Expanse S6 First Teaser, Release Date

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Brightdreamer

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More info, via a virtual panel from NYCC: Metaverse link

- As some had speculated due to the shorter shooting schedule, it will only be six episodes long.

- Eps will drop weekly on Fridays starting December 10.

- Everyone seems pretty hyped and confident that they did a good job wrapping the story arc (at least through Book 6); as they mention, some plot elements were moved up to S5 anyway.
 
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No pressure, and only if you remember/have time, remind us on December 9 with a new post. (Yes, I'm shameless!)

Are we the only two people here who watch Expanse?
 
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A reminder that Season 6 officially drops this Friday, December 10, with six weekly episode releases.

(Also a reminder that Amazon sometimes drops things on Thursdays when they say Fridays - no idea if that will happen this time or not, but might be worth keeping an eye on...)
 
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Episode 1 of Season 6 appears to be on Amazon Prime now!

This is not a drill! I repeat, this is not a drill!

--

And watched the first episode. (Have not watched the bonus X-ray content yet.)

Some thoughts behind spoiler tag:

- So far, so good. It's a bleak time, as it was in the book. Everyone's holding on by a thread (if that), and tensions are rising everywhere. Filip is starting to feel the guilt Naomi warned him about, especially as Marco has sidelined him, and is coping with it in unhealthy ways.
- As anticipated, they're making decent use of Alex's death in ratcheting up in-crew friction; even Amos is feeling the loss. The Roci crew is down to three plus Clarissa; they did not keep Bull on as the pilot, as they hinted they might last season, and aside from Amos nobody seems to be warming up to the ex-con, even as she proves herself in engineering.
- This is mostly an "establishment" episode, IMHO: showing us where the system stands, who is where and doing what, and hinting at where they're all going from here.
- Thus far, no complaints from me.
- And the FX look even better than last year, which I didn't think was possible...


Will report back after watching the first bonus short (which I think may be tracking some with the Origins comics and showing some backstory on the characters - in line with the show more than the books).

--

And watched the X-ray bonus content, One Ship: Episode 1 - Ankawala. Spoiler tagging:

Story: As Marco's raised bounty goes out, Drummer's crew copes with the loss of the DeWalt - and Michio Pa learns that Drummer still seems to be carrying a torch for Naomi Nagata, believing she loves her more than her current crew family.

Thoughts: At only five minutes, not a bad diversion, and shows some of the motives for the tensions behind the Belter rogue crew and Pa in particular. (Also must say I loved hearing Dominique Tipper - I'm assuming it was her, as she has singing background IIRC, and not a voice double - sing the Belter version of Happy Birthday. She does have a voice on her...) Like the Origins comics, though, I don't know how plot-vital it will ultimately be. I wonder if it was a deliberate bone thrown to fans who might have felt a bit miffed at the shorter season.


Looking forward to the next episode.

ETA: The Expanse Aftershow 601 (YouTube link) - some behind-the-scenes stuff.
 
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Season 6, Episode 2 (and bonus):

Ep 2:
- After the "establishment" of Ep 1, things get moving here.
- The opening continues to follow the Laconian story from Strange Dogs; part of me wonders if this is someone gunning for a seventh season, as the events in this novella really set up the final three books (and especially the series finale).
- On the Roci, Bobbie Draper's arrival changes their mission directive, putting the ship in fresh danger. Naomi also is dealing with PTSD from last season, freezing up when faced with a ship-to-ship jump... and isn't actually denying it, though she is admitting she's not ready to talk about it. Holden finally accepts Peaches as a crewmember after a trial by fire. And Amos is showing more affection, forming a human connection with Peaches in a way he hasn't been able to in previous seasons.
- Earth is collapsing faster than anticipated, but so long as the rocks keep coming, nobody can do much about it.
- Drummer meets with a Golden Bough ship and tests the waters for an act of piracy/rebellion against the Free Navy.
- On Ceres, Marco continues to neglect his son and ignore warning signs of troubles in his empire and his family, while Filip's budding conscience and regrets continue to threaten his stability and his place in his father's organization.
- Overall, a lot happens, with more to come, and the pacing is fast (especially after the slower feel of the previous two seasons). I don't think I can make full assessments or reactions until I've seen all six episodes, though, as the arc doesn't divide itself up well; it feels like part of a story because it is part of a story, and they're trying to get a lot done with limited screen time.


