Morgan and Dan discuss the Pilot episode (Dulcinea) and the second episode (The Big Empty) of The Expanse. Going over plot points and character introductions, the hosts describe what they loved and hated in the first episodes.

Listen to “Ep. 3: Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2” wherever you get your podcasts.

Recommended Reading:

Don Quixote by Cervantes

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein





[music fades out, voices fade in]

Dan: Does anyone else hate these things as much as I do? Like, introducing themselves on podcasts?

Morgan: I think you either love it or you hate it.

D: Hi, [laughs] welcome to The Expansing. I’m Dan Winburn.

M: Hi, Dan. 

D: Hi, Dan… And you are?

M: Dan.

D: You’re Dan also. This is Dan and also Dan, although Dan, other Dan is pronounced Morgan, I think.

M: Yeah, that’s the traditional spelling.

D: So today we’re going to have a plot discussion about episodes one and two of The Expanse, titled “Dulcinea” and “The Big Empty.” If you haven’t watched those episodes recently, that’s our introduction to all the main characters, we learn about the Canterbury. Julie Mao is trapped mysteriously. We learn about Ceres and Detective Miller and meet Avasarala briefly while she’s torturing, doing some torture, doing some family time, doing some politics. We see the Canterbury violently destroyed, while Holden, and Naomi, and Amos, Shed, and Alex are all in the, uh, the Knight exploring the Scopuli upon which Julie Mao was once trapped or was once transported. And in the next episode, “The Big Empty,” we get to see them dodge all of the debris from the ship being exploded. They’ve got to fix the transmitter so they can call for help. They end up getting picked up by Mars, but not before Holden transmits his last minute message that everybody is really mad about—about Mars maybe being the ones that blew up the Canterbury. When they get picked up, they get greeted at the doorway by a bunch of space marines with their laser sights. And that’s where we’re left, seem about, right?

M: Yes, I trust you.

[a pause, to consider this betrayal]

D: So first and foremost, for me, at least, is the titles of the episodes are “Dulcinea” and “The Big Empty.” Dulcinea, of course, being the Don Quixote character, never seen but oft referenced by the main character. How do you feel about, what do you think they’re trying to get out here exactly with that title?

M: All the references to Don Quixote are really interesting. I think we talked about this really briefly when I first started watching the show because I love the story of Don Quixote because it’s, it’s tragic. It’s not. It’s more of a comedy, really, but I guess. Are they trying to draw some kind of connection between, like James Holden? 

D: I don’t know.

M: Bravely charging out?

D: I was thinking, maybe because I mean, we’re going to get to it when we talk about the differences in the book. But I wonder if they’re maybe alluding to, or if they’re maybe calling Ade Dulcinea in a way because she dies and she becomes this perfectly preserved memory of tragic love lost in his mind and maybe serves as an inspiration. But also, she doesn’t really feel the way about Holden that he feels about her, and he’s sort of a puppy dog about it, and she’s like, ‘Hey, let’s be Grown-Ups.’ And but he’s not really ready to hear that. And then, boom, she’s gone. So that might be what they were going for, I think because Dulcinea is the sort of lady that Don Quixote latches on to, but she’s just some peasant girl and doesn’t care about him really that much and isn’t particularly special or anything.

M: Yeah, that was the whole, you know, that’s what made Don Quixote kind of a tragic figure is that he was completely deluded.

D: Mm-Hmm.

M: You know, like charging off after windmills, saying, ‘Ah, but they might be giants!’ Like, you know, he was totally like out of his mind with delusions of grandeur and—

D: Right.

M: —believing he was a knight and…

D: Maybe the connection they’re trying to make because they have Holden.

M: Yeah.

D: And so the response… the distress signal that nobody else wanted to answer and he’s like, I got to go fix this. Yeah, my job, it’s on me. And everyone else…

M: But at the same at the same time, the way that Cervantes wrote the book was as if it was pieced together from narratives he collected from other people. So it’s supposed to be a little grandiose. Or uh, it’s like mythic, but like, there’s stories that are just like: ‘and then I don’t have the rest of the story, so I’ll just leave it there.’ [Dan laughs] Like, you know, so and then it was a really interesting choice for that. But it’s got to be related to Holden, because—

D:Yeah, it’s got to be something directly there.

M: —I don’t see where else the parallel lies unless, unless the writers of The Expanse are just huge fans of late 16th century baroque literature. [Dan laughs] So, you know, I mean, it could just be an Easter egg for them. [laughs]

D: I mean, I really think that it’s it’s pretty much laying Ade out as like, this is his Dulcinea. This is his

M: Yeah

D: —woman that’s inspiring his great quest and all that. But the second episode, “The Big Empty,” is pretty clearly just, ‘Hey, this is our main characters are now floating, trapped, disabled in and just out in the middle of nowhere.’ And that’s what this reality is, and we get to immediately be immersed in that sort of survival moment. So obviously, that’s a pretty straightforward, meaningful title there. But I wanted to maybe talk about some of the science stuff that you get to see because that sort of thing that grabs a lot of people right away with this first couple episodes, if you get into The Expanse, you’re probably hooked right off the bat just because you get to see little things that, that you can latch on to very obviously as being like, oh, that’s some real tech that we could potentially…

M: Oh, it’s all believable.

D: Right. And one of those things is not quite the same, but for the TV show in particular that I was really impressed that they, they made the effort with was the Coriolis Effect on the liquids that you get to see, like Miller pouring his drink.

M: Yeah!

D: Like, pouring himself a little scotch and you’d get to see that little twist. If you’re not aware, it’s basically he’s, he’s at a place in series where there’s spin and there’s low gravity. So you actually get to see the effect of the momentum and spin of the asteroid affecting the liquid as it pours out at a low, Low-G. So it’s a nice little detail that they put in there, but that was also explicitly in the book several times. They make a lot of little casual mentions to things like that, that remind you that this is not normal.

M: I watched really closely, like the third time through and I was looking for hair when they’re in Zero-G. I wanted to see if anybody had their hair down just as like a fuck up, you know?

D: Right. 

M: And, and liquid. And I was like trying really hard to spot little mistakes. 

D: Try and catch them.

M: Yeah. And every time I thought I did, I would rewind and check and be like, Damn it, they’re using gravity.

D: They do a pretty good job of it.

M: They really do.

D: There are a few moments where they’re clearly like, they’re supposed to be using the magnet boots.

M: And you don’t hear them or see them walk.

D: And it’s pretty… Yeah. And it’s pretty obvious that, look, they’re just walking around in a studio or whatever. But obviously, it’s a TV show. You’ve got a limited budget for Low-G special effects. But overall, they do a pretty good job of making sure that when people are walking around, the ship is moving like they’re they’re going somewhere, they’re doing something.

M: So you read my book recommendation, right? 

D: I did. 

M: Yeah. So The Moon—

D: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Starship Troopers.

M: Oh my two favorites. Um, so the narrator references how you can always identify people that are near to the Moon because they don’t know how to walk—

D: Right.

M: —in one sixth G. And that would have been a really, really fun reference to to throw in there. Just like newcomers to the Belt or to Ceres.

D: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

M: Like kind of flopping and floating.

D: I especially like the, I mean, Heinlein was unbelievably forward thinking in his description of things.

M: And his stories, they’re called future histories.

D: It’s incredible that the idea of of people coming in to the Moon who didn’t grow up there, or hadn’t been there, who were there to kill people failing and getting destroyed by just locals because they went too fast down a ramp.

M: Right.

D: And it put them just slightly in the air and they’re suddenly out of control and then just people can just swarm up and get them, even though they’re like hardened paratroopers.

M: Yeah, or your’e not used to fighting…

D: That sort of little tiny detail is, to even think of it. Oh yeah, that would totally mess you up, and I’ll use it as a plot point.

M: Yeah. Or like not used to fighting in a P-Suit [pressure suit], you know, you bring your arms up too fast because you’re used to having gravity and you shoot too high. And like also, the lunar colonies are down, you’re underground so they’re descending and they’re not used to going down without gravity, helping them. So they’re just kind of float vaguely—

D: Right.

