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S01.E02: The Big Empty

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Holden and crew are trapped in badly damaged shuttle. On Ceres, Miller uncovers clues about Julie Mao. On Earth, Chrisjen Avasarala questions a terrorist.

 

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So far the story i'm most engaged in is the Space Crew.   They seemed very team like in episode 1 but in this episode really showed where loyalties are banked.  

 

As I understand it, Holden should be in charge, since he was all but 2nd Captain before the ship was destroyed last episode and for the most part everyone adhered to that except Naomi and Amos.   Amos especially seems cavalier about Holden being in charge and was prepared to murder him on Naomi's say so.   I'm very intrigued about who they are and why they are so loyal to each other or I should say, why he is so loyal to her.

 

Command Chain aside, I agree with both, that he was not in his right mind when he suggested going after the ship.  That would have been a suicide run.   But I think he made the right call, recording some insurance to make sure and he and the crew don't just "vanish" amidst the debris.  IF that ship didn't block the signal.

 

I thought for sure we were going to lose the Doctor or Alex so I was glad to see them both make it.   And it was interesting that they seemed middle of the road in terms of the lines drawn between Holden and Naomi/Amos.   Not on one side or the other especially, just trying to focus on getting out of the situation alive.

 

The politician and the detective haven't GRABBED me yet, but I'm interested in seeing how those stories build since I assume they are going somewhere.   Clearly Julie Mao is a pandora's box situation that'll probably effect all narratives in one way or another.

 

Another good episode IMO.

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I think I'm slowly starting to understand everything a bit more, although still confused over a few things.  But I guess the big thing is that basically Earth and Mars seem to be in some kind of cold war (that's how Shawn Doyle's character described it at least), and that is the reason there seems to be all these problems like water shortage, rebellions, and whatnot.  And it seems like it was some kind of new Mars stealth ship that Holden's ship accidentally stumbled upon.  Oh, and I'm guessing that this rich girl Miller is trying to find will end up playing a big part in this conflict.

 

The stuff with Holden is still my favorite.  I like that he is still not the leader, but there was actually a really good case for Naomi to be in charge instead, especially since he was clearly letting his emotions get the better of him earlier on.  Of course, now that the Mars ship has got them, that all might be a moot point right now.  Have no idea what is instore for them now, but I'm guessing it isn't anything good.  I also realized that I've pretty much seen all of Holden's crew in other things: Amos was Castor in the Mockingjay films, Alex was on that horrible Olympus show last year, and I really can't believe it took me this long to figure out that the doctor is that dude from Royal Pains.

 

I guess Miller letting that kid go is suppose to show that he can have a soft side, I guess.  Have a feeling this only the beginning of the problems at that station.  I was amused that he used the missing girl's water for a quick shower, since he was out of water at his place.  I guess you shouldn't let that go to waste!

 

Still not a huge amount of Shohreh Aghdashloo's character yet, but it seems clear that she will be playing a big part in whatever is to come.  Even in the few moments we do get, she already seems to be effecting things.

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Very enjoyable episode, and I really like the way the stuff on the Knight was handled. They're in a real pressure cooker situation, trying to survive when they're running out of air and struggling to even call for help. Tensions build.

 

Holden's obvious guilt over being the one to log the distress call seemed to be driving his desire to bring the perpetrators to justice, and Naomi is the only one who knows that. So she's definitely the one who is in the best emotional state to command, and she was pretty badass in this episode. Decisive, smart, and cutting when she was telling people to stop being idiots. And she knew how to make the tough calls. I really like Dominique Tipper's portrayal, so far.

 

Holden too. The insurance policy was a smart idea, if the Donnager was coming to kill them. Best way to ensure you don't get shot is to make sure you have witnesses. I think he does have the respect of the others, except for perhaps Amos, and it looked like Naomi wanted him to be making the right calls so she didn't have to. He dealt with Shed going into shock well, and he did back down over the attempt to chase that ship once he had a moment to think about it.

 

I couldn't get much of a handle on Amos in the first episode, but in this he seems ice cold. Can go from discussing murder to politely asking the potential murder victim to pass him the drill. And I realised where I've seen him before (not counting the Hunger Games movies). He was the new recruit in the final season of The Unit. The one who went rogue. He was good in that as the pretty boy with no conscience.

 

The stuff with Miller isn't gripping me yet, but then it didn't at this stage in the book either. He seems to be connecting a bit too much with this case, and I guess that sort of single minded drive could explain why he's such a mess of a person.

