Strapped to a couch barreling through space. Honestly, what could POSSIBLY go wrong? We dissect the nuance of The Martian and look back at 18 months of living on Mars…

𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕊𝕪𝕟𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕤𝕚𝕤 is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken.


Hey, folks, this is Alexander Winn and Lacey Hannan and we are here with the latest episode of the synthesis, a show where we check out scientific and historical accuracy in film and television. 


We are excited to get through more of the Martian. Yes, I think this time, we won’t promise to get to the end, 


we won’t because we thought we were going to do the whole movie in one episode. And we did a third of it. Yeah, we’re here to do probably the next third. But who knows? We can aim for the finish line, and then maybe just walk it in? 


Yeah. Well, we’ll retro actively be like, see, we knew it would take that long. of Yeah, there we go. It’s gonna be like me in high school when I decided to take up track again, but in my senior year, and I was barely making it to the finish line. Yeah, it’s gonna be nice. It’ll be it’ll, I will have there will be a nostalgia factor for me. Yes. 


So don’t remember where we were, though. Yeah. 


So we were picking up with hexadecimals. They’ve gotten the they’ve gotten the Pathfinder, working a beautiful Pathfinder moment. And loved it, he gets it back to the hab. And they’re able to connect and yes, are you reading me? Yes. Now point the camera at Yes, he freaks out. And now, as Tim very pointedly says, they’re not really going to be able to have a conversation. And so Mark starts wondering, okay, how can we actually do this, he realizes that 26 letters plus a question card around a circle is, he’s not going to be able to tell what the camera is aimed at. So he comes up with hexadecimals. Right, this is, this is one of those things that is interesting, because I feel like either the making water sequence or the hexadecimal sequence in the Martian is probably the most famous thing from the Martian. But there’s an interesting little thing about this scene in the movie, which is that this is really the only time that we see mark, figuring something out. This is one of the big differences between the book and the movie is in the book. It’s all about sort of doing the math and figuring it out and approaching the solution and kind of talking your way, or approaching the problem and sort of talking your way toward a solution. And that’s not something that really makes it into the movie. You know, in the movie, he mostly has a solution. And then he sits down in front of the GoPro and says, This is what I’m going to do, or sometimes even just, this is what I’ve already done. And this is the one scene where we actually see him chewing on a potato going, what am I going to do? And he goes hexadecimals, and you see the moment of realization. 


And then we get to see him going through Johansen stuff, as he’s looking for, because she’s a big ol nerd, yet his opinion, 


big, big nerd. And, of course, she’ll 


have a hexadecimal table or whatever. Yeah. So 


I like to know, is that a thing that people have? Like I, I’m a I’m a computer developer, but I don’t have a hexadecimal table and a printed out book that seems I don’t know, maybe. I mean, I guess it makes sense that if you if you do like deep code, kind of operating system level stuff, then maybe you would need it on a physical book, because by definition, your computer isn’t working. But yeah, 


yeah, I. So my uncle is a rocket scientist. And he does project management for various experiments. And he goes to these like science conferences, and my mom went to one or something with him once. And she brought back this weird little booklet of just like, deep, deep equations for random stuff. And she’s like, Alex needs this. And it was like, I’m telling you guys, it was some of the weirdest stuff I’ve ever seen about like lasers. And it was just like, all over the place. But apparently, some people need this. And according to my mother, Alex did, I’m not entirely sure why. So I don’t need a 


big book of equations. I mean, come on. 


You have never opened it once and I have opened it multiple times, then I guess you need a big book of equations. 


Anyway, what I’m saying is, I suppose that there are some people out there that would do this. Yeah, that’s fair. Okay. Anyway, I did enjoy the hexadecimal portion. And I like the sped up, like slash time lapse. 


Yeah, whatever it was that they were doing with that. Yeah, watching them sort of build the setup necessary, because that’s actually something that they don’t really talk about in the book is, you know, Mark has his Pathfinder with a bunch of signs around the around the circumference, but they build one on earth to because they need to be able to like, practice, like they need to make the message and figure out what sequence they’re going to send to him to make it to make it work. So it was fun watching them sort of build dummy version and then he’s building the real version. And then he, they pretty quickly go to hacking the rover, which is smart, because watching him watch the thing go round and round is pretty tedious. And so pretty quickly we get to Hey, now I can hack the rover’s operating system and connected to Pathfinder. And now I can just type like a text message. And I have to say Mark’s reaction to getting Vincent’s first message is pretty sweet. He he has a whole sort of he starts to cry and all this and it’s just, you know, Hey, are you reading me or something? And it’s, it’s pretty poignant. 


And then we also have the he asks about, how is the crew doing? Like, yeah, having left me behind? and Vincent has to figure out what to say. And I love that his What the fuck reaction is silenced by the camera because he because he’s in the rover, and the camera is outside of it. So the camera is in a vacuum. Yeah, essentially or near. And so it’s completely silence and you just see him and his reaction just like swearing up a storm. Yeah.   


And I love that. Like, then we cut back to Earth. And we have Mitch, who’s laughing at Mark’s anger because he’s a Greek too. Yeah. Like, 


this is vindication. Yeah, exactly. 


So that was a nice moment of, because it’s always been cat and Mark talking. It’s not really, Mitch and Mark, which actually, I had never considered this in the book. But that’s actually surprising. Seeing as Mitch is the the commander of this mission, right? 


Yeah. Well, I forget what his specific title is. But he’s in charge of this. Yeah. 


Yeah. I mean, Louis is in charge on the ship. But as far as I’m aware, Mitch is in charge. Yeah. So it’s, it’s a little bit odd. And I’m surprised now that I think about not that I not that I mind too much. But maybe, maybe Mitch has other things he has to continue doing. I don’t know. But one of the things that I love about Sean Bean being met is he’s really good at being emotional and subtle. Yes. You know, nothing he does is ever too big. And 


which is funny, because he plays a lot of larger than life characters. It’s not really something I feel like if you said to the average person, Sean Bean is a is a very subtle actor. I feel like you’d have to kind of sell them on that idea. Yeah, because he plays a lot of sort of characters like boromir and Lord of the Rings and right. And yeah, even boromir there’s a lot of subtlety there. You know, like that, that character is very nuanced for for being essentially sort of a meathead. Yeah, he’s got a lot going on. 

