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S01.E09: Critical Mass / S01.E10: Leviathan Wakes

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Season finale!
 

 

A flashback to Julie's origin story reveals her trajectory. Meanwhile, Holden and Miller finally meet and team up to get to the bottom of the strange emergency situation happening on Eros.

 

 

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Wow, that was great.  I liked everything about these episodes - the writing, the acting, the sets.   I'm so glad SyFy didn't mess up this series, because I really like the books.  I liked it so much that for the first time, I checked out the Twitter feed for the show, although I have to admit it didn't really add much for me.

 

While both Holden and Miller were quite different from how I had visualized them, they both turned out to be really good.  I liked how they worked together to get back to the ship, how each of them pretty quickly were able to size up the other,  I think getting Shohreh Aghdashloo (I am probably her biggest fan, I think she is a beautiful woman and a wonderful actress) was a perfect choice for Chrisjen, although I had forgotten about her bad language until I read the most recent book. 

 

I'm kind of surprised but this became my favorite show, the one that I made sure to watch in real time.  I was so pleased to see that it's been renewed, since I assumed there wasn't much viewership. 

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I will write more later but right now my most coherent thought is: holy shit Amos! I think I love him. These episodes were really good-- I can't wait for season 2!

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I'm not surprised that they doubled these episodes off, because I do think the first episode being slower and focusing a lot on Julie would have caused viewers to be annoyed, if they didn't follow it up with the second episode.  But I didn't mind, and it was crazy seeing what actually happened to Julie.  Sure looked like a horrible way to go.  Although, I did notice that when she suddenly was naked at the end, the pores just happened to cover her breasts in the right spots.  I guess the virus was aware that this is Syfy and not HBO, and there are no nipples allowed!

 

I noticed that this was the first episode since the pilot where we had full-fledged opening credits, instead of just a title card.

 

As much as I enjoy the Rocinante crew together, I was fine with them having Amos, Alex, and Naomi on their own, and forcing Holden to team up with Miller.  I really enjoyed their interactions and liked how Thomas Jane and Steven Strait played off one another.  They really sold that these two guys really probably don't like each other, but they needed one another to get out of their alive.  Speaking of which, can't think of many shows that would have their two top billed stars contract a case of fatal radiation poisoning.  But I'm guessing they're getting some kind of medicine at the end.  Not sure if it is suppose to cure them or just hold back on killing them.

 

RIP, Semmy, you big idiot.  Had a feeling they were building up to him dying, but everyone had to know his ticket was punched as soon as he pulled on Naomi.  No way was Amos going to let that slide.  And I'm guessing Miller finding out about it will lead to problems next season.

 

In the end, it sounds like Chrisjen's main purpose is to find out that Sadavir/Shawn Doyle is part of whoever is responsible for all this shit, and is now going to play along and try to work against him.  I hope this picks up soon.  As great as Shohreh Aghdahloo is, it still feels like most of her stuff is just one big set-up for her to play a bigger role next season.

 

Nice that we got a final moment with Fred, and I'm wondering if they did arrest him.  Also liked that even if we didn't see everyone, most of the other recurring characters stories ended up playing a part on different levels like Anderson and Dimitri.

 

Can't wait to see where they go next.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed this show, and I hope they keep at it.  I'm certainly intrigued over Miller now being a part of the Rocinahte crew now more or less, and I'm curious to see what is in store for other characters like Anderson, Fred, etc., and what new characters might be showing up next season.

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This series started out slow, but it sure did pick up speed steadily. I'm excited for the next season.

 

Thomas Jane plays Miller as so delightfully louche.

 

I was trying to figure out what they were basing the Belter accent on, and my CC called it "Creole." Okay, fine, we'll go with that.

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I really hope people will binge-watch the season in months to come (and that SyFy does a better job at promoting the show). I think it can attract quite a lot of new viewers that way !

 

So ready for season 2 ! Gotta read the books these coming months !

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"Oh Amos! I can't believe you are going to betray Nao. . BANG! . . . How could I have ever doubted you!"

 

I've gotten in the habit of watching Syfy shows while distracted. Texting, doing laundry etc. Because they weren't that intellectually engaging for the most part. This show is so deep it really demands your attention in order to get the most out of it. I rarely do this, but I'm going to rewatch to see what I missed. 

 

I look forward to next season.

Edited by xaxat
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Well, Critical Mass was an interesting episode. Full of new content, and stuff that the book couldn't show because the POV characters weren't there. Learning more about Julie Mao was cool, and makes her death sadder and tougher to watch, because you know it's coming. Her death is pretty nasty. But now, finally, I have an answer to why Julie was left alive when her crew weren't. I never even put two and two together before that they recognised who she was.

 

Poor Miller really doesn't know what to do with himself without Julie, does he? All that investigating and all that fighting. For nothing. The girl is dead. Looking for her was the only thing keeping him going. Now, I guess he and Holden can combine their need to uncover the truth and find new purpose. But it doesn't look like their methods are going to work at all well together. Holden is way too much of a straight arrow to get along with Miller. Miller has definitely left all restraint behind him, hasn't he?

 

The radiation hit that Miller and Holden suffered was initially underwhelming, but seeing them get increasingly sick through the episode was very convincing. Good makeup and good acting. Can't be easy fighting in gun battle while slowly dying of radiation sickness either.

 

Naomi is very closed off, but her concern for Holden is starting to show, more and more. He just keeps making these dumbass decisions to try and get himself killed. You just knew she wasn't going to leave Holden. And at the end of the day, Amos was always going to have her back. That dude is ice cold. The best friend and the worst enemy.

