Firefly, Best Lines (part III)

Hello! Welcome to the third and final installment in the “Best Lines” series dedicated to the awesome show Firefly. It seems fitting that I put up the final installment in the show seeing as how my wife and I just finished (re)watching the entire series on Netflix last night. It’s times like this that make me sad that there isn’t a second, third, fourth season to pick up where it all left off. Sad and very, VERY angry! DAMN YOU FOX! Anyhoo, enjoy the list and stay tuned for a follow-up with the best lines from Serenity. Just need to (re)watch it too (man, Netflix is good to me!).

Trash:
Mal and crew are reunited with an old acquaintance – Saffron, or as she’s known now, Bridgitte – who gives them an offer they can’t refuse. Seems the first laser ever made is ripe for the picking, and the owner just happens to be her ex-husband (her first ex-husband!)

Monty: Damn you, Bridgitte! Damn you to Hades! You broke my heart in a million pieces! You made me love you, and then you… I shaved off my beard for you, devil woman!

Mal: This is my scrap of nowhere. You go on, find your own.
Saffron
: You can’t just leave me here on this lifeless piece-of-crap moon.
Mal
: I can.
Saffron
: I’ll die.
Mal
: Well, as a courtesy, you might start getting busy on that, ’cause all this chatter ain’t doin’ me any kindness.

Inara: Right, you’re a criminal mastermind! What was the last cargo we snuck past the Alliance to transport?
Mal
: That was a little dif—
Inara
: What was the cargo?
Mal
: They were dolls.
Inara
: They were little geisha dolls with big heads that wobbled!
Mal
: Hey! People love those!

Inara: Well, since I can’t seem to find work as Companion, I might as well become a petty thief like you!
Mal
: Petty?
nara
: I didn’t mean petty.
Mal
: What did you mean?
Inara
: Suo-SHEE?
Mal
:
…That’s Chinese for “petty”.

Mal: Saffron has a notion we can walk right in there, take the Lassiter right off his shelf.
Wash
: I’m confused.
Saffron
: You’re asking yourself if I’ve got the security codes, why don’t I go in, grab it for myself?
Wash
: No. Actually, I was wondering… WHAT’S SHE DOING ON THIS SHIP?

Zoe: But Inara ain’t wrong. She can’t be trusted.
Mal
: I ain’t asking you to trust her. I’ll be with her on the inside the whole time.
Saffron
: See there? All you gotta do to be a rich woman, hon, is… get over it.
Zoe
: Hmm. Okay. [punches Saffron] I’m in.

River: She’s a liar.
Jayne
: That don’t exactly set her apart from the rest of us. The plunder sounds fun enough.
River
: She’s a liar, and no good will come of her.
Jayne
: Well, as a rule, I say, girlfolk ain’t to be trusted.
River
: “Jayne” is a girl’s name.
Jayne
: Well, Jayne ain’t a girl! She starts in on that girl’s-name thing, I’ll show her good ‘n’ all, I got man parts!
Simon
: I’m… trying to think of a way for you to be cruder. I just… it’s not coming.

Saffron: Durran, this isn’t what it looks like.
Mal
: Unless… it looks like… we’re stealing your priceless Lassiter, ’cause… that’s what we’re doing. Don’t ask me about the gun, though, ’cause that’s new.
Durran
: Well, I appreciate your honesty. Not, you know, a lot, but..

Durran: How long have you been with him?
Mal
: Oh— pfft! We are not together.
Saffron
: He’s my husband.
Mal
: Well, who in the damn galaxy ain’t?!

Jayne: Is spine okay?
Simon
: How much did they offer you to sell out me and River on Ariel?
Jayne
: Das crazy talk.
Simon
: Then let’s talk crazy. How much?
Jayne
: [looks to the door] Anybody there? [River pokes her head in] Anybody else?

Simon: No matter what you do, or say or plot, no matter how you come down on us… I will never, ever harm you. You’re on this table, you’re safe. ‘Cause I’m your medic, and however little we may like or trust each other, we’re on the same crew. Got the same troubles, same enemies, and more than enough of both. Now, we could circle each other and growl, sleep with one eye open, but that thought wearies me. I don’t care what you’ve done, I don’t know what you’re planning on doing, but I’m trusting you. I think you should do the same. ‘Cause I don’t see this working any other way.
River
: Also… I can kill you with my brain.