Bonus feature One Ship, Episode 2: Zenobia:
- This follows Avasarala as she learns just how screwed Earth is, and how she comes to her decision to deploy Monica to tell the human story of the people hurt by the Free Navy's attacks after her granddaughter sends a message. It also implies serious health issues on the horizon.
- I suspect they might move up the character's end (from a later book) to this season. Having her on the float in the first ep, peaceful, felt like a bit of foreshadowing on that front.


ETA - Expanse Aftershow 602 (YouTube link)
 
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Fingers crossed we get official confirmation on that news soon (and, if it does, that we get the same creative team involved; hard to believe they'll catch that lightning in a bottle again without the team that got them this far, and they already technically recaught that lightning once after the SyFy cancellation...)

Anyway, S6 Ep3 thoughts:
- Definitely picking up the pace, and you can see where they're rushing a bit to get it all into six episodes, but still quite good.
- On Laconia, Cara sees what the "strange dogs" can do: repairing her drone and resurrecting the sunbird mother, though neither is quite as they were before. Her excitement over the discovery is dashed when she gets home to find that her kid brother Xan has been killed. I almost wish they'd done a separate show or miniseries for Strange Dogs at this point, to give it the room and attention the novella deserves...
- Marco's rule is showing visible cracks, as is his sanity, and Filip is starting to see the madman behind the mask, and the lie of his imperial aspirations.
- The Roci crew continue their adjustment to each other, but are coming together under the pressure. Holden and Peaches continue to build trust in each other, Naomi opens up about her freeze-up, and Amos and Bobbie are learning to work together better (see also: bonus content).
- Avasarala and the UN/Luna/Martian alliance are still struggling in the propaganda war for the Belt and the future of the system, still made up of disparate factions who don't trust each other.
- Drummer's rebellion takes another small step forward, even as Michio Pa's disillusionment with the whole business, Free Navy and Belt and Earth and everyone, even Drummer's piracy aspirations, grows greater.
- Some nice cameos and call-backs, with Prax and Anna and the Martian captain.


And the bonus content, One Ship Episode 3: Win or Lose:
- The premise is simple, almost more like a fanfic vignette, as Earther Amos and Martian Bobbie square off against each other in a (mostly) friendly match.
- Like some fanfic, the personalities felt just slightly out of true: Bobbie has seen the desperate situation on Earth firsthand, more than once (first during her illicit trip to the ocean, later with Avasarala), so her broad-brush painting of Earthers as lazy "takers" (even if she didn't use the term) felt a bit out of step to me.
- Nevertheless, it was a fun little diversion.


ETA: Expanse Aftershow 603 (YouTube link)
 
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And I meant to watch this on Thursday, but for various Reasons the house has been a powder keg of nuke-level stress lately, so it didn't happen.

Anyway, S6 Ep 4 thoughts:
- On Laconia, we meet Duarte, the charismatic colony leader who takes the time to connect to a grieving girl while still managing to make it all about his grand vision for the future. Passing lines overheard among the grievers fill in more details about Laconia. And Cara makes a decision that will directly impact everyone's future... literally everyone, if you follow the plot to the end of the books.
- Back on the Sol side of the ring, things aboard the Roci grow more tense as Clarissa discovers who disarmed the torpedo that hit the Pella. Amos does not take it well, nor does Naomi; Clarissa's the one who understands why taking a life is not always the answer.
- Nice touch with Bobbie and Amos singing along to Alex's old tune; the ones they've lost are still with the crew in spirit. And I know it varies from the books and is a direct result of cast member Issues, but I like the idea that the core crew has had a significant sacrifice at this point in the game; they're selling it well.
- Ceres continues to be a Problem for everyone, with the explosion only driving a further wedge into Belter/Inner relations. Monica is the one who is realizing that this can't be about Inner versus Belter, or even Free Navy versus everyone, but it has to be about people seeing others as people... and, right now, only Avasarala is listening to her.
- Drummer strikes one of Marco's supply stashes, which is not as unprotected as it seems. Michio Pa redeems herself by rendering emergency aid, and Drummer bloodies Marco's nose with a system-wide broadcast.
- Meanwhile, Filip is still conflicted about his father and the Free Navy, slowly moving out from Marco's broad shadow, but still instinctively rallies to his father's vision and side when a threat appears.
- Overall, perhaps the best ep yet, though again I really see these as one long arc broke into six parts, so it's hard to examine them in isolation.