 

They were slow episodes, but I found it really satisfying, because I knew what it was leading up to. Perhaps others would feel different, but I really like the slow pacing and the inexorable build to something terrible happening. The reveal that the radiation had kickstarted growth of the bioweapon was nicely done, and seeing the effect it had on Julie's body was horrific. But this is where my first real disappointment in the show comes in. In the books, Holden and Miller's trip through Eros was a real body-horror show. The infected bodies reshaped and reformed themselves, with hands and ribs and ligaments all moving as though driven by some greater purpose. I really wanted to see how that would look on screen.

 

The full opening credits are really cool, I have to say. Showing the spread of man through the Solar System. The music could have a bit more kick, though.

 

Now I really need season 2 to start. I hate waiting so long for television that I actually want to watch.

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I'm glad I watched live because my onscreen guide showed a regular one hour episode so imagine my surprise when the show continued past 11pm. I hope Space viewers who PVRed the episode weren't shortchanged.

Overall I'm conflicted about the adaptation. I love the books and I'm looking forward to getting into Nemesis Games once I finish my current book (I'm on book three of Scott Lynch's Gentlemen Bastards series) I enjoyed the TV series as its own entity too. I loved the visual effects and I enjoyed the performers' portrayals of the characters. Alex was a standout for me; enjoyed him in the books, adore him on the series. I think Thomas Jane did sterling work as well. He made Miller so different, so Other. I completely bought him as a Belter. The other Belter actors did fine but Jane was brilliant.

The Eros section fell flat for me. Eros pulsates with life in the books and, for me, made last night's events so much more horrible and tragic. The body horror was definitely underwhelming both on Anubis and on Eros. I wasn't looking forward to seeing it but underselling it was disappointing.

The political stuff didn't work for me either. It's tied together now but I found the journey there very convoluted. I'll be back for season 2 though. The show did more than enough right to earn my loyalty.

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Did not believe Miller's friend wouldn't back up to keep an eye on Amos. Since that was supposed to be an entertainment high point for the audience, it kind of weakened the episode for me. 

 

Don't know why Chairman Mao wants a war. An asteroid hitting Earth would not serve his interests. 

 

Naomi for me is still a cipher. Amos' bad assery isn't that amusing for me. 

 

The show's insistence that it's Holden who doesn't have a clue is tiresome. It's Miller I think who doesn't understand the wider implications. Miller is so dim as to attack Holden just because. Sorry, son, I don't think lack of self control validate your emotions. 

 

But of course I'm going to watch the second season opener.

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I enjoyed this season very much -- it seemed too short. I will be watching next season for sure. I had read the first 2 books and was not expecting to like the series as much as I did. Good job, SyFy!

 

Dude, you do NOT pull a gun on Naomi and then turn your back on Amos!

 

Amos has grown on me as a character. I didn't like him at first because he was different from the way I imagined him when I read the books. But I have warmed up to the actor and character during this series. I like that even when he disagrees with Naomi's decisions, he always has her back.

 

My favorite character is Alex -- I have a total crush on him. I think that the actor who played Miller had a difficult job but he did well. The scenes on Eros were actually a bit down-played from the book; it wasn't as all-out chaotic as I was expecting. Budget reasons? Nevertheless, it was interesting to watch. 

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I'm bummed the spy (Khenzo) apparently is gone, I really liked the actor and character.

Or perhaps he's not and he'll be the embodiment of the protomolecule's consciousness, but that seems unlikely since I seem to understand from bookreaders comments that he's not a character in the novels (or perhaps a more minor one).

But it was a perfect last scene to the season.

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it was crazy seeing what actually happened to Julie.  Sure looked like a horrible way to go.

 

 

Agreed. I found those scenes very visceral. As was the radiation sickness. So I assume Holden and Miller are going to be okay?

 

I always appreciate seeing what Earth is like. That house on Anchorage Island is beautiful.

 

An amazing couple of episodes. I'm happy we are getting another season.

 

ETA: New opening credits! Finally a little peak at a Mars settlement of some sort.

Edited by marinw

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Oh no poor Kenzo!  But what a way to leave the season.  I was on the edge of my seat for the last half.  

 

I really liked Julie's flashback.  They went through it quickly but it was very effective, though it had the side effect of making me care just a little less for last week's episode.  I think the redundancy with Julie's flashback and showing the timeline of what everyone else was doing while she was locked in a cage or in a hotel room just worked a lot better as a way to really remind us about the movements of all the ships.  

 

It was great seeing the evolution of the crew.  They trust and rely on one another more now.  At the start, Amos probably would have just shot Holden (and Miller) rather than risk them being infected, but his first response is to help his crew even if he finds himself questioning things.  Alex's joy when he realized his ship is a badass motherfucker and could just cut the clamps away was cute.

 

So clearly Naomi was OPA, seeing as she was well versed in OPA smuggling routes.  It was really heartbreaking to see that Julie was just left to rot by the OPA.  Fred Johnson at least sent someone to investigate the OPA beacon, but Dawes didn't even respond to her messages.  One wonders if Naomi became disillusioned due to the OPA turning their backs on her in a time of need.  

 

Overall, very good season of scifi.

 

 

But of course I'm going to watch the second season opener.

No surprise there.  

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I really liked these episodes and the whole show, how the various stories are coming together and interwoven.  My one complaint is how dark the show is, i.e. I can't see half the stuff they film "in the dark".  I have my TV brightness turned all the way up and its still so damn dark I miss half the action.  I have this same complaint with GoT.  Please, film more of the show with a bit more light to it.  Sorry if I don't run out and buy a new TV just because the show people have to film everything at night/in the dark.