07:53 I mean, I think that you could say between this and Game of Thrones, he’s got, yeah, that the subtlety is on on it, 


for sure. His side? Yeah. But 


yeah, so I thoroughly enjoy Sean being in this moment. I think there are some other places where you and I have kind of disagreed, yeah, on the Mitch stuff in this movie. But here, I’m all about it. A change that we get from the book, or I think, are the data dumps. So, you know, they, when the whole crew was together, they’d get emails and you know, those sorts of data dumps from their families or whoever. And we don’t see that happen in the book, when he gets into communication with Earth again, but we know that it happens here, because a, he says it. And then he gives us an example. Because the University of Chicago says he has colonized Mars, he’s not the one to thought of it. 


Yeah. Yeah, I think in the book he mentions, once he’s in contact that, like he got a letter from the president and that sort of thing. But they don’t make as big a deal of it. 


Well, and I guess to me, the reason why it’s significant is because, of course, you get a letter from the president. Yeah, you are stuck on Mars, they are going to make that happen. The President requests being able to write to Mark Watney on Mars, he just can’t, he just can’t. 


And also one of the perks of being president. 


Yeah. And also like, let’s be honest, he’s gonna he, of course, wants to be one of the first people to write a letter to Mars, like, come on. But this is different, because it kind of changes some things you would have, you know, if you have like the University of Chicago, being able to reach him, and if you have various groups being able to reach him and his parents and all of this, I think that really changes the mentality of the character who’s there. Yeah. And it is also going to change what’s happening back on Earth because they’re going to have there’s going to be more conversation. What did they call it? They they had the Mark Watney whopping report the Watney report. And on that they’re gonna say, Oh, you know, we found out that someone so sent him an email about this or whatever. Yeah. And there’s, I think it’s really important that this, this is really important change, because it would change his experience there. And we don’t see a change in his experience between the book and the movie. So I feel like that the psychology is off. Yeah. And I’m surprised by that. Interesting. 


Yeah, that’s an interesting deduction. 


So I’m here to help, guys. 


So next up, we cut back to the Hermes. Which, unless you have something else that you want to 


know, no, I have no, you’re good. 


Suspicious way, 


the note, where are you? Alright, 


so we come back to the Hermes. And you guys, the Hermes is such an incredible ship like that. The design of the Hermes in the movie, I could just go on, like I could spend all day, this whole episode just talking about the Hermes and all the little nuances of how it was designed. There’s, it is, by the way, very different from Andy weirs concept of the Hermes. Really, yeah, and he wears concept of the Hermes is a lot simpler. And I get the sense a lot smaller. His Hermes is sort of teardrop shaped, it’s sort of if you, if you picture sort of the stereotypical space capsule from from, you know, the 60s and 70s sort of looks like a cone with a rounded bottom. My understanding is that Andy Weir’s vision of the Hermes looked like a really big version of that. And so it would spin. And so if you go to the wider end, the spin is creating gravity. But if you go to the narrower end, it’s not. And that’s why they talk about the Hermes, keeping its arrow breaking shape, because it uses its body to break against the atmosphere to slow down. Which, if you use the Hermes from the movie, that would just start ripping pieces off like that, that would look like the last scene of gravity when the when the space station is coming into the atmosphere, and it’s just ripping apart because that’s not an arrow breaking shape. That being said, it’s so cool. It’s like the ultimate manifestation of the International Space Station sort of School of Design. And there are a few instances of ships like this. There’s the Hermes from the Martian. There’s the entire is from defying gravity. There are a few instances of sci fi spaceships built in that kind of International Space Station School of Design, and I just love them always. Okay, 


so my question is, and this goes for everybody out there. I want to know your favorite sci fi ship. I’m like, that is a path that leads to madness. 


No. Well, okay, here, I’ll give you a couple of things to help you with us. Remove the crew from it. So like, 


okay, so it’s not that you love the people from Firefly, it’s that you love the serenity itself? 


Yes, I that’s that’s exactly what I was gonna use. The serenity is not the most beautiful ship you love the crew? Come on. Yeah. And they love serenity. So we love serenity. You know, it doesn’t like, but it could still be the serenity. I don’t, I don’t care what you pick. I’m just curious what it is, honestly, the 


enterprise is it? I mean, it’s sort of, it’s hard to compare. ships have different levels of capability, you know, like, you know, using using serenity, for example, it’s hard to compare serenity to the USS Enterprise, because the USS Enterprise can do so much more. 


That’s not true. But 


I tell you, it’s not true. Because people can pick their favorite cars and their car, their favorite cars could be, you know, something that’s like a muscle car versus a military car or something that’s 


like, a Miata. You know, that’s kind of what I mean is like all cars fundamentally do the same thing. This is more like saying what’s your favorite vehicle and having to compare a Corvette so asking the question, 


I’m not I don’t know, I don’t have a problem if you’d let me finish. Okay. But it’s it’s a little bit hard to compare because there are such big differences in capability but honestly, if we’re just going off of sort of the design of the ship itself, just the the aesthetics I think it might be the Hermes for me, I think is literally my favorite spaceship in terms of just to look at 


interesting Oh, 


okay. I I actually have to think on it. Yeah, cuz I’m not sure 


yeah, I mean, there are so you know, like I love the Normandy for Mass Effect. I love the enterprise like you know, the enterprise I mean, so many enterprises, but the enterprise D and E especially. 


Deep nerd over here. 


Yeah, it’s not even deep nerd. It’s just did you like the the Kirk enterprise or the Picard and bribes or whatever. But yeah, I might be the Hermes I just I love that. I love that realism. I love that scientific like this looks like a thing that could actually exist. This looks like real scientists put work into it. 


I a little surprised that you didn’t say something from 


the expanse. 


