The Expanse: Season 4

My last post was about my disappointment in the science fiction novel series, The Expanse, starting with book four. As it turns out, for me, that’s just the start of my disengagement — it goes seriously downhill from there. To be clear I’m speaking strictly in terms of my personal taste. As the saying goes, ‘One person’s mead is another person’s poison’ (not that I’m a fan of mead).

Given the steep downward trend, book four seems better in comparison. While I like it much less than the first three, I like it much more than what follows. It has some good protomolecule bits, and frontier colony stories are pretty standard science fiction fare.

But I’m particularly struck by what the TV version changed and added.

That’s true for all four seasons of the show so far. It’s generally true of any adaptation. As I’ve posted previously, there are three areas of concern:

  1. Existing things that are removed.
  2. Existing things that are changed.
  3. New things that are added.

The last one is where most adaptations let me down. Something new bolted on — often for reasons out of sync with the tone or intentions of the text. Sometimes it stands out like window air conditioner even without knowing the source text.

A big one for me, which I’ve mentioned before, is the added conflict in the TV series. A simple example: Bobbie Draper’s Marine squad. In the book, although we see much less of them than in the TV series, they are trained disciplined professionals.

In the TV series they’re squabbling undisciplined children Bobbie must ride herd on. All in the name of what — making them more relatable? Is that who we relate to? Undisciplined squabbling children?

I don’t. I find it annoying. (As any parent would.)

§

In any event, last night I watched episodes 3–7 of The Expanse, season four. (I’ve been re-watching the series along with reading the books. Paused season four until I’d read Cibola Burn.)

For Sci-Fi Saturday, I thought I’d record a few notes I made…

And by the way: Spoilers!

§ §

Adolphus Murtry (Burn Gorman), the insane murderous security chief for Royal Charter Energy (RCE). He (the character, not the actor) is a large fraction of my dislike for the story.

The book presents him as an off-the-chain version of Amos (who recognizes Murtry immediately for what he is).

The thing about Amos (made clear in the books) is that Amos knows he lacks, but needs, a moral compass, so he aligns himself with people he perceives as having a strong one. That is the basis of his relationship with Naomi and, later, with Holden.

The book version of Murtry is Amos-unbound plus blood lust, which Amos lacks. Both are psychopaths, yet still different people.

The TV version adds a passing financial incentive for Murtry. He gets a bonus for making sure the colony fails. This is a matter of a few lines of dialog and isn’t really referenced again.

(In contrast, I read an article the other day suggesting that simple greed is no longer a primary goal in villains these days. Instead they’re tortured lunatics who actually have our best interests at heart. Think Samuel Jackson in the first Kingsmen movie, for instance, or James Spader as Ultron.)

§

I couldn’t help but wonder about a more nuanced version of Murtry. (Both the book and the TV season make him a cartoon villain easy to hate.)

What about someone principled, basically honest and intelligent, but conservative and narrow, and bent solely on doing their job as they see it. What if it was possible to see their side of it?

Doesn’t that make for a better dramatic conflict? Isn’t it more interesting when it’s hard to pick a side?

[I’ll never forget how, during Babylon 5, creator JMS told fans that, once we knew the full story, many of us would identify with the Shadows, the supposed villains of the piece. He was absolutely right, because I did. Both sides of that story had a legitimate view — it’s part of what makes Babylon 5 stand out. (Also wonderful characters and outstanding performances.)]

So suppose they’d told a story in which one might agree with Murtry? Imagine if he was able to cogently and convincingly argue his point? What if, at least sometimes, the viewer couldn’t help but think he was right?

Compare book or TV Murtry with the book’s Carlos “Bull” de Baca (who is completely absent in the TV series). Bull does a lot of “bad” things, morally and plot-wise, but we can sympathize with him because he’s trying to navigate between loyalties to his job and boss versus his ethics.

Bull ultimately redeems himself and comes off as a good guy. Murtry never could. That’s what makes him a cartoon.

§

Something interesting about the TV show is that it dodged what felt like a repetition to me in the books: Insane cartoon Captain Ashford in book three is echoed by even more insane cartoon Adolphus Murtry in book four.

And then we get Marcos Inaros in book five and even worse cartoon villains in the latter books, from what I gather. (And no protomolecule until way late in the series, so I’m bailing at this point.)