Mal: Yeah. That went well.
Inara
: You call this going well?
Mal
: We got the loot, didn’t we?
Inara
: Yes, but—
Mal
: Then I call this a win. What’s the problem?
Inara
: Shall I start with the part where you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere, or the part where you have no clothes?

The Message:
The crew of the Serenity get a strange and unexpected package from an old friend: his body! Initially, it seems he’s dead, but in time they realize he’s alive and smuggling cloned organs to a buyer. Unfortunately, the organs are worth something to some other people, crooked Alliance personnel who’ll stop at nothing to find him.

Simon: Yep—it’s a cow fetus.
Kaylee
: Guess so. It does seem to have an awful lot of limbs.
Simon
: It’s mutated.
Kaylee
: But cow? How do you figure?
Simon
: It’s upside down.
Kaylee
: [looks sideways at it] Oh yeah. Cow.
Simon
: And I’m out twelve bits! I really know how to show a girl a… disgusting time.

Wash: Oh my god, it’s grotesque! Oh, and there’s something in a jar.
Zoe
: Scared her away again, did you?
Simon
: D— This may come as a shock, but I’m actually… not very good at talking to girls.
Zoe
: Why, is there someone you are good at talking to?
Wash
: [looking at the “alien”] Do not fear me! Ours is a peaceful race, and we must live in harmony.

Jayne: I got post?
Book
: Might we all want to step a few paces back before he opens that?
Jayne
: Ha ha! It’s from my mother.
Inara
: So, do aliens live among us?
Kaylee
: Yeah. One of them’s a doctor.

Jayne: [tries on the hat his mother made him] How’s it sit? Pretty cunning, don’t you think?
Kaylee
: I think it’s the sweetest hat ever.
Wash
: A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he’s not afraid of anything.
Jayne
: Damn straight!

[Zoe and Mal open a coffin-sized box to find a body.]
Jayne
: What’d y’all order a dead guy for?

Zoe: First rule of battle, little one… don’t ever let them know where you are.
Mal
: WHOO-HOO! I’M RIGHT HERE! I’M RIGHT HERE! YOU WANT SOME O’ ME?! YEAH YOU DO! COME ON! COME ON! AAAAAH! Whoo-hoo!
Zoe
: ‘Course, there’re other schools of thought.

Mal: Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone’s carryin’ a bullet for you right now, doesn’t even know it. The trick is, die of old age before it finds you.

Tracey: [recording] You know, it’s funny. We went to the war never lookin’ to come back, but it’s… it’s the real world I couldn’t survive. You two carried me through that war. Now I need you to carry me just a little bit further… if you can. Tell my folks I wanted to do right by them, and that I’m at peace, and all. Uh… When you can’t run anymore, you crawl, and when you can’t do that, well… Yeah, you know the rest. Thanks, b-both of you. Oh, yeah, and, uh… make sure my eyes is closed, will ya?

Mal: Oh, the colonel was dead drunk. Three hours pissin’ on about the enlisted men. Uh, “they’re scum”, uh, “they’re not fighters”, and, uh… and then he passed right out—boom.
Zoe
: We couldn’t even move him. So, uh, Tracey just… snipped it right off his face.
Mal
: And you never seen a man more proud of his moustache than Colonel Obrin. I mean, in all my life, I will never love a woman the way this officer loved that lip ferret.
Zoe
: Big, walrus-y thing—all waxed up!
Inara
: Did he find out?
Mal
: Oh! Next mornin’, he wakes up, it’s gone, and he is furious! But he can’t just say, you know, “Someone stole my moustache!” So he, uh, calls together all the platoons…
Zoe
: We thought he was gonna shoot us!
Mal
: …and, uh… Oh, he’s eye-ballin’ all the men somethin’ fierce. Not a word. And he comes up to Tracey, and Tracey’s wearing the gorram thing on his face!
Zoe
: He’d glued it on!
Mal
: He’s starin’ the old man down wearing his own damn moustache!

