develops versus how the books do? In the books, Errinwright is the one who puts her on Jules-Pierre Mao's ship and is still linked together with him. In the show, not so much. Does this mean there will be another Earth villain? Or is Errinwright playing a longer game - lulling her into a false sense of security, and perhaps luring her onto Mao's ship by promising she can spy on him?
posted by corb at 12:13 PM on March 30, 2017

Yeah, not sure how they're going to maneuver Avasarala and Bobbie into space together now. In the books she didn't have a choice but to go. They've got to get up there at some point so Avasarala can spend actual time with the Roci crew and I want to see Bobbie on the Razorback.
posted by IanMorr at 12:37 PM on March 30, 2017

Avasarala can do 🎶whatever the hell she wants🎶. Including working with Fred to get into space.
posted by zippy at 12:46 PM on March 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, prompted by some wondering in the other thread - I'm actually wondering about who Nico is, and whether he's important or not. My suspicion is that he is - partially because he's a character they make a point of actually naming, and this show seems really like it doesn't put a lot of fat - the only other character we've seen named is Basia, and he has actual importance.

My speculations at this point come from my own half formed memory - I vaguely recall that Nico may have been a character in the short novella The Churn, about Amos' backstory? But it's been a while since I read that one, and I may well be misremembering. They do seem to be delving into Amos' backstory, but also Amos doesn't come to Bobbi, Bobbi comes to them. So it may be nothing.
posted by corb at 1:18 PM on March 30, 2017

Nico Sanjrani is a character in the latest book, Babylon's Ashes. He's a Belter and seems to be completely unconnected to Amos's backstory.

Based on searching the ebooks, that's the only "Nico".
posted by Lexica at 2:01 PM on March 30, 2017

It looks to me like the biggest difference so far is that Bobbie is getting pushed away from Mars -- the Next Time thing had her running away while people yelled about shooting her. I assume that this is about getting her onto Roci full-time waaaay earlier than in the books, which is Fine With Me.

...The bits in Nemesis Games where Alex meets up with her during his trip to Mars can still happen; just have them both visiting family while Amos is downwell.

Errinwright is the one who puts her on Jules-Pierre Mao's ship and is still linked together with him. In the show, not so much.

Nguyen is still probably talking to Mao and Protogen, like he was in Caliban's War. So it can develop that she still needs to get out to Ganymede to prevent a war, but Nguyen and Mao have engineered things so that there are no UN ships available so Mao offers his ship.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:19 PM on March 30, 2017

As I recall, in the books she's initially on the Mao ship on the pretense that she's going to head towards Venus and check out the post-Eros situation there, right? It seems like that could still happen, and she'd maybe have more of an internal reason to do it now that we've established some character ties between her and the scientist on the Venus science ship.
posted by whir at 11:55 PM on April 1, 2017

No, Avasarala was headed out to Ganymede on Mao's ship, as I recall. The Errinwright was trying to get her way TF out there so she would be sidelined.
posted by wierdo at 5:08 PM on April 2, 2017

The part of the book I'm confused about is the extra protovirus. In the books this ends up in Fred Johnson's hands. And then Holden thinks Fred used that protovirus on Ganymede, is responsible for the horror there, and they have a huge falling out over it. It's a major part of the plot, Holden vs. Johnson, and it seems entirely absent here in the TV show? Instead Naomi is responsible for hiding the virus and is now realizing it's not safe where she stashed it away. Did that happen in the books at all? I don't think so and it seems like a strange thing to add to this story.

We've been talking a lot about book Bobbie in the main threads. I'm so, so frustrated with the writing of her for the TV show. They've totally failed to convey her inner monologue. It's great writing in the books, the way she's established as a strong and kick-ass marine who's just temporarily fucked up because of the Ganymede events. But from the beginning we know she's got that inner strength. Also she's got outer strength, with her combat armor, and the book spends a lot of time talking about how she really wants her fucking armor now. All that is lost in the TV show, all we see is this sort of broken meek woman. Finally in this most recent episode (Cascade) she gets some autonomy, even if it's just kind of crawling down a drainage ditch to sit ineffectually by some filthy harbor water.
posted by Nelson at 7:36 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nelson, IIRC the ganymede virus is shown to be more mad scientist shit, Jim and Fred make up, and then in the later book the protomolicule locked in Fred's safe gets stolen during a raid by another group and is a huge mystery.
posted by rebent at 12:45 PM on April 4, 2017

Wow, episode 11 kinda just tossed the books to the side in a couple of big ways. Gunny goes Earther, really? Mars is directly involved with protomolecule testing?

