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S03.E02: IFF

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7 hours ago, Emily Thrace said:

Like Prax applying his botany experience to life on the ship

Where did Prax get all those plants? We see something growing in the Contorta's kitchen. Is there a hydroponics bay somewhere else on the ship?

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2 hours ago, marinw said:

Where did Prax get all those plants? We see something growing in the Contorta's kitchen. Is there a hydroponics bay somewhere else on the ship?

Probably.  Plants would help recycle the air.

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Those plants were on the ship when Holden, Amos, Alex, and Naomi took custody of it (when they were ordered to use it to flee the Donnager, just before it was destroyed.)  We saw the kitchen with its plants and grow lights in the walls and tables the very first time Holden goes looking for coffee.  I love the way they show the plants growing toward the light (with no notion of "up" or "down") and the way the ships designers have clearly strived for maximum utilization of available space, which makes perfect sense.  And it makes perfect sense that Prax would be drawn to the plants since that's his speciality.  

My own speculation is that space tech in this particular sci-fi 'verse incorporates plants on ships whenever practical to naturally convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.  We saw the big "central park" on Miller's home world (Ceres?) and he complained about how most people who lived there never got to see that lovely green space (he was only called there because some people were stealing water causing the "lawn" to go brown.) It seems clear that that space station used the park as a beautiful and self-maintaining oxygen scrubber for the wealthy section of the station, while the people who live in the poorer section suffer from oxygen deprivation when cheap scrubbers fail. (Recall that there was a whole plot line in which Miller first takes a bribe from a guy who either deals in cheap scrubbers or who skims money by not maintaining them properly.  Then he sees some children suffering from oxygen deprivation due to the faulty scrubbers and has a change of heart, threatening to toss the crook out an airlock.)

Sorry  if this is too much info.  I binged season 1 yesterday.  

Meanwhile, back on the topic of THIS ep -- those gyroscopic revolving seats in the racing rocket were awesome -- another example of how much the designers of this show really think about the science underlying the show and how they attempt to keep things consistent.  In the very first episode of season one we saw the whole crew have to strap in, bite down on mouthguards, and get shot up with "juice" in order for the Canterbury to execute a turn in response to that distress call.  The've dialed that back a bit (we haven't seen the mouthguards since) but we've seen the impact on the contents of a spaceship when it is accelerating and turning during a fight (all the tools flying around, nearly killing Amos and . . . was it Prax?)  Was that THIS episode?  Binging is messing with my sense of the time line.

Edited by WatchrTina
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Okay so if that was this episode can someone explain something to me?  Prax was in trouble during the "tornado of tools" bit because his air hose gets knocked and is disconnected from the wall.  So Amos comes to his rescue (upside down and dodging tools all the while -- grabbing a drill just before it slams into Prax's helmet/face guard.)  He reconnects Prax's air supply.  But . . . did Amos have on a different kind of suit?  If not, why could he get up and move around freely while Prax's suit was (apparently) tethered to the wall by its air hose?  And what would be the point of a space suit that was tethered to the wall by a short air hose?

I'm loving this show but that bit struck me as bad writing -- putting Prax in faux jepoardy.  I'll be happy to be proved wrong.

Edited by WatchrTina

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14 hours ago, CaptainE said:

It’s not too bad physics wise, and the visuals are fantastic, but there are too many loud explosions and rocket noise.

No air = no sound

Very few shows or movies get this right.

I agree with this.

Another thing they don't get right is the nature of ballistic motion.   Your racing ship burns at full throttle for 30 minutes?  It will take another full, 30-minute, full-throttle burn to stop.  Rotate the ship with maneuvering jets and blast away in another direction?  Fine.  But your original velocity vector isn't going anywhere.  No right-angled turns in space!

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I'm still recovering from my all-day season 1 binge yesterday and while taking a walk just now I saw a guy wearing an "Occupy Mars" t-shirt.  I was genuinely confused for a moment -- mixing up reality and this TV show.  I told him why I was staring and he said his shirt has to do with Elon Musk. 

You just know Elon Musk is the real-life inspiration for Jules-Pierre Mao.  Everything is connected. All this has happened before and will happen again. 

