Written by Cheryl Cain
Directed by James A. Contner
Wash finally gets fed up with Zoë always siding with Mal instead of with him, and they fight. Wash decides the best way to solve the problem is for him to be the one to go deliver the merchandise to the middle man instead of Zoë this time. Unfortunately, this time is the run on which Adelai Niska’s men catch up to them, and Mal and Wash get kidnapped and tortured. Zoë and the rest of the crew pool their money to ransom back the guys. Niska only lets Zoë take one, so she picks Wash. Niska also sends Mal’s left ear with her. The torture having given Wash a whole new respect for Mal, Wash is dead set on rescuing him. So is Zoë. To their surprise, so is the rest of the crew. They storm Niska’s space station. Kaylee chokes up during the shoot-out against Niska’s men, and River calmly takes out three guys without even looking. Mal doesn’t manage to kill Niska, but he and the crew do substantially cull his ranks.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Mal is amazing. Torture will kill him before it breaks him, and he knows just what to say to keep his non-soldier friend from breaking too. A lesser man might’ve been in an “I told you so” kind of mood after things went south, but Mal only helped keep Wash distracted from the torture. I want to know more about him telling Zoë not to marry Wash, though. Dangit, FOX!
I bet the Zoë’s soldier mindset of obeying orders without question is probably pretty hard to shake, and I can see how that would be frustrating for Wash, who is supposed to be her partner, confidant, and equal. She could maybe try a little harder to put her marriage first, but I do think Wash should’ve just taken his cut-out-the-middleman idea straight to Mal instead of expecting Zoë to convince him. He can’t try to use her tight connection with Mal and then turn around and be angry at her for being so tight with Mal.
Wash can be incredibly immature and petty when he’s annoyed, and he definitely waits for a problem to finally blow up before he does something about it. With Zoë’s very even-keeled, tough personality, she probably wouldn’t recognize that there was a problem to begin with unless Wash said something, so he really can’t wait that long to bring things up. But the way he acts after Zoë gets him away from Niska? Wash is awesome. He could easily have become a quivering ball of pain and horror after what he went through, but he channeled it all into respect and empathy for Mal, and absolute resolution to get him out. You don't do something selfless for a Hufflepuff without getting repaid tenfold. And villains would be wise not to harm people Hufflepuffs care about.
The more I see of Inara, the less I understand her career choice. Seriously, wouldn’t it be much less complicated to be a therapist? You get to help people with their problems, but sex never gets tangled up in it? Even if she just really likes sex, someone as beautiful, talented, and charming as her shouldn’t have much trouble dating. She doesn’t seem vain or insecure, so I don’t think she needs the validation of being a highly sought-after Companion.
Jayne is very subtle with his penance. Apples for everyone! My treat! It’s interesting that he would choose something that, from what we’ve seen so far, would be most exciting for Kaylee. Maybe that was his cover, because nobody would be surprised if he showed her preferential treatment, but if he got something specifically for Simon and River, that would be hella suspicious.
Kaylee should stick to booby traps in future, instead of trying to participate in the actual shooting. She’d be able to distract herself from what her contraptions could do to human bodies by having fun tinkering with the mechanics of them.
Simon can do deadpan snark! Awesome! Also, I love him for dismissing Shan Yu’s writing as fancy garbage. I, too, have very little patience for pretentious nonsense. Particularly when it comes in the form of intellectual elitism, or poetry created by the author deliberately wallowing in his own misery instead of dealing and moving on. More points for Simon. It’s interesting that he wasn’t the one freezing up in the battle, just generally sucking at aiming. In the end, his reaction to the violence was kind of played for laughs, but I’d be interested to see a deeper look at someone who took the Hippocratic Oath processing the sudden necessity to do a great deal of harm.
River seems to exist in a state of never-ending existential crisis. “The sun came out, and I walked on my feet and heard with my ears. … I hate it because I know it’ll go away. … What am I?!” I’m so glad Simon hugged her then. That would be a horrible way to live. Particularly for someone so incredibly brilliant. Used to precision clarity, but now scrambled and lost.
Hey wow! Book is a combat pragmatist too, even though he’s a minister! I’m very impressed. And kneecapping is one of my favorite action tropes. Based on his line about how governments are comprised of ungoverned people, I would guess that whatever his past was, he was not an Alliance man, even if they think he was.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.