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Wow, so apparently this third party is who's responsible for blowing up the Cant, etc.  It's not a group of Belter but a corporation of some sort wanting to start a war for some reason (profits?).  The flashbacks was a nice reveal of what was going on and then the stuff on the station.  It was quite intense, worrying if any of them were going to make it out.  

 

Sad to see Miller's friend go, liked the actor and the character and was hoping he would join the rest.  Also I really love the credits. Kind of reminds me of Da Vinci's Demons opening credits. Can't believe that's it for season 1.  Really looking forward to season 2.

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I haven't read the books but I like this series a LOT. I had high hopes for the last two episodes and the show didn't disappoint. We got answers to most of our questions from the first 8 episodes and now have a whole new series of questions about what's going on. The action was first class as it really has been through the entire season and the character development is pretty impressive. I've never been a huge fan of Thomas Jayne but this is clearly his breakthrough role. He's perfect for it and the rest of the cast is excellent. I'm definitely in for S2.

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As excited as I was to see Warren Peace in something, while I like Holden, Amos is my favorite.  His total ice cold resolve to handle business juxtaposed with those dimples gets me every time.

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As excited as I was to see Warren Peace in something, while I like Holden, Amos is my favorite.  His total ice cold resolve to handle business juxtaposed with those dimples gets me every time.

 

His entire demeanor screams "Psychopath!" to me.  Or perhaps it's "Sociopath!"  I'm not sure, because it's screaming in a very quiet voice.

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Nah, I wouldn't call Amos either one. If he was  a psychopath or a sociopath he wouldn't care about how a club worker is treated or if a little girl is looked after. Besides he doesn't cause trouble he just handles business when he has to. Personally I don't know why everybody is looking all side eyed at Amos I find Miller to be far scarier. 

Edited by miracole
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I agree.  Amos is very utilitarian, for the most part.  He's not going to torture someone or kill someone without a good reason. I think he might struggle with understanding emotions or what is exactly right or wrong, but he does attach to people who he sees as being able to figure out the nuances of morality.  Though for sure those eyes can be super scary sometimes, Wes Chatham is killing it.  

 

I think Miller-after-finding-Julie is a bit insane with his behavior looking like someone who is lacking empathy.  

Edited by Lion

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Well I stopped watching at episode 7 then binge watched the last 3... I'm still not sure what the point of this season was.

 

This was all a very convoluted bio weapon test ? 

 

Miller is obsessed about Julie ? because ? something something ?

 

So a 4th party is responsible for this and it was for science? profit ? the salvation of humanity ? 

 

I spent a lot of the time when Holden and Miller were fighting hoping that they'd die so they'd shut up about mysteries and all their blah blah about what to do next. 

 

I don't know if I want to watch a season 2 if there is one. I guess it'll depend what else is on. This show didn't do it for me. Maybe it was too grim dark or just that I didn't really like any of the characters enough to remember their names from one episode to the next. 

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I was wondering how they would fit everything into the last 2 hours.  They did pretty well with showing the chaos on Eros but left some things unresolved until next season.  I'm not sure I would have understood what was happening without having read the books.  (Finished the 3rd one last night.)  The main characters have really grown on me and I'll be back for the next season to see them again, if for nothing else.

 

(I'm on book three of Scott Lynch's Gentlemen Bastards series)

I've thought that would make a fun series too. 

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One of my favourite lines:

 

"You're messed up. This (medical cuff thing) keeps going to hospice mode."

 

Such a wonderful bedside manner.

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I agree.  Amos is very utilitarian, for the most part.  He's not going to torture someone or kill someone without a good reason. I think he might struggle with understanding emotions or what is exactly right or wrong, but he does attach to people who he sees as being able to figure out the nuances of morality.  Though for sure those eyes can be super scary sometimes, Wes Chatham is killing it.  

 

 

That's why it should be interesting to see how long it takes Amos to figure out for sure that Holden is a Good Person. So far, he's stuck to following Naomi's lead and to looking to her for guidance, but he seems to be thawing with Holden, and his respect for him is definitely growing. Holden is definitely a good moral compass to be guided by, as long as you don't mind when his stupidly noble choices put you in danger. And, well, Amos sure doesn't seem to mind danger.

 

He's probably the character who differs most from the book version, right now. Amos in the books was as capable of violence, but he seemed more well adjusted and able to interact very normally with the rest of the crew. He wasn't as combative with Holden, and wasn't as attached to Naomi. This is an interesting take on the character, and works well to make them all more distinct from one another.

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I think if you have to have read the books to understand the show then the show has failed on some level.  I have not read the books and don't care to based on the  show.  And it's not that I don't appreciate the show (although I am not as in love with it as most here).  It is because it is so bleak and pessimistic and claustrophobic.

 

 I'm still not sure what the point of this season was.

 

This was all a very convoluted bio weapon test ? 

 

Miller is obsessed about Julie ? because ? something something ?

 

So a 4th party is responsible for this and it was for science? profit ? the salvation of humanity ? 

 

I spent a lot of the time when Holden and Miller were fighting hoping that they'd die so they'd shut up about mysteries and all their blah blah about what to do next. 

 

I don't know if I want to watch a season 2 if there is one. I guess it'll depend what else is on. This show didn't do it for me. Maybe it was too grim dark or just that I didn't really like any of the characters enough to remember their names from one episode to the next. 