M: —down and just get slaughtered by literally unarmed locals.

D: They do that a little bit in the book. You don’t you’re right, you don’t get to see it in the show. But in the book, at one point, Miller pisses off Havelock, his partner, just being himself and Havelock storms off in the bar and he’s, he tries to kind of stomp off, [Morgan laughs] but he’s, he’s an Earther, so he’s strong and—

M: He shoots three feet into the air.

D: —he’s not used to it. So he he’s sort of well, it describes him as sort of hopping away. He meant sort of pound his feet off in a huff, but he ended up looking very silly.

M: Yeah, because you’d bounce three feet in the air. 

D: Bounding.

[both laugh]

M: Yeah. And also the when we first see Avasarala, she’s got the Belter terrorists chained up on the hooks.


M: And it’s the only—

D: Just doing some war crimes. 

M: [laughs] She’s getting shit done. It’s the only time they actually attempt to show how they would look different.

D: Yeah, they didn’t do as much as I think they could have gotten away with. They really only had a couple moments in the first few episodes where they showed like, Oh, this person’s body is significantly different.

M: Yeah, he’s like eight feet tall, like long, elongated bones. Very thin, very pale. And then they just give up! They never do that again. 

D: Yeah.

M: They’re like, all right. We’re not going to maintain this.

D: They very explicitly described Naomi as being taller than Holden and like, very thin. They did a good job with the casting in her face and her overall, like everything else about her, is is like spot on to any descriptions they were given, except she’s clearly smaller than he is.

M: Oh yeah, and they’ll make reference to other characters will make reference to immediately identifying somebody as a Belter. And it’s like how?

D: Right.

M: You’re not, like, you have to help us out.

D: It is a suspension of disbelief that that the books obviously have an much easier time dealing with because they just a couple of words and your ‘Oh, this person’s, now looks like that in my mind,’ as opposed to having to cast every single person in the country who has Marfan’s Syndrome, or or just like, really make an incredible effort at redoing the makeup on your three very tall actors that you found.

M: Right? I mean, I get it. I get it, but like. But yeah…

D: That would be maybe prohibitive. Another thing was when they were outside repairing the ship. Well, this was actually a mistake. So I was, you know, that’s that’s a cool concept and showing it is very neat. And then you see like debris floating around. But then one of the plot holes for me with the science stuff was, you see, Holden sort of let go of the wrench. Right? And it ‘phooom!’ goes flying off and everything else about that scene, except maybe the people inside. Maybe they. Everything else about it seems to me implying that they are on the float, that they are repairing something. It would be very dangerous for them to be burning while they were out there because if anything goes wrong and they fall off. They’re gone.

M: Yeah. Gone.

D: So it seems pretty unlikely that they would be doing that. And so his, his wrench should have stayed right there. There would be no reason for it to just go flying off into nothing.

M: Well, I mean.

D: It was a little bit of a criss, criss cross there where it was like, ‘Wait, are they supposed to be burning or not?’ Because this…

M: Well, they could be floating very fast.

D: Well, yeah. But if they are, so is the wrench. And all of the, there’s debris.

M: Sure.

D: Like there’s debris in the space behind them that you can see like from the damage that was incurred.

M: But what if you like— 

D: Clearly, they’re floating…

M: —let go, but then gently pushed it away. [Dan laughs] At the same time.

D: And then went ‘Oh Shit!’

M: And it happened— [laughs] 

D: It’s gone. 

M: —happened to shove it downstream.

D: Also, you work in space dumbass! You know, that’s going to happen. Why would you let go of it? Shouldn’t it be like tied to you.

M: Tethered.

D: Um, That was a, I mean, it’s minor because it’s just like, well, they’re going to fix it. They’re going to figure it out, right?

M: Yeah. But even now, everything is tethered. Attached.

D: Right? It’s like come on. That’s a little frustrating. That wouldn’t have happened. That’s a that’s a rookie mistake.

M: That was for us, Dan, that was for the viewers.

D: Sure. They do a pretty good job in this series of having things that makes sense, like as far as, like, helmet lights and stuff like that, but they do switch back and forth a little too much where it’s like, OK, just a second ago you had sort of spotlights and now I’m just seeing your face. But again, I get that that’s that’s a TV thing. They’ve got to do that.

M: Yeah, I I’ve become very forgiving in my advanced age [Dan laughs] with stuff like that because, you know, no matter how good a story is, it still has to go through like editors, producers, and you just kind of have to let some of that stuff go, let it be what it’s going to be. But you know, people having long hair in zero gravity that’s like really cascading down their shoulders like that. That’s, that’s like rookie level.

D: That would get old real fast.

M: Yeah. So I always, I look for stuff that.

D: They do show a lot of people pulling ponytails and things like that.

M: Everyone has their hair up. Yeah, it was. They did a good job there, but I’m always on the lookout for stuff like that because you can’t get your shit straight when it comes to wardrobe? [Dan laughs]

D: I like that we get to see some drone action in the show in general, and I think it it maybe should have been even more aggressive or adventurous because they sort of show like a regular looking drone from today flying around in Ceres, and maybe they won’t change that much over the years, but you would think just human nature would make them a bit more advanced. But, but then later on, we also get to see the huge swarms of drones, towing ships around and moving things here and there.

M: Oh, that was beautiful.

D: I’m really glad that they incorporate that. They’re like, Oh yeah, we don’t need to go everywhere… here.

M: Well, a drone is this is this is a little techie thing, that kind of needled at me. But a drone flies because it has little propellers and it’s pushing air. Right? So how does a drone float around ship if there’s no atmosphere? It would have to have atmosphere, right?

D: Well, the the ones in the swarms they have, they have thrusters

M: In space. 

D: Right.

M: Is that what they’re using inside the ships?

D: I don’t think they really go into it, but I would assume that they would have to equip them with both. 

M: Yeah. 

D: So that you, if you were in a ship situation that had, had a pressurized atmosphere, that you would obviously be able to use the propellers.

M: Yeah.

D: Fly around and…

M: But also without fighting gravity.

D:Right. If it was a drone, that had to access a ship it would then obviously have to also have thrusters for being out in space.

M: Yeah, I love the I love the little drones attaching to the ships and kind of like being used as tugboats. And I thought that was really like a brilliant foresight.

D: And one of the most fun, actual sci-fi things that you get to see in the second episode at the end is when they have the Donnager shows up, the huge Mars flagship with the big grappling arm, and a big bay door that’s very kind of Star Wars in a way, but then the idea of a grappling arm seems kind of silly, but at the same time, you know, there’s no tractor beams or anything, this is dealing with reality.

M: No, is there anything better than that? [laughs]

D: Right? It’s like, Well, we have. We have a big, we have a mechanical arm. We can totally do that and just go grab something and pull it in.

M: Yeah. 

D: So that’s that one was a lot of fun, and they they made it believable. It wasn’t just like this thing that sprung out.

M: Yeah. Well, that’s the thing about the technology in science fiction is that like, you only know what you already know, it’s it’s very hard to imagine things that we don’t have any kind of basis for.

D: Mmhmm.

M: So like the drones make perfect sense because we already have drones, you know what I mean? 

D: Right.

M: So it’s easy to imagine, like drones being in the future. But a lot of the science fiction I read was written in like the forties, fifties, sixties. They had no concept that cell phones would ever exist. 

D: Oh yeah.

M: So there’s, they didn’t even. I mean, Arthur C Clarke came up with the technology for communication satellites, but that was for war purposes. He was in the military, but it still took so long to get to the idea where they would, where we could even conceive of signals from radiate, from cell phone towers to satellites to phones, you know, so science fiction of that era does not include any kind of cell phone technology.

D: Any of that stuff. Yeah. 

M: Now they’ll have like maybe a video phone, like a video screen phone.

D: I mean, that’s what’s impressive about some of the Heinlein stories that that you had me read where it was just the level of comprehension he had for things that didn’t exist yet.