[Tracey wakes up during his autopsy]
Jayne
: Spry for a dead fella!
Tracey
: Sarge?
Mal
: Yeah?
Tracey
: I think I’m naked.
Mal: You wanna explain to me exactly why you got yourself all corpsified and mailed to me?

Wash: I think they’re about done being stalled to— ahhhh… AHHHHHHH! Mal, your dead army buddy’s on the bridge.
Zoe
: He ain’t dead.
Wash
: …Oh…

Mal: Hear that quiet? Means the call’s already been made.
Tracey
: Well, that call… that call means you just murdered me.
Mal: No, son. You murdered yourself. I just carried the bullet a while.

Tracey: When you can’t run, you crawl. And when you can’t crawl, when you can’t do that…
Zoe
: …you find someone to carry you.

Heart of Gold:
An old friend of Inara’s, a madame who runs a brothel, kindly asks the crew of the Serenity for help. On a distant moon, the local Sheriff, a power-hungry and corrupt man, is hellbent on stealing his son from one of the local girls.

Inara: Hi.
Mal
: BWAH!
Inara
: Sorry! Didn’t mean to startle.
Mal
: You didn’t! I was just, uh… “BWAH!” That’s more like a… It’s a warrior like… Strikes fear into the… hearts of… You know, not altogether wise, sneaking up on a fellow when he’s handling his weapon.
Inara
: I’m sure I’ve heard that said. But… perhaps the dining area isn’t the place for this sort of thing.
Mal
: What do ya mean? It’s the only place with a table big enough.
Inara
: Of course. In that case, every well-bred petty crook knows that the small concealable weapons always go to the far left of the place setting.

Inara: It sounds like something this crew can handle. I can’t guarantee they’ll handle it particularly well, but…
Nandi
: If they got guns and brains at all.
Inara
: They’ve got guns

Jayne: Don’t much see the benefit in getting involved in strangers’ troubles without a up-front price negotiated.
Book
: These people need assistance. The benefit wouldn’t necessarily be for you.
Jayne
: That’s what I’m sayin’.
Zoe
: No one’s gonna force you to go, Jayne. As has been stated, this job is strictly speculative.
Jayne
: Good! Don’t know these folks, don’t much care to.
Mal
: They’re whores.
Jayne
: I’m in.

Inara: Nandi, this is Malcolm Reynolds.
Nandi
: I appreciate your coming.
Mal
: Well, any friend of Inara’s is a strictly businesslike relationship of mine.

Mal: I’ll introduce you to the rest later. They’re good folk.
Jayne
: Can I start getting sexed already?
Mal
: Well, that one’s kinda horrific.

Simon: Isn’t there a pregnant woman I’m to examine?
Wash
: You’d really lie with someone being paid for it?
Kaylee
: Well, it’s not like anyone else is lining up to, you know, examine me.
Jayne
: Whoop! My John Thomas is about to pop off and fly around the room, there’s so much tasty here. Ooh!
Wash
: Would be you get your most poetical about your pecker.

Kaylee: Everyone’s got somebody. Wash, tell me I’m pretty.
Wash
: Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion.
Kaylee
: ‘Cause I’m pretty?
Wash
: ‘Cause you’re pretty.

Mal: Nothing worse than a monster who thinks he’s right with God.
Nandi: Captain Reynolds, it took me years to cut this piece of territory out of other men’s hands, to build this business up from nothing.
Mal
: Nandi…
Nandi
: It’s who I am, and it’s my home. I’m not going anywhere.
Mal
: Well, lady, I must say—you’re my kinda stupid.

Wash: Well, I’m not sure now is the best time to bring a tiny little helpless person into our lives.
Zoe
: That excuse is gettin’ a little worn, honey.
Wash
: It’s not an excuse, dear! It’s objective assessment. I can’t help that it stays relevant.
Zoe
: I don’t give a good gorram about relevant, Wash, or objective. And I ain’t so afraid of losing something that I ain’t gonna try to have it. You and I would make one beautiful baby. And I want to meet that child one day. Period.