I agree with a lot of what Wayne67 says.  The whole season just seemed to be setting up for a Season 2.  I spent the first 2 or 3 episodes figuring out who the main characters were.  Then I kept waiting for them all to come together.  We finally get Miller and Holden together but it is essentially the last 2 episodes.  

And I am still waiting to see what the point of Earth is.  Other than that is where the bio-weapon conspiracy originates.  Why did we go to Holden's mom's?  And I must have missed the part where Holden was from Earth and had 8 parents or something like that.  Not that it made a lot of difference to anything.  And I still don't know why Chrisjen (thanks for telling me her name.  I don't think i ever realized what it was) knew the mom, went to visit her or anything else.  It seems like the show runners were expecting only fans of the book to actually watch it.

 

And I feel I have to say I think Thomas Jane has done other good stuff before this. I could watch him walk in the opening credits of Hung all day long.  The man has a sexy walk!   I hope he and Miller don't die.

 

I see this more as a half of a season.  If I consider it as Season 1 then I give it a grade of D.  And if I view it as half of a season I might come back for the second half.

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Miller is obsessed about Julie ? because ? something something ?

 

So a 4th party is responsible for this and it was for science? profit ? the salvation of humanity ? 

 

I spent a lot of the time when Holden and Miller were fighting hoping that they'd die so they'd shut up about mysteries and all their blah blah about what to do next. 

Miller is in love with Julie. There's not really anything on screen to suggest Miller is capable of love or even wants it, but there was a famous old movie called Laura where a detective falls in love with a murder victim's portrait. I think that's where Miller comes from.

 

Chairman Mao is responsible for everything, it is supposed to be a wonderful science experiment cultivating the "protomolecule." As to why the dude would want asteroids crashing into Earth, your guess is as good as mine. It may be that the authors of the book never wondered why. 

 

Miller's basic position is that it's stupid to care about what happens to other people. This makes his carping at Holden pointless, hence dreary (except for the people who want to dis Holden.) Holden's arguments about what to do next should be with Naomi but her character doesn't have an interior mental life,hence no opinions to argue for.

 

I'll watch the second season though.

Edited by sjohnson

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Miller is obsessed about Julie ? because ? something something ?

 

The way I'm reading it is that Julie represents what he never became and he feels a connection with that.  She's someone who gave the bird to where she came from in order to become something different and fight for something greater than she is.  We learn in this finale that Miller started out as a thug and then he and Semi became cops.  But really, Miller still straddles the line.  He's a thug cop.  His friend had left Ceres for something different, but Miller stayed where he was and never became completely something different from his roots.  He wears his Earther hat and smooths away his Belter accent and holds himself above his fellow Ceres residents and dreams of rain.  But he's still just a thug from the wrong side of the station who hasn't amounted to much of anything.  Then along comes this case, just when he's seeing what a washout he's become.  I think the first time he felt a connection with her was when he saw the video she sent to her father saying "i'm just like you".  The way to camera settled on Miller, it could be inferred that he felt that line could be directed at him.  When he was her age, they were more alike than they were different.

 

I think the obsession started to grow when he realized that this thing with Julie was more than a paycheck as it was connected with the ships being blown up.  I don't think Anderson Dawes was correct in his assessment that Miller was in love with Julie.  It's certainly no sort of romantic love.  It was more like an almost juvenile hope that Julie turns out ok since she had become this proxy for his own failed hopes and dreams.  If she was ok, then there's still hope.  Then Julie becomes the cause for him to finally do a little bit of what he'd always dreamed of doing - leave Ceres station.  His legitimate investigation of her case gets him fired and gives him a good reason to fly the cosmos. 

 

TL;DR Miller's obsession with Julie has more to do with himself.  She's a stand in for 'what could have been' for him.

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Miller is in love with Julie. There's not really anything on screen to suggest Miller is capable of love or even wants it, but there was a famous old movie called Laura where a detective falls in love with a murder victim's portrait. I think that's where Miller comes from.

 

Chairman Mao is responsible for everything, it is supposed to be a wonderful science experiment cultivating the "protomolecule." As to why the dude would want asteroids crashing into Earth, your guess is as good as mine. It may be that the authors of the book never wondered why. 

 

Miller's basic position is that it's stupid to care about what happens to other people. This makes his carping at Holden pointless, hence dreary (except for the people who want to dis Holden.) Holden's arguments about what to do next should be with Naomi but her character doesn't have an interior mental life,hence no opinions to argue for.

 

I'll watch the second season though.

 

See I can get that it's easy to fall in love with someone in your mind but it doesn't make him a very interesting person to me. Just sad and delusional and obsessive.

 

If it's a science experiment shouldn't they go the traditional route and harvest/experiment on the homeless/death row prisoners ? Not do something incredibly high profile like infect a whole space station with their ships and personnel obviously involved. Also when did they figure out Julie was there to be available to be harvested so they could set up all the thug cops and cameras ?

 

Every motivation seems hopelessly convoluted. 

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Well, that didn't help me much. The wandering through the tunnels took way too long and I didn't really think they wouldn't make it. And I couldn't see a damn thing for most of the time. Not just in the tunnels. I can't see a damn thing on this show. Naomi surprisingly bonded with a girl because.....we have never seen anything that would suggests she is particularly nurturing or good with kids. so, I don't get that either. At least we got somewhat confirmation that she is OPA unless she was a spy within the OPA and that's how she knew about the tunnels.

Holden and Miller, the most annoying characters of the show for me together, ugh. I was hoping they would die. I don't hate them, I just find them incredibly badly drawn and boring and cliched. Holden looks like a child beside Naomi which makes me cringe about their blossoming romance. At least that's what I'm sensing here. Not looking forward to that either.