M: And working with less information.

D: Yeah, a lot less. Just factual information that we now take for granted.

M: And still going like it’s the same…

D: Oh, it’s probably going to be like this.

M: Yeah, that’s why Heinlein is, his, his stories are called future histories. They feel historical, you know, because they’re so accurate and like everything does kind of mesh together and make perfect sense. It’s it’s very easy to be like ‘and then aliens showed up!’ And ‘we don’t know how anything works because they’re aliens,’ and it’s just kind of a cop out.

D: Right.

M: Heinlein was like, ‘No, I’m going to write stories about human beings doing human things under circumstances that are grounded in physics.’ And even the stories that he writes that get a little fantastical with parallel dimensions are still explained in detail how String Theory works, how these ideas of multiple dimensions and how we would travel through them based on their understanding in like 1959 or whatever.

D: Right.

M: So for The Expanse, seeing the drone, seeing the cellphones like like, where else do cell phones go? That’s got to be it right? It’s going to be this little thin piece of unbreakable plastic.

D: That or something similar.

M: So, yeah, and you can like, they mobcast.

D: Right. Yeah, they they can transmit to wherever speaker in the area they can. They can—

M: People around them.

D: —use displays near them. They can transmit to this or that and just kind of go over there, ‘shwiiick’ share it with whoever.

M: And everything being bi-locked?

D: Right.

M: It’s like, that’s also like, that’s an iPhone thing, that we’ve had for a while. So that was that’s an incredible use of foresight on their part to take the information we have now about technology and push it forward. Because once I saw the phones, I was like, Oh, of course, that’s what we’re going to have. Like, Duh. Why didn’t I think of that so obvious?

D: Yeah. And the world building is I think, I’m really glad you had me read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress because as soon as I started reading it, I was like, ‘Oh my god, no wonder she was flipping out’ because it was—

M: Yeah.

D: —as though I was reading a prequel. And…

M: Yeah. Even like, because it’s from the very first episode, I was like, ‘Oh, I know what this is.’ I immediately recognized it, and one of the things that really gave it away was when Miller is on Ceres. And he says there’s no laws on series only cops.

D: Yeah, yeah.

M: And that, that kind of triggered that, like, Oh, they know what they’re doing. This isn’t an act.

D: Right. Because it’s exactly like that with the moon and the Loonies.

M: Yeah. And how they kind of throw people in airlocks willy nilly. And nobody really bats an eye, they’re like handling their shit, you know.

D: You know, you shouldn’t have done that. I guess.

M: Whatever it was. Things like that ,that kind of tipped their hand a little bit. 

D: Yeah.

M: And let people like us now that, you know, they obviously knew what they were doing.

D: Yeah, definitely. And having having seen The Expanse first as I was reading it, if you do get a chance to go read that I highly recommend it. Even though it’s taking place on the Moon, all of the descriptions fit perfectly with what I think of as Ceres.

M: Sure.

D: I mean, it didn’t. I sort of cleaned it up a little bit in my mind because I was thinking also about Luna and The Expanse. So my brain made it a little bit less grimy, a little bit less moist than the Ceres in the show. But reading the story about the Moon, the descriptions are so clear that it was like, I’ve seen this place. I know. I know what I am reading about right now. 

M: And the one sixth gravity, the laws, the importance of like water and air just being so vital and having somebody else have a stranglehold on that basic necessity for life. 

D: Mmhmm.

M: Because that’s really what The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is about, which is the Lunar Authority controlling resources on the moon and their rebellion.

D: Right.

M: Which is the same with the Belt because their air and their water and all these things that are deeply important and like, I don’t know if you want to talk about this later, but now that you’ve read the book when Marcos is talking about embargoes and the famine, that’s going to hit the Belt after he pulls his little stunt.


M: They, he just kind of throws it out and he’s like, ‘Yeah, there will be hard times.’ And it’s like, Did you not think about this at all? Like In The Moon is a Harsh Mistress they detail, clearly, this is how long it will take under these conditions to run out of food, to resort to cannibalism. So  like…

D: It’s sort of the main guiding principle is how many years do we have before this happens—

M: Yes!

D: —and how much more time do we have left to fix this so that it won’t happen? And they’re like only thinking about that, always thinking about that.

M: Food, water and air are things that we have on Earth in abundance at all times. I mean, we could be you could drop us in the Rocky Mountains. We will probably survive. It might not be fun, but we’ll make it because we’re surrounded by food, water and air.

D: Right.

M: In space like, you don’t. You don’t survive without that stuff. You just don’t. You can’t breathe air of it’s not there, so you can’t just step outside. So that wasn’t addressed at all! Like. [Dan laughs] I would have appreciated… I understand it’s a drama, it’s a space drama, but I would have appreciated a little bit more. Maybe dissenting voices like, ‘Hey. Um. We’re going to be hungry.’ 

D: There’s going to be bit more of that in the books, you can. it’s brought up in the book. There’s a lot more kind of pushback and people complaining or people like, ‘Hey, what? This might. Are we sure about this?’ Kind of thing. But yeah, the whole, I feel like the show, even though it still has one more season left, I know where they’re going to be ending in the plot because the books go on. Beyond this, it’s like, Oh man, I do feel like they could have used one more season. Like the Marcos stuff has been a little rushed because it missed out on some of those things.

M: Yeah. 

D: And then where they’re going to have to get to from where they are now, that could be a little tight.

M: Sure.

D: So I’m curious to see how they’re going to swing, like where they’re going to stop. Exactly.

M: Well, I mean it does make sense…

D: There is a big time jump, anybody who’s going to read the books. There’s a huge time jump between one book and the next, and they’re going to stop before that time jump.

M: Well, it does make sense that Marco wouldn’t be thinking about other people’s wellbeing. He’s only thinking about his own success because he’s a bad guy. He’s an obvious bad guy. He’s a swarthy skinned, vaguely Middle Eastern looking bad guy. We know the trope. [Dan laughs] Um, Yeah, thank you.

D: Who’s very charming.

M: He’s very charismatic. But, you know, in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress they actually have good intentions. You know what I mean? Like, they’re, they’re terrorists for a good reason.

D: Right. It does lay it out a little bit more more clearly that there aren’t explicit bad guys here, for the most part. There’s just a couple of people that were like, OK, that guy is a psychopath. But except for him, everybody else is: ‘Hey, what else are we supposed to do?’ You know, it’s it’s more reasonable.

M: Yes. And I think that’s another reason I’m glad you read the moon is a harsh mistress because they talk about how people on the Moon are generally very polite to each other.

D: Right? They have to be.

M: Because you have to be because survival of, the tiniest little thing, you know, he constantly makes references to your new new Loonies dying in pursuit accidents, like or because it was it an accident really? Like ‘There was a malfunction. Who knows what happened?’ Because anybody at any time could just, like…

D: It’s weird how the people who are real jerks just end up dying. It’s so strange.

M: Yeah. So you end up with—

D: these people keep having accidents.

M: —Yeah! You know, as you end up with those society of people that are not only, like, very, very hardy, they’re survivalists. They’re clever. They work hard and they’re, they generally don’t fuck with other people.

D: Right

M: So that’s kind of perfect, right? That’s kind of, like, what you want.

D: Yeah, I mean. I want to come back to that in just a second. So let’s put a pin on being nice. But real quick, it was really cool to see little things like them drinking out of a bulb, without, it doesn’t really mention it—

M: Yeah.

D: but if you look at it like, Oh yeah, because you know, you might spill it. Obviously, if it’s low gravity.

M: Well, everything in the space station is like a bag. Everything’s in the bag. Yeah, right?

D: And they also show little things like, you see just a tiny map of the subway system around Ceres. They have like a a picture of the asteroid itself, and it’s got like a little New York looking color coded—

M: Yeah.

D: —Which is fun. And you got to see the water maintenance area, although it didn’t, it bugged me a little bit that it didn’t mention what was going on because the worker, the maintenance guy, just reaches out and there’s mushrooms growing.


