The Expanse: Here There Be Dragons
April 6, 2017 6:47 AM - Season 2, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Bobbie makes a decision that changes her life forever.

Trivia / Cool Stuff
* The episode title refers to a saying that cartographers used to place on maps to mark dangerous, uncharted territories.
* Executive Producer Naren Shankar was unhappy about the "utterly preposterous" physics of the Rocinante scene and discusses why in this guest blog post.
* Shankar also notes that "The accounting department at our studio often refers to the show as “The Expense.”
* Redditor warpspeed100 notes that the name shown on the "Undeclared" Martian Destroyer above Eros Crater on Venus is the "Shandian", which means "Lightning" in Chinese. A naming theme: According to a replying comment, "Donnager" means "Thunderer".
* A recent episode of Adam Savage's Tested showed Mei's Misko and Marisko backpack, noting that it was one of Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham's favorite props. Misko and Marisko is a show within the Expanse book universe.
* All episodes of Tested covering The Expanse can be seen here.

Dr. Strickland, to Mei: “Don’t you want to be able to fly one day?”
Martens, to Bobbie: “It’s time you stopped looking for places to project your guilt”
Alex: "Mother of God. That thing ain't got a vac-suit on. How is that possible? What the hell is that thing?"
Holden: "Suit-up. We're going on a hunt."
Avasarala: "Sergeant Draper, when I said I needed your help, I didn't mean create a diplomatic incident."
Bobbie: "Then you should have been more specific."
posted by zarq (42 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Great episode. Good to see Bobbie kicking some ass.

Loved when the team was about to enter the other room after Amos had tossed the grenade in:

Holden:Wait here
Nagata: No chance
Burton: Hell no
Prax: No fucking way

Though by the end of the episode me and Prax were on the same page: WHERE IS MEI?
posted by IanMorr at 7:04 AM on April 6, 2017 [5 favorites]

Petty maybe but I kepts yelling MARINE at the television every time they used "soldier" to refer to Bobbie. THOSE ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE.
posted by Justinian at 7:26 AM on April 6, 2017 [5 favorites]

Petty maybe but I kepts yelling MARINE at the television every time they used "soldier" to refer to Bobbie. THOSE ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE.

I have the same gut reaction, but I've seen the book writers defend it on twitter as the meaning having changed between now and the future, and that Mars has no independent Army, so they are interchangeable to Martians. One could also attack Mars for adopting the name Marines to begin with considering it has no oceans.
posted by bluecore at 7:35 AM on April 6, 2017 [8 favorites]

Their military is based on ships so calling it the navy seems appropriate. Which would make their ground troops, by tradition, marines. Since they have no army there isn't any harm calling them soldiers, since that is what they are functioning as. I'm with the book writers on this one.
posted by bh at 8:01 AM on April 6, 2017 [4 favorites]

One could also attack Mars for adopting the name Marines to begin with considering it has no oceans.

Well, Mars' largest geologic feature is the Valles Marineris. Imma say Martians have the right to use the word independent of the relative liquidity quotient of the surface of their planet.
posted by mwhybark at 11:00 AM on April 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Their military is based on ships so calling it the navy seems appropriate. Which would make their ground troops, by tradition, marines.

Why would they call it a navy anyway? Why would they call their spacecraft ships? It's a completely different medium. It's like calling an aircraft carrier a legion, or an F-16 a Destrier.

It's this sort of linguistic sloppiness that shows that a given author hasn't really put as much thought into their setting as they should.
posted by happyroach at 12:08 PM on April 6, 2017

Ummm... those things that are kinda like ships but out in space? English for those things has been "spaceship" since 1880.

A collection of spaceships of military nature flying under the same flag? I mean, we could call it something like an "Astrogaggle".

Or, ya know. Navy.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:28 PM on April 6, 2017 [22 favorites]

If you want arbitrary adherence to nonsensical traditions, the military are your guys.
posted by cardboard at 1:07 PM on April 6, 2017 [16 favorites]

I mean, not to argue your point, but "Destrier" would be a way cooler name for a war plane than Joint Strike Fighter.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 1:16 PM on April 6, 2017 [6 favorites]

My wife was questioning my excitement over seeing Bobbi onscreen because she hasn't read the books. This was the episode where she switched to team Bobbi.