And the bonus content, One Ship ep 4: Night Watch:
- Clarissa takes the night watch solo on the Roci, and learns of her father's death in prison (natural causes). She finds, despite everything, that her feelings toward the man are still very complicated and unsettled.
- Interesting choice to add the Roci's POV in the camera shots. The ship was always supposed to have highly advanced AI, and this is one of the first times we've "seen" it at its work, monitoring its crew. (Having advanced AI is not, in the Expanse universe as in reality, an automatic "has a human-like personality" or a trigger for the Pinnochio syndrome of wanting to be a real live boy.)
- A nice glimpse into Clarissa's mind and the many unresolved issues that brought her to where she is.
- And very minor nitpick, but does one still photo constitute a "guest starring" credit listing for Francois Chau?


ETA: Expanse Aftershow 604 (YouTube link)
 
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And the penultimate ep, S6Ep5:
- As a pre-warning/apology, my thoughts may be a bit scattered on this one, because I was interrupted by a family Issue partway through. (Long story short: the power socket leading to our microwave is toast. As in blackened. As in we're lucky there weren't open flames... Microwave itself appears fine, at least. This house's wiring is not something I like to think about, TBH, but I digress...)
- Anyway... They've definitely hit their solid stride, and things are progressing across the board. With the Roci on Ceres, Amos heads off to the bars and brothels to try to process what he's doing out here, after his faith in Holden's leadership and their own purpose has been shaken; Bobbie's the one who talks him around. And Naomi tries to reconnect with Drummer, but the timing and circumstances are Not Good. Meanwhile, Holden passes on his intel about the gate anomolies.
- At the ring, the Martian mission goes about as poorly as one might predict: the Free Navy is already exploiting new tech and has rigged rail guns to defend Medina and the ring space against all comers. Since this effectively cuts off all access to the colony worlds, this adds extra urgency to ending Marco's reign.
- Speaking of Marco, he's back in his element, plotting battles and wars rather than tediously dealing with actually governing and ensuring survival of his people. With the victory against the Martains, his star seems to be rising again, but the damage done by Drummer's strike is causing unrest among Belters already pushed to the limits by lack of supplies. But at least his son seems to be back on his side...
- Well, not quite. Filip finds out his teacher's in the brig for breaking radio silence, trying to contact Ceres to find out of his brother survived the dock explosion. Filip takes advantage of his access to piggyback a signal of his own; on finding out the brother is dead, the teacher breaks down and lets slip something he probably thought Filip already knew, that it was Free Navy people - not Inners - who planted the Ceres explosives, having been convinced only Inners would die. The last shot of Filip shows the depth of that revelation working through the boy's system.
- And circling back to Drummer, she loses the last of her family on Ceres: with the new arm growing wrong and needing more intensive therapy and treatment, Michio Pa opts to stay with their wounded crewmate/lover on the station, even if it means living under Inner control again. This leaves Drummer effectively alone... and doesn't predispose her to welcome Naomi, the woman she loved once and who left her for another family/crew, composed of Inners no less, with open arms.
- And Avasarala's health is clearly deteriorating. Perhaps this is a partial trigger for her determination not to be the "bad guy" and pursue victory at all costs against Marco, refusing to sacrifice Ceres station and its inhabitants to starve to death while chasing the head of the Free Navy across the system. She is clearly reflecting on her life and her choices and considering her legacy and what kind of world she will leave behind, but she still has a job to do and fucking well means to do it - reaching out to form an unlikely alliance with the one Belter who might peel support from Marco: Drummer.
- As mentioned, they've hit their stride with this episode and the previous one. Some great emotional and plot developments here. The finale is supposed to be longer, and it has a lot to wrap up. Looking forward to it, even if it will likely be the last we see of new Expanse content; I have not seen any official confirmation on the rumors of further projects, and unless they can get everyone back - not just cast, but writers and crew and everything - I just don't see it. I mean, it would be great, but we've already gotten... what, eight years or more of commitment out of the core crew? That's a heck of an ask, to commit them further...
- Oh, yeah... almost forgot due to that distraction mentioned earlier. On Laconia, Cara waits out in the wilderness for the "dogs" do to their work - and, sure enough, Xan returns. A little different, perhaps, but still her brother. Won't her parents be surprised next week...


