January 11th, 2021

Ashi no tomodachi

Human Organisation

Amazon Prime is releasing episodes of The Expanse on a weekly basis, on Wednesdays, which should make it easier for me to blog about. But I seem to get sidetracked every Thursday, first by New Years, then by the U.S. Capitol mob. But last week's Expanse, an episode called "Tribes", is certainly not irrelevant to current events, though the terrorist depicted on the show commits a far worse series of crimes.

Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) is kind of disappointingly one dimensional, coming off as just simply a madman. How did he get anyone to follow him? Why did Naomi (Dominique Tipper) have a son with him? Still, I like how the aftermath of him destroying several Earth and Martian cities has been handled with the other characters. Drummer (Cara Gee), coming to the grim decision that she has to ally herself with Marco for now, is a nice subplot and makes you wonder how often that happens, how often people who aren't 100% onboard with the party line are forced to support it in the interest of survival, not just for themselves but for their people.

Amos (Wes Chatham) has the key line in the episode; "The thing about civilisation is, it keeps you civil. Get rid of one and you can't count on the other . . . People are tribal. The more settled things are, the bigger the tribes can be. The churn comes and the tribes get small again. Right now, you and I are a tribe of two." He's talking to Clarissa Mao (Nadine Nicole) with whom he's trekking through the wilderness in the wake of the attacks. Introduced in season three, Clarissa mostly sat out season 4, in prison for the crimes she committed. Now the prison's destroyed along with the rest of the city and, as she and Amos encounter crazed survivalists and harsh weather, the legal system that says she should be incarcerated indeed doesn't seem to be very relevant anymore.

One of the advantages of studying history is that it provides perspective on human behaviour. Old history books and the events themselves weren't created under the shadow of current attitudes or prescribed morals. It's a way of getting your head above the trees for a moment. Science Fiction is kind of a way of manufacturing this perspective--it has the disadvantage of the writers inevitably being influenced by the current climate but, to bold writers, that can also be an advantage. Anyone nowadays worried about censorship, and there are legitimate concerns on that front, should be reminded we still have access to art and history. In many ways, better access than at any time in human history. The amount of work a controlling power would have to do to truly shut off all avenues of independent thought may be beyond any currently existing human entity.

The Expanse is available on Amazon Prime.