Captain Ashford is a positive character in the TV series, so Murtry is really the first clearly insane character (although maybe Clarissa Mao qualifies).

Actually, for that matter, there was Praxidike Meng and Basia Merton, both of whom were a bit unraveled, so the books use the “insanity defense” a bit too much for my taste.

My point is, the TV series has done a better job of not doing that. All the Mao characters had their reasons, generally sufficient ones IMO, and the Evil Scientists were chemically-induced psychopaths. Even Marcos Inaros is presented as having a point. (His speech in the airlock pleading for his life was pretty good, I thought.)

And there does seem occasional flashes of rational intent in TV Murtry, but they never really develop into sympathy. (Apparently Wei is the only subordinate who even slightly questions his behavior, so the entire rest of his crew is essentially just cannon fodder clowns.)

The show seems more intent on pulling the colonists down, in making them unsympathetic, rather than trying to elevate Murtry. It’s this kind of “we’re all just rats in the sewer” storytelling that gets under my skin. They were successful, though. I don’t find the colonists sympathetic, either.

That ultimately really weakens the season for me. I don’t care about the colonists, and I certainly don’t care about RCE. I have no dog in the fight. Really, the only ones possible to care for are the crew of the Rocinante, and we know they’re going to be okay.

§

The TV series changed the terrorist to the wife, Lucia, rather than her husband.

(Their last name is Mazur, and her husband is Jakob, so this is not the family of Basia who lost their son Katoa to the protomolecule on Ganymede. In the book it is, which was one of the coincidences that annoyed me a bit. In the book, Basia lost his mind over Katoa and fell in with the terrorists. Lucia appears to be part of it by choice.)

There is also reversal in that it’s mom who hates daughter going off to study engineering rather than father. The swapped sexes put mother Lucia on the Rocinante fretting about her daughter rather repeating father Prax fretting about daughter Mei.

All those changes deal with my objection to some apparent repetition in the books, so, as they say, “Change Approved!”

§

The part about Naomi taking gravity drugs and going down to the planet is added. It appears to be so that she can take Lucia back to the ship.

It adds drama because the gravity drugs don’t work, and things go bad for her. We also get scenes of the painful injections.

(There’s another medical bay scene with Lucia when her wound opens due to stress that feels very bolted on. Nothing like it in the book, and it was boring to boot. How many times have we seen scenes exactly like it?)

§

All the stuff about Bobbie getting involved with the criminal class on Mars is new to the TV series.

In the books she leads a simple civilian life on Mars until she hooks up with Alex in book five. (Not “hooks up with” hooks up with, but you never know. I think Alex kinda has a thing for her in the books.)

Things get interesting for Alex and Bobbie on Mars in book five. When they first meet, she has a line about helping her nephew out of a jam involving drugs. That’s a whole sub-plot for her in the TV series.

(I wonder if maybe one of the short stories or other works that take place in The Expanse universe get into it. That line to Alex kinda jumped out at me as a reference to something solid.)

TV Bobbie grew on me more in season four. I didn’t care for her much previously, but I’ve always liked the book version. The TV series makes her more undisciplined and unprofessional.

§

All the election stuff with Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) is new. I think it’s mostly filler to give the actress screen time. (She’s a pretty good character, so maybe rightfully so.)

But given what happens to the Secretary General in the next book, it all seems a bit pointless. It really feels like padding.

(There is something strange to me in how the actress delivers lines. The phrasing feels off — strange pauses. I don’t know if it’s breath control or what, but I find it weird. I do enjoy the character, though. Even more in the books.)

§ §

It’ll be interesting to see what season five amounts to. Will it be, as book four and season four was, essentially book five (with deletions, changes, and additions)? Or will it (as earlier seasons did) bring in elements from later books?

Given my reaction to book five, I have very mixed feelings about the coming season five. I’ll definitely check it out and see how it goes.

Stay safe, my friends! Wear a mask in stores and such. COVID-19 is airborne!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

21 responses to “The Expanse: Season 4

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t care for the Avasarala additions, although I can see some of it making the events in the 5th season more poignant, particularly the spat she has with her husband and his decision not to go with her, a decision those of us who’ve read the 5th book can see the consequences of.

