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S01.E03: Truth or Darius

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It’s a race against time as Darius must accelerate his plan to stop the asteroid before the Pentagon shuts him down. Also, Grace has to make difficult decisions that could have life or death consequences for millions of people, and Liam and Jillian reunite under surprising circumstances

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I thought this episode was an improvement over the last, but that might be because I sat through 2 episodes of Somewhere Between in the interim.

It bordered on soap opera throughout, but each time came up with a socially redeeming value/reason (i.e., plot) for the interpersonal drama, which is a good thing, because soap opera is on the other side of the line in the television landscape that I will not cross, and I bet this show needs all the viewers it can get.

So is the intrepid reporter dead?

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6 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I thought this episode was an improvement over the last, but that might be because I sat through 2 episodes of Somewhere Between in the interim.

It bordered on soap opera throughout, but each time came up with a socially redeeming value/reason (i.e., plot) for the interpersonal drama, which is a good thing, because soap opera is on the other side of the line in the television landscape that I will not cross, and I bet this show needs all the viewers it can get.

So is the intrepid reporter dead?

I'm guessing we haven't seen the last of her. Too much setup to off her this early, and too... Imprecise a killing method used.

1 hour ago, Shalmanese said:

You can't get a real time video feed of a probe orbiting Jupiter...

Well, they engineered and built an electromagnetic propulsion system in 7 days during this episode, so I think there's a little suspension of belief to be had. (And let's not forget how she stole a truckload of nuclear waste material last week. Or let's do.)

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If Darius has hacked NASA to the point that he controls equipment in real time orbiting Jupiter, maybe he fabricated the asteroid threat with bogus signals in order to push through his Mars lifeboat agenda.
Holy Battlestar Galactica, Batman!

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39 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

If Darius has hacked NASA to the point that he controls equipment in real time orbiting Jupiter, maybe he fabricated the asteroid threat with bogus signals in order to push through his Mars lifeboat agenda.
Holy Battlestar Galactica, Batman!

Oooh I love it! That would also fit with why he doesn't want NASA actually touching the asteroid - they might actually knock it into a path to collide with Earth.

At some point during this episode they talked about some piece of equipment that he developed and was still in use, and I think we've heard in previous episodes that he has technology actively used by NASA. I think the story line of 

billionaire technology mogul plants a backdoor into NASA satellites so he can spy on them and take control of them any time 

is better and fits more with the atmosphere than

billionaire technology mogul is also a l33t hacker who can crack NASA, the CIA, and the NSA while banging away on two keyboard simultaneously.

But I like your theory better than both of those. I expect we'll get some more details next week. 

Also, do we think that Liam (?) is shooting at

Spoiler

his professor

in the promo for next week? That's my suspicion.

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I despise the cliche that people without kids can’t understand responsibility etc.  Bye bye Grace, I’m putting you on the 'B' Ark with the telephone sanitizers.

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1 hour ago, ae2 said:

I'm guessing we haven't seen the last of her. Too much setup to off her this early, and too... Imprecise a killing method used.

Well, they engineered and built an electromagnetic propulsion system in 7 days during this episode, so I think there's a little suspension of belief to be had. (And let's not forget how she stole a truckload of nuclear waste material last week. Or let's do.)

That and we only saw her get run over.

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Wow, this show has gotten dumb.

  • As someone said, you've got at least an hour delay each way to a probe orbiting Jupiter. And the video feed would have a lot less resolution (and why would you out a video camera on a probe to Jupiter anyway?), plus, as the probe started spinning, you'd be losing the feed as the antenna pointed away from the Earth. And where did the fuel for this powerful acceleration come from?
  • We've got nothing near big enough to shatter a 7-kilometer-wide asteroid. The largest thing that has ever left Earth orbit is the Apollo command capsule, and it weighted about 12 tons. Most interplanetary probes weigh a thousand pounds at most. Space travel is all about weight and mass, and no one has sent anything to deep space that could even make a small influence in the orbit of a rock that big. And even if it worked, once the Chinese or the Russians (or Brits, Indians or French) found out what we did -- that we intentionally condemned them in order to save ourselves, they'd nuke us with good reason. 
  • Back to the original plan. How do they plan on slowing the EM pulse ship down when it approaches the asteroid? Acceleration in a vacuum is constant -- it takes just as much force to slow down as it does to speed up, so half their travel time has to be spent decelerating. In order for the gravity tractor to work, the probe would have to have enough mass to influence it (if they'd caught it a decade earlier, it wouldn't take as much. But this close and moving this fast? You're talking about something weighing  450 trillion kilograms moving at 82,000 miles an hour. Way too much momentum to be able to influence with a gravity tractor.  
  • The good thing about astrophysicists is that they are also propulsion theorists, and they are also engineers. All in all smart people, like Reed Richards or The Professor.

