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So, wait. What the hell happened in the middle of Season 3 of The Expanse?

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04 Jan 2020 23:05 #305775 by Jackwraith
OMG, there are MASSIVE SPOILERS IN THIS THREAD!






In the middle of season 3, the proto-molecule emerges from the surface of Venus where Eros crashed and forms the Ring, whereupon the impending war between Earth and Mars is halted because Errinwright is exposed and the threat/mystery of the proto-molecule seems paramount. All of those events seem like something that would normally happen at the end of a season, instead of the middle, but OK. Maybe something even bigger is happening.

But then we spend two episodes showing and rapidly proceeding through the fact that Naomi has left the crew and joined the Behemoth on behalf of the Belters and that Melba, Mao's other daughter, is now sabotaging Holden on a fleet of UN ships that haven't even reached the Ring. So, in the course of two episodes, Melba frames Holden in the eyes of both Earth and Mars, Naomi decides working on the Behemoth isn't for her and she returns to to the Roci, David Strathairn is introduced, and both the Roci and the Belter fleet move through the Ring that has just demonstrated that it's fatal to do so one episode before, and Holden decides to a spacewalk after talking to Miller a few times and, clearly, going into another dimension.

WTF happened here? Not only do they completely and utterly change tack in the middle of a season, but they introduce, develop, and execute plot elements that would normally take at least half a season to perform, if not a whole season, and now we're in a completely different spot, story-wise, as are all of our main characters. This is to say nothing of the complete set of main characters that are nowhere to be seen (Drax and Mei) or are casually referred to as having their lives changed (Mao), which are also directly affecting the circumstances of the rest of them that do happen to still be on-screen (see: Melba.) Did they change writers halfway through? Is this where SyFy dropped it and Amazon picked it up? WTF?

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04 Jan 2020 23:54 #305776 by Gary Sax
The TV Expanse is interesting because it mixes up book plotlines and doesn't map them into seasons. So the things you are mentioning happened in separate books in that material. But for pacing reasons, the show basically will "start" book 2 before book 1's events have even concluded. It's a novel choice imho, it mostly works to my eye, though it's a little jarring.

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05 Jan 2020 06:37 #305778 by Sagrilarus
There's a lot of Camina in season 3.

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05 Jan 2020 10:06 #305779 by Jackwraith
I'm OK with the plotlines moving around, as I didn't read the books and that's just something you have to do to make production flow. Books and TV are different media so you have to work them differently. What I found jarring was the 90 degree turn in the middle of the season and the incredibly accelerated pace to some of it. Isn't the Melba plotline something that would normally have been stretched out to some degree? And the Ring stuff seems completely artificial, at this point? We go from the "political and military tussle over resources, with the proto-molecule thrown in as the outer edge sci-fi stuff that's raising those conflicts to the next level" to Star Trek-level "new worlds and new civilizations, along with the willingness for the main characters to (sometimes literally) dive headfirst into it" in the space of two episodes.

@Sag: I'm OK with Camina, in general. Her routine is a little one-note and it seems odd for her to transition from the Voice of Reason around Fred to the commander who has to be talked down on the Behemoth, but that's not entirely unreasonable on a psychological level.

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05 Jan 2020 10:40 #305780 by Gary Sax
Yes, I agree it's jarring. The books do these transitions between books, which makes more sense but can also feel artificial---eg the scientist is a major player in only one book iirc, and while he appears once or twice in the background later, you're basically done with him after that book.

The gate thing will be fleshed out hugely, so hang in for that.
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05 Jan 2020 17:01 #305795 by Sagrilarus

Jackwraith wrote:
@Sag: I'm OK with Camina, in general.


I'm OK with Camina, in specific.

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05 Jan 2020 22:23 #305822 by jason10mm
They rushed it a bit because I dont think they were confident about a season 4 and wanted to end on a logical non cliffhanger.

Fortunately we got the amazon deal so looks like well see most of the next "trilogy" arc. I'm not terribly optimistic they'll go past that but it would be awesome if they do.
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05 Jan 2020 22:57 #305824 by Gary Sax
Well, Bezos personally loves it so that always helps.
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09 Jan 2020 13:49 #305991 by jason10mm
True that, doesnt hurt to be favored by the boss :) Hopefully it can survive amidst The Boys, LOTR, and whatnot. The Expanse never gets a major award nod, does it? Anyway, season 4 had a bit of a rushed ending (I feel like they cut an ep or so) so pacing remains an issue. Be interesting if they fold book 5 and 6 into one season or stretch it out to 2. This show has got to be a budget nightmare with so many locations and sets, book 5 is gonna break them :p

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13 Jan 2020 19:40 #306109 by jeb
Finally caught up to the episodes enough to read this thread.

I'm okay with the transition, they lay out that several months have passed between squid ball and showing up at the ring. In that time, Our Hero® James Holden has taken a commission to be at the ring so someone can make a buck on the story.

He is still super annoying as a protagonist. The Investigator is more interesting and is just a few billion synaptic manipulations.
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13 Jan 2020 20:09 #306110 by Jackwraith
We finished season 3 last night. Eh... That whole contraction of a 400 page(?) novel was executed really poorly. Yes, we discover that it's several months between episodes 6 and 7, but then we're rushing pell-mell through the problems I listed when I opened this thread. The pacing is just bad. When we finally get to communicate with the alien species that is the proto-molecule's creators, in true "aliens know Appletalk" fashion, somehow they discern that detonating a bomb on their doorstep is danger, but shutting down all the ships' drives is a complete panacea for that bad feeling...?

And in season 4, we're apparently running into the rush for territory and resources that is kinda what drove the first couple seasons and made them good. In other words, we could've just stayed where we were without the fancy dimension-hopping. We went from 2.5 seasons of Outer Space Grit to 2001-style Space Fantasy in 5 episodes. That's not a selling point to me. On top of this, the number of genuinely interesting characters that weren't acting out obvious tropes dwindled rapidly in season 3.

I dunno. I'm really not compelled to keep going with this. I enjoyed the first couple seasons, but we now seem to be watching something that has totally transformed. And which still has Holden's angst-filled sententiousness in it. Maybe I'll see if season 2 of Lost in Space is any better.

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13 Jan 2020 20:54 #306113 by Gary Sax
The long term consequences of colonial land rush to earth factions (esp Mars and the Belters) is a really insightful political economy observation of The Expanse, in my opinion. Dunno if that's what you're referring to.

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13 Jan 2020 21:38 #306116 by Jackwraith
Yes. That's exactly what I liked about the first couple seasons. It wasn't that the United Nations were "just evil" like the Empire in Star Wars and Mars and/or the Belt were the "good guys" because they weren't the UN. It was a colonial story which was, as always, about the money. (It's always about the money.) That's a more pragmatic and politically and historically conscious story than a good 2/3 of most SF. In the second half of season 3, that whole theme got wrapped up like a subplot and discarded for an extradimensional gateway.

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13 Jan 2020 23:45 - 13 Jan 2020 23:46 #306126 by Gary Sax
The political economy consequences of half a universe opening up will very quickly be felt in the home system in a way that I found my head nodding about. ymmv. Specifically:

Warning: Spoiler! [ Click to expand ]
Last edit: 13 Jan 2020 23:46 by Gary Sax.
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