D: {Be]cause they use mushrooms for everything anyway to like, make a lot of the food and a lot of the artificial meat and stuff. And then he just grabs one and just takes a big ol’ bite out of it. But it’s it’s one of those types of mushrooms that would maybe cling to a tree trunk, that sort of—

M: Yeah.

D: —It doesn’t have a stem, and it’s not super clear that that’s what he’s, what it is. And so if you didn’t know it was going on as an audience member, I could see some people being like, ‘What the fuck did he just eat it? [Morgan laughs] He just grabbed something off the wall and just popped in his mouth, this yellow stuff. He just ate it.  What the hell’s going on?’

M: Yeah.

D: I think the first time I watched it, I was I was like, ‘Huh, I’m not sure what that was. Ok.’

M: Yeah, that took me like a second or third pass. Yeah.

D: Right? But—

M: Like, I was just like: ‘EEWW!’ [laughs]


D: But [makes rewind noise] back to the people being nice. That’s one of the biggest criticisms that I have about the show in general and in particular the first couple of episodes is—

M: Everyone is so tense.

D: Everyone’s so tense. Everyone’s such assholes to each other about like little things. And one of the biggest dissonances with the book is that they make such a stink about the possibility, just the idea, that maybe we should respond to a distress call. When it’s—

M: Yeah.

D: —it’s procedure, it’s protocol, it’s like they’re supposed to do it. They work for a corporation that’s supposed to follow these laws. And in the book, it’s made really clear that nobody’s really happy about it. And the captain sort of acts like maybe he’ll just ignore it and then Holden, like, ‘come on Sir, you know, we gotta.’ So they sort of do this good cop, bad cop thing so that the crew is happy with the decision because they’re like, ‘Yeah, but we gotta’ you know and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, all right.’ Because they’ve got to burn for a couple of days, and it’s going to suck and they’re going to damage the ship a little bit because the ice is going to move and all that. But that’s it. That’s the only thing. That’s barely any friction. They don’t delete it.

M: Yeah. 

D: There’s no Holden going back for the message and being the hero. None of that happens at all. They all just decide, Well, yeah, we got to do it, though. Let’s do it.

M: Wow.

D: And they do. And that’s it. It’s, it’s not a big deal. It’s just a grumbly like, ‘Man, this sucks. We’re the only ones out here.’

M: Well, why would you not?

D: You’d have to! You’d have to.

M: The idea that anybody in space would survive long enough to have that self-preservation instinct above the greater good, you know what I mean? Like, if you’ve made it this long, you are absolutely always thinking about what’s best for the ship and everyone in it and every human life because you never know, and you like—

D: And the book also makes it more clear that all these people have, like gone to school or some sort of training to get these jobs. And it’s like, it’s not that easy to do that.

M: So, No. So whoever is out there is just as useful to you as you are to yourself. Basically like that could be someone with a skill set or whatever, like no one is out there just helpless. Like, ‘I don’t know what’s going on!’ Like—

D: Also just, the just the general existential horror of the idea of leaving another human being out in the vast emptiness to just die.

M: Well, we do it on Earth. They do…

D: Yeah, people do it. But it’s not quite as viscerally horrible as…

M: Correct. But, but they allude to it in the experience by referencing how people on, the government on Earth treats the masses. So in on Earth, you have essentially a ruling elite. Let’s call it what it is. And then the vast majority of people are uneducated, unskilled, probably homeless or close to it, barely getting by on government assistance. And they are constantly turning their back on people that they consider to be less worthy—

D: True.

M: —less useful. And then in space, it’s the opposite where everyone in space has worked so hard to get there, that they are very concerned about preserving human life at all costs.

D: Or they’ve been raised by people who did had to do all those things.

M: Right? So that’s the common thread. Any Belter would sacrifice anything to save a Belter there because they’re Belters. Like there’s already so few of them like, you have to, you have to save everyone. And on Earth, they kind of hint this, this difference in the attitude that we have towards each other based on the circumstances, and it does not paint Earth in a good light.

D: No, no.

M: And rightfully so. I think I think maybe it kind of shines a light on that. Maybe the way things, the way we do things here, it’s not, you know, we’re not like Mars. We’re not better than the outer of the Belters. Like just because we were the first?

D: I think maybe they were trying to make Earth seem a bit more like a bad guy so you could see things from the Belters perspective, a little bit more readily.

M: Yeah, easy—

D: Maybe that was what they were going for.

M: That’s not a hard sell for me.

D: [laughs] The other problem with it, though, is that it changes the plot kind of a lot at the beginning because it changes the motivation for some of the other things that happen. Like the fact that they all freak out about finding a transmitter on the ship in the context of the show, it doesn’t make a lot of sense because Holden should have been like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m the one that called in the distress call. And I did that because I heard a voice.’ Which again, is not a thing that happened in in the book, right? So if that had happened, you would have then said that, and been like, this must be the transmitter, maybe they’re still here or whatever. Like you’d say something instead of just going, ‘Oh my God, it’s the pirates’ thing. Whereas in the book, they realized that the transmitter was like a trip wire, like it started transmitting when they showed up.

M: Well, that might have been—

D: Because the distress call was coming from the ship. So…

M: Right. I think that it might be…

D: It muddled, muddled things a little bit.

M: Yeah, but it could also be an artistic choice because it’s not just a voice, it’s Julie Mao’s voice that he hears.

D: Yeah…

M: And then Miller also hears Julie Mao’s voice before anybody knows what’s happening. So it might have just been an artistic choice to kind of drive home that, like Julie Mao is speaking from beyond the grave.

D: Mmhmm.

M: And it’s not just through the photo molecule, it’s more like esoteric, like she’s the thing that set things in motion. And…

D: Yeah. The other thing about Julie that bothers me, and again, like, you’re right, most of these things that that I’m going to pick at are like, obviously, obviously they thought about this, but it’s just one of those. ‘Oh, man, I wish they hadn’t, you know,’ I wish they’d figured out how, like Julie, in the beginning, you just sort of like, ‘Oh, there’s this woman who’s trapped somewhere and blah blah blah.’ It’s made super clear in the book that she’s been there for like a week.

M: Oh shit.

D: She’s dying, she’s like starving. She’s, she’s dehydrated. She—

M: You’d be so dehydrated.

D: —smells like piss. She—

M: Yeah.

D: She’s had a horrible time and she’s finally just been like, I have no choice but to just smash and smash and smash until I can get out of here, because I’m going to die anyway. And she’s like, disgusting and like, grimy—

M: Yeah. You would be. 

D: —and they almost present her as sexy in the show. Like that she does her like the little opening her eyes bit where it’s like, ‘Oh, look at her sexy face,’ because later on you see your dating profile and it’s the same face that she was making when she was supposed to be like dying of dehydration. [Morgan laughs] It’s it’s a bit of a weird choice, and I wish they had shown her being like a wreck. 

M: Sure.

D: Because it would have also been a lot more visceral and like, ‘Oh my god, space is dangerous.’

M: Well, that’s how you do it. Like—

D: You realize she’s in a situation that involves very bad thing. Not beyond the ‘Oh, what’s this scary space stuff?’ 

M: Well, that was—

D: She’s in a bad way.

M: —for sure a missed opportunity to throw in another little homage to Aliens, when they find Newt, and she’s been holed up for however long, weeks at that point, hiding from the monsters. And she’s totally filthy and her hair is a wreck. 

D: Mmhmm.

M: And then she cleans up. And ‘Oh look, she’s a nice little girl.’ Yeah, so that was, that was for sure a missed opportunity. I didn’t even think about that. But they could have shown her like just like hair all fucked up and matted.

D: Yeah.

M: No, it’s flowing beautifully. It’s like a futuristic Garnier commercial, just like silky, shiny locks, perfect skin and wardrobe. Yeah.

D: [laughs] I mean, just in general, the main problems that I have with the beginning are that everyone’s meaner and more secretive. You know?

M: Yeah.