It started so well, but we're moving quickly into Armageddon territory. Which is fine and fun, but not what the show first promised. 

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10 minutes ago, whiporee said:

Wow, this show has gotten dumb.

  • As someone said, you've got at least an hour delay each way to a probe orbiting Jupiter. And the video feed would have a lot less resolution (and why would you out a video camera on a probe to Jupiter anyway?), plus, as the probe started spinning, you'd be losing the feed as the antenna pointed away from the Earth. And where did the fuel for this powerful acceleration come from?
  • We've got nothing near big enough to shatter a 7-kilometer-wide asteroid. The largest thing that has ever left Earth orbit is the Apollo command capsule, and it weighted about 12 tons. Most interplanetary probes weigh a thousand pounds at most. Space travel is all about weight and mass, and no one has sent anything to deep space that could even make a small influence in the orbit of a rock that big. And even if it worked, once the Chinese or the Russians (or Brits, Indians or French) found out what we did -- that we intentionally condemned them in order to save ourselves, they'd nuke us with good reason. 
  • Back to the original plan. How do they plan on slowing the EM pulse ship down when it approaches the asteroid? Acceleration in a vacuum is constant -- it takes just as much force to slow down as it does to speed up, so half their travel time has to be spent decelerating. In order for the gravity tractor to work, the probe would have to have enough mass to influence it (if they'd caught it a decade earlier, it wouldn't take as much. But this close and moving this fast? You're talking about something weighing  450 trillion kilograms moving at 82,000 miles an hour. Way too much momentum to be able to influence with a gravity tractor.  
  • The good thing about astrophysicists is that they are also propulsion theorists, and they are also engineers. All in all smart people, like Reed Richards or The Professor.

It started so well, but we're moving quickly into Armageddon territory. Which is fine and fun, but not what the show first promised. 

Tiny nitpick:  Along with the command module, the service module and the 2-stage lunar module all left Earth's orbit during the Apollo missions.  But all of that was still probably well under 100 tons total, and an asteroid that size would swat it aside like a mosquito.

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54 minutes ago, transitfan said:

Tiny nitpick:  Along with the command module, the service module and the 2-stage lunar module all left Earth's orbit during the Apollo missions.  But all of that was still probably well under 100 tons total, and an asteroid that size would swat it aside like a mosquito.

You're right. The CM was 12,000 pounds, the SM was 54K and the LM was about 32. So about 50 tons. My bad. But they also didn't leave earth orbit from launch -- the SM had it's own propellent and left orbit under its own power. I don't know if that matters, but maybe it does. 

Edited by whiporee

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I very much doubt they could calculate which continent the pieces would hit, 180 days out, after a random collision. 

Also, not sure why Darius couldn't have just sabotaged this attempt; I assume from the max thruster burn that he borked the IO probe for good (no fuel left?), so no 2nd attempt?

That is following the show logic that breaking up Samson would be a good idea. From what I have heard, even pulverizing a planet killer wouldn't help, because all that kinetic energy would just heat up the atmosphere to an unfriendly level, even if no pieces hit the ground.

As far as breaking up an asteroid with a small probe, well the relative velocity matters as much as the mass (not how big that difference in velocity could plausibly be, probably nowhere near high enough) and many asteroids are already in pieces barely held together with gravity, so that could help too. But again, the big issue is, probably doesn't help, at all.

Last but not least, it's good to know that AIs are magic! thanks to "predictive algorithms".

It's clear that the science and tech on this show is in service of the plot. I admit the show is competently plotted, conflicts arise and are resolved at a steady pace. But plausibility goes out the window as needed to make a plot point work, and issues like time lag are elided in favor of more dramatic staging. It's a little frustrating to see this happen in yet another Sci Fi series, especially since the "near future" timeframe makes the plausibility issues very obvious to fans of space science and tech. 

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12 hours ago, Driad said:

Bye bye Grace, I’m putting you on the 'B' Ark with the telephone sanitizers.

No! Now we'll all be wiped out by that telephone-handset-borne plague, and/or be eaten by a space goat!

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Everyone has great examples on the science fails in this episode. I missed almost all of them due to getting distracted when they saw the asteroid in the probe's camera view about five seconds after they fired its thrusters -- especially since the trajectory they'd shown when planning this was one that would've taken weeks if not months to intercept the asteroid. What kind of freaking propellant did they have in that probe, and why couldn't they use that for the gravity-tractor mission?