 

The gravity torture was a really cool (if disturbing) idea. Belters live all their lives in low-G, their bodies compensate for that and grow differently, so they can't tolerate Earth gravity. Avasarala using it on that prisoner was ruthless, but she seems to be working to what she believes is the greater good.

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Still not a huge amount of Shohreh Aghdashloo's character yet, but it seems clear that she will be playing a big part in whatever is to come.  Even in the few moments we do get, she already seems to be effecting things.

 

The comment was made that she's only a step away from ruling the Earth/Moon faction, and yet nobody knows anything about her.    So she must have a significant part to play, wielding all that political power.  Yet, there is scope for interesting things to surface out of her background.  (What if she is really an agent of Mars?)

 

The insurance policy was a smart idea, if the Donnager was coming to kill them. Best way to ensure you don't get shot is to make sure you have witnesses.

 

One of the others on board said that it was improbable the broadcast had been heard by anyone.  But the only people who needed to hear it was the Martian vessel. Once they know it's been sent, they pretty much have to act as if it's been received elsewhere just in case it has been!  With the state of tension between the three power-blocs, killing these belters and getting caught, could be like one shot fired in Sarajevo.  

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The comment was made that she's only a step away from ruling the Earth/Moon faction, and yet nobody knows anything about her.    So she must have a significant part to play, wielding all that political power.  Yet, there is scope for interesting things to surface out of her background.  (What if she is really an agent of Mars?)

 

She feels like the sort of permanent secretary figure that gets so much criticism in the UK for the way they run the civil service. The argument has always been that these bureaucrats are the people who really control government departments, and the ministers are little more than front men who do what they're 'advised' to do. Avasarala appears to have that sort of power, but over the whole of the UN.

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Good episode, with the goings on on The Knight being the most interesting storyline.  My biggest complaint so far is that the audio sucks, I can't hear a lot of the dialogue at times.

 

The UN secretary reminds me of an Indian Catelyn Stark in looks and especially voice.

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This episode was a huge improvement over the first. Things are really starting to come together and make a lot more sense. In the first episode, I thought Miller's arc was the weakest, but now, all the arcs seem just as interesting and important. From a viewer standpoint, I still maintain; for at least the first 2 episodes, they should have been combined. I'm sure there are corporate reasons that they weren't. 

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I feel like I was able to follow this episode better than the first one, but the sound is so crappy, I can't hear what anyone is saying most of the time.  Why was that Belter being tortured by the lady from 24?  And who did that guy on the ship think would receive his message about his ship being blown up by Martians?  Weren't the only people in range probably the Martians coming towards them?  And is the girl that the detective is looking for the same girl that was in that first scene on the ship??

 

Edited because Shohreh Aghdashloo was in 24, not Rome!  Ooops.

Edited by Adira

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Oh! I didn't realize that! Thanks. I kept wondering what happened to her because I don't think we've seen her again and that ship got blown up.

 

When I first read the book, I was sure that Holden and co would find Julie on the Scopuli and become embroiled in the story that way, and Miller would track them down in his quest to find her. I was rather surprised when Holden didn't find her on the ship. Suffice to say, they avoided going in that most obvious direction.

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(I posted this in the "Anticipation" topic but thinking it might get more notice in an episode thread, I apologize if this is inappropriate)

 

As somebody who just canceled her cable last weekend ($100/ mo for a bunch of stuff I don't watch, as I watch most of my TV on Netflix) I'm wondering, are they going to continue to make episodes available on Amazon? I see up to episode 4 available for purchase, but no option to buy a season pass, so am a little worried...

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(I posted this in the "Anticipation" topic but thinking it might get more notice in an episode thread, I apologize if this is inappropriate)

 

As somebody who just canceled her cable last weekend ($100/ mo for a bunch of stuff I don't watch, as I watch most of my TV on Netflix) I'm wondering, are they going to continue to make episodes available on Amazon? I see up to episode 4 available for purchase, but no option to buy a season pass, so am a little worried...

 

I think they will. Only two episodes have aired on Syfy so far, with the next two available on their website (if you're privileged enough to be in the USA, of course) and due to air in the next two weeks. So Amazon are already ahead of the actual air dates for the show. I would imagine they'll have the whole season.

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Better. Chrisjen is starting to interest me, so does Naomi. And somehow I can't help wondering about Amos. Not sure why. The rest is kinda meh but the plot is starting to pick up, and I want to know what's going on, so, overall, I keep watching.