    I think the Bobbie stuff was in one of the novellas. I’ve only read a few of them and that wasn’t one of them. They do usually have brief tie-ins in the books.

    Did you hear that the novel series won the Hugo for best series last night?

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Yeah, I thought about what you’d said while watching the election scenes. (Something I keep meaning to check; the actor who plays her husband is different in this season, yes? I seem to remember the earlier version going off to the Moon because of Eros and then sending her a tearful video suggesting he was breaking up with her? Or did I misunderstand all that?)

      The Bobbie stuff does feel kind of organic. That line she has to Alex in book five has “Hey, check it out!” written all over it.

      I didn’t hear about the Hugo, but to be honest I’m generally meh when it comes to awards in general and especially meh about the Hugo (due to fans voting). But that’s nice it got recognized. I would give it an award based on the first three books/seasons.

      And, again, my issues with the later books/seasons are (almost) entirely subjective, not objective.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I did read somewhere that the actor had changed. I totally didn’t notice. There was a guy upset with her in the first season (from Mars I think), who basically broke off a friendship with her, but it wasn’t her husband.

        Yeah, I know what you mean about awards. They’re very political. And mostly orthogonal to the stuff I like anyway.

        The only reason I noticed is that a lot of people on Twitter last night were losing their mind because George R.R. Martin, who was conducting the virtual award ceremony, apparently reminisced too much about John W. Campbell and mispronounced the names of some minority writers, therefore Martin is now a fascist and a racist. (I tuned in for a few minutes to see what the fuss was about, but the little I saw seemed utterly banal.)

        BTW, did you hear about the allegations against Cas Anvar, the actor who plays Alex? Season 5 was already in the can, but I wonder if they’ll need to change actors there for season 6.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        It was the Earth ambassador to Mars Avasarala betrayed. He and his husband were looking forward to retiring to Mars, but Avasarala used him to spook the Martian Navy, and he lost his chance. But there was also a husband — Indian actor I’ve seen many times — who seemed to be breaking up with her over the video.

        “…therefore Martin is now a fascist and a racist.”

        [sigh] A great example of why I’m a raging misanthrope.

        “BTW, did you hear about the allegations against Cas Anvar,”

        I did. (Insert another big sigh.) I also wondered what impact it would have.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        Oh, btw, commenting via the Reader (my first comment above) didn’t automatically subscribe me to this thread. Were you the one who told me that it does? Is there a setting I need somewhere for that to happen?

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I did mention it, but I also have noticed it not working as expected. I think the Reader is very messed up, and from what you’ve said they’ve admitted they don’t have a handle on it. (Which, to me, says a lot about the quality of support for the product. It can’t be that complicated.)

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        On the Reader and the missing posts issue, I did make a configuration change that might be making a difference. I had my RSS feed set for 30 posts. (A setting going back to when I first set up the blog.) The default is 10. Since support described a post being published as one of the things that triggers a Reader pull, it occurred to me that might be one of the reasons I was seeing more missing posts than other people. Maybe the extra time to re-publish 30 entries was the culprit.

        So I changed it back to 10. Since then I haven’t seen any missing posts. Of course, it was already an intermittent issue, so it might be shown on any post that I’m wrong.

        But on general Reader bugs, yeah, the other day anything I searched for came up empty, and none of the tags were coming up. It lasted for several hours but appeared to have disappeared by the next morning. There are definitely issues.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        The RSS XML does contain the entire text of each article, so 30 posts worth of text would make it a large-ish file.

        I still think it’s weird they pull the RSS files. I assumed it was their system that generated the RSS files to begin with, so I’d think there would be “under the hood” access to the data — a database query rather than an http request for an RSS view of the data.

        (Although maybe there’s so much separation between the database that they don’t have that access? I don’t know squat about their situation, but hearing (through you) that they pull the RSS file raised my eyebrows. I am curious why.)

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I can’t say. One of the RSS options is to only allow a preview snippet, rather than the entire body, which I considered. But I don’t know what the bottleneck might be on publishing the RSS file. The raw amount of text might be a minor player. And I know I like reading posts in my RSS client of choice and dislike it when people make me navigate to their blog, so I see that as a last resort.

        I do recall reading at some point that self published WordPress blogs can get added to the Reader. If so, that’d be a case where no direct access would be available. And maybe they just decided to utilize functionality that was already in WordPress.