Nandi: Truth is, I expected a whole lot more of you to be takin’ payment in our trade.
Mal
: Well, we’re an odd conglomeration. Got a preacher, a married fellah, and the doctor… well, he’d have to… relax for thirty seconds to get his play. That’d be more or less a miracle.

Mal: Miss Nandi, I have a confession to make.
Nandi
: Maybe I should get the Shepherd.
Mal
: Well, I ain’t sinned yet. And I’d feel a little more’n awkward if he were here when I did.

Nandi: Malcolm, I been waiting for you to kiss me since I showed you my guns.
Nandi
: You okay with this?
Mal
: I’m just waiting to see if I pass out. Long story.

Inara: So you took to bed with Nandi. I’m glad.
Mal
: Glad?
Inara
: Yes! She’s a dear friend, and probably in need of some comfort about now.
Mal
: So, you’re okay. Well, yeah. Why… why wouldn’t you be?
Inara
: I wouldn’t say I’m entirely okay. I’m a little appalled at her taste.

Jayne: [over radio] Whoa, now, girl, that is just plain dirty.
Mal
: Jayne, you aware your radio’s transmittin’? Cause I ain’t feelin’ particular girlish or dirty at the moment.

Petaline: Rance, this is Jonah. Jonah… say “hi” to your daddy. [Shoots Rance.] Say “goodbye” to your daddy, Jonah.

Objects in Space:
A bounty hunter boards the Serenity and takes the crew hostage. His arrival coincided with the crew’s realization that River might be a “reader” (i.e. a psychic) and her decision to leave the ship.

Kaylee: You couldn’t possibly!
Simon
: No, I wish I was lying, I just…You know, we’d all just made surgeon. That was it, we were the elite. The world was ours, you know?
Kaylee
: So you had to be naked?
Simon
: Naked. Yes. And, uh, on top of the statue of Hippocrates. Can’t you just picture me?
Kaylee
: What, naked? Oh, well, hmm, mmm…Let’s see, I’mma have to conjure up a…yeah, that’s, that’s gonna be difficult... So did the feds come?
Simon
: There were no feds. Until I started singing.
Kaylee
: Oh, no!
Simon
: This is not–
Kaylee
: What did you sing?
Simon
: This is not funny. This, this is a morality tale about the evils of sake.
Simon:
[in River’s head] I would be there right now.

Jayne: Not ever ever?
Book
: Some orders allow shepherds to marry, but I follow a narrower path.
Jayne
: But you still got the urge? They don’t…cut it off or nothin’?
Book
: No, I’m more or less intact. I just…direct my energy elsewhere.
Jayne
: You mean like masturbatin’?
Book
: I hope you’re not thinking of taking orders yourself?
Jayne
: Heheh, yeah, that’s be the day.
Jayne
: [in River’s head] I got stupid, the money was too good.
Book
: [in River’s head]I don’t give half a hump if you’re innocent or not. So where does that put you?

Mal: If I want a lot of medical jargon, I’ll talk to a doctor.
Simon
: You are talking to a doctor.

Wash: Little River gets more colorful by the moment. What’ll she do next?
Zoe
: Either blow us all up or rub soup in our hair. It’s a toss-up.
Wash
: I hope she does the soup thing, it’s always a hoot and we don’t all die from it.

Zoë: Where’s River at now?
Mal
: In her room, which I’m thinking we bolt from the outside from now on.
Wash
: That a little extreme, isn’t it?
Jayne
: Anyone remember her comin’ at me with a butcher’s knife?
Wash
: Wacky fun…
Jayne
: You wanna go, little man?
Wash
: Only if it’s someplace with candlelight.
Zoe
: Sir, I know she’s unpredictable. But I don’t think she’d harm anyone.
Jayne
: Butcher’s knife?!
Zoe
: Anyone we can’t spare.

Mal: Girl knows things. Things she shouldn’t. Things she couldn’t.
Jayne
: What, are you— are you sayin’ she’s a witch?
Wash
: Yes, Jayne. She’s a witch. She has had congress with the beast.
Jayne
: She’s in Congress?
Wash
: How did your brain even learn human speech? I’m just so curious.