Poor Julie. That was terrible. And now she is dead. I didn't really think she would be alive. Otherwise, where would the terribly cliched and barely justified raison d'etre be for Miller?

I don't get Miller's attachment, I still don't know what his relationship with the woman was who clearly had feelings for him, I find the actor who plays Alex overacting terribly and the only character I'm actually attached to is Amos. While superbly entertaining, he is not enough to make me watch the next season. I might drop in but I'm overall terribly disappointed in this show.

Edited by supposebly
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Miller's attachment to Julie is the same attachment that every down on his luck gumshoe has had to every dangerous woman who crossed his path in every noir tale ever told. No one ever said this show was going to be staggeringly original. It knows its tropes, and delivers them in ways I find interesting and engaging.

 

I don't think the books are needed to explain that at all. It's fairly obvious to me just from Thomas Jane's acting choices, and from the writing, that he's latching on to Julie as some sort of white knight crusade to prove he's a good man by saving the pretty woman. And I don't think his obsession with Julie is what makes him interesting, it's just one of the interesting things about him.

 

If it's a science experiment shouldn't they go the traditional route and harvest/experiment on the homeless/death row prisoners ? Not do something incredibly high profile like infect a whole space station with their ships and personnel obviously involved. Also when did they figure out Julie was there to be available to be harvested so they could set up all the thug cops and cameras ?

 

 

That depends on how big you want your experiment to be, doesn't it? And what conditions you need to make it work. They already destroyed the flagship of the Martian Navy, you think they care about high profile?

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Excellent explanation, Danny Franks.  I forgot about those little 'white knight' moments that Miller had.  Like when he thought he needed to save Octavia from an arestee who was mouthing off or when she was being hit on at the bar.

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Well, Leviathan Wakes is the only episode I've been a little disappointed in - ironically, the one that bears the title of the first book. I guess they just didn't have the budget to fully film the Eros sequences from the book. They completely skipped the sequence I'd been most looking forward to, and half-assed much of the rest. But I suspect if I hadn't read the book, I would've been happy with Eros (after all, how can I miss what I don't know?), so it's on me. And I do think overall SyFy did a good job with the series given the budget it had to work with, and I'm looking forward to S2.

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I thought the finale was great.  I'm glad I stuck with this show because it got better and better and is went along.  I'm very happy this show will be getting a second season.

 

I very much enjoyed the Miller and Holden pairing and I'm finding Thomas Jane consistently entertaining in this role.

 

I liked setting that scene in the pachinko parlor.  Add some color and personality to that scene.

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Another thing I like about this show it that it assumes that the viewer is somewhat interested in physics and engineering. Star Wars is hand-wavy towards these things and Star Trek often got bogged down in technobabble. The Expanse achieves a good balance IMHO, and often shows rather than tells-like how boots can attach themselves to a deck in low gravity.

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I'm so sad this is over for now. I really love the world of The Expanse and want to spend more time in it. It keeps me watching the show, even though I find myself having a hard time connecting to the characters. I'm only now really starting to care about some of them, like Holden and Naomi. I find characters like Miller, Avasarala, and Amos to be interesting, but could give a flying fig about what happens to them. Strangely enough, I somehow have become pretty attached to the ship though. I was grinning like crazy watching the Roci shed her disguise and break free from Eros.

 

I read a review that described The Expanse as a televised novel rather than a tv show and praised the patience with which it built its world and its story. I tend to agree with that. By the parameters of a standard show, it doesn't necessarily work that well in some areas, especially when looking at individual episodes. Looking at the first season as a whole though and allowing for how it's going to connect with the next one, I think the show has done really well considering what it's had to do for the overall story. It just sucks that we have to wait so long for it to continue. Still, as much as I love the world-building and appreciate the quality of the show, and even though I can't wait for it to come back, I wouldn't call it compelling tv. There's just something missing. 

 

One thing I am really curious about is non-bookreader reactions to the show. I'd love to see a poll that shows whether opinions on the show's quality fall along those lines. 

...Holden's arguments about what to do next should be with Naomi but her character doesn't have an interior mental life,hence no opinions to argue for.

 ...

I feel like the show has at least done a better job with Naomi then the book did. She's outwardly awesome in either medium, but the book really shortchanges her on PoV (at least as far as I've read so far) and depth. I'm very curious to see how the show fleshes her out next season, because I think the stuff we've seen so far is really promising especially with regards to her OPA past and how she's going to handle her relationship with Amos.

 

 

...And I feel I have to say I think Thomas Jane has done other good stuff before this. I could watch him walk in the opening credits of Hung all day long.  The man has a sexy walk!   I hope he and Miller don't die. 

...

He was great in Hung and the difference between him there and here has really improved my opinion of Thomas Jane as an actor

 

...And I must have missed the part where Holden was from Earth and had 8 parents or something like that...

We learned that during the interrogation on the Donager. Naomi says that Holden is from Earth in response to the insinuation that he was  working for the Belt. Then, the interrogator  grills Holden about his family there including about his family structure and which mother birthed him.

 

I really liked these episodes and the whole show, how the various stories are coming together and interwoven.  My one complaint is how dark the show is, i.e. I can't see half the stuff they film "in the dark".  I have my TV brightness turned all the way up and its still so damn dark I miss half the action.  I have this same complaint with GoT.  Please, film more of the show with a bit more light to it.  Sorry if I don't run out and buy a new TV just because the show people have to film everything at night/in the dark.

