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Old January 6 2009, 10:45 PM   #14
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Re: Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

Hirogen Alpha wrote: View Post
I don't buy this justification. Simon's characterization throughout the series was never one of an action hero like he's portrayed in Serenity.
No one has an absolutely consistent "characterization" in every situation. There's a huge difference between being an "action hero" and being willing to do whatever it takes to save the person you love most in all the 'verse. How many stories have been told about unlikely heroes stepping up and exceeding their normal limits to save their loved ones?

I don't see why he would lie about this detail, either.
He didn't lie, he just spoke ambiguously. He said "I paid people to break River out." That's an entirely true statement; as we saw, he did have help from others in the breakout. It's just not the complete truth.

It just strikes me as inconsistent.
Of course it is. The point is that it's an acceptable inconsistency. Fiction isn't about documenting an alternate reality in absolutely perfect detail. It's about telling stories. Continuity is a tool for storytelling, but like any tool, you need to know where and how to apply it -- or hold back on its use -- to get the optimal result. Yes, it is a slight reinterpretation of the character and his backstory, but the necessity for some reinterpretation should be self-evident. Serenity couldn't be just a continuation of the TV series; it had to be able to stand on its own as a self-contained story for new viewers. Storytelling in a feature film has to be concise and efficient. Simon was a central character in the story to be told; the people he hired to break River out were not. Therefore, it was dramatically necessary to retcon things so that Simon was the focus of the breakout scene. It would've been overly complicated, confusing, and unsatisfying to present it in a way that was slavishly faithful to the implications of a single line in the series pilot. Reimagining the event was a logical storytelling choice, and it was the correct storytelling choice. Storytellers have the right to change their minds when it makes for a better story.

Which isn't as bad as the safe-word plot device, which would have come in infinitely handy during the series at a half-dozen instances, but of course never comes up because Whedon didn't conceive of this convenience until he needed it to advance the plot in Serenity.
Maybe, but there's nothing bad about that. Writers always come up with new ideas as they go. Any work in progress is subject to change. After all, if a writer never came up with anything new after the initial creation of a series, then where would the creativity be?

Besides, when in Firefly would the safeword have been useful? When in Firefly did River go berserk and pose a danger to the people around her? The only time she was "triggered" was in "War Stories," and there her actions helped the crew (and the only witness was Kaylee).

And surely you can't believe that Simon would be at all casual about using a safeword that would shut his beloved sister down like a robot. Do you have any idea how much that would humiliate and dehumanize her, and how much it would remind Simon of the horrible things that were done to her? There is no way he would ever, ever use it -- let alone tell anyone else about it -- unless there were absolutely no other choice. He loves River far too much.

Mal's behavior has already been mentioned. Doesn't strike me as consistent with the series (even if you throw in Those Left Behind--I haven't read Better Days and it looks like I'll be steering clear of it).
Like I said -- no human being is absolutely consistent in his or her behavior. We all change in different circumstances. Sometimes we behave in seemingly contradictory ways. I know I do.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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