Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hole

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Gaith, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    As previously reported, I enjoyed "Serenity" (the pilot) but didn't care for the next few eps... so, I jumped ahead to Serenity the movie, which I'd seen a few years ago; I figured that since my favorite aspects of the pilot were Mal and the Tams, that was my best bet.

    I enjoyed parts of Serenity quite a bit, but was overall frustrated, because the Reavers - the whole plot's raison d'ĂȘtre - make no sense whatsoever. If they're rage-filled crazies who are always super-aggressive, as the movie pretty clearly states, than how can they pilot and maintain their ships? Particularly since the show and movie are always stressing Serenity the ship's fragility, the Reavers' spacefaring capabilities should be impossible.

    It didn't have to be that way. For all we know from "Serenity" (the pilot) and their attack on the moon in the movie's first half, Reavers are just normal guys who take stim-packs or chug Romulan ale before going into battle. But, in order to make a fairly banal statement about human nature (breaking news: doping the bejeezus out of people infringes upon their humanity!), Whedon absolutely shredded the already tenuous credibility of his 'verse according to his own rules.

    That he was apparently planning this plot revelation years before the movie is worrisome. In any case, I think I'll stick with "Serenity" the pilot when it comes to this series in the future.
     
  2. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2001
    Location:
    Bonney Lake, WA
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Well, they're clearly not aggressive to each other, at least not to the same extent. Once you accept that they're capable of hunting in packs, other forms of cooperation such as ship operation enter the realm of possibility.

    It's a bit of a rationalization, but not enough to detract from my enjoyment of the film.
     
  3. Australis

    Australis Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    The thing that derails that film for me was the whole inner/outer planets thing.

    Too many planets orbiting one sun.

    Way too many outside the Goldilocks Zone. All they had to say was inner planetary systems, outer planetary systems, and it would have been fine.
     
  4. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Mannheim, Germany
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    I'd imagine they are like Klingons on steroids but with a strong leader they can almost function like a society.

    So every Reaver captain has to constantly keep his crew under control and pressure so they don't tear themselves apart during space travel but when they arrive at their destination all bets are off.
     
  5. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Location:
    Rhode Island, USA
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    if the Pax drove their agressor instincts off the scale, though, I don't see how they'd be controlling WHO they attack. Not like they are zombies that need non-infected brains, they're just people driven insane with agression/rage. They'd have torn themselves apart LONG before they managed to control themselves long enough to reach space.

    And even working together, once a battle started, the blood rage would have them just as likely to attack each other as the good guys...
     
  6. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    The Firefly "'verse" never made sense to me either. Whedon admitted he never put too much thought into it, aside from just having one system with as many planets and moons as he needed to make his stories.

    Fans have posited that the 'verse is actually a quinary system with FIVE stars to worry about:

    http://www.fireflyshipworks.com/wp-content/uploads/verse-frontbig.jpg

    I still wouldn't buy it as a viable place, but hey - in 2003 we only knew of a handful of planets period, and now we have hundreds with literally millions more out there. What the hell, it's good sci-fi. :)

    Mark
     
  7. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Location:
    I said out, dammit!
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Joss freely admits he has no grasp of real science. But his stories are about people, and the firefly verse is just a framework to let him tell his stories about the people.
     
  8. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2000
    Location:
    QC, IL, USA
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    I suppose its possible that a bunch of them DID go nuts and kill each other, but some of them managed to steal ships and escape the planet. Maybe, once off the planet's surface when they were no longer being exposed to the PAX, they were able to sort things out.
     
  9. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    North Wales
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Wasn't there supposed to have been a massive amount of terraforming gone on in the system? That would certainly explain all the viable planets and moons
     
  10. Brent

    Brent Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    TARDIS
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Didn't they terraform planets and moons anyway
     
  11. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2000
    Location:
    QC, IL, USA
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Yeah, but the opening scene describes "dozens of planets, hundreds of moons." Seems like way too big a number.

    Although, maybe the definition of "planet" and "moon" have changed. Remember when Pluto was a planet just a few years ago?
     
  12. Ethros

    Ethros Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2001
    Location:
    1123 6536 5321
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    The explanation of "dozens of planets, hundreds of moons" work just fine for me. It's not a documentary
     
  13. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2000
    Location:
    QC, IL, USA
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    It doesn't bother me either. But I know it does bother some people.
     
  14. Brent

    Brent Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    TARDIS
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    I can believe that in our entire universe of possibilities out there, there might be systems like these
     
  15. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Space Massachusetts
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    That is your huge plot hole?

    How about the fact they were supposed to be doing very poorly and still got money for a hover car?
     