Wash: Psychic, though? That sounds like something out of science fiction.
Zoe
: We live in a spaceship, dear.
Wash
: So?

Jayne: Well, I don’t like the idea of someone hearin’ what I’m thinkin’.
Inara: No one likes the idea of hearing what you’re thinking.

Simon: Are you Alliance?
Early
: Am I a lion?
Simon
: What?
Early
: I don’t think of myself as a lion. You might as well, though: I have a mighty roar.
Simon
: I said “Alliance”.
Early
: Oh, I thought—
Simon
: No, I was—
Early
: That’s weird.

Simon: I don’t think my last act in this verse is gonna be betraying my sister.
Early: You’re gonna help me. ‘Cause every second you’re with me is a chance to turn the tables, get the better of me. Maybe you’ll find your moment. Maybe I’ll slip. Or, you refuse to help me, I shoot your brain out, and I go upstairs and spend some time violating the little mechanic I got trussed up in the engine room. I take no pleasure in the thought, but she will die, weeping, if you cross me.
Simon: You’re out of your mind.
Early: That’s between me and my mind. Let’s start with these rooms.

Early: You ever been shot?
Simon: No.
Early: You oughta be shot. Or stabbed, lose a leg. To be a surgeon, you know? Know what kind of pain you’re dealing with. They make psychiatrists get psychoanalyzed before they can get certified, but they don’t make a surgeon get cut on. That seem right to you?

Early: Alright, that’s all the hide-and-seek I got time for. [shouting] I know you’re on this ship, little girl! Here’s how this goes: show yourself and finish this exchange, or your brother’s brains’ll be flyin’ every whichaway! [normal tone] You understand, I’m sort of on the clock here, it’s frustrating.
River
: [over Serenity’s intercom] You’re wrong, Early.
Early
: I’m not wrong, dumpling, I will shoot your brother dead if you don’t—
River
: Wrong about River. River’s not on the ship. They didn’t want her here. But she couldn’t make herself leave. So she melted. Melted away. They didn’t know she could do that. But she did.
Early
: Not sure I take your meaning there.
River
: I’m not on the ship. I’m in the ship. I am the ship.
Simon
: River—
River
: River’s gone.
Early
: Then who exactly are we talking to?
River
: Talking to Serenity. And Early? Serenity is very unhappy.

Early: Where’d she go?
Simon
: I can’t keep track of her when she’s not incorporeally possessing a spaceship; don’t look at me.

Early: I only hurt people ’cause they keep gettin’ in the way of me finding you. Tell her.
Simon
: What am I, your advocate?
Early
: You are, starting now.
Simon
: He’s really very… gentle, and fuzzy. We’re becoming fast friends.
Early
: You folks are all insane.
Simon: Well, my sister’s a ship. We had a complicated childhood.

Mal: There was a guy. He was very blurry. You gotta be careful. Ugh. How come there’s a guy on board and how come you’re all of a sudden the ship?
River/Serenity
: I know you have questions.
Mal
: That would be why I just asked them.
River/Serenity
: But there isn’t a lot of time, captain. I need you to trust me.
Mal
: Am I dreamin’?
River/Serenity
: We all are [Mal rolls his eyes] Don’t make faces!

Early: You know, with the exception of one deadly and unpredictable midget, this girl is the smallest cargo I’ve ever had to transport, yet by far the most troublesome. Does that seem right to you?
Simon
: What’d he do?
Early
: Who?
Simon
: The midget.
Early
: Arson. The little man loved fire.

Early: Well I’ll be a son of a whore. You’re not in my gorram mind. You’re on my gorram ship!

Inara: Any chance that shiong-mung duh kwong-run might survive?
Mal
: Air he had left, I’d say his chance’d be about one in… a very large number.

Early:[floating in space]Well, here I am.

And that’s our show! As I was beginning to expect, I’ll need a fourth post if I’m going to cover the gorram movie. Gorram, good word! Stay tuned for the final installment! It’ll be shiny! Fei-oo! Go-se! Ching-wah TSAO duh liou mahng!