You know, that’s the thing about the expanse is, to me. Almost all the ships from the expanse fall into that category of what you were talking about with serenity, where it’s like, they’re not cool to look at. That’s kind of the point is that they’re not cool to look at. They’re purely functional. No, 


I mean, I would still say what’s the the Medina you can still count? Because that was meant to be a generational ship. Right. So that counts, and then you get Mao’s ship at one point. And mouse ship was pretty awesome talking about the Razorback. No, no, not not the Razorback, the like his 


Oh, his personal was the one that we know for him and or Bobby and sarala fighting on. So 


imana economist has weighed in and said maybe the Orville, that’s a good one is a really good design. 


Yeah. Remember it as well as I feel like I should. 


Yeah, it’s sort of like you took the saucer section of the USS Voyager and then strapped a couple of sort of rings to the back. It’s a it’s an interesting, yeah, 


that is a good one. I feel like I should know that one. Just because I’ve auditioned for that show. A handful of times like, Yeah, but no, no, I don’t remember it. 


If you are watching live on youtube live way in in the comments and let us know what your favorite spaceship is. If you are listening after the fact then go straight to the comment. Yeah, 


feel free to leave us a comment elsewhere. Yeah, exactly. Okay. 


So we can move. Yeah, 


I just I just needed. I just needed to know. 


Yes. Absolutely. So yeah, I I love, really. So I wrote this down as the earth gang in my notes, and I legitimately can’t remember if that’s a game that is currently on Earth, like Annie and Mitch and all them. Or if this is the area’s three crew.  


Sorry, I swallow down the rock. 


Lacey Lacey forgot how to breathe. 


Sorry, guys. You’re all good. 


But really both the the NASA crew and also the area three crew. I just I love their camaraderie they did the actors, and the writers do a really good job of seeming like people who have worked together for years. You know, like, yes, the line is from the book when Annie asks them to get a photo of mark with it without his helmet. And van cat says, Well, if he takes off his helmet, he’ll die. That’s a good line in the book, but in the movie, the way that Kristen Wiig and Churchill edge for deliver those lines, it’s not just a funny line, it’s giving your coworker a hard time who you’ve known for a long time, like I don’t know what it is, there’s something in the way he delivers it, that he’s, well, I could ask him to take his helmet off, but then he, you know, die. And then a couple of people laugh in the background. And it just you can you get the sense that they give each other help, they want these to do it. One 


of the nice things about seeing something on screen versus reading the book is that all of these actors are going to bring that to their performance, the history of good actors anyway, bring history to their characters, right. And we kind of forget about that in our imagination, we we we recognize that people have known each other for a really long time. But oftentimes, when you’re writing a work scene, it doesn’t. It doesn’t come across as much as maybe you want it to, because you’d have to write every single detail to get all of that. And an actor is just going to bring that and otherwise, it’s between you and the author to try and do that. So it is they did a really, really nice job. 


Yeah. And unrelated details, especially like, you know, when you’re reading a book, you you visualize plenty of details, but it’s always sort of relevant to what’s happening. Whereas One of the nice things about actors is that they can put some thought into, like, Did this character get enough sleep last night or you know, these sort of random things that happen in real life that add nuance that aren’t relevant to the story, but they just make it a little, you know, more interesting, and that’s everybody in this movie is just so good. 


So I think this is the same part where we see Teddy stressing about the margin of getting there on Sol 868. And the potatoes only last to Sol 912. And he doesn’t like that margin. And then we immediately jump back to Mars. And, like, first thing, 


the hat blows up, 


the crops are dead. 


Yeah, so, which is like, this is one of those things, you know, I love the Martian the book, but there’s some things that movies just do better than books. And one of them is the explosion. Cuz Whoa, I don’t know, if I remember correctly in the book, we don’t even witness it. We just pick up with, hey, this just happened and he’s just telling us about it. But man watching him walk into the airlock and everything’s just fine. And then he presses a button and all of a sudden, warning klaxons starts going off and the canvas rips. And then the whole thing just gets launched through the air. And you’re watching him bounce around on the inside. We get it. And 


yeah, because he’s, you know, is that one of the exposition moments where it’s I believe Mars’s perspective. Yeah, yeah. But oh, 


we get we get a complete change on how this gets handled. Yeah, because he doesn’t do the smoke thing to find the the rip in or the the tear in the air lock. 


We there isn’t one there is just one. He just fixes his suit and he’s got his suit is the only thing that’s losing air. And we don’t see him trying to figure out okay, how am I going to get back to the hab and doing the whole, like throwing himself against the air lock? Because he knows he only has so much time because of oxygen. Right. And so we miss a lot of that, and I totally get not doing the smoke thing. That takes a lot of time. But the the duct tape I felt like didn’t have quite they they did manage to have the tension pretty high, because you have the alarms and all of that going off. But again, we missed seeing him figure out a solution. 


Yeah. And that’s again, it’s just a little bit frustrating. Especially because it affects his physical capabilities for a little while. Yeah, you know, he has to, he hurts himself. And, and he wasn’t super hurt in the explosion itself, right. And it’s really getting the airlock back to the hab. Because if you remember in the book, he throws himself against the airlock and essentially rolls it back to the hab, which is a big deal. Anyway, so that was it was different. It wasn’t terrible. It just wasn’t as interesting to me. 


It’s understandable, but a little less cool. Yeah. I will say though, that seeing the dead potato plants is it’s it’s post apocalyptic. Like the way that scene is filmed. It really looks like the end of the world. And I love that because it is like this is everything he’s been working toward. 


And we get to see the the frost slash snow. Yeah. And it’s kind of hard to imagine it there. Especially inside. And the way that they showed that it was such It was a beautiful, heartbreaking image. I teared up for who were I Go figure. But 


he does get into the rover. And this was the moment where I realized a very important design change, which doesn’t end up having a huge impact on the rest of the movie because they cut out certain scenes from the book. But the rover has no airlock he would not have been able to do the things that he did in the book. Because in the book, The rover has an airlock so he can, you know, be in the rover, fully pressurized. And then like, you know, sort of keep the rover pressurized when he steps out in the movie. There’s just a door. So if you step out you have to depressurize the interior of the rover. Yeah, so that is one of those things that is sort of small but important. 