  16. MeanJoePhaser

    MeanJoePhaser Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Location:
    Missile Command
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    And devoid of alien life entirely, too. Cuz we want a space western, not a forehead-alien-of-the-week.
     
  17. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2000
    Location:
    QC, IL, USA
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Money they likely got from selling the Lacetar laser pistol that they stole "Trash." Remember, 6 months had passed between "Objects in Space" and the movie. A lot can happen in 6 months.
     
  18. Kaijima

    Kaijima Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 27, 2004
    Location:
    United States
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    Joss wasn't the only worldbuilder involved though; I'd be curious to see how much Tim's input went in. Also, Firefly's universe is, overall, still better constructed than most television sci-fi universes. I mean, there's elements in it that are still more plausible or make more sense within, ironically, science, than say, Babylon 5. (I don't just mean that there's no FTL either.) Also, when Whedon has joked about "don't mention science" to me, it seemed more in the vein of "save me from fanboys quoting physics books". People seemed to take his comment to mean he was ignorant, anti-science, or didn't care one whit about plausibility.

    The map of the verse is interesting. While it may seem a bit outrageous, I do believe that within the fiction of Firefly itself, it is stated that the "verse" was considered an incredible find; not just a random star system humanity picked and aimed at. If the verse is suppose to be at the extreme edge of possibility within the setting itself, I find suspension of disbelief easier - after all, we don't complain about Hyperspace in tons of scifi. Meanwhile, "all" we're talking about here is a very rare arrangement of stars.

    The scenario also DOES make for good fodder for plot and drama; the weird-ass verse creates a very unusual geopolitical landscape for a setting in which nobody has faster than light travel and is restricted to living in a single stellar neighborhood. Even what we already saw of Firefly did begin to take advantage of this setting.

    As for the Reavers, they're actually a much bigger plot hole potentially than the shape of Firefly's star system(s). I suppose, the way I look at it is that the Reavers may be driven insane by the sight/smell of normal humans; the Pax may cause the Reavers to react to stimulation from pheromones as well. Fear response in humans may actually drive them into a greater rage; from their behavior, the Reavers themselves may actually be truly fearless and thus not trigger aggressive in one another.

    Also, bear in mind, that in Firefly's universe people are as used to basic spaceship controls as we are to automobiles. People have a lifetime of experience with the technology. Any ships advanced enough to be workaday vessels in such a universe must also have very good computer and automated systems to make /basic/ (not fancy flying) operation relatively simple. It might be plausible that the Reavers remember enough of spaceship operations at a hindbrain level that they can operate airlocks, push buttons on nav screens to travel to charted planets, etc. Keep in mind that there's every sign the Reavers do not maintain their ships. The ships are falling apart. Many have "core leaks" implying their reactors are on the verge of giving out. The Reavers might logically be headed for extinction within another decade or so, unable to use working ships to get anywhere.
     
  19. Goji

    Goji Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 6, 2006
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    The explanation of the Reavers never bothered me. What I really don't like about the film is how it tries to imply that River's psychoses are all the result of her knowing the Miranda secret, rather than the years of constant torture and experimentation. The Operative's line about "Judging from [River's] deteriorating mental state, I'd say we're both better off [for not knowing what she knows]" makes me cringe every time I hear it, as does River's long gaze into the camera and emphatic declaration of "I'm alright" after the secret is outed and she can, I guess, be perfectly normal now since everyone else can share the psychosis-inducing secret.

    No part of that even begins to make sense to me, especially since "Ariel" gave a much better explanation for River's behavior - the fact that her brain had been sliced and diced by Alliance scientists. And if she is still crazy at the end of the film, then Mal must be feeling a touch suicidal when he makes her the new pilot.
     
  20. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

    ^^ I hadn't even noticed that, but you're right; that's pretty asinine.

    As for the planets/moons, the high ratio of the latter to the former did cause me to raise an eyebrow, but that I can accept as part of the basic premise. However...

    @ Kajima - that's a very well thought-ought out and stated explanation of the basic theory Lindley proposed... but I still don't buy it. When put in close proximity to each other, extremely aggressive people remain extremely aggressive, and the woman's recorded message made it quite clear that they were totally overpowered by the beserker gas.

    @Forbin:
    I'm not going on "real" science here, I'm going on the rules of the franchise, that ships are incredibly difficult to fly and maintain. When he showed total crazies getting the better of perfectly sane people, he broke his own rule.

    As for the "about people" stuff... well, I can't say that there's much there either. The Tam brother was on the ship for months on end, with his sister mostly wandering around in a daze, and he "never had time" to hook up with the engineer gal? That's just lazy sitcom plotting.