Firefly & Serenity or “How I Realized Fox Sucks!”

fireflyYeah, I know I’m hardly alone in loving the cult-hit Firefly, nor am I alone in censuring Fox for its inept and inexplicable decision to cancel it after its first season. But then again, that seems to be their thing. What is more lamentable is the fact that after years of maintaining a following worldwide, producing a movie, an RPG, novelizations, comic books, and countless fan sites, Firefly still hasn’t been renewed or picked up by another network! What gives??? C’mon Wedon! Futurama did it, why can’t you?

Well, comeback or not, Firefly and its movie adaptation Serenity were still kick-ass. In addition to its memorable characters, smart writing, and classic sci-fi elements, there was also the heartfelt themes of conquest, resistance, and “manifest destiny”. That above all else made the show a hit, in my humble opinion. In adapting the history of the closing of the frontier, Wedon tapped into a very familiar American narrative and showed just how timeless history and human nature are.

Premise:
To break the show’s background down succinctly, the story takes place roughly 500 years in the future, when humanity left Earth and began to explore the cosmos for a new place to call home. They eventually landed in the Blue Star system, a star with “dozens of planets and hundreds of moons” and began terraforming as many of them as possible. The inner worlds boasted the highest degree of technology and development and formed the Alliance, whereas the outer planets were sparsely populated and underdeveloped by comparison.

In time, the Alliance chose to expand and incorporate the outer worlds, prompting a coalition of Independents (or “Browncoats” because of the uniforms they sported) to resist. After a crushing defeat at the battle of Serenity Valley, the Independents were essentially finished. Thereafter, those “browncoats” who wanted to retain their independence took to a life of piracy, smuggling and spacing to make ends meet, pulling jobs in the outer-outer regions of space and staying clear of Alliance ships and “Reavers”, cannibalistic raiders who raid along the outer rim.

The Cast:
serenity-1One such group is the crew of the Serenity, a Firefly-class ship captained by former “Browncoat” Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (played by Nathan Fillion). His second in command, Zoe Washburne (Gina Torres), was with him in the war and served in his platoon. As a result, they have a relationship that goes deeper than most, which has been known to make her husband and ships pilot Hoban “Wash” Washburne (Alan Tudyk) a little jealous.

There’s also Kaywinnet Lee “Kaylee” Frye (Jewel Staite), the spunky and ever-cheery ship’s mechanic who seems to be talk to machines and make them work. Then there’s Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin), a mercenary who they poached from another gang and who serves as hired muscle on the ship. And last, there’s Inara Serra (Morena Baccarin), a travelling “Companion”, or professional courtesan, who acts as a sort of ambassador for the ship.

As the show opens, the crew of the Serenity pick up some new passengers. The first is Derrial Brook (Ron Glass), a Shepherd (pastor) who is seeking passage away from the inner worlds to preach aboard. He quickly becomes part of the crew and acts as Mal conscience, though it becomes abundantly clear that he is more than what he appears. In addition, there is the strange duo of Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Maher) and his sister River Tam (Summer Glau). Summer is apparently a gifted young psychic who was experimented on by Alliance doctors, and her brother risked everything in order to free her. Now fugitives from the law, they remain aboard the Firefly as part of the crew, hoping to avoid capture.

The Ship:
serenityThe namesake of the show and the movie, the crew’s vessel of choice is the Firefly-class transport. A n older model, this vessel is apparently favored by privateers and smugglers because of its complex design and the presence of secret compartments. Although it boasts no armaments and is outdated by most inner-world standards, those who use it tend to get pretty attached to it and remain very monogamous. Echoes of the Millenium Falcon there…

Season One:

an Alliance Cruiser

The story opens with the extended crew coming together and getting to know each other. Mal, having realized that Simon and his sister were fugitives, decided to take them in after he shot and killed an alliance agent who had infiltrated their ship. Thereafter, the crew set out to continue on their ongoing adventure, taking whatever jobs they could find and staying one step ahead of the authorities.

Reaver Ship

The constant threat of the Reavers is also a recurring element in the first season. Existing on the fringes of known space and coming from parts unknown, the Reavers appear to be expanding inward towards the core, becoming more brash and brazen with their assaults on shipping and colony worlds. Aside from their obvious brutality and insanity, not much is known about this menace, other than the fact that they look like orcs and their ships like spiky sharks!

