“Our Mrs. Reynolds”
Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by Vondie Curtis Hall
After rescuing a town on an especially backwater planet from bandits, Mal finds himself inexplicably married to one of the local girls. They can’t dump her back on the planet because they’re now wanted for killing those bandits, so Mal struggles to make the best of the situation, encouraging Mrs. Saffron Reynolds to be strong and independent while most of the crew teases the crap out of him for landing himself fin this situation. Just when Saffron has convinced Mal that she genuinely likes him and wants to sleep with him, it turns out that she’s a masterful con artist who has just been luring Serenity into a trap. She knocks Mal out, then knocks Wash out (by kicking him in the head after failing to seduce him), then rigs the ship to fly into a contraption that will fry everyone on board and leave it for her crew to strip for parts or resell. Serenity’s crew manages to slip the trap, and Mal tracks down and confronts Saffron (who escaped on one of the shuttles).
Also, my review title is actually a super clever pun, because "femme" means both "woman" and "wife" in French. Ha.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Mal does pretty well, I think. Super freaked out by unwittingly getting married, anxious to keep Saffron from being upset, and having no intention to take advantage of her. Giving in when she insisted on having her wedding night seemed understandable, because that was definitely strong, explicit consent. I doubt he would’ve acted any differently if Book hadn’t made his “special hell” threat. His indignation at being the butt of everyone’s jokes is great, though. It’s almost like Mal is a weird combination of Angel and Xander. (Which is especially funny because the role of Mal was originally written for Nicholas Brendon, and Nathan Fillion originally tried out for the role of Angel.)
Zoë has impressively good instincts. She knew Saffron was trouble long before she dropped her innocent act. I wonder if it was the moment she creepily grabbed the cider glass out of Mal’s hand that raised Zoë’s suspicions, because that was a bit too slick and eerie of a move for such a sweet little homemaker. And I love how Zoë is completely confident in Wash. They argue and sometimes she gets frosty with him, but she’s only smugly pleased about Saffron’s failed seduction, not relieved or insecure. I also love when she hugs him, all smiley and proud, after they make it through the net alive.
Wash is great, but he’s kind of a dummy sometimes? Saffron’s attempted seduction of him was extremely obvious from the moment she shut the door to the bridge, but it took him until after the sexy origin of Earth story to figure it out. Is he that unaccustomed to being hit on? I suppose that would be pretty different from Zoë’s approach with him.
I think Inara’s reaction to Mal/Saffron is part of the original “Inara’s terminally ill” plot. Because she knows she’s dying, she won’t act on her feelings for Mal, because she thinks it isn’t fair to start something when she’ll only leave him in grief. But that doesn’t mean she can’t be hurt and prickly about the idea of him with another woman. However, since in canon she’s not terminally ill, what is she doing? Is she too proud to admit how much she cares about this infuriating man? Also she’s hilarious when she’s groggy from the drug. Definitely too proud to admit she kissed Mal. I suppose she could’ve lied and said she kissed Saffron, but maybe she thought Saffron might set the record straight.
It’s so funny (but adorable) how Kaylee’s first instinct on hearing that Mal got married is to be overjoyed for him. She’s like Jane Bennet, if Jane Bennet were a spaceship mechanic. Still, she does switch to comforting Saffron at Mal’s expense rather quickly. Jane Bennet would’ve been convinced it was all a terrible misunderstanding.
I’ve changed my mind. Jayne is a Slytherin, not a Gryffindor. At first, I thought he had to be a Gryffindor because he’s not that cunning, but the fact that he can be bought is a very anti-Gryffindor trait. He’s a mercenary-type Slytherin, not a mastermind. And someone needs to school him in the fact that women are people who shouldn’t be bartered. But I love Vera, and the rain stick so much that him trying to trade Vera for Saffron doesn’t make me hate him.
Simon helps Book figure out the marriage traditions on Saffron’s planet, and then isn’t involved again until he’s treating Mal and Inara. Not much for character development.
River…is actually in the background and silent in her two scenes.
Book is definitely Mal’s conscience. And he’s hilarious about it. And we get even more hints about his mysterious past! *discontented grumbling*
3/5 (Because of all Saffron’s cringe-inducing dialogue and behavior before she drops her act. The parts I do like, I like a lot, but the parts I don’t like, I can’t stand.)
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.