THE EXPANSE – Season 1 Episodes 2-4 – SPOILERS
The main characters of this story, Jim Holden (Steven Strait) and Detective Miller (Thomas Jane), have yet to meet. Miller is on Ceres Station acting all Phillip Marlowe and looking for Julie Mao (Florence Faivre), the rebellious daughter of a wealthy Lunar family. Holden has been captured by Martians after publicly accusing them of destroying his ship (they didn’t). Holden was not on the ship when it was destroyed because he was on a mission to rescue the Scopuli, a freighter on which (Miller finds out) Julie had booked passage. So they will probably run into one another soon. once the audience has been sufficiently educated in the ways of 23rd century human civilization.
The vision of the future presented by THE EXPANSE may be a bit depressing, but the show does present a scientifically accurate view of what it would be like to live and work in space. It is not boring and does not, as a rule, insult the viewer’s intelligence. A previous post questioned how an approximation of earth-normal gravity was maintained on Ceres Station. It is now clear that the station creates the effect of gravity by rotation. (Miller pours booze into a glass from a distance at one point in the episode and the liquid descends in an arc.) Most of the time, the pouring of liquids is done with the two containers in contact.
Some interesting characters turned up in these three episodes. One wonders if Julie Mao is supposed to represent the 23rd century’s version of a Maoist. We shall see. Jean Yoon was very effective as captain of the Martain flagship Donnager, but alas, she is no more, having gone down (up?) with her ship. Greg Bryk of BITTEN entered the cast as Lopez and he was the only crew member of the Donnager to survive.
The science in THE EXPANSE is handled pretty well, but some things are bothersome. The magnetic boots, for instance, have what appears to be an LED display on the heel. Whatever this is supposed to indicate, why put it there, where the wearer cannot very easily see it?
One of the bits of tech we’ve been shown (in episode two) is a portable voice synthesizer that can mimic anyone’s voice print. (Miller uses it to get into Julie Mao’s computer files.) That is probably the reason that the Donnager‘s self-destruct sequence was not activated by the voices of Captain Yao and her First Officer, but instead by plugging physical keys into a console and activating them with thumbprints (not a very secure procedure. One of the command officers might lose the key, or have it stolen, and thumbprints are easy to fake even in the 21st century). No system is perfect, but STAR TREK’s system of three separate voice prints coupled with three distinct passwords seems superior to keys and thumbprints.
BOUILLOTTE DEALER: “They’re trying to thirst us out. Mars and Earth.
The water shipment’s not late. They’re holding it back.”
DETECTIVE MILLER: “You seem pretty sure about that.”
BOUILLOTTE DEALER: “Water means life. One shipment late, you got protests.
Two shipments late, you got dead people in the street. And it’s gonna get worse. Mark my words.”
Here’s what is hard to understand about the street hustler’s theory. Ceres Station is (or should be) a closed system. All the water must be continuously recycled. For a fixed population, a fixed amount of water in the system should be necessary. Once that amount of water is delivered to the station, only minimal augmentation should be required to compensate for loss due to system inefficiency, or to an increase in the station’s population. What are they doing with the water that makes them need continual shipments? They could be electrolyzing the stuff to make oxygen, but the cultivation of plant life is a much more efficient way to replenish the oxygen supply. Even if someone did steal some water, as long as they used it on the station, it would be recycled back into the system.
OBSERVATION:Craig Henry‘s character is credited as a bouillotte dealer. Clearly, that 18th century precursor to poker is supposed to be a futuristic substitute for Three-card Monte, but how the rules of bouillotte can be adapted to this purpose is unclear.
Sara Mitich (Gia) was Lillian Moss, Dr. Grace’s lover for ten episodes of MURDOCH MYSTERIES until she was killed off in episode 9.3. She will be Tina in the science fiction drama SYNCHRONICITY, about Lou, a struggling punk rock photographer, and a brilliant physicist named Alan who claims to have solved the time travel paradox. Lou gets caught up in her budding flirtation with Alan, until she realizes Alan’s future self has been manipulating them both.
Craig Henry (bouillotte dealer) worked as a stunt guy in the Killjoys episode Enemy Khlyen, and was one of the zombies in LOST GIRL episode 4.11 (End of a Line). He is The Beast in THE FRENCH DRAGON, an action-oriented romantic comedy due out next year about a good-natured French stuntman who travels to Toronto for the first time to meet his backpacking Canadian girlfriend, only to find her in serious trouble. Director Chris Power described the film as a cross between BLOODSPORT and RUSH HOUR, but would elaborate no further.
Andrew Rotilio (Diogo) stars as Luke in THE HOTEL DIEU, which has been winning film festival awards since its premiere last May at San Tropez. Luke’s world is turned around by an accident that nearly kills him and takes away his sight. With the help of the people he meets at The Hotel Dieu hospital, he begins a long road to recovery. A trailer is available on YouTube.