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Steven Strait & Dominique Tipper Preview a ‘Beautiful’ Final Season of ‘The Expanse’

Jacob Scott

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After six pulse-pounding and emotional seasons, the Rocinante and its crew’s harrowing journey across the stars—and through ring gates—is coming to an end.

We chatted with series stars Steven Strait and Dominique Tipper about what it was like to bring The Expanse to a close after it was canceled and saved, how the absence of one crew member and the addition of another will affect the dynamic on the Roci, and what their biggest hopes were for their characters in the final episodes.

Amazon Studios

So, you’ve had quite a journey on The Expanse, starting on Syfy, being saved by Amazon, filming during the pandemic… With all that in mind, what was it like going into Season 6 and knowing that it was the last one?

Strait: Bittersweet. On one hand, incredibly grateful that we were able to finish the story. It was always the dream, from the beginning, to be able to close it out on our own terms and have a complete beginning, middle and end, especially with something that we were all so passionate about, all these years. On the other, part of me just wants to keep working on it forever!

Tipper: I think we just love each other, all, so much. And we enjoyed working together and creating together. There is this thing of, we’re not only leaving the show and these characters, but the team.

Strait: Yeah.

Tipper: We’ve had such a joy, even through the hard times, shooting this show. But I do think there’s something to be said for being able to finish something as an actor, to finish an arc. Not many people get to do that. When we were canceled by Syfy, [we had] that feeling of, “This is so unfinished, there’s still so much left to do,” and then the joy of being able to finish off the arc—I know we’ve still got books left and stuff, but it does feel more final in a good way, on this occasion, then when we got canceled before! So, I think we’re quite lucky to be able to finish out our characters’ arcs in this nature and with such a beautiful final season.

Strait: We’re really grateful. I think, too, to what Dom was saying: We were always able to tell a very meticulously plotted story because the end was always a very specific place we were aiming at. I don’t think it’s possible to have a very concise, well-structured story unless you know where you’re going to end. It’s that Catch-22 of it, right? On one hand, we all got so close, and we’ve said that it’s always felt more like a theater company than a TV show. In that way, on the personal front, it’s a little sad. But on the creative front, I’m grateful we got to complete our story. It was what we always wanted.

Amazon Studios

What can you say about the new crew dynamics on the Roci this season? Holden and Naomi lost Alex (Cas Anvar), and whether they like it or not, they gained Clarissa (Nadine Nicole). How will that affect things in Season 6?

Tipper: Oh, God. [Laughs] I mean, we find Naomi with severe post-traumatic stress disorder. She’s reeling from the part she played in Alex’s death. She cannot find any consolation with that. And then we’ve got this person who not only tried to kill everyone, but who also pales in comparison, to her, as a replacement for Alex. She’s furious with Amos for bringing her on the ship. To add to that, they’re going around killing Belters in the name of this war, and again, there’s this challenge of whose side they’re on. Things are really fraught. Everyone is so exhausted from this war. They’re exhausted morally, they’re exhausted physically, and I think we’re just trying to get on with it. But it is literally punching holes in all of us, in different ways, and I think Clarissa is salt in the wound for Naomi. But I also think, for Holden, too.

Strait: Yeah. Everyone’s at the end of their rope, this year, at least when we first meet them. Having Clarissa be on the ship is difficult for Holden, no doubt. He trusts Amos and it’s a show of respect for him and that relationship that’s developed all these years, that he’s okay with trusting his judgment about that. But I think for Holden, he’s so preoccupied with the larger problems going on, and he’s so tired, that he’s just trying to hold it together. He’s just trying to hold the crew together—

Tipper: As always! [Laughs]

Strait: [Laughs] Yeah, I mean! [Holden wants] to complete what we wanted to do before we tear each other apart. And [Clarissa]’s presence certainly is not helpful, in that!

Amazon Studios

What was your biggest hope for your characters in these last six episodes? Was there material from the books you hoped would make it in, or things from previous seasons you hoped would come up again?

Tipper: I really wanted to play with Amos (Wes Chatham) and Naomi’s dynamic. They were so close at one point, and that kind of got torn apart by what they were doing, the choices they made. Going into this season, we have some scenes together that I think wrap up our relationship in a really lovely way. That’s something I really wanted to address in this season. And [also] just, what does the aftermath of something like Season 5 look like for Naomi? What effect does it have on her, the way she’s going forward in life, the relationships she has, how she conducts her affairs with the universe at large? But we for sure address that, and I think it’s beautiful. I think we got what I wanted to address with her.

Strait: I’ve always had this overarching goal in playing Holden all these years, to show a realistic evolution of a leader. Someone who was not prepared for what he was thrown into, except for his ethics and his moral core. Just trying hard to step up to the plate whenever he is presented with a challenge, and often failing, and learning from it, and showing that messy process of how someone grows into a place where he can hold the responsibility he is given. This season was a very gratifying completion, for me as an actor playing him. I think it culminates with a very mature moment of leadership for Holden, and it really completes that arc from the beginning on the Cant, where he’s constantly rejecting responsibility and making those choices out of a sense of irresponsibility and naivete. Being able to show his growth justified every step of the way, for all these years, is something I’m incredibly grateful for. I know it’s rare to have the time and the writing, frankly, to be able to do that. So, I’m very grateful.

The Expanse Season 6, Premieres Friday, December 10, Amazon Studios

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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