We also get that he I think it’s about this time in the book that he loses contact with Mars like he Yeah, occasion. And we that never happens. Which again to me, they’ve lowered the stakes of the movie, they found other ways to keep the stakes high. But to me, there’s they’re not as high as the book. Because we’re not having to see him panic ever. Because if you remember him trying to figure out how to get from the airlock to the hab includes like, Okay, I have to get under this canvas. And I’m only doing things with one hand because I’ve messed with the arm of this suit, if I remember correctly, and we had one arm. Yeah, he had a he had a head he’s it closed. 


Yeah, that’s right. And so like there are all of these little things that because you’re not seeing him come up with solutions, or, you know, in a state of like high, high stress. It changes the emotional state of the movie. Yeah. And I found that disappointing. They still did. Good job in a lot of ways, getting around some of this because otherwise it would be a four and a half hour movie. Yeah, at least, at least. But one of those is that he can always talk. Earth. Yeah, 


he never. And this is actually, you know, we talked last week we talked about how they kept the moment where he blew himself up, even though they removed the reason why he blew himself up. And there’s actually another one of those moments coming up, where he, he says a line that doesn’t make sense, because he’s still in contact with Earth. Like, the only reason that that made sense is because he wasn’t in contact with Earth anymore. 


So it was, yeah, it’s about the pirate. It’s about the space pirate. Oh, right. Right. Right. In a bit. Yeah, really, I hadn’t thought about in these terms. But but based on what you were just saying, I think a decent way to describe the movie of the Martian is, it’s the exact same story as the book, if things had been a little easier. You know, if it had just not been quite so hard, if there, if a few more things had just gone well, instead of accidents happening, and you know, that sort of stuff, then it would be the movie. Yeah, it’s just, I, 


we get to see Martinez and Juan Watney talk. 


Yeah. Just before, before we move on to that, I did love the fact that we got Mark breaking, when the crops are dead, he goes into the rover, and he starts to write a message. And Matt Damon’s performance is so great, because you can tell that he’s trying not to lose control. And that is something that a lot of actors sort of can’t do, or maybe don’t think to do is the I’m feeling one thing, but I’m fighting it, but I’m trying not to, and especially when they’re alone, you know, it’s one thing to sort of be keeping a secret from a person you’re talking to. But when you’re alone in a room, and he’s trying to keep it together, and he’s, he, he like, reaches for the keyboard and and stops himself. And he thinks for a minute, and composes himself. And then he reaches for the keyboard again, and he just breaks and all of a sudden, he’s like slamming his hand against the ceiling of the rover and screaming and crying. And it’s just because you’re trying to trick yourself into believing that you can manage without the emotional break. Yeah. But oftentimes, the only way that you can manage is to have the emotional break. And that is one of the changes that we see between the characters of the book and the movie, which is that Mark Watney in the book, cries, and he is he did, we talked about the lack of toxic masculinity now that he has, and I’m not saying that trying not to cry as toxic masculinity. I’m just saying that there’s a difference in his emotional, his his willingness to have a larger emotional capacity. 


Well, and again, his his reasons to because as we’ve established, the movie is sort of playing on easy mode. And so a lot of the things that would cause him to break he just doesn’t, you know, like you were saying he doesn’t hurt his back. And so we don’t see him sort of nursing an injury and taking care of himself because he doesn’t have to, 


we don’t see him getting excited about a bath. 


I know, right? I imagine there are a lot of women in the audience who would have loved to see Matt Damon get really excited about having a bat depends on how skinny he is. 


Yeah, earlier in the movie is better than later. Yeah. One more thing before we get to Martinez note, which is I can’t get enough of long suffering bruising, long suffering. Bruce is like every scene in which they cut to Bruce, and they’re like, Hey, we need you to do this in like three hours. And he’s like, that normally takes 10 years. And they’re like, Yeah, but we need it in three hours. And he’s like, uh, you just like, I picture my mental image of Bruce just always has Pepto bismol in his hand. Like, he’s just, he’s just all the time got an ulcer. And he’s just, I love him in the book. And I love him even more in the movie. He’s love that actor too, because the actor is and Dr. Strange, Dr. Strange and he’s such a delightful character. 


I mean, in Doctor Strange, he’s also kind of long suffering. I think that might be that actors kind of stick. Yeah, but it’s definitely it’s so good at just that. Yes, I’ll get it done. But I’m not happy about it. 


Sorry, guy, like his family life is probably falling apart. 


But he’s, but he’s saved Mark Watney. Yeah. So So Martinez, 


well, yeah, we have that. And, you know, we don’t again, we don’t see it at the book them actually communicating. And this is they’re getting to talk to each other. And you know that it’s exactly what what you needed. Yeah. He’s just being ribbed giving him a hard time and it’s, it’s one of those things that you like Love about your best friend, because your best friend is always like, really knows how to talk to you. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So I enjoyed that there’s, 


there’s always when you get that character connection, it’s like the full relationship. And such a brief Santa, it’s always so lovely. And they did a great job here. And in that same vein, again, this is just sort of the the loving on the cast of The Martian our, but every one of these actors is so good. And the director is so good that in that moment, where Martinez is writing to mark, and fundamentally what you’re getting is revelations about mostly Martinez character and a little bit about marks because they’re good friends, you also get a little bit of character from Louis, because as Martinez is writing, and he says, I drew the short straw, so I have to write to you. There’s a shot where it cuts to Louis, and she’s like, leaning over watching him type. And she gets this like, semi scandalized. Look, where she’s just like, I can’t believe you just said that like, and it’s just a great little extra bit of character. You know, it’s not just Martinez, as seen lewis is there and she’s played by an incredible actress, and we get a little bit of Louis’s personality, the basics, the basics of acting, are, well, 


here’s here’s the foundation, acting is reacting. We all learn it in college. And but they’re not wrong. Yeah. Like, it’s that moment that you’re like, Oh, yeah, that’s totally true. Yeah. 


Well, it did. By the way, we have been doing the Martian, starring Mark Watney, for, like 95 years now. And I have a note here, that it took me this long to realize that there is only one letter difference between mark and Mars. This is this is how long it took me to realize that mark and Mars are so similar. 


Okay. Wow. Good note, Alex. 


I know right? 


