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Old August 7 2010, 08:52 PM   #10
Fleet Captain
Re: Firefly ep by ep; rewatch and reviews

The Train Job
The good;
We see a more moral side to the Serenity crew and love the face-off between Jayne and the other without Mal around.

The bad;
The sick bay design is rather stupid, wouldn't you want some privacy rather all those windows for people to see in? No one notices Serenity flying alongside the train?

Best line;
Zoe (about to fight the bar thugs); "Jayne?"
Jayne (shrugging) "Hey, I didn't fight in no war"
Zoe; "I have an image of that guy hanging from the ceiling"
Mal " I have an image of that guy not being me"
Mal; (of ripping off the Alliance goods) "I would do it for free"
Zoe; "Can I have your share?"

Packing heat;
I'm reliably informed by the folks on the yuku Xena forums that the sniper rifle Jayne used in Serenity is a Blaser R93. The bar thugs pack a Colt 45, Glock and 44. Automag. The Alliance troops use H&K MP5s and SA80s.

Kinky dinky;
Sexy belly dancer.

Notches on the Serenity bedpost;
Inarra;1-a paying customer who wishes to make her his kept woman
Wash; 1-the missus
Zoe; 1-the hubby

Capt subtext;
Mal talks of 'being on the edge' then 'moving towards the middle', possibly alluding to the frontier and the central planets. Innara and Kaylee have a big girly hairstroking session (how the Summer's girls on Buffy used to express physical affection for one another). Inarra remarks to Kaylee "We could experiment". Mal seems keen on the idea and refers to Inarra 'servicing the crew' but she dismisses that as his 'lonely pathetic dreams'. Summer points out that Mal=Bad in Latin/French.
Mal tells Zoe he loves her but it's all part of their cover(?)
How'd they get away with that?
People on meathooks, never a good thing. River being experimented on also not good.

Total Serenity crew; 7(8?) River comments of Serenity "This isn't home". Book is now part of the crew with no backstory but still wonders about his role onboard. Jayne doesn't consider Simon or River part of the gang.
Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Wash, Kayleigh, Inarra, Book, Simon, River(?).

Subverting the Hollywood cliche;

Whedon cliches; (see I spelt it right!);
Devoted siblings, haunted charismatic leading man. Teenage girls with superpowers. Hookers. Babbling insane girls with truth in their madness.
Knocked out; Jayne by Simon
Book; 1
Simon; 1
Kaylee; 1
Women good/men bad;

Kills; Mal kills Crow and Zoe kills at least 2 of his men
Mal; 8-
Zoe; 4-
Jayne; 2-
Happy high-class hookers in Space (the title the porn industry wished they'd thought of!);
Kaylee seems fascinated by the details of Inarra's profession. Inarra claims a companion gets to pick and choose her clients which I think is about as realistic and truthful as the Dollhouse staff pretending to themselves that they don't hire the Actives out as sexual submissives. Mal still needles Inarra about her hooking but does so more subtlely and less nastily than he did in 'Serenity'. The nature of the companions work is left very vague here, if you hadn't seen Serenity you wouldn't know exactly what her job is, she could be a beautician.
Inarra enjoys turning the tables on Mal, pretending he's her indentured man (some form of community service in the future?).
Know the face?
Tom Towles plays the thug in the bar, he's also Cooper in the far superior remake of Night of the Living Dead and guest starred in Anthony Head's series VR5 (in which he essentially plays a prototype Giles)
Whedon alumni- Joss likes to reuse the same actors in his series, let's count up their appearances (let me know if I miss any)
Nathan Fillon-3; Firefly, Caleb in S7 of Buffy and Dr Horrible
Gina Torres-2; Firefly and Jasmine in S4 of Angel
Alan Tudyk-2; Firefly and the villainous/heroic(?) Alpha in Dollhouse (haven't seen season 2 so don't spoil it for me)
Adam Baldwin-2; Firefly and Marcus Hamilton in S5 of Angel
Summer Glau-3; Firefly, Dollhouse and the prima ballerina in the LEGENDARY S4 Angel ep 'Waiting in the wings'.
Carlos Jacott-3; The Fed in Firefly, Ken in the 'Anne' ep of Buffy and Richard Straley in 'The Bachelor Party' ep of Angel.
Andy Umberger;3-the captain of the Dortmunder in Firefly, D'Hoffryn in Buffy, the psychic surgeon in the Angel ep 'I fall to pieces'.
Mark Shepherd;2-Badger in Firefly and later turns up as one of Ballard's FBI colleagues in Dollhouse. Also a BSG alumni.
Jeff Rickets;3- one of the blue handed men here and Weatherby on Buffy/Angel plus the spiderdemon at the end of Angel season 4
Gregg Henry; 2- he's one of those faces that occur time and again in TV/movies and he later recurrs in the Dollhouse ep 'Ghost', one of my favourite eps of season 1.
Alliance good or bad?;
Again we see people who are pro-Alliance and not just upper class types like Simon. Here the Alliance provide medecine for needy and as the Sherrif points out they weren't the ones whole stole it.

