It has been a while since I have watched Firefly, at least in it’s entirety and I will admit, I have only seen it all the way through once. I am usually late to the cool shows and it took several people pressuring me to watch it before I did. I decided to work on re-watching it, not only because it is great show, but I am going to cosplay as Jayne at an upcoming con (RavenCon if anyone is going!), so I thought a re-watch could not hurt.
The first episode (in the proper order that is) is Serenity and starts off in a battle. Having seen it all before, I already knew that this is where Captain Malcolm Reynolds is forced to surrender. He does have a good quote in telling one of his men that “we are just too pretty for God to let us die.” That is the one thing that I have forgotten, or I suppose just not realizing, but how many good quotes there are in this series. It is here we are also introduced to Zoe and the relationship between Mal and Zoe as browncoats is a lasting one through out the series.
After the surrender, we meet up with the crew six years later as they are breaking into a ship to steal some goods. We are introduced to Wash, Jayne, and Kaylee and Wash is at the helm playing with his dinosaurs (“Curse you sudden bu inevitable betrayal!”). An Alliance cruiser comes along and the crew is able to distract them long enough to grab the goods and run. We find out later that the goods they nabbed are for a character named Badger. They stash the goods and head for Persephone to finish the deal with Badger.
As soon as I saw Badger, I realized that this is where I knew the actor from. Mark Sheppard, who plays Badger, also played Romo in Battlestar Galactica and some characters in Doctor Who and Supernatural. Seeing him here, I realized that is why I kept feeling like he was a sleezebag in Battlestar, because he really is here. Badger refuses to pay Mal or even accept the goods, which leaves them in a bit of a rut. Trying to decide what to do with it, Mal suggests going to Patience on Whitefall. Zoe reminds Mal that she shot him the last time they met and he said that it was kind of a legitimate reason.
During this, Kaylee is looking for passengers and it is here that we meet Shepherd Book and Simon. Inara also rejoins the crew and her profession becomes clear when Mal introduces her as a whore. Later at dinner (with real food!) Simon is asking a lot of questions. This was not something that stood out in my memory and it makes him seem very suspicious. Knowing why he is there and what is in his crate, this seems like a poor move on his part. Smuggling a family member seems like the best time to keep your mouth shut. It’s also here that Kaylee starts to become interested in Simon.
Mal is washing up from dinner when Wash calls him, saying that he had stopped a hail from inside the ship for an Alliance cruiser. Given his suspicious behavior at dinner, Mal assumes it is Simon, when really it was the thus far unnamed third passenger (his name ended up being Lawrence, if you were curious). The spy tries to take over and Kaylee ends up getting shot just as the Alliance ship is ordering them to release the wanted prisoners. Simon rushes to help her then backs away, threatening to let her die if they do not run, so they hightail it out of there and Simon patches up Kaylee. I kind of think if Kaylee was very aware of his actions, she may not have liked him quite as much later on. After Kaylee is stable, Mal charges out to see what Simon has in storage only to discover River. This is where Simon explains his story and why the Alliance are after him and his sister.
As they approach Whitefall, Patience talks to them and agrees to deal. However, Mal thinks she’s not actually going to pay him and will probably shoot him again, so they prepare to be screwed over. They meet with Patience and she does try to take the money and the goods and a gun fight breaks out. Zoe is shot, but we find later she was wearing armor that protected her. Patience is the only one left standing on her side and Mal takes the money from her. About that time, Jayne comes running in because the Reavers had followed them. They rush back to the ship and Mal shoots the Alliance spy (who had escaped and was holding River hostage) and they take off. Trying to outrun the Reavers, Jayne and Shepherd get Kaylee to the engine room and she gives them orders on what to do. Wash say they are going to pull a Crazy Ivan (which is apparently an actual military thing relating to submarines). With a Firefly class ship though, it’s having one engine forward and another in reverse to quickly spin around. The Crazy Ivan was successful and allowed them to escape from the Reavers (after which lead to Zoe stating that she needed Wash to tear all her clothes off).
After the dust settles, so to speak, Mal allows Jayne to interrogate the Alliance spy. It is here that the spy offers Jayne money to turn River in along with the rest of the crew. At the end of the episode, Mal asked why Jayne didn’t turn on him to which Jayne replied that the money wasn’t good enough. Mal then asked what would happen when it was and Jayne said it would be an interesting day. In my first watch of the show, I never really questioned Jayne’s loyalty to Mal, but it does make me wonder if the money could ever be good enough.
Simon comes up to talk to Mal, who out of no where asks him to join the crew. The best place for Simon and River to be is on the run, plus they could use a medic. Simon’s concern is that Mal will try to kill him in his sleep to which Mal says that if he was going to kill him he’d be awake, looking at him, and armed.
During the episode, Shepherd and Inara have a few conversations. During the first one Shepherd brings her dinner and she expects him to lecture her about her sinful ways. However, they end up discussing Mal and mention how loyal he is to his own crew. The second conversation is after they have escaped the Reavers, gotten their payment, and gotten rid of the Alliance mole. Shepherd talks about how he has only been out of the abbey for two days and how he was not sure he was on the right ship. His major dilemma is that Mal shot the mole and he was not sure that he could say that it was wrong. Looking back on it, this shows a lot of his character and I think by the end, it will really show how his morality as a Shepherd and a member of the crew will evolve.
Overall, there was a lot of character building done in this episode, which makes it interesting that this was actually the 11th episode when it aired on TV originally (way to go FOX). I never really paid much attention to how characters are set up, but the values and thoughts of the characters is definitely set up well for the rest of the series. I give this episode 9 Serenitys out of 10.