        Going direct to the db might just add dependencies they didn’t want to have to maintain. Since they already have to maintain the RSS functionality anyway, I can see a decision to just use it. And it actually works quite well in my InoReader account. (It worked well in Feedly too, although I disliked Feedly for unrelated reasons.)

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “But I don’t know what the bottleneck might be on publishing the RSS file.”

        I wasn’t thinking in the publishing, but in the crawler’s processing of it. The crawler would have a heavy work load, and maybe a programmer made an unfounded assumption about size. Just a WAG on my part — I don’t know that much about it.

        “I do recall reading at some point that self published WordPress blogs can get added to the Reader.”

        That would explain doing the crawling. There would be a list of sites to pull.

        About reusing functionality, sure, but one still has to write the crawler code. Either that code does an http request for the RSS XML, or it does {whatever} to access the database. On the assumption (thin, perhaps) that the same group manages that database (and that the RSS XML comes from that database), I thought maybe the {whatever} might involve a local SQL query.

        Which is all very thin, and there is also that “local SQL query” probably translates to ODBC query, and there isn’t a huge difference between an http request and an ODBC in that they’re both across the network. My experience is that ODBC has better data objects than XML parsing, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t XML parsers that compare.

        “Going direct to the db might just add dependencies they didn’t want to have to maintain.”

        That’s another possibility. My guess is the Reader having outside blogs — that makes a lot of sense. With that requirement, it’s the reasonable solution. All blogs, inside or outside, would present the same RSS interface.

        ((Only vaguely related note: I’ve been thinking I have major problems with my WiFi. I did, but maybe not as major as I thought. Turns out it’s my laptop that has some sort of network issue. Intermittent, and seriously annoying.))

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        The support guy did say it was a timing issue. My theory is that my 30 post RSS file was taking a certain amount of time to generate. If I hit Post and the Reader went to retrieve it while the RSS file was still being generated, it probably got the old one without the new post. If I later published another post, that would cause the missing post to show up.

        Reducing it to 10 may have reduced the write time down enough to make the problem less frequent. But if I’m right, it won’t eliminate it completely. Just make my occurrence of it the same as everyone else’s. Enough of you have reported the same problem that it can probably also come up when the server hosting our blog is just extra busy and takes too long to do the write.

        I’ve been thinking about buying a new laptop lately. What brand / model did you get? Are you happy with it? (Sorry, I think we’ve had this conversation before, but it’s lost in the fog of memory.) I use an Asus router that I’ve been pretty happy with, but it’s at the 4 year mark, and I’m wondering if it’s time to get a new one yet.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I see what you’re saying. They certainly do have a variety of timing issues. I’ve noticed going into the stats page that sometimes it claims there are no stats for the period, but a refresh and up they pop. I’ve noticed a similar thing when viewing a preview of a post I’m writing. Click the preview post link and get a page saying no such post. Refresh, and there it is.

        Think maybe WordPress has simply grown so large their processes are always a little behind, maybe?

        I bought a Dell laptop (the XPS 15, which gets good reviews), and I’m hugely disappointed by it. I posted about a number of issues I had with it a while back. Now I’ve realized the network issues I’ve been having have been dual — there were some issues with my DSL, but this laptop has something very seriously wrong with it concerning network connections.

        My WiFi issues are partly resolved, but I still don’t get the performance I’d expect given the small size of this place, and I cannot for the life of me fathom why upload speeds are consistently better than download speeds. Neither of them are close to testing either the DSL or WiFi limits, and in any event my listed download speed (about 40 mbs) is half my listed upload speed (80 mbs). So, if anything, download should be less than upload. But it never is.

        I see similar results from my iPad and iPhone (haven’t tried the TV in a while), so something weird is going on with my WiFi. That makes diagnosing the laptop kind of a pain, especially since it doesn’t even have a LAN port. WiFi or nothing.

        BUT! Recently I hacked up a Python app to do network requests on a timed loop. Currently set to 12 hours worth every 1.5 minutes. Bounces an http request off a CGI app on my personal website. Ran the app from my iPad for several days with no errors at all. From this laptop? I see from 18-33 requests fail during the scan time. Using this laptop I frequently experience a variety of network errors: DNS fails, TLS fails, supposed server timeouts. By frequently I mean guaranteed multiple (dozens) of times a day. It’s infuriating. And I’m out of warranty.