Interesting ST:TNG fic where Picard learns that the Fedearations use of warp drive is destroying a sentient species who live in subspace. He protests to Starfleet Command but he's then asked what the alternative is, should they give up space travel leaving Starfleet defenseless against the Ferengi/Borg/Romulans? In the end he decides to toe the party line but accepts that the 'Prime directive' is an exercise in hypocrisy.

Missing scenes;.

Western cliches;
Mal is thrown through the bar window but in the future it's a forcefield. Telegraph poles beside the train track even in a world with inter-stellar travel. Jayne's 'aiming for his head' remark may be a reference to The Magnificent 7. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid/Jesse James also big on train heists (anyone watch the 'Deadliest warriror' showdown where The James Gang goes up against Al Capone? For my money it's James by a mile, he's a trained soldier and a combat veteran whilst Capone probably never faced a target who fought back.
Firefly speak;
Weak tea=not good
Back birth=idiot
Companion=high class courtesan
Rutting=bloody (or perhaps 'fraking'?)
Shot; shot by the Fed during the robbery.
Mal; 1-
Crew injured;

Reminds me off;
Mal refers to 'We'll rise again' which relates to the Confedracy in US Civil War. Does anyone else expect Niska to tell a story about Meerkats and try and sell Mal cheaper car insurance? (if you're a Brit you'll understand that, if you're not don't worry about it). The town of Paradiso may refer to the old Western series 'Paradise'. Crazy genius River is very Drusilla/Pylea Fred, drugged Jayne reminiscent of AI in 'Spin the Bottle'. Wash's Hawaiin shirt is very Xander especially the one he lent to Spike in the season 4 ep Doomed. The 'we're not going' remark is reminiscent of Aliens where Ripley goes to rescue Newt. Joss in his commentary draws comparison from Mal to Angel.
Of course the Alliance remind you off Starship Troopers but then Joss explains why on the commentary.
Questions and observations;
We now know the war ended 6 years ago. Inarra has been on the ship 8 months. Here we have a much more upbeat, likeable Mal, perhaps the events of Serenity mellowed him? He even says 'It's the right thing to do'. Book refers to the 'Fuzzy wuzzies' referring to Kiplings poems concerning the Sudan campaign Britain fought against Islamic fundamentalists in C19th (and we're still doing it today!).
What is the chain of command on Serenity? It seems to go Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Wash, after that anyone's guess. Note Mal doesn't kill the Fed on the train, just knocks him out. Joss refers to Inarra and Mal as Beatrice and Benedict from 'Much ado about nothing', check out the Kenneth Branagh version for the Beatrice and the Duke (Denzel Washington) proposal scene alone. Joss refers to Firefly as Star Trek;TNG dark underbelly, much as what was explored in DS;9.
Marks out of 10; 5 out of ten, nowhere near as good as Serenity, not a bad ep in itself but feels cheap in comparison to it's predecessor, like Charmed to Buffy.
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