They've turned it much more into Earth v. Mars instead of Earth and Mars vs. nutjobs. Granted, I can see how it can make sense given the last couple of books, but it still seems to be overly drastic to me. And Draper defects instead of amicably just staying behind. It's all too weird. Come to think of it, so is Avasarala and Mao.
posted by wierdo at 8:22 PM on April 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Naomi had a daughter?!
posted by Nelson at 10:28 PM on April 6, 2017

Perhaps they are changing her child's gender for the show? (I don't actually remember if she actually said daughter/son when she was talking to Prax last episode)
posted by wierdo at 11:13 PM on April 6, 2017

Gunny goes Earther, really?

I read this as more cutting to the chase so they can get her to be Roci crew earlier if they want to. I'm sure she would say that she hasn't gone Earther and is still a Martian. She didn't abandon Mars; the MCR abandoned her and abandoned the dream of what Mars could be.

Mars is directly involved with protomolecule testing?

This is true in the books too, later. The Martian fleet that left through the gates to go do protomolecule stuff.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:04 AM on April 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I didn't know Naomi had a child at all! I've only read the first three books, maybe that fact comes out in a later book?

They sure are re-organizing and compressing events. I'm OK with that because it makes good TV. But I'm very curious how they're going to handle Bobbie and Avasarala's long voyage, the time and distance involved is a big part of the story. And no idea how they're going to manage the story of the third book, it's going to be like a whole different TV show.
posted by Nelson at 9:37 AM on April 7, 2017

The waaaay accelerated reveal of Naomi's kid, Gunny defecting... all that reads to me as if they want to get to Abbadon's Gate as quickly as possible, maybe because they don't know about a seven-season deal.

About time we got some ass-kicking from Bobbie, though, geez. I concur on the general disappointment expressed here and there about her screen writing.
posted by mwhybark at 9:45 AM on April 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

maybe that fact comes out in a later book?

Oui. It's a big part of Nemesis Games and Babylon's Ashes.

Let me also note that they've at least mentioned Clarissa/Peaches! I'd be curious to see how they deal with her drug glands.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:29 AM on April 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

The events of the books have been reordered to work better with the arc of the show season, but they haven't been "tossed to the side" by any means.

Plotwise, if you look at what happens in Caliban's War (note: all the spoilers at that link), I think it's likely that they're planning to have the end of season 2 coincide with the end of book 2.

I have my own suspicions (hopes) about what moment and line they're going to end the season on...
posted by Lexica at 12:02 PM on April 7, 2017

The whole sequence in the secret corridors they took Mei into is one of those things that really highlights the weaknesses in a TV adaptation - not saying it was bad, but all of the internal monologue and no need to consider episode running time in the books really adds so much to that sequence. Everything from Amos giving Prax a gun through the raid on the corridors is so fleshed out in the book and just breezed by here. The show has its own strengths, the immediacy of the violence when they come across the mercenaries eating dinner is a cool surprising shot of adrenaline, but in the books it's a whole amazing thing, a slower, tense meditation on the consequences of actions - Prax has a gun because Amos made a bad emotional call, Prax absolutely should not have a gun, Prax thinks cocking his gun is a performative action to make a point specifically because that's how he saw it played in movies and games, everyone else has to commit to violence they'd have preferred not to use because of Prax cocking his weapon at the worst moment and allies die as a direct consequence of that. There's also this kind of subtle facet of the whole thing where you can see how Prax has been conditioned to see his role as this righteously angry hero on a quest and how the reality to everyone else is that he's a hindrance and a danger and way, way out of his depth. It's one of my favorite things in the book and there's no real good way for it to exist in a show like this, it would take like a Breaking Bad style meditative episode centered around this one gun fight and all of the emotional and historical context of Prax leading up to it to make it work and this show doesn't really have the luxury to work at that pace.

Unsurprisingly where the show is worst about this whole sequence is with the Holden writing, there's no hint of that really vulnerable Holden completely losing control of himself out of fear of the protomolecule from the book, instead he's just a growly man of action.

And again, that's not to say I think it's a bad show, I really enjoyed it. I very much enjoyed Bobbie and Alex this episode! But the whole corridor fight stood out to me as just noticeably not translating well into the show.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:09 AM on April 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

Just a drive-by on my way over to the long-running Dune thread to note that after my dash thru The Expanse books I was gripped with a need to reread the Dune books. After about half of the first book I can see why: there is significant remixing and borrowing from Dune in The Expanse.

Beltas are Fremen, hardy independent folks who render their dead into nutrient stock and water. Martians share the Fremen dream of a terraformed desert planet. And so on. There's even a reference to mushroom yeast in the dinner party scene on Arrakis after the Atreides have relocated.