        I’m so unhappy with Dell that if they were the last computer company on Earth, I’d take up knitting. I’m not needing a new laptop, but I’m thinking of buying one (HP, maybe?) just to end my frustration with this. I suppose I could consign this thing to deep Mandelbrot renders or 3D animation. The reason I don’t do that stuff is that it monopolizes my laptop for days.

        (I’ve learned to always Select-All and Copy every comment I post because these damn network issues have lost a few.)

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        It does seem like WordPress has gotten much buggier than it used to be. One thing I’ve noticed in the last year or two is the Like buttons sometimes just not working. I think they stopped working completely for me on iOS.

        Ah, ok, thanks. Yeah, I had considered a Dell XPS 13 before. One of the guys at work swears by them, but my experience with Dell has been pretty uneven. I had an old XPS 13 years ago and loved it, but that was a completely different line from the current XPS one.

        My current laptop is a Microsoft Surface Book, which I’ve gone through stages of either hating or finding tolerable. It has one nice property. Since the CPU is in the screen, the bottom doesn’t get hot. I sit a lot with it on my lap, which my old Macbook Pro often made uncomfortable. But the MS Surface Books aren’t cheap, and their performance is a bit sluggish.

        I’ve had to do the copy and paste things many times, although in my case it’s because occasionally WP throws an error and refuses to post the comment. It usually happens if I sit too long in the comment form. Usually I can hit back and get the text, but I’ve lost a few myself. I sometimes keep a copy in a Google doc.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I’ve noticed the Like buttons being weird, too. A friend, who doesn’t have a blog, but gets email notifications of my posts, said the Like button on the post doesn’t usually work, but the one in the email does. I’ve noticed a script seeming to run briefly (but visibility!) when I click Like sometimes. Just one more WP weirdness, I guess.

        The Dell XPS 15 is supposed to be a sweet machine. Maybe I just got a lemon, but I’m pretty underwhelmed by the peripherals (keyboard, mouse, and monitor).

        I’ve shunned touch-screen laptops (I really don’t care for touch interfaces), but after owning an iPad for many years, and recently finally getting an iPhone,… nah, I’m still keyboard and mouse for anything serious.

        Not cheap but sluggish isn’t a good recommendation, either. 😀

        This network stuff is so annoying. There are, I believe, multiple issues, so it’s really hard to narrow down. I’m even a bit suspicious of dirty power — it’s weird how intermittent the problem is. I did my netprobe script on battery power only for the laptop and still got errors. For all I know, it’s something to do with the McAfee anti-virus suite.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I rarely use the touch features of my Surface Book. The few times I’ve detached the tablet, I found Windows, even in touch mode, awkward to use that way. And I definitely agree that I prefer a keyboard for any serious writing.

        The performance wasn’t too bad until the Intel bug. Since that patch went out, it performed much worse. Hopefully the third generation (mine is first generation) is long past that problem. But really, it’s chief benefit for me is the bottom doesn’t get hot.

        One thing I do know I’ll make sure to get on the next one, lots of memory. I currently have 8GB on both my laptop and home desktop, and Windows spends a lot of time thrashing. (Not as noticeable on an SSD, except for the performance issue.) My work PC has 16GB and still performs well, despite being four years old at this point.

        I totally get your frustration with the network stuff. Are you able to select your own router, or does your provider give you one? I solved a lot of issues with a fairly high end router. Given how much time I spend on the internet, it seemed like a good investment.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I’m not surprised about Windows. Touch would be an added interface, and touch UX really needs to be designed from the ground up. (I’m not a fan of touch UX — too incompetent a way to provide input for someone with decades of mouse and keyboard use.)

        These CPU hardware side channel attacks fascinate me. It’s amazing what’s possible with cache and timing attacks.

        I’m a big fan of max RAM. I’ve always loaded up my systems with as much as they’ll take. (Not so much any more, but a lot of the work I used to do was memory intense.)

        The telco provides the router, and apparently the way it takes two phone lines is special, so I have to use their modem in the router. I can buy a better WiFi part and use the LAN port to connect it. I still can’t get over how bad the WiFi is given my physical circumstances. It feels like there’s more going on, so investing in better WiFi might end up a waste. But it’s an option.

