Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by Joss Whedon
A few centuries in the future, six years after losing a war for independence, a soldier named Malcolm Reynolds makes his living as an inter-planetary smuggler on a Firefly-class freighter space ship. His former lieutenant Zoe is his first mate, her husband Wash is the pilot. Their engineer is a sweet girl named Kaylee, and their “public relations” guy is a lumbering beast named Jayne. Inara, a space courtesan also flies with them. They take on a group of passengers after failing to get paid for their latest job: Simon and River Tam, a pair of fugitive siblings; a preacher named Shepherd Book, and a man who turns out to be an Alliance officer, chasing the Tams. While Mal, Zoe, and Jayne get into a firefight situation on a desert moon in their attempt to get rid of their cargo (and finally get paid for it), the others confront the Alliance officer. On the way off the moon, the crew runs afoul of a raiding party of Reavers, savage madmen who cannibalize their victims (among other things), but they manage to give them the slip with some awesome flying. Book will be staying on the ship, and so will the Tams, because Simon’s a doctor and screw the Alliance.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Mal is a protagonist who is very rough around the edges, with quite the chip on his shoulder. I like him. And Nathan Fillion is perfect for the role. Mal lost his faith when he lost the war, and now the only things he believes in are his ship and his crew. And his hatred of the Alliance, I suppose. He has a lot of pride, but his concern for his crew will trump it, like when he stops arguing with Inara because Kaylee’s in pain. Major points for the combat pragmatism. He doesn’t screw around. Probably the most promising moment is when he offers Simon a spot on the crew, and sanctuary for River. Let’s see…Gryffindor.
Zoë clearly has somewhat divided loyalties. She’s a soldier who’s used to following orders, specifically from Mal, but she’s also married to Wash. Wash wants to prioritize their marriage above everything, but Zoë seems to automatically put that military mindset first, which could lead to problems for them. Gryffindor.
I think Wash must’ve won Zoë over because of his sense of humor and his kindness. He’s a fun goofball who isn’t emotionally scarred from war, like she and Mal are. Hufflepuff.
Kaylee is adorable. One of my favorite behind-the-scenes facts about this show is that Jewel Staite was asked to gain about twenty pounds for this role, so that Kaylee would look softer, and Jewel was thrilled. It seems like Kaylee is the only one who can come close to challenging Mal without him getting really confrontational about it. Inara treats her like a little sister, Jayne possibly has a crush on her, she and Wash work together effortlessly, and she has a really cool connection with the ship itself. Hufflepuff.
It’s really interesting how, for all his brashness and lunkishness, Jayne is observant to notice the initial sparkage between Kaylee and Simon. Then, of course, he makes it all incredibly awkward, which probably sets them back a bit. Does he have a crush on Kaylee, or is he just really good at being a life-ruining older brother figure? Gryffindor.
I know that the main reason Joss included Inara in the show is that Fox insisted on it, but he certainly didn’t do a sloppy job creating her character. I’m definitely not a fan of her profession, but she’s also kind, sophisticated, and devout in her religion. And her willingness to run with Mal’s crew indicates that she’s hiding a great thirst for adventure. Ravenclaw.
Simon shows an impressive level of nerve, holding Kaylee’s life hostage for River’s safety. He’ll go to the end of the ‘verse to protect his sister, but the crew thinks he’s being a cowardly bastard because they don’t know about her yet. However, he’s not used to this stuff, so it’s no wonder he can’t shoot the Alliance man even when he has a gun to River’s head. There are so few brother/sister relationships on shows. Usually it’s two brothers or two sisters. I’m a girl with two brothers, so this is the kind of sibling dynamic I love the most. He’s so proud of River and so loving. Gah. Older brothers in real life should take notes. This is the way to be. Ravenclaw.
We really haven’t seen much of River yet. Super-genius prodigy, but clearly it didn’t make her impossible to live with, or I doubt Simon would be quite as devoted to her. Now she’s severely traumatized. I might have mentioned this in the “Damage” review, but I think Dana the crazy Slayer was cast from the same mold as River Tam (or a combination of River’s mold and the mold of that guy who became a Reaver after his ship got attacked by them). River’s arc is, perhaps, the arc Dana would have had if she’d been more than a one-shot character. Slytherin.
I like that Book isn’t 100% solid on his faith. He ends this episode unsettled and confused, which means he has somewhere to go. I feel like it would’ve been very easy to write the preacher character as very static, but Book is a real character. He changes, learns, and grows. It’s kind of like how Giles could’ve just been a stiff, irritating Englishman. Hufflepuff.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.