Written by Ben Edlund
Directed by Marita Grabiak
Serenity needs to pick up cargo from a particularly backwater planet where they make clay. Inara also has an engagement there, with the son of the local magistrate (who is a jerk). Jayne is nervous about being here at first, because he failed to pull off a heist there a few years back. It turns out that they haven’t forgotten him, but they’ve turned him into the town hero because he dropped his loot on them in his effort to escape. Jayne enjoys being the hero for about a day. Then, magistrate sics Jayne’s old crime partner on him, but Jayne wins the fight. He doesn’t understand why the town continues to hero-worship him even though they know he betrayed his partner and only dropped the money to save himself. Inara’s engagement with the son of the magistrate ends up ensuring Serenity’s ability to escape the magistrate’s clutches, and they get away with the cargo.
Oh hey! Parallelism! Book has to explain the value of faith to River (which pretty much doesn’t work), and then Jayne encounters a whole town of people who have faith in an idealized version of him. Mal understands why they need it, but Jayne can’t. And it’s interesting that Mal understands it, being one who lost his own faith. Maybe that loss is still a wound for him, which is why he gives Book a hard time whenever he brings up religion. Even Inara’s subplot with Fess Higgins fits in, because he pretty much needed to have faith in himself, and in his ability to be a man independent of his father.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Mal kind of stands back and lets Jayne go through this madness, because his main concern is the deal. It’s interesting how he’s the one who picks on Simon least for his spazzy performance. He doesn’t care that Simon accidentally insulted Kaylee, but he will help her have more time with him. So I think he respects Simon but doesn’t particularly like him. It’s the combination that makes someone most immune to being messed with by Mal. I don’t think he’d pull that “Kaylee’s dead” prank on him at this point.
We get more of Zoë’s sense of humor! It’s very dry, with lots of sarcasm. Pretty consistent with what she’s done so far. Also, it’s interesting that she doesn’t call Wash by his first name. Admittedly, “Wash” sounds much better than “Hoban,” but sometimes you expect spouses to have different nicknames for each other than the ones everyone else uses.
Wash pretty much just reacts to Jayne the hero. I love how much he enjoys the shenanigans that befall his crewmates.
Inara could be a therapist. Why did she decide to be a sex worker instead? Just because it’s apparently viewed as a super glamorous job five hundred years from now, I’m still not sure I get why it would be an appealing career path for someone who clearly has so many other skills.
Well this is a nice bit of character development for Jayne. First, he expects to be run out of town (or worse) if he’s recognized, but once everyone’s singing about him, it doesn’t take long for him to really get in the spirit of being a folk hero. He’s still annoyed he lost his loot, but under the influence of all that admiration and alcohol, he almost becomes what the mudders think he is: Robin Hood in space, basically. And then he’s confronted with who he really is: a man who pushed his partner out of the ship and left him for dead before very reluctantly pushing out the cashbox. A greedy, selfish bastard. Somehow, it’s not as easy to be someone like that after you’ve experienced what it’s like to be a folk hero. Will this inspire Jayne to become a better person, or is he just going to drink his way through an existential crisis and revert to form?
So we’ve mostly seen Kaylee as a sweetheart who happens to also be an expert mechanic. Now we see more of the side where she’s also working class and very relaxed. It’s hard for her to understand that politeness is actually respectful, rather than stuck-up. I really like this side of her, actually. I think the sweet character is usually also extremely polite, but not Kaylee.
Simon is terrible at sarcasm. It’s hilarious. And he’s also terrible at lying! I love it. He’s just an awkward, highly strung gentleman, and he likes Kaylee. I love when he says Kaylee is pretty especially when she’s covered in engine grease. That’s probably the best compliment he could’ve given her.
I wonder if River would’ve had a concept of boundaries if the Alliance hadn’t broken her brain. Also, it’s odd that she would use so much logic to justify her fear of Book’s enormous hair. His brains definitely aren’t in danger from the weight of his hair; curly hair has a ton of volume even though it has the same mass as straight, flat hair. Maybe River has as much difficulty understanding fear as she does faith.
I’m still not sure I understand why Book is still on the ship. He’s not trying very hard to bring Christianity to the crew, and when the subject gets brought up, he seems to just say enough to get things to calm down again. More evidence that “Shepherd” is only a very recent title of his, I suppose.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.