D: That’s a lot of the problem with Holden in the books, is it’s like explicit all the time that everybody’s really annoyed with him because he’s constantly telling everyone everything. 

M: Yes.

D: And it screws things up all the time for a lot of people, even though he’s doing it for righteous reasons. That’s his whole thing is like he’s constantly just sharing everything. So the—

M: Well this is one thing—

D: —the secrecy in the beginning is, is it’s strange to me.

M: This is one thing that really annoyed me about the show is that everyone’s always right all the time, like all the good guys are always right, and they’re constantly convincing people to go against protocol or to disobey direct orders or to, you know, do these crazy things they shouldn’t do. But ‘Dammit, we believe in you, Jim.’ And then it’s everything’s great and it works out. [both laugh] That’s, that bothers me because there’s no, nobody makes a bad decision. Like The good guys are always good. They’re infallible. There’s no reason they’re, they’re all bickering in the beginning because James Holden immediately starts giving out orders and they’re like, Hang on a second, why should we listen to you?

D: Right. And that—Go ahead. I’ll, I have a thing to say now.

M: Yeah?

D: Go ahead.

M: Yeah. And then they have one little journey and everything, by the way, goes badly. Like James Holden doesn’t even prove himself to be a capable leader, but they just go through this thing and they’re like, Yeah, you can be our leader. Like, we’re just going to fall into our roles. Everyone, just like, nicely sorts themselves. 

D: Right.

M: Like change in a…

D: And that’s another disservice that they do, because that also does not happen in the book. The, here’s the thing what one of the biggest there’s like two or three really big changes in the beginning here that don’t change the overall arc of everything, but it changes the way the characters feel at first. And one of those is that there is no older XO character. Where he goes kind of nuts and shoots out a display and all of that. And Holden is thinking about being the new XO, and he’s not sure because he’s kind of irresponsible and all these things. None of that happens because Holden is the XO.

M: Oh.

D: From the start. That character doesn’t exist. Holden just is the XO in the beginning. He’s already a leader. He’s already doing a great job. He’s just kind of a loser because he’s stuck on this tub and and doesn’t have a problem with it and Ade kind of points that out.

M: Oh. So they…

D: She’s like, almost mean about it where he’s like, Yeah, but everybody here is this, like this? And she’s like, Yeah, and you’re comfortable here because you’re like that. You’re like, kind of a loser like they are, and I’m going to move on.

M: Wow so they, they have to show him punching up. They have to show him like not believing in himself and taking on the battle—

D: Right.

M: —that’s bigger than he thinks worth. So he can win it. That is, Ugh! It makes me mad.

D: He’s much more arrogant in the beginning as well, because he goes on this sort of, throughout the books, he sort of learns more about himself and realizes that he’s been kind of a womanizer and and like doesn’t really respect people. And then, like Naomi, being with Naomi helps him realize that and that sort of thing, like he uses people a little bit and doesn’t realize he’s doing it.

M: I like that so much better.

D: And yeah, but he is XO, they have no problem with listening to him. They do what he says. They, the only reason they don’t follow the ship is because Naomi is like, Come on, you know, ‘We can’t do this like, we can’t follow them.’ And he, like, gets up like, he’s going to be angry with her and he’s like, ‘You’re right,’ that’s it. That’s the whole thing.[Morgan laughs]  And and the ship doesn’t actually get damaged either, because they, I mean, the Canterbury gets vaporized and it’s they’re not close. They’re like an hour away at hard burn, still.

M: Yeah.

D: So that doesn’t happen. The ship doesn’t get damaged. They don’t have to go outside. And the entire reason why they have to go over to the Donnager, why they get to the Donnager is much more tied up in the idea of being controlled by someone else because—

M: Hmmm.

D: —and they all accept it because they’re listening to their commanding officer, who they now start calling captain because there’s no more captain and they do that spontaneously and he contacts the company because they’re all still employees. 

M: Right.

D: Right. The whole like, ‘You think rank matters now?’ From Amos, which is an on-brand thing for Amos to say, is like, ‘Yeah, it kind of does, because if we ever want to work again…’

M: Yeah. 

D: Guys, hello. So it’s kind of— 

M: Maybe not when you’re, like, running around with alarms blaring like, Oh,!

D: Sure, sure.

M: Maybe that’s a time when rank doesn’t matter, but like, like when you have a minute?

D: Yeah, in general, yeah, it does. Guy who’s like a repairman on the ship? [snickers]

M: Yeah, oh, do go on repairman.

D: Maybe text the company.

M: Tell us what you think.

D: So he gets a hold of Pure’N’Clean. And he also did the, the broadcast is they found a serial number on the thing and they realized, ‘Oh my God, maybe it’s Mars technology.’

M: Yeah.

D: And they don’t have a problem with him doing that broadcast. They’re fine with it. They’re not fighting him. But the company is like, ‘Oh, we’re going to have to get back to you in a minute. We really wish you hadn’t done that broadcast [Morgan gasps], you know, uhhh, like that puts us in a tight spot because you basically accused Mars… even though you didn’t technically accuse Mars, everyone’s going to assume you’re accusing Mars. And legally, that puts us in a weird place,’ and they take forever to get back to him. So they’re out there like just floating.

M: Yeah.

D: Half a G, just waiting. And they’re all like, ‘Hey, what are we waiting on, man?’ He’s like, ‘I got to wait for the company.’ I mean—

M: Wow.

D: —‘When I hear from them, we’ll decide what to do then.’ And then they get back to them they’re like, ‘Well, the Donnager is going to get you. So we want you to go that direction,’ and that’s sort of a compromise where they might not be in as much legal hot water if they let Mars pick them up and interrogate them and find out what happened, because Mars is very annoyed at the implication—

M: Wow.

D: —that they might have done something. Even though Holden transmitted all of the data that they had, everything they had, so that everyone could see he wasn’t lying and he wasn’t accusing them. He just said, ‘We found this thing with a serial number that says so’ and it’s a legal problem.

M: Yeah.

D: So they are obliged by the company to go and get picked up.

M: So this is like when one Starbucks employee uses the N-word and then, like all of Starbucks, gets taken down on Twitter and they have to scramble. [Dan laughs] This is basically what’s happening, right? 

D; Kind of. 

M: And they have to like fire that person and donate to charity and like…

D: Because they’re like, you could have, we could have just like, come and got you or sent something or you could have come in. And it’s like, now Mars is really annoyed at you.

M: Yeah.

D: And they’re like, going to sue us or something. [Morgan laughs] So we’re going to just go ahead and throw you under the bus and hope for the best.

M: Yeah. I don’t know. I, I hearing now the difference between the show and the book, like, I guess it kind of makes sense why it rubbed me the wrong way because I don’t like a hero’s journey. I don’t. I like a redemption arc. That’s always good.

D: Holden is a little bit more of a redemption arc in the book.

M: Yeah, yeah, I like that better. I like the idea of him starting off as a loser and then having to actually go through personal growth rather than starting off as this like reluctant hero who’s like, super hot and buff.

D: Right.

M: And he’s kind of a mama’s boy and he’s like, puppy dog love for this woman who doesn’t feel the same because deep down in his heart, like he just wants a big family like he has back on Earth because [Dan laughs] he’s, you know, he’s a farm boy! And like, I hated that aspect of the character and that he just has to like, reluctantly assume a leadership position and, and then doesn’t even really prove that he’s worthy of it, because everything he’s just like so sincere in his convictions, which makes him no different than Marcos! Because they’re equally as sincere—

D: Yeah.

M: —in what they believe. Yet neither has proof, evidence, a plan, like any reason to follow them explicitly, except that one guy is obvious good guy and one guy has obvious bad guy, 

D: Right.

M: That’s it. They’re the same fucking person.

D: [laughs] It does make it a little easier later on to see the the conflict within Naomi about, like being freaked out about the way Holden’s being.

M: Yes!

D: But in general, it’s like, Yeah, that’s and it brings up—I wrote down in my notes, I just wrote the problem with Ade. [laughs]

M: Yeah.

