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Old August 21 2010, 05:22 PM   #73
Fleet Captain
Re: Firefly ep by ep; rewatch and reviews

'In the pale moonlight' is beyond compare for me (and I am not Spock I suspect), it shows a moral ambiguity that you don't usually find in Star Trek

War Stories

The good;
So lovely to see Kaylee and River playing together at the start like excited children with Mal and Inara looking on like a pair of devoted parents. Exciting ambush and final rescue and some nice comedy with Inara and her client and the crew's reaction to her. Also hints that River may be a lot more dangerous than we ever thought she might be and some nice character stuff between her and Simon.

The bad;
How exactly does Niska find out where Mal and co are doing the deal? Aside from that not much.

Best line;
Wash; "I am a large, semi-muscular man"
also like;
Jayne; (aroused by the sight of Inara kissing her female client goodbye); "I'll be in my bunk"
Zoe; "Jayne grab your weapon!"
portending of things to come;
'No power in the verse can stop me' said by River and Kaylee in 2 VERY different ways.

Packing heat;
Nikka's thugs use Blazer R93's in their ambush and Uzis, Steyr AUG's and Baretta submachineguns in the station. Wash packs a huge Colt Cobra 44. Magnum in addition to his Mossberg shotgun, Simon a Glock and Kaylee has a Bren 10 pistol, Sonny Crockett's gun from Miami Vice. Anyone tell me what Book's gun is?

Kinky dinky;
The henchman is reading some truly ancient porn when the Serenity arrives, did the Alliance ban Playboy or something? Zoe tells Mal to 'Take me sir, take me hard', naughty schoolgirl style prompting Wash to give his wife a hearty spank on the ass as foreplay for their 'bunk time'..

Notches on the Serenity bedpost; Inara's first female customer. Mal confirms that he and Zoe never had sex.
Inarra;3+1 possible, Atherton.
Wash; 1-the missus
Zoe; 1-the hubby

Capt subtext;
So the whole idea of the River/Simon incest vibe was actually given to people by Alan Tudyk's in his commentary for this ep? Doesn't give a jot of evidence for it though. Inara's first female client, as Kaylee observes "They look so glamorous". Love her 'God!" expression as Jayne leers over them.
The latent jealousy between Mal, Zoe and Wash comes to a head, noticeably Zoe never promised to obey Wash but does Mal. Of course she picks Wash to save over Mal which must reassure him. The central message seems to be that Zoe loves them both equally but Wash in a sexual romantic way and Zoe as a friend/war buddy.

How'd they get away with that?
Mal and Wash horribly (yet somehow quite amusingly) tortured by Niska. Stops being funny when he cuts Mal's ear off!
Total Serenity crew; 9-Book back. The whole gang don't hesitate to cowboy up and go Saving Private Mal.
Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Wash, Kaylee, Inarra, Simon, River, Book

Subverting the Hollywood cliche;
Amazingly Niska escapes. Mal actually wants the guys to shoot the torturer rather than deal with him himself. Wash does his 'Leave no man behind' schtick whilst cocking about the smallest pistol you've ever seen.

Whedon cliches;
Devoted siblings, haunted charismatic leading man. Teenage girls with superpowers. Hookers. Babbling insane girls with truth in their madness. Fake cockneys. Misguided religious zealots. Numbered t-shirts. Girls with botanical names (Willow, Saffron, Jasmine). Absent fathers. Clever use of extensive flashbacks

Mal; 1
River; 1
Simon; 1
River; 1
Jayne; 1

Knocked out; Mal knocked out/dead but then revived
Book; 2
Simon; 2
Kaylee; 1
Mal; 2
Wash; 1
Inara; 1
Zoe; 1
River; 1

Kills; Inara takes no part in the combat and Kaylee never even fires her gun. Hard to tell amongst all the confusion but I'll give Zoe and Jayne 4 kills each and Wash 2. 3 kills for River. Despite both participating in the gunfight neither Book nor Simon kill anyone.
Mal; 11-
Zoe; 10-
Jayne; 11-
Wash; 2
River; 3

Happy high-class hookers in Space;
Everyone seems to be insatiably curious of whom the Companions are hired by, even Book, they're the futuristic equivalent of Heat magazine. She seems to specialise not so much in the sexual aspect of her job but in making everyone feel special.

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 in Firefly 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, the Sherrif in The Train Job and he later recurrs in the Dollhouse ep 'Ghost', one of my favourite eps of season 1.
Christina Hendricks; 2-Saffron in Firefly and a bar maid in the Angel ep 'The Prodigal'. She'll later star in Mad Men with Whedonverse alumni Vincent Kartheiser.
Ira Steck; 2-The intern here and the vamp Buffy fights in 'Lies my parents told me'.
Michael Nagy; 3-one of the hospital staff here, the Rat Pack vamp Jay-Don in the Angel ep 'The Shroud of Rahmon' and Alfonse (one of vampWillow's lackeys) in the Buffy ep Dopplegangland.
Cathy Cohen; 2-the admitting nurse here and the estate agent who hits on cool Xander in the Buffy ep The Replacement.

Firefly speak;
Weak tea=not good
Back birth=idiot
Companion=high class courtesan
Rutting=bloody (or perhaps 'fraking'?)
Purple belly=officious bureaucrat
Ta-gow=Oh god!
Won-gwa-pee= to urinate or defecate
Wah=what the hell?
Mah song=quickly
Nu-shu-quong=nice going
Sheinou-niou=no good
Mei, mei=actually been informed that it means 'little sister'

Shot; Jayne get's clipped during the rescue
Mal; 2-

Crew injured;
Mal and Wash tortured half to death with Mal's ear cut off. Thankfully Simon reattaches it.

Reminds me off;
The desert hill where they get ambushed is the same one Buffy fights the First Slayer on in Restless.

Questions and observations;
Niska returns as a recurring villain, I've often thought that Dollhouse and Firefly fall short of Buffy and Angel's success partly because they didn't have the interesting and exciting returning villains those series specialised in. Apples again, I'm beginning to formulate a theory that the entire series is actually about fruit. Alan Tudyk states that he believed Wash flew a couple of missions for the Browncoats during the war then was interned by the Alliance before seeing any action. Jayne and Book are workout buddies. Note that Jayne still takes the time to loot the bodies at the ambush site (and presumably recover the drugs from there and the money later from Niska's space station). Note it's Book who rigs the bomb on the mule.
So what is River who can effortlessly shoot three gunmen without even looking? Did the Alliance's experiments turn her into some sort of supersoldier and is that why they're so desperate to retrieve her? Or is she some form of X-men style evolving super being and the Alliance's experiments were designed to prevent her becoming dangerous? Or some secret weapon one of the sides developed during the Unification war and are now trying to cover up? Is that what scares Kaylee at the end?
Zoe cooks for Wash at the end which takes in greater significance if you've watched 'Our Mrs Reynolds'.
Marks out of 10;
. 8/10 and again bordering on 9, continuing the high standards of Ariel.
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