This wasn't the greatest episode of the season but I think we have all the wheels in motion now and we're slingshotting towards a strong finish.
posted by Ber at 3:09 PM on April 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

This was definitely when they switch to something waaaay closer to Book Bobbie.

I like that now she can still be loyal to her idealistic vision of what Mars is and means to her and only disloyal to the assholes who thought it was fine to kill her squad.

Frankie Adams delivers some very convincing-to-an-untrained-observer violence.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:00 PM on April 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Yay, Scarborough Campus! Everybody's favorite near-future brutalist dystopian setting!

Also, I am super digging Alex's gradual transformation into the South Texan South Asian Martian Matthew McConaughey.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:53 PM on April 6, 2017 [13 favorites]

We have armored cavalry and air cavalry despite those things not, sadly, consisting of superheavy barded horses or war pegasi. So I'm pretty sure we'd just go with "Space Navy". At least the space navy has ships in it.
posted by Justinian at 8:37 PM on April 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

So I'm pretty sure we'd just go with "Space Navy". At least the space navy has ships in it.

Martians have no need to distinguish sea-faring ships from space-faring ships. They don't need the qualifier.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:46 PM on April 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh shit, it's Bobbie!
posted by Nelson at 10:12 PM on April 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Heh. I really appreciate these guys. From Naren Shankar's blog post that zarq linked above:
It’s far too easy in TV/film science fiction to ditch reality for (what you perceive to be or rationalize is) the sake of drama. In a fantasy space opera, this is forgivable, but for a show like The Expanse that prides itself on a realistic portrayal of space, it is not.
I'm glad they were thinking about that, because that bugged me too. Not tons - this show is fun enough that I'd let a lot slide - but they usually have better attention to detail. It's neat they were thinking the same thing.

Apart from that... yeah, fun all around. It was great watching Bobbie kick ass. I did cringe when Amos gave Prax the gun, (and noted with horror that Prax wasn't observing proper firearm safety because of course he wasn't), but it seemed perfectly in character.
posted by mordax at 10:48 PM on April 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

The reveal that Naomi has/had a child (unlocatable or status otherwise unknown?) was one of the more emotional parts of this episode for me. I figure this will play into Naomi's favor with Fred Johnson to find a single person someday (be it the kid, or someone involved).

The exchange between me and my wife when Amos gave Prax the gun was a little bit of a debate with my rather simplistic view of 'c'mon Amos, you know better than this...' and my wife taking a bit more nuanced (and accurate) view of Amos is clearly going through some shit, and his action sin the scenario of a lost child abducted by Bad People, is perfectly in line with his character and actions. My wife is a therapist and completely obsessed with figuring out what's going on with his character. I'm still rather bothered by the fact that Naomi and Holden didn't put up more of a fuss about Prax getting the gun.

Uhhhhhhg. I hope this show is so successful that they're able to do some sort of spin-off. I just want to see more of this world.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:22 AM on April 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

So satisfying to see Bobbie spring into action. I mean she was a bit scary violent, and a bit too much like Amos in that. But she has a reason for what she did, her own goal, and she articulates it clearly. And she kicks that smarmy guy's ass so yay Bobbie!

I enjoyed the ridiculous Alex navigation scene. I have the perfect retcon for it; they weren't showing us what the Rocinante was actually doing, they were showing us what was going on in Alex' mind as he was running through it at 100x speed and 100x magnification in his simulations practicing for the actual maneuver. Or maybe he just took a little too much Spice. Either way, it was fun to see him rollercoastering in pure joy even if all the Jovian satellites were about to all collide into each other in the most alarming way. Bonus for Naomi raising an eyebrow at Alex talking about him and the Rocinante as "we". Ship or 'ship, or possibly both.
posted by Nelson at 9:44 AM on April 7, 2017 [5 favorites]

So... the protomolecule soldiers are made out of children, aren't they. That seems to be sort of the implication here anyway, but maybe that's not true.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:59 AM on April 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

But she has a reason for what she did

I've noted in a previous thread that I am deeply in the tank for this show and will admit that I am inclined to retcon things in the most positive ways.