D: And part of the problem is that, the biggest problem, which is like, I I don’t know how else to broach it, but the book implies that she would be a bBack character. Yeah, her name is ‘Ade,’ I think it’s ‘Tukunbo.’ And she’s not really described in the book, per se. But that is a very African sounding name. And they changed the name of the character when they cast this blond white girl, who did a fine job and everything. But they changed the name of the character to Nygaard, which is something that sounds a little bit more Nordic. 

M: Oh for sure! 

D: Which doesn’t work at all. Because it’s like a lot of the stuff going on in this world is that people are mixed race, it’s, it’s…

M: Yeah.

D: That’s a weirder thing to even think about at that point. And it’s like—

M: Well, if I’m honest…

D: —why not just hire a black actress or why not just leave the name the same. Why even change it? Except that you’re aware that it sounds like a name that should go along with a darker complexion?

M: Yeah. 

D: And you know, it sounds like that and you didn’t cast someone like that, so you changed the name.

M: Because they’re self-conscious.

D: It’s a bit weird.

M: Yeah.

D: A bit weird.

M: Well, you know, and some of the issues you had with—

D: And she’s, sorry, the actual point I was going to get to, was that she is in the book portrayed much more clearly as a very strong person who is, they are having sex, but she’s just having fun and she’s like, ‘Look, I’m not your girlfriend.’

M: Yeah she sound like—

D: Explicitly so.

M: —my kind of girl. [laughs]

D: And is like, ‘You know, I understand what you’re trying to do and everything we can hang out. I’ll make you dinner tomorrow. How about that? But, but like, I don’t feel like hanging out with you tonight, so I don’t want to.’ 

M: Yeah.

D: And they don’t. There’s no sex scene, but they are. It’s explicit they’re sleeping together and the line: ‘You’re entirely too good at that’ is in the book. But it happens when he goes to give her a kiss goodbye because he’s going to a different spot in the ship, and she’s polite about it at first and then eases into it and enjoys the kiss. And then she says, ‘You’re entirely too good at that.’ Which to me is like, very clear of his, the way he treats the women that he’s been involved with, which is, ‘I know I’m charming. I know you’re not exactly on the same plane as me in terms of our relationship, but I’m going to do this thing and then we’re going to be happy’—

M: Yeah.

D: —‘because I kissed you and made you feel good. And that makes you do what I want.’

M: Because he keeps getting away with it.

D: Right, right. And it makes it much more like that instead of just like, ‘Oh, they’re having sex and she’s having a passionate moment and says, you’re entirely good at that.’ And that’s like more of a pillowtalk type of thing, whereas she was making a comment on his sort of manipulative side.

M: Yeah, I like that so much better. 

D: Yeah.

M: So much better, and like this, you know, something you said earlier, and I didn’t, obviously, it’s the first episode. It’s technically the pilot. They have to make a lot of concessions for—

D: Yeah, you gotta be gentle on a pilot.

M: —the new watcher. Yes. [Dan laughs] And in order to get a lot of people on board, and it’s really unfortunate that they have to do that, but sacrificing a white woman, I’m sorry. It’s a good way to get it, to get Western viewers on board with the show.

D: They might also feel like, ‘Oh, if we just kill off the first black character…’

M: Yeah, it’s going to ring some alarm bells.

D: That might have been part of it too. 

M: Yeah.

D: Yeah, I could see that. Sure.

M: So there were there were things like that and, you know, James Holden running into save the day. Like they have to kind of give you this reason to sympathize and to put yourself in James Holden, specifically his shoes. Yeah. So killing a white woman makes sense. 

D: Yeah.

M: You know.

D: And her death, actually, the way it’s presented, I think, is also worse. And it’s too different as they’re sitting there looking at each other on the screen, which in the book they’re not, but OK…

M: And she pops her titty out? [Dan laughs] Yeah, and she’s like, ‘Say goodbye to this’ or… That’s what I’d do. [laughs]

D: You should do some animated outtakes. So it’s I mean, it’s TV shows, so fine, she’s on the screen, they’re looking at each other, that’s fine, whatever. But in the book, it’s all audio like he’s on different channels talking to different people. And the captain, I mean, there’s a lot of we just don’t have time to talk about all the differences. But but structurally, that’s all the same. But this one? I think was a problem because the the way she dies is they’re doing this countdown. They know when the when the missiles are going to hit, but they don’t expect that the missiles are, you know, nukes. They think they’re just going to get disabled, they’re going to get robbed. And they calculated they know exactly when they’re going to hit. And they know they’re going to get hit and it takes a long time. It’s like minutes and minutes and minutes.

M: Oh God.

D: It’s more tense. Yeah.

M: It’s like getting stabbed slowly, like… [laughs]

D: Yeah. And he’s still like he in a way is invasive into her life right at the end because he’s like, ‘Hey, you know, I just want to hear your voice, just do your job, but just stay on the channel with me.’ And she, like, doesn’t talk to him, really—

M: Yeah!

D: —because she’s doing her job. She’s trying to keep them alive.

M: And he’s like me, me, me.

D: Right, right.

M: I’m the center of this. [laughs]

D: He’s listening to her breathe. He’s, so it’s very intimate because she’s he’s hearing her, you know, [huffs] in in the headset. And then right at the end, when the countdown goes, he hears her gasp and then then it goes into feedback and cuts off, and she doesn’t say ‘There’s something I have to tell you’ or whatever the exact line is.

M: Yeah.

D: And I really wish she hadn’t said that because number one, it’s already made pretty clear that she’s probably going to break up with him at some point. Like, she’s like, ‘I’m going to disappear.’ So that probably isn’t the message, although maybe that was what they’re implying. To me it almost makes it so much worse because you think, ‘Are you pregnant? Are you? Is there some kind of weird other thing you have to confess what’s going on?’ And the idea of having this mystery forever is very like, ‘Oh, I’ve been inspired now, and this is my Dulcinea.’ And it’s…

M: Sure. Yeah, I mean, I think at first it kind of set up, I thought like, ‘Oh, maybe does she know something about this transmission?’ Like, Is that what’s she was going to say?

D: Yeah, that too.

M: So I was like, Oh, okay, maybe. But it did, it’s like, you know how I was saying, like, sometimes you can feel the shift when they change the story for the television.

D: Yeah

M: And it’s a little plot change that’ll kind of feel out of place. That was that was one, one very small point where it was like, mmm, this feels a little like shoehorned.

D: Yeah. I kind of wish it had just been like: [gasp]. You know, and then, that was it.

M: Yeah, but hey! Pilot episode.

D: Because she could have done that. Yeah, true.

M: They have to do this. They have to give us something to like. ‘Oh my God. Was she going to have his baby?’ [Dan laughs]

D: And they use it for the beginning of the next episode with the whole matchstick discussion with the coffee, which I also don’t think happens.

M: Which is pathet—that oh, with the match heads in the coffee?

D: Yeah, yeah.

M: This is, that was really cute because there is also in the Navy… It’s, I don’t know if you would call it a friendly rivalry, but every branch has its own like mythos about the other branches. 

D: Mm hmm.

M: And according to the Army, Navy captains put salt in their coffee. 

D: Right.

M: And like Army captains, only drink their coffee cold.

D: Ugh.

M: Like it’s, so yeah, they all have these like weird things about each other, I guess. And like the ritual of making coffee is different in each military branch.

D: Hmm.

M: So I thought that was really cute, that they throw in that James Holden loves coffee, and—

D: Yeah, I do like that.

M: —like learns this trick with the…

D: And actually one of the one of the first coffee moments is when they’re, after the Canterbury is blown up, and they’re they’re just kind of waiting for the response from the company. They’re just doing a big arc of some sort, like a big circle, and they’re going at about Half-G—

M: Yeah.

D: —and it’s enough where he can comfortably drink coffee. And so, but it’s like you can imagine it sort of sloshing. But—

M: Yeah.