I have to say that, at around this point, we get the the sound of the air lock fix, because he duct tapes, 


air lock close listening to the storm and 


listening and that storm comes 




Yeah, this is this is another storm that is stronger than any storm on Mars could possibly be. And, you know, we just sort of look past that this is a show about scientific accuracy. But there’s also room for poetry. And yes, we need the moment of him, not 100% sure that his fix is gonna hold on. 


Not only that, but you think of that sound of that thin, thin plastic. And that tape being the only thing that is keeping the outside outside. And the sound that that plastic makes in the wind would have would be devastating for your mental health. Yeah. And that’s not something that you can keep in your head as you’re reading a book, right? Like you don’t, you’re not going to go find that sound effect and just play it on loop. But your brains not going to do it either. You know, and I there’s something about it. That’s, 


and because of the format of the book, where everything we’re reading mark is specifically choosing to tell us, it sort of filters out certain moments that he would have experienced that we get in the movie because we’re just sort of the omnipotent audience watching him and man watching him, ah, just sort of shouting in kind of primal, primate uncomfort discomfort, as that thing ripples is very powerful. Yeah. He also at this point, takes all the dead plants out. And there’s a shot of piles and piles and piles of dead potato plants, which is heartbreaking. But it also occurred to me, the terraforming of Mars has begun. Now there is officially biomass out on the surface of Mars. And I bet that at least one bacterium survived. And is is able to live in those conditions. This is even says in the book that some of the bacteria would have survived. Exactly. And so you know, thinking back to the Mars trilogy, which I absolutely adore, there’s a moment where and who is the the, the read the question, the one who, who wants to keep Mars pure and sterile. She gets so upset because they’ve released microbes onto the surface, and now there’s no stopping them. There’s no getting them back. Those are going to be on the surface and they’re going to spread and they’re going to infect everything, and we will never have a Martian surface without them anymore. And I have a feeling that happened during the Martian, you know, people are gonna look back hundreds, even hundreds of years later and think oh, At this layer in the soil samples on Mars, there’s a row of bacteria that we dated back to the potato plants that Mark Watney grew. 


Oh, interesting. I hadn’t really considered that. So this is the beginning of the terraforming of Mars. Yeah, 


this is there is life on Mars now because these tiny little bacteria that you just know that they’re gonna find a way, right? Yeah. So interesting. funny little thing. Well, we head back to Earth for rich Purcell. Rich Brunel. Oh, excuse me, my autocorrect. Jerk. It’s played by Donald Glover. 


Yes, this is this is Troy doing an op ed in person. 


Do I love community or what? 


I know, right. 


Donald Glover also can do no wrong. Yeah. So I think they did a great job of casting, I cannot get over the casting of this movie 


seriously. He is arguably, the I would argue that rich Brunel might be the biggest change in how a character is depicted in the movie because I don’t remember him having any of this kind of slightly Asperger’s or some kind of, like, the character in the movie clearly isn’t 100% neurotypical he’s, he’s got some kind of something. Right. And I don’t remember that in the book. 


Well, except for you know, we see him, you know, interacting with his boss a little bit more. And he’s a little gruff, and his, and he asks for what can I have time off? And the boss is like, sure. And he’s like, Okay, I’m taking it now. And he goes, like, right back to what he was doing. Yeah. And so some of that would probably be indicative of and probably why Donald Glover chose. Yeah, to play it this way. 


I think it’s close enough that you can sort of see the the antecedents there. But I feel like the character from the book was being clever in how he used his vacation time. Whereas the character in the movie legitimately didn’t realize that he was doing anything weird. Like there’s, there’s a moment there where his boss sort of leaves and then leans back into the room, because you do get that I’m your boss, right? And the way Donald Glover plays that he just looks up and he’s sort of totally innocent. Just sort of nods. Yeah, I know. You’re my boss. And then he just turns back to what he’s doing. And it’s like, he doesn’t get that there’s conflict in the scene. 


You know, right. I kind of see what you’re saying. But I feel like I, my read of rich and the book was a little bit atypical, I guess, of how, okay, well, fair enough. Yeah. 


We do get a very charming explanation of how Oh, I guess this is I think we’re not there yet. We got to really get now Teddy commands the room. So that’s every scene. The Jeff Daniels is in trouble. 


But what we actually have is, we jump back to Mars. And Mark Watney is talking into his camera. And he’s telling us it’s been seven days since he ran out of ketchup. And I about last damn mine. 


We were sitting on the couch together. He says that line and from just to the left of me, I hear this voice Go, man. Like deep heartfelt empathy. It’s all if it’s all you have for seasoning like you want it like I would. I would take what is that weird Australian stuff that nobody else likes just Australians. Vegemite. Like, if that’s all that there was. If there was no salt. There was no pepper. But there was Vegemite. I would learn how to like that stuff. Because anything is better than nothing. Right? Yeah. And 


that’s how I that’s also how Mark feels. Remember, this is the guy who tried to make potato skin tea. 


Yeah, exactly. So I’m saying it’s like, and I get it. Ketchup, I feel pretty sure is like very American. So of course, that’s what Mark has been sent with and would want to eat but I felt for that man, because I’m certain he does have salt and pepper either. That’s, that’s heartbreaking. It’s all heartbreaking. 


Yeah. There is a moment here. When he’s talking about his food in this in the same scene that kind of blew me away. I wasn’t entirely sure how to take this because I feel like I mean, I haven’t actually run the calorie numbers myself, but I feel like maybe this is a blooper like I feel like maybe he misspoke the line or something. But what he says is he’s talking to the camera and he’s talking about how much they are cutting back on his on his rations. Okay. And the line that he says word for word is in. So instead of three of these every one day, it’s one of these every three days and now they’re asking To do this, and he cuts a third off of it, which means that he went from having three every one day to one every three days. That’s 1/9 of what he should be eating. And now they’re asking me to do this. And he removes a third of what’s left. I did the math, that is 7% of what he should be eating. Yeah, that is a one a 13th ration. That can’t possibly be right. Right. 