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Everyone seems very concerned about the realism or lack thereof of the science in this show - but honestly, did anyone really expect any different? All shows and all film take great dramatic licence with technology in the interests of plot, and the writers here have been very open about the fact that while they are taking advice from astrophysicists and the like, they will stretch plausibility if the story requires it. So it really doesn't bother me, since it's no more than I'd expect, and the dramatic licence taken is no more egregious than any other show supposedly set in the present. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief (up to a point). I just view these sort of shows and films as taking place in a slightly parallel universe in which such things are possible!

Everyone seems to be taking turns being presented as possibly slightly shady. First Harris seemed the ambiguous guy we weren't quite sure we could trust, now this episode pushes Darius up front and centre as both reckless and potentially suspicious - but I have no doubt that, being the headline star of the show, Darius will be vindicated, and will probably eventually form more of an alliance with Harris. I expect all the heroes of the show to come together in the end, after working at cross purposes for a while.

5 hours ago, Latverian Diplomat said:

That is following the show logic that breaking up Samson would be a good idea. From what I have heard, even pulverizing a planet killer wouldn't help, because all that kinetic energy would just heat up the atmosphere to an unfriendly level, even if no pieces hit the ground.

The show has already made clear that breaking up the asteroid is a bad idea, not a good idea - the impression I get here is that the US government is desperate enough to try it anyway because they don't have any better ideas, and their scientists calculated that if they manage it, the worst of the damage will be on the other side of the globe - which was what Grace objected to, the sacrifice of millions of lives in other nations to protect themselves.

Which makes me wonder if it really was Darius who hacked NASA after all - the episode makes him the most likely suspect, but if I was the Russian/Chinese government and got wind that the US was planning to sacrifice my country to protect theirs, I'd sure as heck take preventative action! And we've already discussed the likelihood that other governments have noticed the threat, even if that hasn't been discussed on the show yet.

Edited by Llywela
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7 hours ago, Llywela said:

Everyone seems very concerned about the realism or lack thereof of the science in this show - but honestly, did anyone really expect any different? All shows and all film take great dramatic licence with technology in the interests of plot, and the writers here have been very open about the fact that while they are taking advice from astrophysicists and the like, they will stretch plausibility if the story requires it.

Part of the enjoyment of a good story is anticipating what might happen, and how the protagonists might be able to solve their problems. If too many scientific principles are sacrificed on the altar of dramatic license, this becomes impossible. If anything can happen, who cares what happens?

Even shows with ridiculous levels of imaginary technology like Star Trek or Doctor Who also have made up rules about what that technology can and can't do, because, at their best at least, they understand how those limitations play into storytelling.

This show doesn't have the burden of explaining an elaborate technological universe; it relies on current and near future technology, but that's still not a free pass.  For example, why introduce the problem of "finding the right frequency" if the only way you can come up with for them to solve the problem is "ask magic computer to find the answer." For some of us, that sort of thing really grates. Not saying it has to be a problem for everyone.

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17 minutes ago, Latverian Diplomat said:

This show doesn't have the burden of explaining an elaborate technological universe; it relies on current and near future technology, but that's still not a free pass.  For example, why introduce the problem of "finding the right frequency" if the only way you can come up with for them to solve the problem is "ask magic computer to find the answer." For some of us, that sort of thing really grates. Not saying it has to be a problem for everyone.

I don't think that's what those scenes were about. It wasn't about 'asking a magic computer to find the answer'. It was about showing how labour intensive the problem solving was, and how mentally and physically taxing that work was for Liam and Professor Croft, working around the clock to sift through the thousands of possible solutions, painstakingly, one at a time. And it was about Liam coming up with a way to filter those possible solutions in order to prioritise them better.  The predictive software didn't magically find the right frequency, it simply shuffled all the possible frequencies into a different order - the simulator still had to work through the possibilities one at a time, painstakingly slowly, but because the options had been better prioritised, the correct result was found sooner than it might otherwise have been. So that scene wasn't about a computer magically solving the problem, it was about Liam thinking sideways and employing a tool that no one else had thought of in order to expedite a very difficult job.

And I still don't mind if the science isn't completely accurate. So long as it is internally consistent and doesn't throw me out of the story, I'm willing to suspend my disbelief in the interests of drama and focus on the actual meat of the plot, rather than the nuts and bolts holding it up.

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8 hours ago, Llywela said:

but honestly, did anyone really expect any different? All shows and all film take great dramatic licence with technology in the interests of plot, and the writers here have been very open about the fact that while they are taking advice from astrophysicists and the like, they will stretch plausibility if the story requires it.

I've got personal reasons for it bothering me, but mostly because this has been portrayed as "realistic" by scientists I respect. It's not.