D: —like he’s just sitting there enjoying because he doesn’t have to use it out of out of a bag at that point. So he’s [pantomimes a sip, forgetting THIS IS A PODCAST, because he’s in a video call with Morgan] imagine like..

M: Well, you see me. 

D: Right.

M: See me drinking out of this mug that’s as big as my head, so yeah, [Dan laughs] I would also like really appreciate any moment you could sit down with a mug of coffee, you know, and just like, do this thing where you put it to your mouth and you’re like, ‘Mmmmm’ you know. Hold it two hands… and ‘Ahhhh.’

D: Yeah, it just wouldn’t be the same if you were just sipping it out of a bulb.

M: [laughs] Out of a bag. Like, literally with the little nipple, a little rubber nipple in a bag, just [suckling noises] You know, with your coffee, it’s not exactly the same experience, but yeah, I appreciated the ritual of the coffee drinking and the red phosphorus in the coffee or whatever. Even if it doesn’t make sense it. Yeah.


D: Another pretty big change, actually from the books is this is just kind of a timing thing. Avasarala, if I’m not mistaken, I don’t think she even shows up until the second book. [He is mistaken.] Which is…

M: Which I wish the show had opened on her. So I don’t mind showing up early because like, I can’t get enough.

D: Oh absolutely.

M: I want, I want her to be involved in everything like. So I don’t mind that at all—

D: No.

M: —I would have rushed her right to the first episode. If it were me.

D: It is one thing that that does change. If you read the books, you might be sitting like, Where’s Avasarala? It’s like she’s not even there for a lot of it at the beginning.

M: Yeah.

D: But I think the timing is still pretty accurate like that. So it made total sense that she would get inserted at that point. 

M: She’s the best.

There are a couple more characters that are just aren’t in the books at all, and one of them, I don’t understand why they added it, but we’ve got Octavia, who they don’t say her name a lot. But that’s the other detective, not his partner, Havelock, but the woman who he spends a lot of time talking to. And there’s sort of implied that they have a history or something like maybe at some point. Yeah, but she doesn’t exist in the book. 

M: Hmm.

Dan interjects: Sorry to interrupt listeners, but that’s not true. Octavia is in the books, and after we recorded this episode, I was rereading the first book. And to my horror realized that she was in fact part of the story. But in my defense, she is mostly referred to by her last name in the book. So Octavia just didn’t stick out in my mind. And also, they changed the character in her roles so completely that. It’s like a different person, so rather than rerecord this or just cut it out. I have left it in because the rest of our conversation about her still pretty much lands. So again, she is in the book, but she’s very, very, very different. All right, let’s get back to it.

D: He does think a lot about his ex-wife, who has a different name.

M: That’s  so weird, why do they think they keep bringing women into the story as like a plot device to drive the personal narrative of these men?

D: And they’re changing them in ways that are weird because they could have had they could have had a, OK. His ex-wife shows up several times in the book while he’s thinking about her and imagining that he could see her sitting in the corner scowling at him. Much in the way that he imagines seeing Julie later. 

M: Right.

D: So it’s a nice parallel from the beginning, to when he starts to see Julie all the time. So they left that out, which they could have done that. But it might have been a little awkward for television.

M: That’s a little cloudy.

D: I could see that. But Octavia doesn’t fill that role either, really. Maybe she’s just there for him to have someone to talk to that.

M: I’m telling you it’s the first couple of episodes, like I said, know they have to hook the audience. It felt like pandering. It does. It feels like we’re going to insert these two female characters and give them a stereotypical role to play so that it drives the narrative of these men that we want you to invest in. And we have to show them having some kind of sensitive side—

D: Right.

M: —or some kind of like longing and yearning, but we don’t want to hang on to these female characters and develop them. We just want to use them for a moment and then shove off. So…

D: And they like this guy. Even though this guy’s a loser, like Miller is portrayed as a loser. He is.—

M: I don’t care, I love him.

D: —not a pleasant person. No, I, absolutely.

M: I love Miller.

D: But it’s like, Miller has fucked up his life. He’s not happy…

M: But he wears it on the outside.

D: Yeah.

M: You know what I mean?

D: It’s like he’s not particularly likable if you knew him. You know, like, you would get tired of him. And but this woman is like, ‘Oh, I like him and I would want to go with you.’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, you can’t go with me,’ you know?

M: Yeah. 

D: ’Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow…’

M: ‘I have to lose a woman at some point in the first episode.’ Even, you know, like we all do, we all have to lose a woman in the first episode. 

D: Also…

M: But if you think about it, it’s it’s like wives die. Girlfriends die like it’s always. That’s the first thing that happens to these male characters.

D: And he he doesn’t throw the guy in the airlock. That whole subplot is is sort of, I think at some point they describe it being a thing that might have happened elsewhere, sort of like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

M: Yeah. 

D: When they’re talking about them taking care of their own business. But…

M: Well it’s a nice piece of world building.

D: Yeah, I liked that they managed to kind of intersect them and make it seem like Miller is—

M: —fairly ruthless.Yeah.

D: Yeah. And also, it lets you see the airlock, which is kind of cool because it’s very clearly described in the books as well as being Ceres is like you’re upside down inside of this thing.

M:  Yeah.

D: You’re not walking around on the surface of it and then you go downstairs and you’re still in the same position. No, it’s the floor at the outside where the airlock is, is, is the outside.

M: Yeah.

D: So you’re actually, your head is facing the center of the asteroid and it’s spinning. Yeah. So the airlock being there and him throwing him down into the airlock is is exactly what it would be based on what the book is. And that’s so much more terrifying to be like standing on a door that’s going to open.

M: Yeah.

D: Like, Oh my god.

M: It’s going to suck you out.

D: Even if I, even if it wasn’t an airlock, if it was just a door, and on Earth, there’s like, what if it’s just open and I fall to my death, you know, like, no matter what you’re like, ‘Oh my god, oh my God, I’m trapped, I’m trapped.’

M: Yeah. Like, every airlock is a trap door, you know? 

D: Yeah. I like that they showed that—

M: That’s creepy.

D: —because it is. That is how it is in the book where where the asteroid is, not what you think.

M: And also, you know, he’s investigating a few different things and he catches Diogo stealing water, and he make it really clear—

D:  Diogo is not in the book.

M: I figured.

M: I assumed, I assumed as much, but.

D: I like the, I like him the most of the made-up characters. I think that…

M: I hate himm so much.

D: Oh, I don’t like him, but I like the character

M: Sure.

D: The character works.

M: He’s sort of driving the plot. Yeah.

D: Yeah, it, it. It gives you a link to this from Ceres to to the Belt that Miller can grab on to.

M: And there was some… It also shows how you radicalized terrorists.

D: Yeah.

M: You know where people don’t become terrorists because they want to just, you know, see the world burn. They do it because they feel like they’ve been personally wronged or robbed of some kind of freedom and they want to get revenge, or they want to make sure it doesn’t happen to anybody else and they resort to terrorists.

D: And then if they get a little bit of power, like do Diogo does in the end, especially—

M: Right.

D: —with the powered suit—

M: Yes.

D: —they turn into monsters all of a sudden.

M: Yeah, because they get their chance to basically beat up their bully. You know, it doesn’t even matter if it’s the same guy in front of you. They’re going to. They’re going to blast through everything that’s in their way because they finally have the chance to do it. So I like that it was really good if the character kind of had to exist because it explains a lot without really saying it out loud.

D: Yeah, any, any… He sort of serves as a, a combinatorial character for some other characters.

M: And also, like there’s such sweetness between him and Miller, and just to show how a character a person can turn.

D: Right.

M: You know, one way or the other, like he starts off as kind of a soft and sweet boy who’s like learning the family trade, you know, I mean, maybe getting into a little mischief. But um…

D: Yeah, you meet him, like doing some slightly gangster stuff, with trying to steal some water, but it’s like, Oh— 

M: But you know, Miller even—

D: —he’s doing that on the side…

M: Yes. And Miller even says when it—

D: He’s trying to survive.