In addition, River’s condition, the result of endless experimentation, becomes the source of growing concern by her brother. Though she was always gifted, it’s becoming apparent to him and the other members of the crew that she might indeed be a psychic. Given that his resources are limited, they eventually have to break into a medical city on his old homeworld of Persephone so he can do a more thorough examination. His conclusions are that they physically tampered with her brain in order to enhance her abilities. Fractured and suffering from bouts of schizophrenia, she is eventually accepted by the other crew members and begins to feel whole again.

This, more than anything, is a guiding theme of the show, which is the growth of the Serenity family. Already, there is a strong sense of comradery between Mal and Zoe, which grows to include Wash when he and Mal confront and ultimately resolve the issue of his jealousy. There is also the growing bond between Mal and Inara. Initially, the two appear to be mutually hostile, but it soon becomes clear that this merely conceals their mutual attraction. Kaylee, as always, is the cheery epicenter of things, making her role as the ship’s engineer seem like a double-entendre. In addition to making sure the machinery keeps running, she’s also responsible for ensuring that everyone gets along.

Accepting Jayne proves more difficult, given his questionable loyalties; but in time, the crew comes to realize they can trust him since he values his friends more than money. And even though there are aspects of his past that are still unclear, Book proves that he too can be trusted and will endanger himself to keep the others safe. Hence, he too comes to be accepted as a permanent fixture aboard the ship. As the season ends, it becomes clear that even though the crew still faces a number of threats – the Alliance, Reavers, mercenaries and ruthless criminal lords – that they will be facing them together.

The Movie:
firefly-serenity-art-dvdbash-1The film adaptation opens with themes that were well-established in the show. We have the crew of the Serenity still trying to make ends meet, still having to take jobs out of desperation, and still fearing for their safety as hostile elements close in. However, the movie version chose to what was slowly developing with the show and tweak them to bring some serious tension and resolution to the storyline.

These include the ongoing search for River Tam, and the revelation of where the Reavers come from. In an intriguing twist, Wedon melds the two story lines together, showing how River’s condition and her exposure to members of the Alliance government put in her in possession of certain secrets which they would prefer to keep a secret! It is for this reason that an elite agent named only the Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is sent out to find her, and is given blanket authority to do whatever it takes to achieve this goal.

The theme of family also gets kicked up a notch, with Inara having left the crew because of her incurably difficult relationship with Mal. Book has also left the crew in order to become the preacher to a community of settlers in the outer rim as well. Simon and River also seemed poised to leave when the job at the beginning of the movie comes dangerously close to going wrong and he decides that they would be better off on their own. However, this is cut short when during a payout, River is “triggered” by some sort of hidden transmission and begins kicking the ass of everyone in a seedy establishment. This, for obvious reasons, leads Mal to realize that there’s more going on with her than previously thought.

Reaver2(Spoiler alert!) Eventually, the crew realizes that the key secret which River gleamed from the minds of the Alliance bureaucrats was the existence of a place known as “Miranda”. The secret is also important enough that they’ve sent the Operative to find them, a man who’s talents and methods far outstrip those of the agents and mercenaries they usually send! After an incident where Inara is used as bait, Mal and the rest are determined to know what’s so important that they are willing to kill for.

With the help of their friend, Mr. Universe, they eventually discover that Miranda is a colony located in the outermost ring of the system. This world was apparently settled generations ago by over 30 million people, but things went terribly wrong after an experiment failed and killed almost everyone there. After braving the Reavers to find the planet, the crew stumbles onto the answer in a form of a recording from a scientist’s journal.

It seems that the planet was subjected to a drug known as Pax, which was a chemical agent designed to make people docile and non-violent. However, the drug worked too well, and most people became so passive and withdrawn that they eventually ceased all activity and died of starvation. The remainder, however, became extremely violent and uncontrollable and killed off all remaining survivors, including the scientists. They then took what ships they could find and began preying on shipping in the outer rim. The Reavers were born!