I mean, okay. If you figure they say that you can last almost two weeks on water alone. Yeah. Then I suppose that that’s not like functioning, that’s before you die in your bed. You can only last a couple. But what I’m saying is like, if you’re still if you’re still getting, because he’s still taking his vitamins. Yeah. And if you’re getting a minimal amount of calories. Yeah, it’s, that doesn’t quite 


the only thing that I thought. Maybe what he means that he doesn’t say this. But this is we established last week. Alexander is really good at filling in potholes. The only thing that I can think of is he’s saying this as he’s slicing up. What is effectively like sort of meatloaf, like it’s a it’s a thing that was clearly sent for the astronauts. He’s not eating potatoes. Yeah. So my thought is maybe what he’s saying is he only gets this much of the food he’s supposed to be eating, and then he’s backfilling the rest with potatoes. 


Yeah, that’s probably true that 


Yeah, I have to assume that because eating 1/13 of a standard ration is just 


because we know that the potatoes are just, like, just calories. He’s no nutrition, like, 


but they’re also their flesh frozen, right? So he can still eat them. 


Yeah. So if what he means is I’m getting this much protein per day, and then I’m filling the rest with potatoes just for rock 


to go with that. Just to make it right. Okay, so we have another change, which is he gives Lewis the mission to talk to his parents instead of Martinez. And I think that this change can easily be chalked up to putting chest pain on the screen more. 


Yes, I think this is a Jessica Justin thing. This and then later, at the end of the movie, there’s a huge change. Yeah, in favor of her. Which I would be interested to know. I don’t know if we’ll ever find out. But I would be interested to know if this was because of Jessica Chastain, the actress like if she requested more screen time. Or if the writers just felt like they needed to beef up lewis’s arc, 


or it’s not. It’s highly unlikely that she requested more screen time. It’s probably she has a name. And the guy who’s playing back. Nobody knows who that is. 


I mean, yes. I just mean, I wonder if it’s based on the actress or if it’s from a writing standpoint, if they felt that Lewis needed to be the one to sort of personally say Mark Watney, for her own character arc. 


Well, yeah, we’ll get there. 


It is interesting, though. And it’s, I mean, I get it like, I totally understand it. I kind of like the Martinez version more. I like the fact that he’s got a best friend that I asked. 


I’m totally here for the way the book tells the story and not the way the movie tells the story. I’m not wild about the idea of sending Louis into the household, where she’s the one who chose to leave him behind. 


Well, that’s actually a good point, like sending Louis is probably a terrible idea. Yeah, exactly. You said Martinez, the one who didn’t make the call. Yeah, that’s so that’s actually a really good point. I am not in love with this change. Yeah. 


So then we get China. Yeah. So the rescue. 


They’ve changed to the scientists to a woman. Because what we originally get is two gentlemen talking to each other. Yeah. And talking about how to handle the fact that they actually could help solve America’s problem. And in this, what we ended up getting is a very old guy. And a young woman. Yeah. Which is not how it was written in the book, but that’s fine. 


Yeah, they basically changed it from Vin cat and Tim, to Annie and, and Teddy. I mean, he’s quite a bit older than that. But what I just mean in terms of their roles, like he is clearly the administrator of the Chinese space agency, and she is presumably, like one of the one of the department heads or something. 


But I Well, she’s a scientist. We do. Yeah, I think we can. I mean, and what I’m going to say is in the book, it’s a scientist, and they don’t tell us what her role is. So I’m going to say that as a scientist, and I think 


I like that they did this because it’s you You know, they went kind of out of their way to put a lot of diversity on screen in with the scientists, but we’re also looking at it towards the future of science. So you put out there what you want to see. Right. And so I enjoyed this little change. It wasn’t. It’s not a huge deal. But yeah, I think it’s important 


shout out, by the way to Andy Weir who wrote a very diverse cast like they did not change the races of pretty much anybody except for Vincent. The, you know, Venkat Kapoor is clearly not a white guy and Bruce Ainge, and I even when I first read the book, I read Mindy Park as Asian. I don’t know if that’s ever actually hinted, just because I knew an Asian person whose last name was Park. But yeah, that’s he did a really good job of portraying a very diverse group. Yeah. And then when Teddy gets the call from the Chinese, this is tying back to what we were saying earlier about subtle acting. I really appreciated the fact that, you know, he’s, he’s very professional. He’s very appreciative on the call, and then he hangs up. And there’s this long bit of silence and then he just goes, yes. And it’s not what a lot of directors would have had him do, which is sort of pump his fist in the air and like really, sort of, you know, be super excited and sort of race out the door to go tell his team. It’s very understated. It’s just just in his chair, tightly contained, sort of in his chest. And then he’s back to tiny like for arm pump. Yeah, exactly. Like he’s, he’s clearly this is a guy who keeps it close to the vest. And this was something that is so powerful that he could not not express it. So he just expressed it a little bit. And then he’s back and I love that. 


So then we’re, we are and the room the L Ron meeting? 


Yes, project l Ron. And 


Annie has no idea what that is, which is so 


awesome. Because Sean Bean is sitting in the room. Yes. That’s 


so great. Was that was a lovely little crossover sort of thing that just that happened there. 


A part of me wonders if that’s how they thought of Shawn is like they were working on this scene with Project ROM and they were like, I wonder if we can get, you know, like, they just started sort of going through the cast of Lord of the Rings. Could we get Ian McKellen for this role? We get Sean Bean. Can we get Viggo Mortensen? like yeah, who would be good here? That’s just a joke. That is too good to pass up. Yeah. 


I will say that this is another place in which Annie isn’t as profane. 


Yeah, and we miss hilarious. 


As she wasn’t the book, she you know, as as profane as she gets is I hate every one of you. Yeah. And that’s it. Yeah, I was sitting here going. No, no, no. 


Any swears there, at least she needed to at least drop fine or something. 