 

I haven't noticed any issues with seeing what's going on, despite the relative dimness and blue tinge to a lot of the scenes on any of my devices (and I've watched episodes on two different tvs, a laptop, and a a phone, none of which are full 1080p or high end at all). Have you tried not only adjusting the brightness, but perhaps the color and contrast too? The problem that I have with the show is hearing/understanding what people are saying. There are at least a few lines that I can't quite get in every episode. I've had to turn on my CC. My favorite one from the finale was Holden talking to Naomi. On first viewing, it totally sounded like he said, "you have butt on you". I obviously knew he was saying "blood" from context, but it did make me giggle. Then I rewound it and as he looked at her so *tenderly, I said it with him, "you have butt on you"  and just laughed. Hey, I live in a boring town. I have to make my own fun.

 

*and woof that look he gave her. Holden is sexy when he's sweaty and feverish. lol

Edited by cynic
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This was great and well earned. I liked the slow build of the season, getting to know the characters and the world building. Can't wait for S2 and learning more back story about the crew. Especially Naomi and Amos. They remind me a bit of Olivia and Huck on Scandal.

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This series started out slow, but it sure did pick up speed steadily. I'm excited for the next season.

 

Thomas Jane plays Miller as so delightfully louche.

 

I was trying to figure out what they were basing the Belter accent on, and my CC called it "Creole." Okay, fine, we'll go with that.

 

Surprisingly enough, that's not inaccurate. The linguist who invented "Belter" used the development of Creole as a base.

 

After watching the video, I am seriously going to start using Belter profanity.

Edited by xaxat

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Creole is any language that is a combination of two or more other languages.  

 

(Imagine my surprise when checking with Wikipedia, to discover that what I speak daily, is creole!  It never seemed so to me...)

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I was trying to figure out what they were basing the Belter accent on, and my CC called it "Creole." Okay, fine, we'll go with that.

 

Creole is also a linguistic term. Pidgin English is a form of English that's created in an immigrant community (or sometimes a community of different immigrant groups) while learning English. A Creole is what happens when those immigrants' children grow up using that Pidgin and it becomes its own dialect.

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Non book reader here, for those that want to keep track of how some of us view the show.

 

Overall, I like it, and have liked it from the beginning, but there are a few areas where I think it can improve.  I don't dwell much on the technical aspects (lighting, sound, etc.) because those are easy fixes and usually get better with time.  I do think the producers / writers need to make some substantial changes in pacing and character development.  At times the show felt rushed and at other times painfully slow, so, I'm hoping that next season we have a more even pacing with suspense building steadily to the reveals.

 

Regarding character development, I would have liked to have spent a little more time with the characters at the beginning and to learn what made them tick from the characters themselves, and not through a third person talking about the character (for example, Holden's mom explaining his hero complex, instead of Holden himself having a flashback or a conversation with someone where we can see where his motivation comes from).  My guess is that the way the show did it allowed them to keep the characters tense with each other because no one knows anyone else that well, but I don't think the payoff was worth it.  At least not between the members of the groups that are together; for example, the Rocinante crew.  I don't believe for a second that Holden would shoot Amos, or that Amos would not have Naomi's back, so there was no tension there, for me.  They could have had deeper character moments with each other which would go a long way in helping me form attachments to our heroes.

 

Hopefully, now that the characters have been established, we'll have more of those characters moments in season 2.

 

This episode, I was happy to confirm that one of my guesses as to who was behind this thing was correct (I guessed a few episodes ago that it would be either another alien race or a business).  Next season I'm interested in seeing the UN ambassador's political intrigue plays and getting together (or at least having some sort of communication/contact) with the Roci crew (+Miller), so that they can complete the puzzle and start fighting this thing.  I actually wish they had ended the season with something along these lines, because that's obviously (to me) where the story is headed: can't fight the bad guys if you don't know who you're fighting and what.  Once I know where a story is headed, I just want them to get on with it.  No more Holden and team narrowly escaping death every week, please.  They are not likely to die, so, there's not a lot of suspense there anymore.  Let's see our guys going after Dr. Candle (Lost reference: the actor playing Julie's dad) and trying to get him and save everyone from the malevolent, seemingly evolving to sentient beings spores (that was terrifying, BTW).

Edited by WearyTraveler
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One thing I am really curious about is non-bookreader reactions to the show. I'd love to see a poll that shows whether opinions on the show's quality fall along those lines. 

 

 

Well... since you asked, it goes something like this:

 

What's going on?

 

That detective guy has REALLY stupid-looking hair.

 

I still don't know what's going on.

 

That guy looks like a poor-man's Jon Snow.

 

Who is...?  What?

 

I really don't know who any of these people are.

 

Oh, it's Tyrese, without his knit cap!

 

But, wait, why is....?  Nevermind.

 

Wait, what side... who are?  I just don't know.

 

I really can't keep thinking of her as "the chick with not-Jon-Snow".  Of course, I wouldn't recognize the other guy with them at all if he wasn't hanging out with her.

 

I would really like to shave detective-guy's head. 

 

Why are they?  Why does...?  Huh?

 

....So that pretty much sums up the season for me.  A lot of my confusion is that when there's something I don't understand, I lose interest and stop paying as much attention, and then I'm REALLY confused.  Usually on a show like this, in that same situation, I'm interested because I figure I'll find out what's going on sometime.  I haven't had that kind of confidence for this one. 

 

And yet I've been interested enough not to give up on it.  (A lot of that may be that I'm hoping to get to the point where someone *else* shaves that stupid pathetic hanging hair off of detective-guy's head.)  Now that things have come together a little bit more at the end, I want to see where it all goes. 