But taking that as written, I can maybe see what they were trying to do with Bobbie and her behavior that struck folks as out of character? She was *lost*. She knew she had fucked up and here she is on Earth and it isn't like she thought and Earthers aren't like she thought and her superiors aren't acting like they should be, aren't treating her fallen as Marines.

But now she has a mission, and that makes all the difference?

Maybe? Possibly? But this is still the show that made the puzzling decision, which I mostly try to ignore away, to hire Steven Strait as Holden so also maybe not.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:36 AM on April 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm still rather bothered by the fact that Naomi and Holden didn't put up more of a fuss about Prax getting the gun.

Just to note that in the books, there is definitely more made of this, and the consequences are a bit more...consequential. I think this was just a plot significance vs. episode length cut, basically.

Fucking loved the grenade scene, though. The precise sequence of events is a bit different in the books but the implementation here was, unusually, better than how I imagined it.
posted by Ryvar at 4:35 PM on April 7, 2017 [6 favorites]

I am thinking about the last few seconds of the grenade. So, Amos tosses it back to the Soon-to-be-dead, but we later see that the door is up high, on a catwalk. I think the grenade landed on the catwalk at the feet of the STBD, who promptly kicked it over the side and down next to the Caliban storage. Not that they had much choice.
posted by Mogur at 5:13 PM on April 7, 2017

So I was listening to the Churn podcast from *kif sigh* SyFy and some combination of Franck/Abraham/showrunner Naren Shankar was talking about the scene where Bobbie beats up Martens and throws him into a tv, breaking it. The normal thing to do is start the throw but pull it early, and then swap out the tv for a nonfunctional breakaway tv that's been prepped to shatter in the right, photogenic way. And so of course that's what they planned and prepared to do.

What actually happened was that Frankie Adams picked up Peter Outerbridge and threw him into the perfectly functional, unprepared, straight-up normal television bolted to the wall, thus smashening it.

So I suppose I should have found that violence pretty convincing. ;^)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:21 AM on April 8, 2017 [32 favorites]

Re: giving Prax a gun:

Amos has a shotgun, Holden has a pistol, Naomi isn't into guns. And they're going after Protogen flunkies, who tend to come armed.

Holden is the only one with any military experience. Amos is a former boy prostitute from Baltimore who got off planet and became a space mechanic. This is a bunch of ice haulers and a botanist on a crusade, this is not a a SWAT team trained in tactics.

"Doors and corners, that's where they get you."

Going through that door, I'd want a 3rd gun pointing downrange. No, we don't have time for the full course. This is safe, this is fire, point the killing end towards not-us.

What blew my mind was they didn't come through the door with "HANDS IN THE AIR! NOW, MOTHERFUCKER! HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM! ANYONE WHO TALKS GETS SHOT."

They let the armed guards rest their hands on their guns, and they let the blonde talk. Should have put a round into her first. Nobody opens their fucking pie-hole till you're all on the ground, face down.

Look, when you go through a door guns first, you are committed to using violence to compel cooperation. And if you're outnumbered, surprise is your biggest tool. Letting them sit there and discuss with you while the recover their composure is wasting that.

They should have come in screaming and demanding to see hands.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:25 PM on April 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

and noted with horror that Prax wasn't observing proper firearm safety

I think I annoyed my boyfriend at that point by saying "aaaand he's already using it wrong"
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:11 AM on April 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

Strickland trying to ease Mei's fears and convince her to go on an adventure with him was fully in "Tim Curry couldn't entice a child into an ice cream truck driven by a Pokemon" territory, that dude screams "don't trust me!"
posted by jason_steakums at 8:44 AM on April 9, 2017 [7 favorites]

So... the protomolecule soldiers are made out of children, aren't they.