We need more really good foul mouthed women in science fiction. And I say that because Annie, they turned it down. Yeah. And they also turned it down with officer Rolla on the expanse. She’s got some good lines on the expanse, the TV show if anybody out there is watching the expanse of the TV show, she’s gotten some great lines. We love that show. Read the book. She is so much filthier. In the book. She is so foul mouthed, it’s hilarious. Like in the in the show, she’s really just kind of brusque, like she she just doesn’t have time for this. In the in the book, though it is poetry. She just weaves these incredibly profane turns of phrase that are so hilarious, and we just we need more of that like that. And we need to we need to make it onto screen stop filtering it out. It’s hilarious and awesome. And it builds the character of these awesome women. Yeah. And yeah, 


at this point is when we finally learned what Rich pournelle is up to, 


yeah, what his plan is, and I love so this is one of those things, you know, we were talking about whether he sort of picked up on anything in the book that may have led him to this sort of a little more a typical characterization, but one of the things that it really does nicely, in the sort of mechanical sense, is it allows them to be super expositional, because the audience might not know about slingshot maneuvers. But everyone in this room does. This is not something which Brunel needs to explain. I bet even Annie would know, like, you know, she’s, she’s smart. She knows about a lot of this stuff. And he just, he’s walking them through step by step walking around Teddy literally physically, and like stuff out of his pocket. It’s pulling stuff out of his pockets. It’s he’s so sort of the character that he has built. It is absolutely believable that he would be this expositional. Yes, unnecessary. And yet now the audience has got it. It’s the it’s the perfect framing for a tele Donna moment. 


It was an I love Teddy’s reaction. 


Get out. 


Yeah, that’s it. I also, I also love Vincent popping the pan against Danny’s forehead. Just, again, more indication that these people have worked together for a really long time that they, 


and he took the chance because he had like, if you’re gonna, he has the opportunity, he’s gonna do it. Exactly. He doesn’t get the opportunity to do this. Yeah, 


I enjoyed that. But I feel like the bigger the biggest sort of missing thing from Annie is not her profanity. It’s that she leaves toward the end of the scene. And in the book, we get an extra moment. So there’s this scene between Teddy and Mitch. where he’s talking about, you know, it’s it. He says it’s bigger than one person. And Mitch says, No, it’s not, which is sort of the central thesis of the whole story is that it is worth it to bring one person back. But in the book, we got an amazing scene, where when Teddy decides to not do the Hermes return plan, the rich Brunel outmaneuver any rips him a new asshole. If you remember that scene, no, Mitch, makes a big deal about how they should leave it up to the crew. And Teddy decides on not risking the life of the rest of the crew. And they all start to leave and he stays behind. And he starts to say something about like the next press briefing, and she calls them a goddamn coward. And she just rips him apart, we would be able to bring Mark home if you had if you had the balls to let us and she really sort of has the team’s back. And that is one of the scenes to me that is important for Annie’s character, because the Annie of the movie is sort of just a PR person. Like you get the sense that she could work at a Hollywood studios, the fact that she works at NASA is kind of irrelevant. She’s just here to do a job. Whereas in the book, this scene really establishes the fact that she’s one of the team. She is helping to bring Mark home. And Teddy’s decision is hindering her efforts to make this happen. And that is not only a great moment for her character, I feel like it really helps cement the team back on Earth and isolates Teddy from them a little bit. He’s the leader. He’s got that, you know, the the loneliness of wearing the crown. And I missed that. I would love to have Kristen Wiig rip Hammond. Oh, that would have been amazing. 


In the movie. My favorite conflict is Teddy versus Mitch, which is saying something because I think the biggest conflict is Watney versus Mars. You know, yeah. But in the book, that’s my favorite conflict. Yeah. But in the movie, I think it’s Teddy versus Mitch, just because they’re such powerful actors. They’re powerful, powerful characters. And seeing those two sit across from each other sniping at each other. It’s and, you know, just the, the way that Teddy can put down, Mitch, just, I’m boss sort of way. Yeah. Is. It’s fascinating to watch. I 


could watch a two hour movie of them debating what to do. Yeah, like just those guys sitting in chairs, just going at it. Uh huh. So next up, we get this wonderful montage of the Hermes crew talking to their family because they they are doing, you know, the they’re doing the rich pradel maneuver. Which by the way we do we do get the moment where Mitch sends them the rich Brunel maneuver, and then they decide to do the mutiny. Yeah. And it’s a great scene. 


That scene I wrote down as it’s either project King Arthur’s Court, because they’re all sitting around this table just trying to like, yeah, Louis wants them to seriously think it through. It feels like it’s some sort of last supper or whatever. I don’t know. But I loved seeing them all sitting around the table, having this conversation. It needs to be taken seriously. I’m not going to just take your immediate Yes. As a yes. until you hear me 


think about it. 


Yeah. Because Martinez is like I’m in and she’s like, yeah, except for we will be court martialed. Right. So you need and he’s like, I’m in which, you know, he’s gonna say, but, you know, 


they also I love Beck’s response when she turns to the rest of them. And she says, and for the rest of you, I guarantee they will never send you up here again. And back immediately goes good. He just leave like he’s here. You really get the sense that not going back into space as the upside for you know, like, he’s, I’m here for it. Yeah, it’s 


more to me. It’s more like, yeah, I’ve been up here longer than anybody else like, fine. Yeah, you know, and it’s not good as and He would never have jumped at the chance. Yeah, 


no, he would go back. But yeah, yeah, this is 


this was his goal. And he has met it. And, yeah, let’s do this thing and then be done. 


Yep. Yeah. So next up, we get this montage of the crew talking to their families. And this is one of those things. So here on the synthesis, this whole show is talking about talking about scientific and historical accuracy in entertainment. And that is something that we care a lot about an edge works. That’s how we built terrigenesis. That’s how we do everything at edge works is authenticity. And this scene, I really love because it’s authentic to the source material. If you go back and you look at the scene in the book, each of the crew members has a scene where they’re talking to their families. And those are the scenes in this montage is you get Martinez getting kind of reamed out by his angry wife, you get Vogel talking to his kids, each of these people are talking to their families. And they didn’t need to have them be exactly the same scenes from the book, you know, they could have had something where the where the whole crew was talking to their families all together or whatever. Yeah, they didn’t need to cast all these characters that were only going to get in for like one shot, you know, but they did. It’s a little bit more accurate to the book. And it’s better that way. It’s just unnecessarily accurate and good. And I I so love that. 