 

As for quality, as far as content, story, and character, I don't agree with the Battlestar Galactica comparisons.  But The Expanse IS a good-looking show.

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I will write more later but right now my most coherent thought is: holy shit Amos! I think I love him. These episodes were really good-- I can't wait for season 2!

You are speaking my language and it just may be 'Belter' Creole. Feckin' Luv Amos! ("...just let me get this[semi] below...) WOW!

Although, prior to pulling a gun on Naomi, Semi was okayish. And, I was looking forward to a transfusion of fresh blood aboard the ship.

*( And, yes, I do know that Burton is originally from Earth, however...)*

...

Edited by BookElitist
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...oh, Alex(hmm. uh,huh). Alex and his accent... uh, yum.

Miller finally became mildly interesting. The Obsession while rattling around that station was tiresome.

Poor ole Holden is eventually realizing that No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.

Naomi holds the group together emotionally. Also, she possesses the 'brains' (without hauteur), maturity, AND wunderkind technical savvy to get the job done. I like her.

...

Edited by BookElitist
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Nah, I wouldn't call Amos either one. If he was a psychopath or a sociopath he wouldn't care about how a club worker is treated or if a little girl is looked after. Besides he doesn't cause trouble he just handles business when he has to. Personally I don't know why everybody is looking all side eyed at Amos I find Miller to be far scarier.

Agree.

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If it's a science experiment shouldn't they go the traditional route and harvest/experiment on the homeless/death row prisoners ? Not do something incredibly high profile like infect a whole space station with their ships and personnel obviously involved. Also when did they figure out Julie was there to be available to be harvested so they could set up all the thug cops and cameras ?

 

Every motivation seems hopelessly convoluted. 

Essentially, that is what the bad guys have done on a larger scale. They went to what I think even Semi called the ass-crack of the universe and experimented there. You probably don't want to experiment anywhere near your actual base of operations in case the thing can't be controlled.

 

The spy character got on the Rociante knowing/suspecting it was trying to find Julie (or at least the wreck of the Anubis). He was trying to communicate with his handlers with some sort of contact-lens thing. It didn't work when he was on the Rociante. When he was on Eros, it did, and he was able to communicate that Julie was at the hotel in room 22, and he was told that there was a tac team en route.

 

Well, that didn't help me much. The wandering through the tunnels took way too long and I didn't really think they wouldn't make it. And I couldn't see a damn thing for most of the time. Not just in the tunnels. I can't see a damn thing on this show. Naomi surprisingly bonded with a girl because.....we have never seen anything that would suggests she is particularly nurturing or good with kids. so, I don't get that either.

 

I think there are few people who would not want to rescue someone relatively innocent from almost certain death from either gunfire or protomolecule infection.

 

I think if you have to have read the books to understand the show then the show has failed on some level.  I have not read the books and don't care to based on the  show.  And it's not that I don't appreciate the show (although I am not as in love with it as most here).  It is because it is so bleak and pessimistic and claustrophobic.

 

I agree with a lot of what Wayne67 says.  The whole season just seemed to be setting up for a Season 2.  I spent the first 2 or 3 episodes figuring out who the main characters were.  Then I kept waiting for them all to come together.  We finally get Miller and Holden together but it is essentially the last 2 episodes.  

And I am still waiting to see what the point of Earth is.  Other than that is where the bio-weapon conspiracy originates.  Why did we go to Holden's mom's?  And I must have missed the part where Holden was from Earth and had 8 parents or something like that.  Not that it made a lot of difference to anything.  And I still don't know why Chrisjen (thanks for telling me her name.  I don't think i ever realized what it was) knew the mom, went to visit her or anything else.  It seems like the show runners were expecting only fans of the book to actually watch it.

 

And I feel I have to say I think Thomas Jane has done other good stuff before this. I could watch him walk in the opening credits of Hung all day long.  The man has a sexy walk!   I hope he and Miller don't die.

 

I see this more as a half of a season.  If I consider it as Season 1 then I give it a grade of D.  And if I view it as half of a season I might come back for the second half.

 

I haven't read the books but things basically made sense to me.

 

I don't know what you mean by "what the point of Earth is." There are basically three powers: Earth, Mars, and the Belters/Outer Planets Alliance.

 

Over the course of the series, we learn about the interplay between these three powers, and the conspiracy that is rising to set Earth and Mars at each others' throats so that experiments can go on without scrutiny.

 

Chrisjen went to visit Holden's mom to try to figure out what sort of person Holden really is. She concluded that he was not a terrorist mastermind. Her boss basically was like, that doesn't matter, I'm going to have him taken out. So now Chrisjen is trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

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I just read all the posts in this forum about the various episodes of season 1.  I absolutely loved it.  My husband and I had not read the books before watching the series and we had no trouble following it and I found the storylines compelling and the characters really interesting.  The world-building elements were wonderful.  I wasn't as much of a fan of the Miller storyline because the actor doesn't do much for me (although my husband enjoys Thomas Jane's acting) - but I liked it because I found the Julie Mao character fascinating.  My husband found the series a little dark but for me there were enough moments of levity to temper that.

 

I enjoyed the diversity, the strong female characters and I thought it looked very 'real' and persuasive.  Yeah there were things I didn't love but there was so much more to it that was positive - minor characters like Theresa Yao, the interactions amongst the crew of the Roci.  After I finished watching the series, I started reading the books and have finished Leviathan Wakes and am now reading Caliban's War.  I hope the show gets more of a following - I think it's amazing.  For me, I am so time poor that I really can't be bothered to watch a show that I don't enjoy so I'm always bemused by people who 'hate watch' or 'dislike watch'... life's too short and there are too many good things to read and watch out there to waste time on stuff that's not enjoyable!!