Book-Holden is somewhat like Paul in that he is described as preternaturally charismatic - Herbert doesn't tell us this directly about Paul but rather shows us this by describing the reactions of those around him. Interestingly, this was one of the issues with Kyle McClanahan's performance as Paul in the film, much as Strait's performance in the series does not appear to portray the same charater as described in the books.
posted by mwhybark at 1:24 AM on April 14, 2017

So it looks like they got about 2/3 through Caliban's War?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:01 PM on April 20, 2017

Looks like. My prediction of where the season would end was wrong and I'm so glad because it means we get to see much more of the book up on screen.

I'd figured they'd had to drop the whole subplot with Prax's ex-wife due to time, but maybe we'll see that next season.
posted by Lexica at 9:03 PM on April 20, 2017

...which means maybe we get that conversation between Amos and Prax about whether he'd done those things his ex said... Oh, fuck no! I'd have thrown you out the airlock!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:09 PM on April 20, 2017

I know it was never a possibility in either the books or the show, but I really wish that they'd kept Miller around as a real (living) character far beyond how long they did. I thought he was interesting in his own right, and his relationships with Naomi, Holden, and Amos were also fascinating (Miller and Alex didn't really interact much? I guess because Miller was always on-station whenever possible and Alex is always flying).

Like with Naomi, she and Miller share an ambivalence about Belter culture, which is interesting also from the aspect of understanding the Belt better in general. I think that the series (both books and show) ends up whitewashing the Belt after Miller is gone, and that's too bad, because the Belt is a cool place and probably the most similar to how the real world functions today. And Naomi and Miller also have the constraint that they literally cannot go to a lot of places the other characters go, they can't be in a gravity well because of their body structure, and that has a pretty big emotional impact (especially on Miller and Holden).

With Holden and Miller's relationship, something that I found interesting is how much Miller struggles to be an idealist whereas Holden just is one, and how that creates so many conflicts between them -- but is also an opportunity for them each to change (for better or worse). It was obviously very important to Miller when Holden offered him a home on the ship, and awful when Holden took that away, but Holden didn't even seem to register what a big deal that was. Those two really don't understand each other at all, so when they interact it seems to me like the chances for conflict and change are very high, which means the stakes for the characters are very high.

And when it comes to Amos and Miller, they're both basically thugs and don't really see the world that differently, weirdly, but that itself causes then to be wary and hateful to each other, and makes them each seem like more complex characters, I think. Like for example, I thought it was interesting that Amos kept saying things like that Miller was poisoning the air of the Roci, and basically that he was a bad influence and shouldn't be there, because meanwhile Amos was prowling around scaring people (to the point that Holden wanted him off the ship before the Eros disaster) and seemed totally lacking in self-awareness about it. I mean, I don't think that Amos was just pissing on his territory or anything, I think he legitimately likes how idealistic, ethical, and nonviolent the rest of the crew fundamentally are and didn't want Miller coming in and ruining that. And Miller accepted that he really was a toxic influence, because it sort of was the truth, and also because Miller had low self-esteem. But Amos himself was also a pretty similar sort of toxic influence, although whereas Miller was the vector for a cynicism contagion, Amos was the vector for a threat/violence one.

And it seemed like if Amos could be so aware of the danger that Miller posed, then he would be at least sort of self-aware of what his own influence was doing or could do? But no, he completely brushed it aside whenever Miller called him on it. And not only that, but Amos still always seems completely shocked when someone who he himself doesn't think is a threat (like Naomi back in the day or a kid or some helpless person) turns out to be afraid of him, which I think is kind of ridiculous. Like dude, yeah, you cultivate this violent psychopath persona and then people are going to be scared of you, that's the whole point. Nobody is going to think, "but I'm too vulnerable and easily exploited for this violent psychopath to target me!" Lol. I mean, Amos himself would never even think that, so why he expects other people to assume that he's trustworthy and safe to be around, I have no idea. But it was interesting how Miller and Amos could each get the measure of each other better than either could get the measure on themselves.

Anyhow, I think it would have also been interesting to see Miller's reaction to Ganymead and Prax (as a fellow Belter), and to see Miller's reaction to Amos's reaction to Ganymead and Prax. I mean, the refugee crisis center clearly reminds Amos of Baltimore somehow and triggers him, and Amos's reaction and perspective could have really complicated Miller's fantasies about Earth being some sort of paradise and about the Earther/Belter divide that he was so preoccupied with. It was interesting seeing Bobby take in how teeming with life and chaos Earth is, but I think Miller's reaction would have had more emotional depth. Because he really cared about his fantasy of Earth as the "anti-Ceres" and a sort of paradise, and seeing that it's also sort of a cesspit in a similar but even more chaotic and overwhelming way than Ceres is, even if he could only see that through Amos's perspective on it (since he can't physically go down a gravity well), would have had a huge impact on his perspective.

So, I guess that's my ode to Miller! I really wish he'd stayed on the show. And I also really wish the show had spent more time in Ceres, too, which I think is a pretty fascinating city.
posted by rue72 at 9:39 AM on June 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

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