Meanwhile back on topic . . . it's true that no atmosphere in space should mean no sound.  "In space no one can hear you scream" and all that.  It's such a conundrum for SciFi film makers because sound is so very evocative.  It's such an important tool to setting atmosphere and communicating plot I have to just hand-wave away the fact that I shouldn't be able to "hear" on-camera explosions in space.  That being said, there have been a couple of instances of SciFi shows choosing to use sudden, absolute silence as a provocative sound cue for a space explosion.  One of the Star Trek movies did it and I'm pretty sure the most recent Star Wars film did it too.  It was very effective -- but only because all the other space action had been so loud.  Silence is only an effective tool in a space movie when used sparingly.  So I 'm totally okay with "hearing" all the space battles in The Expanse.

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4 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

It's such a conundrum for SciFi film makers because sound is so very evocative.  It's such an important tool to setting atmosphere and communicating plot I have to just hand-wave away the fact that I shouldn't be able to "hear" on-camera explosions in space.  That being said, there have been a couple of instances of SciFi shows choosing to use sudden, absolute silence as a provocative sound cue for a space explosion.

It has been done, but it is the exception rather than the rule.

I think a well-crafted sound track might substitute a crash of symbols or some other audible cue to fill the soundscape and emphasize an explosion.

Honestly, I think that the film makers assume that the majority of viewers don't really understand "in their guts" that there should be nothing to hear, so they provide the big bang that is expected, and enjoy the dramatic effect rather than bemoan the inaccuracy.

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I just replied to the poster who lauded the show for reality, which isn’t there when explosions are ‘heard’ from the perspective of a camera in space.  Audiences are assumed to be ignorant.  Most are.

Another example, gun shots galore should deafen the shooter without ear protection.

Constant acceleration should not make Avasarala black out either.  It’s not additive. I’m not sure if that’s what was implied, but it seemed like it.

It is all entertainment though, and I still like this show.  I only nitpick because I care.  

Edited by CaptainE
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This is one of the reasons we have music! I know you can't hear music in space, it's there for the audience. 

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Artistic license. It exists for issues like no sound in space, and I have absolutely no problems with it being used. 

Cinema and television should be fully realised experiences, if you want to get the most out of them. And the human brain reacts to sound as much as it does to images. Good sound design will always enhance a visual experience, and that still counts for scenes in space.

Edited by Danny Franks
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Back in the discussion of the season 2 finale Haleth said:

Quote

Too bad the Roci is too far away to rescue Avarsala and co., but perhaps the universe couldn't handle so much coolness on one ship.

Cue the last scene of THIS episode.  Whoo hoo!  Buckle-up!  That supermassive collision of coolness is gonna happen!

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On 4/20/2018 at 8:15 AM, MissLucas said:

I was actually annoyed by the tools scene - it felt like unnecessary filler. The show has made it amply clear that there a gazillion ways to get killed on a space-ship (Avasarala almost stroking out was just another reminder) that I felt somewhat exasperated every time they returned to that subplot. I was desperate for the Roci crew to meet Bobbie and Avarasala!

I thought the main purpose of the tools scene was to play with the idea of what it would be like in a spaceship where gravity was being mimicked by acceleration.  So we see the Contorta change its course by 180 degrees and the tools fly around and end up "stuck" to the ceiling.  Likewise we see the Contorta make other turns, and then we see the tools (and later Amos) follow suit as the apparent direction of gravity changes.  I thought it was fun.

On 4/23/2018 at 11:16 AM, WatchrTina said:

Okay so if that was this episode can someone explain something to me?  Prax was in trouble during the "tornado of tools" bit because his air hose gets knocked and is disconnected from the wall.  So Amos comes to his rescue (upside down and dodging tools all the while -- grabbing a drill just before it slams into Prax's helmet/face guard.)  He reconnects Prax's air supply.  But . . . did Amos have on a different kind of suit?  If not, why could he get up and move around freely while Prax's suit was (apparently) tethered to the wall by its air hose?  And what would be the point of a space suit that was tethered to the wall by a short air hose?

I'm loving this show but that bit struck me as bad writing -- putting Prax in faux jepoardy.  I'll be happy to be proved wrong.

 

It appears that the suits' hoses can attach to either oxygen packs worn on the back, or to the ports in the ship.  Amos starts out with his attached to the pack on his back, as you can see when he helps Prax get strapped into his seat.  Then once Amos is strapped in, his hose is attached to a port in the ship's wall behind his seat, just like Prax.  When he goes to rescue Prax, it has been switched back to the pack on his back.  We don't see him do that, so we don't see what movements are involved to manage the switches, but presumably it's manageable by the person wearing the suit (if they know what to do and are not panicking).  For the other 3, you can't really see where their hoses are attached, but they don't appear to be wearing packs on their backs, so presumably their hoses attach to ports somewhere on their seats.  It kind of makes sense to plug into the ship if you are going to remain strapped into a seat, so that you have a theoretically unlimited supply of breathable air.  