I guess it's like asking if you prefer Madame Secretary to the Sorkin-years West Wing. Both are dramas that deal with high level politics. But one made an effort to at least try to show how the government works and make stories out of that, and the puts the stories first and makes the government squeeze into the plotline. I like science fiction as much as anyone, but a movie like The Martian, for example, works better than Mission to Mars, even though they both deal with people stranded there. Making things realistic and plausible takes extra effort -- it's hard to make a subject like this involving without Bruce Willis blowing shit up -- but the payoff is much better. But if you promise to be realistic, and then throw realism out the window when it gets in the way, that's ripe for criticism.   

Edited by whiporee
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1 hour ago, Llywela said:

I don't think that's what those scenes were about. It wasn't about 'asking a magic computer to find the answer'. It was about showing how labour intensive the problem solving was, and how mentally and physically taxing that work was for Liam and Professor Croft, working around the clock to sift through the thousands of possible solutions, painstakingly, one at a time. And it was about Liam coming up with a way to filter those possible solutions in order to prioritise them better.  The predictive software didn't magically find the right frequency, it simply shuffled all the possible frequencies into a different order - the simulator still had to work through the possibilities one at a time, painstakingly slowly, but because the options had been better prioritised, the correct result was found sooner than it might otherwise have been. So that scene wasn't about a computer magically solving the problem, it was about Liam thinking sideways and employing a tool that no one else had thought of in order to expedite a very difficult job.

 

Sitting next to a computer that is doing some computing isn't exactly painstaking or taxing. It's just waiting. And asking the computer to prioritize solutions based on a 'predictive algorithm' is something that should have happened at the very beginning or during those endless hours those two spent waiting and complaining. The writing just bent the whole thing out of shape to add drama and give MIT kid a moment of genius.

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2 hours ago, Llywela said:

The predictive software didn't magically find the right frequency, it simply shuffled all the possible frequencies into a different order - the simulator still had to work through the possibilities one at a time, painstakingly slowly, but because the options had been better prioritised, the correct result was found sooner than it might otherwise have been. So that scene wasn't about a computer magically solving the problem, it was about Liam thinking sideways and employing a tool that no one else had thought of in order to expedite a very difficult job.

Shuffled the priorities based on what? There was no useful data with which to base a prediction on. They already established that they had to test each frequency independently. The first rule of working with computers is GIGO. Garbage In, Garbage Out.

If Liam had said, there must be a pattern in the results that pointed to the most likely frequency, and looked for it in a creative way, and found it (sure with computer help, why not?) that would have been more satisfying. They don't even have to go in to details, just make it look like they are doing something, instead of "Hey, here's a bright idea, let's ask the super intelligent computer to do it!" 

With respect, I think you have already put more effort into justifying this than the writers did. I agree about the emotional beats they were after, I disagree about how good a job they did at earning those beats.

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Just dropping by to say that, after this episode, I'm dropping this show. I'll still be reading the episode threads, but I was looking for a dumb, fun summer show and I got a dumb, boring show, instead. I don't care about any of these people, none of the performances are wowing me (through no fault of the actors), and I only "like" some of the characters because of my affection for the actors portraying them. Watching episode 3 was a chore.

It's the same thing every week. Harris appears shady but his heart is ultimately in the right place (or is it?), Jennifer Finnigan is preachy and self-righteous and sneaking around to help Tanz while feeling guilty she's compromising her relationship with Harris, Tanz is a brilliant douche who might have an agenda of his own, the Liam kid is annoying but very smart, Intrepid Teen Reporter gets a major break, Girlfriend, like, exists... And? No forward momentum, no smart way to keep our interest week after week. Just "it's coming". There's not enough story for 10-ish episodes, not if we're 3 episodes in and they've all been the same repetitive crap.

Oh, as for the science/accuracy debate, I'll be the first to say I don't mind even glaring inaccuracies when the end product is entertaining (I do love Armageddon and The Core almost equally, if that tells you anything about me). This show, however, is not entertaining in the least. It has nothing fun to offer (except for Ian Anthony Dale's shirtlessness. A true highlight, and the only thing I will miss. At least I can count on more of his shirtlessness on Hawaii Five-0 next season).

Too bad. I guess I'll get my dose of summer fun just from Killjoys and Claws.

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1 hour ago, Princess Lucky said:

I was looking for a dumb, fun summer show and I got a dumb, boring show, instead.

Your first paragraph encapsulates my thoughts on the show after the second episode.

The pilot episode was dumb in an entertaining way. The next episode was just dumb, and I wondered why I was watching.

Santiago Cabrera is hot but unless he's going to come over and watch it with me, I'm done with this show!