        Since I don’t seem (usually!) to have internet connection problems with my phone, pad, or TV, but have them hugely with the laptop, that part of my frustration seems due to a network card or software issue in the laptop. Really don’t think better WiFi is going to help. (Hmmm. I should take it somewhere I can use different WiFi.)

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I’m sure you’ve tried this already, but device driver updates for the network card?

        I actually have a lot more wifi issues at work than I do at home. Work has extra security and it causes problems. I frequently have to fight it with. I’ve cleared my network settings more times than I can count. Not that I’ve had to deal with that since March.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah, drivers are up to date. I lean towards this being a hardware problem (the weird intermittent nature), but I have considered reinstalling stuff. I have more testing in mind. (Location changes, running on battery only again now that I have a baseline, having my script test more frequently when it detects an error, etc.) Weirdly, sometimes the network just seems to go away for several minutes despite there being an apparent good Wifi and internet connection. Windows doesn’t see anything wrong, but it can’t connect to anything. For several minutes at a time. It really puzzles me.

        Maybe I’m spoiled. The Company got into Wifi pretty early on and installed a lot of access points. Coverage was really good.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        My university got into it early too, and we have pretty good coverage around the campus, particularly in the central IT building where I work. But the security stuff causes a lot of issues.

        Hope you’re able to find a solution to your issue sometime soon. Sounds like absolute frustration.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        It’s pretty damn annoying, especially now that I’ve narrowed it down (I believe) to a laptop issue. (No doubt I’ll post about it one of these days.)

  • Wyrd Smythe

    I watched the last three episodes of season four last night. I have a few notes…

    ¶ Amos freaking out because he’s blind didn’t read like Amos to me. Certainly the Amos in the books wouldn’t have freaked like that, and I don’t think the TV version would, either. He freaked because of script, just to add some drama. It’s the way TV drags characters down into the “relatable gutter” of stupid human tricks that really pisses me off.

    ¶ Holden never learns to trust Miller. It struck me when Holden jumped into that transport tube (which obviously used the same speed-braking technology used in the Slow Space). He was so freaked out about it. At what point does he just relax and trust Miller?

    ¶ Damn, I’m gonna miss Miller! Really loved the Holden-Miller interaction (although, per the previous note, Holden really needs to learn to calm down and carry on). The idealist and the cynic was such a great pair.

    ¶ I really don’t understand the ending. The “bullet” was there for billions of years, but then Elvi helps Miller do something, and then the bullet takes out the protomolecule? There was way too much hand-waving about what really happened, and it’s stuff like this that shows The Expanse really isn’t a hard SF story.

    The problems began because Holden, Miller, and some protomolecule, showed up, but Miller (with help) solved the problems he created. But did he learn anything? What was accomplished other than people dying? The series, at this point, takes a long detour away from the alien situation, and what I’ve heard about the resolution sounds like a lot of hand-waving to me. The aliens are starting to come off as mere McGuffins.

    It seems the authors are more interested in telling a socio-political story than a first contact story. Their choice, of course, but not something I’m going to be on board with.

    ¶ Why does the Rocinante just happen to have this big high-tech drum winch thing? I laughed when I saw it. Where did that come from? 😀

    So much manufactured nonsense in that cable towing sequence. I don’t even know where to begin.

    ¶ Isn’t Lucia a Belter? Shouldn’t she have been able to get her spin under control better? It’s like they wanted yet another trope scene — the Rescue … IN SPACE … In SPACE SUITS! (How many times have we seen a similar scene? I laughed.)

    ¶ Speaking of tropes: A Space Bridge in the alien installation! Whoo-Hoo! I know the visuals of a long bridge with no rails stretching over an abyss are great, but talk about a cliched trope, holy moly, Batman. I couldn’t stop giggling over the Space Bridge … IN SPACE!!

    I suppose pop SF has to trope or most viewers would be lost, but damn.

    ¶ Big landscape shot where Holden has climbed the tower. Very nice digital matte painting, and fascinating to see the ductwork and stuff revealed, but another “because visuals” trope that had me giggling. When we see that the Roci just landed on the tower, I couldn’t stop laughing. Yeah, right.

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