 

Anhway, I've written about the series quite a bit on livejournal and on tumblr to a lesser extent and cannot wait until season 2!!!

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Haven't read the books, just watched the series via Amazon over about a week. Overall I liked it, except for the increasing gore as the show goes on - the last double episode was over-the-top for me. What started out as a mystery/political thriller is turning into Alien and I don't particularly care for horror/suspense.

Didn't have much trouble following the general plot (although a fair amount of trouble remembering names of people and ships), I expected a bit of misdirection and conspiracy and a fourth (and maybe fifth) party. I was thinking along the lines of Phoebe station got its hands on some alien remains/tech that someone thinks make a bioweapon, but the "religious zeal" of Dresden and Mao seems to indicate they don't think it is actually a weapon.

I did like the bits that show Earth holds Mars and the Belters in contempt, Mars holds Earth and the Belters in contempt, the Belters return the sentiments.

For all it is a low budget production, the series does pretty well - yes, a dialect coach would have been good to keep the Belters and station-dwellers speaking in a more cohesive (and consistent) lingo, Belters should probably be instantly idetifiable, physically, from Earthers, some of the on-station special effects/set design could have used some help (instead of just using a lot of LED rope lights). There is an awful lot of "hmm, let's use really dim lighting to film this scene so we can hide how cheesy this set looks."

Using closed captions was just about a necessity, otherwise the background noise/music overwhelmed the dialog (maybe that is just the Amazon version).

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Just saw the last episode and am definitely coming back for season 2. I haven't read the books and don't think I will. I want to try experiencing an adaptation through show only, unlike GOT for which I started reading the books after seeing the pilot.

I really have enjoyed this series and it's primarily because of the world building. There are so many details which makes the world(s) seem real. What I'm hoping for in next season is that they get around to exploring more of the characters back story to make me get a better grip on them aswell. I don't actually feel like I get any of them. Holden is really the one who has gotten the most, though still quiet little, back story and I'm kind of confused about it. His parents made him because that would help them to keep their land which the government wanted to take away/destroy for some reason.

About Miller:

On 2016-02-05 at 5:39 PM, Lion said:

The way I'm reading it is that Julie represents what he never became and he feels a connection with that.  She's someone who gave the bird to where she came from in order to become something different and fight for something greater than she is.  We learn in this finale that Miller started out as a thug and then he and Semi became cops.  But really, Miller still straddles the line.  He's a thug cop.  His friend had left Ceres for something different, but Miller stayed where he was and never became completely something different from his roots.  He wears his Earther hat and smooths away his Belter accent and holds himself above his fellow Ceres residents and dreams of rain.  But he's still just a thug from the wrong side of the station who hasn't amounted to much of anything.  Then along comes this case, just when he's seeing what a washout he's become.  I think the first time he felt a connection with her was when he saw the video she sent to her father saying "i'm just like you".  The way to camera settled on Miller, it could be inferred that he felt that line could be directed at him.  When he was her age, they were more alike than they were different.

 

I think the obsession started to grow when he realized that this thing with Julie was more than a paycheck as it was connected with the ships being blown up.  I don't think Anderson Dawes was correct in his assessment that Miller was in love with Julie.  It's certainly no sort of romantic love.  It was more like an almost juvenile hope that Julie turns out ok since she had become this proxy for his own failed hopes and dreams.  If she was ok, then there's still hope.  Then Julie becomes the cause for him to finally do a little bit of what he'd always dreamed of doing - leave Ceres station.  His legitimate investigation of her case gets him fired and gives him a good reason to fly the cosmos. 

 

TL;DR Miller's obsession with Julie has more to do with himself.  She's a stand in for 'what could have been' for him.

I think that's a good read on it. I was trying to understand exactly why Miller got so obsessed about Julie. He seemed totally disillusioned with the OPA so it couldn't be that he admired her for having a cause. So I was thinking perhaps he was fascinated that she, as an earther, would leave all of it behind and try to ally with his people, but that's actually what his cop partner was doing too and he seemed to think he was an idiot. So I really couldn't get what he got stuck on. But your take on it make sense. He liked that she rejected what was supposed to be her place in the world and did something different.

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On 2/4/2016 at 10:09 PM, wayne67 said:

I spent a lot of the time when Holden and Miller were fighting hoping that they'd die so they'd shut up about mysteries and all their blah blah about what to do next. 

Yeah, I found both characters immensely annoying, and since they're obviously the leads, I'm not sure I want to watch another season of them being variations of dumb and reckless every.single.episode, but coming out alive because they're the protagonists. 

The show certainly wanted me to believe Amos was some out-of-control, trigger-happy nihilist, but if I were on the ship, I'd take him over Holden (or Miller or Alex) any day. He seemed to be about the only one with any common sense 90% of the time. 

I wanted to like Naomi, and appreciated her intelligence.  But the show didn't seem to know what to do with her, and her allegiance to Holden baffled me.  It's obvious they're gonna be a couple. Meh, it seems mostly one-sided on Naomi's part to me. I was a lot more interested in her friendship with Amos, but the show all but dropped their interactions after the "Holden got them into this mess" reveal.   

I had the opposite experience of most in this forum - I binged the show via Prime, and was really into the show through episode 6.  But I feel like the second half lost its way.  Not sure I'll watch season 2, but if I do, it won't be live.  I think I can wait until the next season is available for streaming. 

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