Bonus content: One Ship ep 5: Remember the Cant
- On Ceres, Holden sees old graffiti that reminds him of the past, when he was a know-nothing young man kicking around in Belter bars and gets recruited for a job by an ice hauler captain.
- Of all the bonus eps, this one feels the most pointless, TBH. It's just a brief encounter with Monica as Holden looks at the old "Remember the Cant" marker, then a brief flashback. Doesn't really add a ton to the character or the series. In that, it reminds me a bit of the Origins comic dedicated to Holden's past, which mostly just rehashed what we already knew about his brief military career and was (IMHO) the weakest Origins entry.
- I think they went overboard making Strait look ten years younger and fresh-faced. The guy was in a bar, clearly had been for some time, and he looks like he just scrubbed clean in a shower five seconds before the camera rolled...
- Decent for what it is, but again, not sure what the point was.


ETA: Expanse Aftershow 605 (YouTube link)
 
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And, at long last, the final (at least, final confirmed as of yet) episode of The Expanse, S606:
- A lotta feelings going into this one, and a lotta feelings coming out... On the whole, one heck of an episode that mostly manages to wrap up the season in an hour and change.
- This was basically a running battle for most of its length. After the (relative) down time of the previous episode, the "calm before the storm", we're thrown into battle after battle and climax after climax. It's a wild ride, bordering on overload.
- The beginning wraps up the Strange Dogs storyline, dropping strong hints (that are echoed throughout the episode) that there is indeed more story to tell... if they ever get the chance to tell it.
- As Mars and the UN take on the two stronger arms of Marco's fleet, Drummer's faction takes on a fleet support freighter group... only to find themselves facing down a disguised Pella and Marco himself, with grievous losses - but the battle doesn't leave Marco's flagship unscathed. Drummer's ready to plunge into a suicide run, but her co-conspirator spares her with his own sacrifice.
- On the Pella, after the battle kills Marco's trusted second in command, Filip finally sees his father and the Free Navy clearly through the sheen of Marco's blinding personality cult... but is it too late? It looks like it, until the final scenes of the episode...
- Avasarala struggles to keep the fragile alliance together, and afterwards to keep things from devolving into violence again. She's a politician, not a warrior, so she's partially sidelined in a bullet-heavy episode. She's also blindsided by Holden, who still sees the system more clearly than she does. She's come a long way, but Avasarala is still an Earther at heart, and doesn't see what Holden sees: that Inners commanding Belters, even well-intentioned Inners, is a huge chunk of the problem that led to Marco in the first place, and the best way to reduce the odds of another Marco is to stop doing that. (I do feel that they were setting us up a bit, though, with the hints about her failing health never really coming to much.)
- Aboard the Rocinante, they find themselves once more in one desperate situation after another as they use an ice hauler decoy to sneak an attack squad into the ring space to attack the rail gun emplacements. Even as the toll of Clarissa's enhancements is made clear, she finally earns the full respect of the crew by performance under fire. Though Bobbie and Amos throw a lot of bullets around and Holden plots tactical maneuvers, it's ultimately engineer Naomi who saves the day - sacrificing her son in a way that Holden couldn't for the greater good when she triggers the ring entities to consume Marco Inaros. (At least, she thinks she sacrifices him. TBH, I'd always hoped in the books that she found out the truth eventually, though her monologue at the end indicates that not knowing whether or not your actions or words did good is just something one has to accept in life.) Bobbie also shows us what a Martian Marine can do in combat, even though it nearly kills her.
- Amos has grown perhaps the most of anyone in the series, ultimately. He started as basically a sociopath, incapable of true human connection, and ends with a tangible, actual bond as Clarissa's friend and mentor, a human warmth in his smile.
- We leave the Rocinante flying off into the black, its makeshift crew bonded under pressure, the Transport Union off to a strong start under new leadership.
- Overall, powerhouse performances all around, and they leave us at a decent resting spot on the greater (book) arc, a place where one can hope for a better future even as numerous hints speak of greater dangers and troubles and unanswered questions... questions Holden actually asks before Naomi interrupts him and tells him (and the audience?) to just enjoy this moment of peace and victory while it lasts. I do think the season ultimately would've benefited from one or two more eps of breathing space, but given the constraints I think they did a great job, and went out at the top of their game. Not a lot of shows can honestly say that. Good flying, Rocinante...