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Got around to this episode, and yeah, I just found it kind of dull now.  I was hoping for dumb, stupid fun, but instead it just a bunch of sitting around and letting a computer do the majority of the work, Harris and Grace constantly butting heads and always ending with her going around his back, obnoxious reporter being obnoxious, and Liam fretting over his relationship with Jillian.  When the world is close to ending, I'm not exactly invested in a relationship that has only been going for days.  They probably don't even know each others' middle names yet.  Not buying the whole true love thing.

But now it's all about making Darius dubious, and trying to hint that not only did he possibly send his goon to run over obnoxious reporter, but he hacked into the government's satellites and screwed up their attempt to blow up the asteroid.  I doubt it will be the case, but I kind of hope it is since he's really the only character that I find interesting in any form (Ian Anthony Dale is still awesome, but Harris is way to inconsistent as a character.)  

What I would give to see a show where a parent dramatically asks "Do you have children/kids?", only for the non-parent to respond with "No, and I don't give a crap, buddy."

They are already doing back-to-back episodes next week?  That's probably not a good sign.

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17 hours ago, Princess Lucky said:

Just dropping by to say that, after this episode, I'm dropping this show. I'll still be reading the episode threads, but I was looking for a dumb, fun summer show and I got a dumb, boring show, instead. I don't care about any of these people, none of the performances are wowing me (through no fault of the actors), and I only "like" some of the characters because of my affection for the actors portraying them. Watching episode 3 was a chore.

It's the same thing every week. Harris appears shady but his heart is ultimately in the right place (or is it?), Jennifer Finnigan is preachy and self-righteous and sneaking around to help Tanz while feeling guilty she's compromising her relationship with Harris, Tanz is a brilliant douche who might have an agenda of his own, the Liam kid is annoying but very smart, Intrepid Teen Reporter gets a major break, Girlfriend, like, exists... And? No forward momentum, no smart way to keep our interest week after week. Just "it's coming". There's not enough story for 10-ish episodes, not if we're 3 episodes in and they've all been the same repetitive crap.

Oh, as for the science/accuracy debate, I'll be the first to say I don't mind even glaring inaccuracies when the end product is entertaining (I do love Armageddon and The Core almost equally, if that tells you anything about me). This show, however, is not entertaining in the least. It has nothing fun to offer (except for Ian Anthony Dale's shirtlessness. A true highlight, and the only thing I will miss. At least I can count on more of his shirtlessness on Hawaii Five-0 next season).

Too bad. I guess I'll get my dose of summer fun just from Killjoys and Claws.

 

5 hours ago, thuganomics85 said:

Got around to this episode, and yeah, I just found it kind of dull now.  I was hoping for dumb, stupid fun, but instead it just a bunch of sitting around and letting a computer do the majority of the work, Harris and Grace constantly butting heads and always ending with her going around his back, obnoxious reporter being obnoxious, and Liam fretting over his relationship with Jillian.  When the world is close to ending, I'm not exactly invested in a relationship that has only been going for days.  They probably don't even know each others' middle names yet.  Not buying the whole true love thing.

But now it's all about making Darius dubious, and trying to hint that not only did he possibly send his goon to run over obnoxious reporter, but he hacked into the government's satellites and screwed up their attempt to blow up the asteroid.  I doubt it will be the case, but I kind of hope it is since he's really the only character that I find interesting in any form (Ian Anthony Dale is still awesome, but Harris is way to inconsistent as a character.)  

What I would give to see a show where a parent dramatically asks "Do you have children/kids?", only for the non-parent to respond with "No, and I don't give a crap, buddy."

They are already doing back-to-back episodes next week?  That's probably not a good sign.

Yeah, turns out having a bunch of people running around spouting exposition episode after episode isn't fun, I'd rather have the asteroid.

 

I can't blame them for doubling up, it's so painfully slow.

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Guest

I don't need shows to be even remotely acquainted to facts.  I like The Walking Dead, for goodness sake. I'm still in.

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On 7/27/2017 at 5:35 AM, Shalmanese said:

You can't get a real time video feed of a probe orbiting Jupiter...

Plus, they made it seem like firing the thrusters for a couple of minutes would allow the probe to impact the asteroid immediately! Space is so incredibly vast -  deep space missions are comprised of small bursts of activity followed by long waits until the next important event. This show is devolving into stoopid quicker than the asteroid is approaching Earth.

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On 27.7.2017 at 5:03 PM, whiporee said:

It started so well, but we're moving quickly into Armageddon territory. Which is fine and fun, but not what the show first promised. 

It started well? This was duuuuumb from episode 1.

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