Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Impressions of the Expanse 1st episode (SPOILERS)

This is a lazy copy and paste of an email I wrote a friend.  I just wanted to get it into blog form before more time had passed, but just don't have the free time to re-write it all bloggy-spiffy.  Hopefully its semi coherent


so heres why i liked episode 1, esp after watching it a 2nd time. 

a lot of it plays on what you are trained to expect from a tv show, is that a legit thing?  i mean is the writing good, or is it just "tricky"?  not sure yet, just know it deked me out and i loved it. 

so it starts off with the clearly-kidnapped/prisoner girl. she escapes. ship is empty but has dead ppl in it. why did they leave her? as this is the opening scene, episode (if not series) seems to clearly be all about her and this seems to get our focus in a dramatic fashion right off the bat.  who is she?  why was she locked up? who attacked the ship and killed everyone but didnt free her before leaving?  lots of good questions, so far so good, also i love them not showing any resolution, no trying to communicate, no leaving ship, they just change scenes with her (like audience) going what the fuck?

so earth and mars are both abusing the belters/sirius for resources like colonials. ok so now this 2nd scene, which seems to bluntly be setting up the basic theme of the series - exploitation of working class, military mars versus greedy earth megacorps... ok that seems fine for a series.  but again, feels like they are laying this out in a very specific, blunt, plain, order in a pilot to just lay some basics for new viewerrs.  so far so good, nothing special.  

shady cop, who was born on earth but is now stuck here, interests me.  why did he switch from earth to belter?  as they hint, it may not have been his choice.  ok thats a nice long term hint about him, neat.  the first time i watched it, i thought he was too similar to blade runner cop deckard. 2nd time, he seemed more unique and sleazier in a good way.

so cop gets mission to look for kidnapped girl from scene 1.  so far im liking it but this is paint by numbers, cop will look for girl we found in scene 1.  pretty basic. plot point 1 - cop looking for girl

series often have two intertwined plots, and here comes #2 - the Capistrano or whatever the mining ship is called.  Ok so the series will be about the cop in the belter station (sirius?) and this crew of the mining ship (capistrano or something named)

so we are like 15 min in, and as a pilot episode should, we have the basic layout.

all of this seems immediately confirmed when 

a) we spend a ton of time with the ships politics, XO killing himself, new guy not wanting XO job, his relationship with navigator in trouble, guy losing arm, discussion about the ships repairs that are needed, setting up future issues, will they get paid on time or screwed out of bonus... we spend a lot of time on this ship and its crew. and i liked it all.  but all of it completely sold me about how important all of these crew will be and all of their already complex issues and relationships. 

b) SO PREDICTABLE, but fine - they clearly find the derelict ship that had the kidnapped woman on it.  

obviously, esp bc this is the pilot episode,. the crew will find the woman, go to sirius, meet the cop who is looking for her, thereby linking plot #1 with plot #2, and there will probably be some twist as to why the cop doesnt immediately turn woman over.  i am 100pct sure i know every word of rest of show at this point with like 20 min to go.

huh, the UN earth woman is torturing the crap out of a belter who is part of OPA, which from the earlier references (i missed most my first viewing), did NOT sound like a terrorist org, just a pro-belter political party. this is starting to feel a little like Palestine where its a political party w terrorists sub group.  missed that first viewing.  

but anyways, i was shocked when indian lady was cruel as fuck, and just chalked it up to maybe later plot stuff, but nothing really important. pilot will just fill in the blanks to have crew save girl, crew meet cop.

then the belter finds the derelict. they dont find girl. its al la set up.  an advanced Mars stealth cruiser NUKES the Capistrano and all of those crew we had gotten to knoiw, except the 4 left on that crappy shuttle.  what the hell, they nuked the ship?!?

i cannot believe how much time they spent letting us get to know the crew oinly to nuke them.

 - wheres the girl?
 - who kidnapped her?
 - did she escape or get taken by ... i dunno who
 - why did a super advanced mars ship set the trap?  if they want to start a war, wouldnt they just attack?
 - shuttle crew left stranded in middle of nowhere, but who cares - they have no leads, clues, hell they didnt even know theres a kidnapped girl at all.  if they do make it back to Sirius, what real info do they have?

the episode basically ends at square one.  cop plot and shuttle plot completely off the rails, the easy link up via wanting/having girl never happens, and i have no idea what either is going to do.  

anyways i was pretty impressed when everything i expected to happen nice and cleanly, linking up the two groups in a plot revolving around a girl, somehow tied to a simmering cold war about to turn hot, was frigging NUKED.