Having learned that the Operative has overrun every last known hideout of theirs and even killed Brooks, Mal decides that its time to fight! With the information of what happened on Miranda firmly in their hands, they make their way back to the reclusive moon where their hacker friend Mr. Universe lives. The Operative has it blockaded, but the Serenity managed to break past them by luring the Reavers into following them.

A huge firefight in space ensues and is followed by an equally tense firefight on the planet between the Serenity crew and the Reavers. In the course of the fight, Wash is killed and Kaylee and Simon are wounded, but River risks her life to save them all and give Mal the time he needs to reach Mr.Universe’s central hub. There, he confronts the Operative one last time, overcomes him, and sends out the broadcast.

Having seen the truth, the Operative orders his men to stand down. Mal and his crew are allowed to leave, mainly because he now knows he no longer has the grounds to hunt them. The Alliance has been dealt a blow from which it may not recover, and for the first time in years, the future seems uncertain. But at least there is hope. There is also much regret since the crew has lost two of its own, Wash and Book. But in the end, they set course for their next destination, carrying on in the only way they know how.

Final Thoughts:
I’ll just say it, this show rocked! It was loaded with great lines, great acting, great characters and lots of relateable material. And, like its theme song, it was pretty touching and emotionally involved. The show began with a pervasive sense of sadness, where people who were fighting for their freedom are overrun, beaten and forced into lives of running and criminality. But also, there is the redeeming sense of family and closeness that develops between the main characters. Though they are kind of a motley bunch, coming from vastly different backgrounds and having their own personal secrets, they eventually come together and realize they share a similar fate.

That is another thing that this show captured so well, which was the pervasive sense of alienation that takes place in a universe which is fast changing. Much like the frontier that inspired it, that process was very painful. Those who did not fit in with the dream of “manifest destiny”, i.e. Native Americans and settlers who preferred the freedom of the frontier, the question of what to do remained a terribly difficult one. The option of fighting seemed hopeless, but the alternative of surrendering seemed just as hopeless: a slow death replacing a swift one.

As Mal expressed in Serenity, “So me and mine gotta lay down and die… so you can live in your better world?” Another key line he said was “Half of writing history is hiding the truth”. Many a time I felt that Wedon was making a point about our own, how we often miss the fact that changes we’ve come to think of as natural and inevitable were in fact the result of decisions, and that they came with a lot of pain and suffering as well. Part of what makes this show emotionally appealing is that fact that we get to see good guys fighting against terrible odds, and eventually achieving a victory of sorts.

And of course there was the cool mix of cultures that gave the show a truly international feel. Whereas the planets appear to boast names taken predominantly from western mythology and culture, there is a hefty smattering of Mandarin Chinese in the spoken dialogue and written signs. Aspects of Southern, Arabic and other Asian cultures make appearances as well, both in the series and the expanded universe. Basically, Wedon seemed to be going with the plausible sci-fi premise that cultures would mix in the era of colonization to produce new and interesting cultural mosaics.

I for one would like to see where it goes from here. Would the Alliance fall? Would it become even more tyrannical in its pursuit of a “better world” and a unified system? And how would they get around the fact that Watt ggand Book exited stage left (Apparently due to money and the desire to not get typecast. Actors! Pfft!) But, we’ll never know unless someone gets off their duff and starts making new episodes now will we? So Mr. Wedon and/or the Fox Network, get off your duffs and bring back this show gorram it! We’ve waited ten bloody years and we’re growing in strength! Don’t make us come after you!

Oh, and to Mr. Nathan Phillion, whom I hear is trying to ressurect the show himself, tell us what its going to take to get this done and we’ll do our best to help. Please tell us it involves taking the Fox Network down, or at least the crop of execs who keep cancelling shows that are in their prime. Is it not enough that you give TV spots to the most pig-ignorant excuse for journalists and right-wing ideologues, you gotta kill anything with a soul before it grows too? Why don’t you just call yourself the Evil Empire Network and be done with it? I tell ya, the metaphor is too perfect here!

In the meantime, check out this kick-ass trailer from the Serenity movie. I plan to watch it again and would like to think others are too. Rock on Firefly!