There appears to be no X-ray bonus content mini-ep for this episode.

And now, I have to crawl off to bed because overtime at work means early start tomorrow means I should've probably been feigning sleep by now...

ETA - A nice review of the finale (with SPOILERS) from Tor.com - Link

ETA2 - Expanse 606 Aftershow (YouTube link)

ETA3 - And another nice summary (with SPOILERS) from Ringer - Link
 
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Introversion

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I enjoyed it. But...

I've heard that there will be a spin-off series, which takes up the books from this point on. If I hadn't heard that, or read the books, I'd seriously be WTF'ing about all of the events shown in this season which take place on Laconia. If this season is truly the finale, I'd be very pissed that they wasted so much air-time on something that apparently did nothing to advance the plot.

I also have to say that I've not read the most recent book (or perhaps most recent two?) because I find them far less compelling than the TV series adapted from it. Whatever position the last book I read occupied in the series, we did get to see what Laconia has been up to over many years. So, if the next "series" -- really, the next season, but I understand that there are contractual issues to just calling it that -- shows that, then fine. But, for those viewers not reading the books, and I'm guessing there are many, this season must have been rather bewildering in terms of story-telling?
 

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My theory is that the Laconia bits (and other hints) were a sales pitch: "See how much story there is left to tell?" Plus we needed to see a bit of Laconia to explain where Marco was getting some of his toys from, and where he expected to receive backup when things went sour... not realizing that Duarte always had his own agenda, going after the "gods" behind the ring gate anomalies, and that Marco had always been a means to his ends and no real ally at all. Strange Dogs really could've been a separate miniseries, though, to give it the room and time it needed to do the novella justice...

But, given that they only had six seasons (and were danged lucky to have that), I don't know that they could've found a better place to set the series down, given that there always was a larger arc and there just was never going to be a solid period at the end like there would be in other series unless they'd been promised a full 8-9 year run. There is, after all, a large time jump (about 30 years or so) before Book 7's events, and Babylon's Ashes ends on a mostly upbeat and hopeful tone. If there ever are spin-offs or future series, they really need the core creative team on board again to make it work, and that's lightning I don't know that they'll ever catch again now that the bottle's open. We've already gotten... what, seven, eight years of commitment of them? It's a heck of an ask to rope them back in for more, especially those whose careers seem to be really taking off. (Frankie Adams just filmed something in Australia with Sigourney Weaver, Wes Chatham's dance card seems pretty consistently punched, and the rest surely have other gigs lined up. And that's not even looking into the writers or showrunners...)

As for the books... do try to read through to the end, if possible. Yeah, the pacing's different from the show, and in some ways I do prefer the TV version of events (love how they developed Drummer, for instance), but it's worth it. It really does the whole arc justice (for the most part; a few minor niggles and stray bits here and there, but there always are), and the epilogue adds a nice final note.
 
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Introversion

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The books have always been popcorn for me, and once the show happened, I honestly find them a bit tedious. The show was always better at fleshing out the characters, and by the last book I read I really only cared about Amos and Bobbie, and didn’t really like what the plot did to them.
 
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I've only read the first three books. This season was decent (not as good as the last two), but it really did feel like it needed a few more episodes. Praying they're not heading for a final season nosedive like GoT.

I still don't know what plot relevance the events on the gate planet had. Were they setting something up for the final? The six vignettes would have been better making up a single episode, IMO.
 
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Introversion

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Praying they're not heading for a final season nosedive like GoT.
This was the final season, at least from what’s been stated publicly. There may be a “spin-off” series that continues where this left off?

 
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This was the final season, at least from what’s been stated publicly. There may be a “spin-off” series that continues where this left off?

Oh man, I didn't even realise that! I swear I thought there was one more to go. That makes it feel even more rushed, and not like an ending at all.
 
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