It isn't clear yet whether they are made of children or "only" with children. That said, I think the reason for using kids in particular is that there are few to no adults with whatever disease Mei and the others have because it is deadly enough that very few survive into adulthood. I'd expect those that do are mostly on Earth or Mars where there is better medical care and a more stable environment in general.
posted by wierdo at 11:30 AM on April 9, 2017

Hey guys there's a passage from the book about Mei's disease that basically explains a bit more about how it works (I'll delete if people consider this a spoiler, though it's from the section where Prax is explaining the station's cascade effect to Amos in the last episode):
The secret of closed-system botanical collapse was this: It’s not the thing that breaks you need to watch out for. It’s the cascade. ... That was the metaphor he used when he thought about Mei and her immune system. The problem was tiny, really. A mutant allele produced a protein that folded left instead of right. A few base pairs’ difference. But that protein catalyzed a critical step in signal transduction to the T cells. She could have all the parts of an immune system standing ready to fight off a pathogen, but without twice-daily doses of an artificial catalyzing agent, the alarm would never sound. Myers-Skelton Premature Immunosenescence they called it, and the preliminary studies still hadn’t even been able to tell if it was more common outside the well of Earth because of an unknown low-g effect or just the high radiation levels increasing mutations rates generally. ... When Dr. Strickland saw her, he knew what he was looking at, and he held back the cascade.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:12 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm convinced that the protomolecule soldier we saw roaming around outside the station will be discovered to be Mei.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 6:05 PM on April 9, 2017

One could also attack Mars for adopting the name Marines to begin with considering it has no oceans.

I reckon they missed a trick: Marsines.
posted by turbid dahlia at 10:17 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Knights of Mars, Beaters of Ass

(ok now for the remainder of the books all Martian authority figures will have Captain Murphy's voice in my head...)
posted by jason_steakums at 9:02 AM on April 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Maybe they have a particular unit who are the Knights of Cydonia because of, to them, classical music...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:48 PM on April 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

That bit of exposition-via-sound effects was pretty great.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:50 AM on February 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

This was one of my favorite episodes in a while and pushed me back into "I really need to move the books closer to the top of my pile" territory.
posted by Foosnark at 11:43 AM on February 26, 2018

The books are excellent, Foosnark, you should totally read them

also, season 3 coming soon, april 11
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:49 PM on February 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

I will say that this episode contains the one "special effect" that looks like it comes from a much cheaper and worse show. The proto-hybrid casket just glowing and disintegrating. They must have really been rushed for time and/or money in post, because it was just sad and fakey. I'd rather they cut to outside the door and give a flash through the window and then show the blackened aftermath.

But this show is so good, I'm willing to cut them some slack every twenty episodes or so.
posted by rikschell at 10:21 AM on April 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

In comparison to the book, the scene where Prax shoots the med staff (or tries anyway) was really disappointing. I recall that scene being much longer and tenser, and what seemed to be a realistic pov for someone in their first firefight. This was over in seconds. Too bad.

Ugh, that incinerating coffin was terrible, yeah.

Loved having Bobbie finally come round. Been a long time waiting.
posted by greermahoney at 6:52 PM on April 22, 2019

The problem I had with that gravity assist sequence wasn't the travel time, but that he managed to completely reverse course in short order with only thrusters when he saw that other ship.
posted by ckape at 7:57 PM on June 4, 2019

And of course after I spent most of the season repressing the urge to yell "It's not a weapon" at the screen whenever people are talking about Eros, they went and made the protomolecule into a weapon.
posted by ckape at 8:05 PM on June 5, 2019

> That bit of exposition-via-sound effects was pretty great.

I thought it was great but also ridiculous. Mr Corpse and I kept the sound effects going: meow! BWONK BWONK BWONK BWONK! mooooooo
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:05 PM on December 18, 2020

All the thruster action is kind of meaningless in the slingshot, right? The ship is a point mass for gravitational purposes so it’s attitude is irrelevant?
posted by sixswitch at 8:07 PM on February 23, 2021

Thrust has the biggest impact at the other of the orbital ellipse; accelerating through the periapsis just helps adjust the apoapsis efficiently. This is exactly what you want to do to set up the next slingshot for a minimum amount of fuel. (But, as others have said, the whole sequence was pretty batty anyways.)
posted by kaibutsu at 11:59 PM on April 2, 2021

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