M: —happens. He’s like ‘You pinch a little bit, it’s fine, like we we all pretend it’s not happening, you can’t steal enough that they notice dummy,’ which they also allude to in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress where they’re like, you know, we buy what we whatever we can’t get away with stealing we’ll pay for, but we’re going to steal as much as we can.

D: Right.

M: Yeah. Which is as basically a way of life. It’s, it’s kind of an honorable thievery like the way everybody gambles for everything on the Moon. You know, like you go into the store to buy a pack of gum and the guy behind the counter is like, ‘You want to roll for it? Double or nothing.’ Pack of gum is a dollar, but you roll for it. You could either you’re either going to pay $2, you’re going to pay $0. So everybody gambles on it in the same way that everybody steals what they can get away with. In the same way that there’s no court system, you assemble a judge and jury out of whoever happens to be around you. It’s a way of like trusting and not trusting. It’s like you trust everybody to be just as devious as you are. And it felt like that on Ceres—

D: Right.

M: —like when he’s talking about them stealing the water and like, you can’t fuck with the water, you can’t fuck with the air. Like, ‘What are you crazy?’

D: Right? It sounds like chaos, but it really isn’t.

M: No, it’s very well organized.

D: It becomes chaos later.

M: Yeah. But but like, everyone’s a little bit of a hooligan because it’s kind of like an outlaw society anyway. So there’s that careful respect that everyone has for each other. It’s like, ‘Oh, you’re just as much of a dirt bag as me, so we can coexist peacefully and stay out of each other’s business. Just don’t steal the fucking water.’

D: And the people  that are—

M: Or enough that people will notice.

D: Right? The people that are quote unquote ‘in charge’ are so far removed from it all, as you see—

M: Yeah.

D: —see, like the governor’s area and all that, and it’s like this person’s not. They’re not connected to this at all.

M: That’s the same with the Warden.

D: Like the warden. 

M: Yeah, yeah. In The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but just dreaming of Earth and not really thinking about, you know, there’s no experience of what life is actually like in the colony.

D: So when Miller goes to look for like pleasure craft, his eye goes anywhere, people rich people keep their pleasure, craft or any of that stuff. And the guys like: ‘On Ceres? not that I know of,’ you know, whatever the exact words are. I thought that’s that feels like that wouldn’t be that because they’re supposed to be like 6 million people on Ceres, right? There are going to be a handful of very rich people who are there for one reason or another.

M: Yeah, usually something…

D: Probably have a nicer ship than other people and are going to want it to be in a safer part of the dock. That is totally going to exist. Like, I mean, look at Miami.

M: Uh, Look at Thailand.

D: [laughs] Yeah.

M: I mean, anywhere, always.

M: it’s like, you’re going to tell me Ceres isn’t space Thailand. Yeah. You’re going to if you’re if you have enough money, you can go get whatever you want on Ceres. I’m sure.

D: And I’m sure it also gets a little boring, though, even though there’s nothing near Ceres per se. You still might want to go out and just like tool around now and then, or just like go out and feel gravity once in a while and maybe have a dinner party out on your yacht or something, you know?

M: Yeah, exactly.

D: And dignitaries.

M: Good point. 

D: And then the very last thing that happens in those two episodes is, which I’m going to have to edit this, because we’ve been talking for like an hour is the Mars Marines pointing guns at our heroes with laser sights and everything and beyond the fact that they’re supposed to be there, so they’re not really like they are pointing guns at them in the book, but they’re not like, Move when you die. It’s like, Yeah, we know. I mean, we’re here.

M: You know, duh.

D: But they don’t describe laser sights or anything. And normally you’d think laser sights, that’s so stupid. But I can think of maybe space is the one place where you would want that, that it would actually be good to have a laser sight on everything because like, let’s say you’re actually using a slug weapon and you’re going to shoot across a piece of vacuum, it doesn’t have a gravitational arc. 

M: Yeah

D: You might really want to see. Very far away. Exactly where this is going.

M: If you’ve ever shot any kind of rifle, you learn that pretty quickly. But the slightest miscalculation, you know. If—

D: Yeah, laser sights a garbage like, that’s not a thing people use.

M: Yeah, Most, most people hold a gun like they get it up to maybe like chest high and then they want to shoot it or like they’re holding hold the rifle and they’ll hold it like the length of their arm. You want to pull it all the way up to your eye.

D: Right.

M: You want to bring the sight all the way up to your eye and then have the barrel go straight because that’s the direction of bullets going to go. So like the vast majority of people that are not really proficient in using firearms are going to like, they’re going to shoot pretty wild. [Dan laughs] And if you’re on a spaceship, that’s not a great idea. And they even like hinted that later with lower powered guns, right?

D: Right, they have the gel rounds and everything.

M: That aren’t strong.

D: Yeah, 

M: That aren’t strong enough to pierce a hull, but they can hurt a person.

D: Right.

M: Which makes perfect sense. I don’t know if the Marines really need laser sights because they’re basically badass war machines. But yeah, thank God for the laser sights on the guns [Dan laughs] because that would be pretty scary to imagine. Just people just like shooting wildly all over.

D: Like the XO in the beginning, the the the XO character that doesn’t exist and he’s just got a he’s got a revolver! Who let Him have that gun anywhere! Like.

M: Yeah. There should be—

D: What kind of maniac?

M: It should be the most illegal thing in space, is a projectile weapon with not that force behind it?

D: Like if that, Holden should have tackled him immediately.

M: Yeah.

D: That should just be protocol. You see a gun that’s just a, just some gun, somebody just flinging about…

M: Like, you’re at space—

D: No, no, no, no, no.

M: You’re at space customs and they’re like, OK, you’ve got your bomb and we see, oh, a handgun! Absolutely not, Sir, get out of here. [laughs] But you can have all these fireworks and, you know, drugs and, but the handguns got to go. That’s the most dangerous thing.

D: Oh my God. All right. We’re going to have to close this out, I think. But if, so, we talked a lot about The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. If anybody wants to read that, I highly recommend it. I got it, recommended it from Morgan, went and read it all in one sitting. It is so connected into the kind of thought processes and world building a universe of The Expanse that if you’re an Expanse fan, you need to go read that book. For sure.

M: And so good on its own, too. 

D: Yeah. 

M: And I don’t wanna do. I don’t want to do the writers of The Expanse a disservice by saying it’s like a direct knock off or—

D: No. But it’s, it’s just clearly the same line of thinking.

M: Yeah, it’s one of those things where when you get something so right, you can’t really change it much. And Heinlein got, in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Starship Troopers, he got it so right that there’s, there’s not very many things you can add to it.

D: Mmmm.

M: So what The Expanse does bring to that kind of idea of revolution, independence, colonizing space, things like that, it’s it’s really interesting to see how what 50, 50 years apart? D: Yeah. 

M: And you can’t really get much better than the way that Heinlein wrote it.

D: Yeah, it’s it’s pretty impressive. I mean, we’ll talk about it. I think next episode, we’re going to talk more about general stuff and space marines. 

M: Yay!

D: So this is The Expansing that you’re listening to. I’m Dan Winburn. I have a Twitter, I think, but you don’t have to go listen to it or anything like that. We have a website, actually,

M: Ooh.

D: —where you can catch all our episodes. And last I heard, we actually have a Twitter @theexpansing.

M: Oh my.

D: You can go look at those things, there too. They, they’re there. They exist. You can find them. Morgan, do you have things people can find?

M: I mean, I do non Expanse related artwork on Instagram. You can find me @LuxNovaStudio, also on Facebook, if you still do that, if it still exists when this come out comes out. Because what this week we had the—

D: Yesterday was the day of the great crash, [Morgan laughs] great Facebook crash of ’21.

M: I slept through it. I wasn’t even aware. So yeah, so you can try and make artwork. But yeah, not a lot of science fiction related stuff on there, maybe I should.

D: Go buy artwork from Morgan.

M: Yeah so I don’t have to steal water. [laughs]

D: OK, bye 

M: Byeee.

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