 

The world building is interesting. I like that they address the repercussions of low gravity living.

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1) I'm a bit surprised that it doesn't seem like Ceres is as good at recycling the important stuff (water and air) like it should be. Population growth should be the biggest factor in there being constraints on resource use. That and basic maintenance to prevent unnecessary losses with stuff just leaking away. Age and corner cutting has probably made the latter becoming a more serious problem.

 

2) Stuffing ice aboard transport ships seems like an inefficient way to go. It would be better to just pick out your iceberg, cover it with insulating foil (prevent it from becoming a comet), strap on some rocket boosters, and send it on a Hohmann transfer orbit and wait. It may take years for the first to arrive but the rest could follow on a more or less regular schedule. On the other hand, given the political situation the way they are doing it may be deliberate. The same technology could conceivably be used to drop multi-megaton kinetic weapons upon Earth, Mars, Luna, Ceres, etc..

 

3) A ship being blown up with nukes would be visible from all over the system to anyone who was looking that way. Sure, it's a long distance to travel but even present day technology would be sufficient to detect it. Given the traffic and politics, 23rd century telescopes, optical and radio, would be constantly scouring everything. As important as an ice shipment would be to Ceres I just don't believe that no one tracking the Canterbury noticed its route deviation, the subsequent explosion, and even the presence of the shuttle and its meeting up with the martian ship. Stealth is very difficult in space!

 

I can accept a lot of things in my science fiction but the more 'hard science' the setting the higher the bar is set by my disbelief suspenders.

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1) I think you are correct about the recycling. Obviously 100% recycling would eliminate the need for new supplies of ice/water. However, the fact that most of the equipment looks aged and even downright decrepit makes me assume that their recycling efforts don't run anywhere near 100% efficiency. Add negligence and laziness, and things get worse. And we have no idea about growth. If their population is expanding, they will need more resources. Also, could they be using water as reaction mass?

2) I agree about the Hohmann transfer orbit being best, but that assumes there isn't someone out there who is going to try to steal your iceteroid in transit! We know there are pirates...

3) Stealth is very difficult in space, but as someone said, Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it's a long walk down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. Listen... So I don't know that even in the 23rd century, people will be able to keep a close watch on all of it. Maybe they can, but as we are learning, stealth technology isn't exactly unheard of. Still, we know that the broadcast from the boat was received in the belt, and quite probably the explosion was detected too.

What I don't understand was

why a first class Martian warship was so powerless to stop an incoming missile. No sandcasters? No beam weapons? No ECM? No slug throwers? I'm going to watch that episode again, because they got their asses handed to them and it appeared they were powerless to prevent it. This speaks of a very powerful, yet previously unrecognised opponent. With stealth technology! It don't look good for Mars going forward...

---

Side Note: I ordered the first four books of The Expanse for myself for Christmas. Book #4 (Cibola Burn) reached me, but the boxed set of the first three wasn't shipped to me until the 23rd, and wasn't cleared by Customs in time for me to receive it for the Christmas weekend. I'll get it next week, probably. Book #5 (Nemesis Games) is available in hardcover for only 69¢ more than the paperback, which won't be available until May. But I jbst know if I buy #5 as a hardback, I won't be able to prevent myself from re-purchasing the other four in hardback too...

Edited by Dougal · Reason: Hid discussion of a future episode....

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I feel like I was able to follow this episode better than the first one, but the sound is so crappy, I can't hear what anyone is saying most of the time.  Why was that Belter being tortured by the lady from 24?  And who did that guy on the ship think would receive his message about his ship being blown up by Martians?  Weren't the only people in range probably the Martians coming towards them?  And is the girl that the detective is looking for the same girl that was in that first scene on the ship??

 

Edited because Shohreh Aghdashloo was in 24, not Rome!  Ooops.

The Belter possessed stealth technology and she was trying to find out where he got it.

I'm pretty sure Holden assumed the message would get picked up by satellites and spread. He was right in this universe.

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I know I am beating a dead horse, but damn poor Shed having a panic attack put me in my feels.

Naomi doling out orders then saying to the guys "I'm sorry, does someone need a backrub first" when they all stood there like bumps on a log gave me LIFE!

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On 2/5/2021 at 7:42 AM, wrlord said:

So... why did the wrench suddenly fly away during the space walk?

They were under thrust at the time. So Holden dropped it and it flew away.

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