And then we have the montage of China and prepping for the launch. And it’s a stress relief. Is the stress release of this movie? Because I think it’s where we see. They are is this I think this is the moment where we see one of the scientists fall through this. And Mark that is not later 


I think that’s not quite now. Yeah, but it’s it’s around here. Yeah. 


So but the the whole montage is fun. And that’s what montages are generally made for Yeah. 


Maybe this montage is preparing the rover and then also pre preparing the tie and Shan is the same. 


I think maybe it is Yeah, maybe. But 


in the book, Mark Watney is often the stress relief. Yeah. And so because we’re not getting that in the movie, we have to have it somewhere. And we’re not getting it all the time. And as or rather, we’re not getting as frequently. And so this is a, a long set of here’s the fun of what we’re doing. And I do think that’s where it is because it’s when he’s drilling into the rover so he can make space for the stuff that he needs to put into the trailer or whatever. I mean, they’ve changed this in the movie, but he’s jumping on the roof to get falls and falls in and the site and then we jump back to earth and we see it happen to the scientists there to add it’s or the engineer or whatever. And it’s pretty funny. Yeah. 


This is also in the world of relief. This is where we get the first hint of backing Johansen Yes, and it’s super adorable. I love them in the book. I love them in the movie. I’m a big old softie, and I love romance, and back and Johansen back in your hands, and I just love them to death. They’re both gorgeous. They’re going to make the gorgeous babies ever. And it’s so sweet and so romantic and so awesome. And so unless you’ve got anything else before the time jump. 


Let’s see here. I have two things. The little robot moving around the hab. What is that? 


That is the sojourner rover. So the Pathfinder lander in 1997 landed and the way it worked, unlike the, you know, spirit and curiosity and perseverance and all the rovers that have come after those were just rovers. It was a rover that ran around, the Pathfinder landed and there was a rover and then also a base station. So the thing that Mark Watney is using the thing sort of looks like a pyramid. That is the base station for the Pathfinder rover. And then the sojourner, which is like the size of a kid’s remote controlled car was the thing that went out and sort of did the science and explored and then it would transmit to the Pathfinder, and then Pathfinder would transmit to space. Well, I 


totally missed that, you guys. 


Yeah. So that little rover from the 90s is you actually see him find it and pick and carry it with Pathfinder when he does that, but it’s useless. And so he just apparently turned it into sort of a Roomba. And it’s just driving around because why not? He does mention at one point when he’s doing the hexadecimal sequence. He does mention that for faster communication, the sojourner has three pairs of wheels, and he could put hexadecimal codes on each of the wheels so that they could spin the wheels and That Yeah. And he could get three bites at a time. But he doesn’t. Right, right, just turned it into a Roomba. Which by the way, if there are any, like toy makers out there anything if somebody could make just like a sojourner rover that just wanders around your house, that would be hilarious. I mean, 


I’d rather it be like, I’d rather buy one for like my nephew or something that’s a remote control, remote control to German, that would be 


awesome. Yeah. It’s also funny, by the way, I don’t know if everybody else feels this way. But when that rover landed, I was 111, something like that. And that has just sort of been filed in the area that’s been filed in the brain of Alexander as the size of Mars rovers. And so now whenever I see a picture of perseverance, or curiosity, or spirit, or any of them, I’m always picturing something that’s the size of a toy car. And then every once in a while, you’ll see a picture of the rover like next to a guy, and it’s friggin huge. And it always surprises me every single time I see a picture of these rovers to scale. I’m always expecting them to be the size of the sojourner rover. 


I, my last thing before we did the time jump is the actual sound effect. When you see soul whatever date Oh, that sound effect is saying Yeah, but it’s like, it’s got such a it’s so it’s like, it’s like the sci fi sound effect. Yeah. And I there’s something that it’s the sci fi or the deep sea. 


Yeah, perfect. Yeah. 


And I like that it speaks to the pirate thing. sonar 


vibe. Yeah. 


Anyway, I just, I was I’m really taken with that effect. But also, you know, we just we have an idea of what sci fi needs to look like for it to be sci fi, the the Holograms and the colors that that specific blue, or things like that, or, you know, if if you don’t have the high tech ship, your stuff is going to be like the lower tech green, you know, things like that, where it’s just, we have we have this visual vocabulary, or this auditory vocabulary that speaks to what we what we know of this genre. And it’s, it’s a pretty narrow field. Or space, I guess. I don’t know. So I I both like it and dislike it. 


Fair enough. Well, I think that’s a good spot to end for tonight. Yes. So we did not make it 

to the end of the movie, as we expected as we plan all along. Oh, totally. was our our plan. Holy buckets? Yeah. So we will pick up next week with the time jump. We do and slow folk, slow. I cannot 


say your name. I don’t know why. I always want to put the oil on the wrong place. I’m 




so sorry. So flow trash panda says so Mars is home to roombas. And you know what? 


I guess I’m 


the only planet in the universe exclusively inhabited by robots. 




right? Yeah. Yeah. You know, because Marx, they’re not in the story. But in real life. Yeah. Yeah. So be sure to tune in next week for the next episode of the synthesis where we will hopefully be finishing the Martian. 


Let’s finish this. 


Yeah, that would be cool. 


I think we need to be done. Yeah, with the Martian. So next week is the last week if we don’t get to the end of the movie that’s on us. And we’ll figure it out that but we’re not doing another episode. 


I guess what Lacey is trying to say is that if we don’t finish next week, that’s on j grape. And, yeah, I 


would never say that as a matter of fact. Okay, so we will talk to you guys in a week. In the meantime, subscribe. 


Yep. Be sure to subscribe and hit the bell. So you’re notified about new episodes. Also, check us out on Patreon. And you can check out some edge works and TerraGenesis merge, some of which I’m wearing right now. This TerraGenesis hoodie. Check it out. Some of it is available on YouTube right below the video. And then you can also go to Edwards entertainment calm and buy even more there. 


Follow us if you feel like it. Alex, actually tweets about science and space. I don’t necessarily a whole opinions are my own and not my companies. But you know, join us fine, find us, chat with us and we’re here to chat back. 


Okay. All right. Well, thanks for watching. Have a good night, guys.