Which leads to my question ... did they explain why they needed to depressurize the ship in the first place?

Edited by McKinley
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3 hours ago, McKinley said:

Which leads to my question ... did they explain why they needed to depressurize the ship in the first place?

I think I recall from an episode in an earlier season that if they think there is a good possibility of being shot up they don space suits before the fight starts.  Didn't that tactic save them in an earlier episode where the ship wound up with LOTS of holes in it?

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1 hour ago, WatchrTina said:

I think I recall from an episode in an earlier season that if they think there is a good possibility of being shot up they don space suits before the fight starts.  Didn't that tactic save them in an earlier episode where the ship wound up with LOTS of holes in it?

Yup. From S2E2, "Doors and Corners," during the run-up to the assault on Thoth Station:

Holden: "Lids on and button up."
Naomi (on comms): "Copy that."
[Shots of people putting on and sealing their helmets]
Holden: "OK, Naomi, empty us out."
Naomi; "Depressurizing."
[Screens indicate depressurization warnings, accompanied by alarm sound]
Holden: "Alex, the alarm."
Alex: "I'm on it." [Alex touches his console, alarm stops]
Naomi: "I hate this part."
Holden: "We gotta do it. They'll be poking holes in us."
Naomi: "Yeah, but this feels like we're agreeing to it."

Pretty smart, really. Nothing spoils a good space battle like being unable to breathe.

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On 2018-04-23 at 7:11 AM, Emily Thrace said:

Okay I know you don't mean to be offensive bit I really don't consider my ethnicity to be "baggage". Its a part of me like my eye color. I think there are advantages to having different points of view and different experiences. Like Prax applying his botany experience to life on the ship. His different experience helped the crew conserve oxygen.  Just as my experience as someone who grew up across the river from a reservation helped me figure out Amos. 

 

That's what really bothers me about the idea of a "post racial" utopia.  It implies race is a negative thing. It also tends to mean everyone conforms to standard white American values. I feel like its boring and perpetuates the very thing(racism) its trying to avoid.

I also don't think thier being POC involved in the show removes the possibility of racial bias affecting casting. Even POC can fall into those traps without realizing it. It does explain why Avasarala is so well written. I also doubt the SG was a case of ability over appearance, the actor is a pretty mediocre Canadian character actor.

I'm sorry, I didn't realize the term could be offensive. I didn't mean for it to imply some people have "bagage" and some not. I just meant we all have a cultural context, and it is influenced by events that took place long before we were born. That's still gonna be the case hundreds of years from now.

I read an article that at the end of the text went into similar things as your complaint:
"But is a colorblind, genderblind future really a utopia? While rich ethnic diversity is the norm in The Expanse's version of the future, there's no sense of cultural diversity. The writers have done away with racism and nationalism, but also with individual cultural experiences. And in writing the women exactly like men, they've erased any sense of gender specificity or identity, any sense that women might perceive the world differently, or have different, unique, or notable experiences."

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36 minutes ago, Holmbo said:

there's no sense of cultural diversity.

Interesting article, thanks for linking @Holmbo

As the article points out, the diversity comes from what planet you are from: Earth, Mars, the Belt, the Jovian Moons. There’s plenty of tribalism/racism, but it has different categories now.

As for expression of gender, many of the women still have long hair. Which seems strange when water is a precious resource. (Unless they wash their hair with something else). And long hair floats around in low gravity!

The clothing does not seem too gendered, although the costume department tailors the jumpsuits differently for male and female actors. The big exception is Chrisjen and her magnificent saris. (When she was still on Earth)

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On 4/28/2018 at 7:59 AM, marinw said:

The clothing does not seem too gendered, although the costume department tailors the jumpsuits differently for male and female actors.

Don't forget that 90% of the characters are military, which will be cultural-blind and gender-blind.  It seems to me that what we saw of the Belters had cultural and gender differences (Diago's quarters had some posters, as I recall).

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Just watched this today and I think the deal with Prax's & Amos' different suit experiences is:  Prax's air hose was disconnected from (knocked out of, I think) the wall, while Amos deliberately detached his hose from his suit and it retracted into the wall.  Amos did the controlled disconnect; Prax was just one step better than a severed hose, as it seems that since the hose was still attached to his suit it was also open to the surrounding vacuum - he had an uncontrollable suit breach, and couldn't reach behind him to pull the hose out or connect it back to the wall.

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On 4/23/2018 at 12:11 AM, Emily Thrace said:

Okay I know you don't mean to be offensive bit I really don't consider my ethnicity to be "baggage".

I could be wrong, but I took it the opposite way.  I was thinking of people who have trouble accepting another group because of a negative, past experience.  I know someone who felt like athletes in college always got extra help from professors and extra perks that he didn't.  So he has a tendency to resent college athletes.  That's the "baggage" that he brings with him into future situations.

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17 minutes ago, Ziggy said:

I could be wrong, but I took it the opposite way.  I was thinking of people who have trouble accepting another group because of a negative, past experience.  I know someone who felt like athletes in college always got extra help from professors and extra perks that he didn't.  So he has a tendency to resent college athletes.  That's the "baggage" that he brings with him into future situations.

My objection to the term "Baggage" was due to it having a negative connotation which is my whole point. Race shouldn't be a drawback or a "negative experience". Diversity has been shown so many times over to be a positive. Its assholes who want to blame  someone else for their problems that make it harder. That's why the Expanse's approach to race bothers me it implies our identities are the problem and not the racists. 

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1 hour ago, Emily Thrace said:

My objection to the term "Baggage" was due to it having a negative connotation which is my whole point. Race shouldn't be a drawback or a "negative experience". Diversity has been shown so many times over to be a positive. Its assholes who want to blame  someone else for their problems that make it harder. That's why the Expanse's approach to race bothers me it implies our identities are the problem and not the racists. 

Of course race shouldn't be a drawback or a negative experience, but that doesn't mean that some people don't respond that way.  I'm Catholic, and I encounter people who have had a negative Catholic Church or a priest or whatever and think "all Catholics ... "  That is someone who has "baggage."

I completely disagree that the Expanse's approach implies that identities are the problem.  I think it shows that prejudice can exist in many ways.  Earthers, Martians, Belters ... they are all still human, just like the many cultures and races of Earth.  Prejudices and divisions exist and, sadly, might always exist.  That doesn't make it ok, and that doesn't make those who are prejudice justified, just like racism cannot be justified.  And, yes, racists are the problem.  And those who looked at Naomi's food with disgust because it was "Belter Food" were really looking down on Belters.  They didn't have to like her food, but they shouldn't look down on her for being a Belter (especially without even getting to know her).

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1 hour ago, Ziggy said:

I completely disagree that the Expanse's approach implies that identities are the problem.  I think it shows that prejudice can exist in many ways.  Earthers, Martians, Belters ... they are all still human, just like the many cultures and races of Earth.  Prejudices and divisions exist and, sadly, might always exist.  That doesn't make it ok, and that doesn't make those who are prejudice justified, just like racism cannot be justified.  And, yes, racists are the problem.  And those who looked at Naomi's food with disgust because it was "Belter Food" were really looking down on Belters.  They didn't have to like her food, but they shouldn't look down on her for being a Belter (especially without even getting to know her).

I look at it a little bit like, here in modern day America, do people care if you're of Irish or Italian descent?  Generally no, but they used to.  "Mick" and "Wop" were racial slurs every bit as venomous as "n----r" or "s--c."  Irish and Italian immigrants were abused and denigrated as much as Mexican immigrants are now, probably more so due to the lack of civil rights protection back then. 

Racism doesn't ever really end.  It just finds different targets.  Naomi isn't discriminated against because she's black, but she's certainly discriminated against because she's a Belter.  Consider Prax and his friend, Doris from the Season Two episode, "Pyre."  She

Spoiler

gets thrown into space with other non-Belters, while Prax, who is also of Asian heritage like Doris is spared because he's a Belter.

Racism in the universe of The Expanse is still present and still very much lethal.

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I've never watched a science fiction show that's this thrilling at times.  Tools flying around while a ship is making maneuvers at high speed would be terrifying.  Watching Chrisjen deal with high Gs was making me nauseous.

Just a general comment. I like a lot of the characters on this show, especially Alex and Amos.  They all act and react in a believable way to how they are written.

Edited by Dobian
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