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October 26, 2014

Countdown to Serenity: Firefly, Episode 1

by Chris Thilk, posted Aug 12th 2005 8:00AM
We open on perhaps the most awkward scene in the entire series.  This forced bit of backstory, showing Mal Reynolds and Zoe during the war for independence against the Alliance is the most ham-handed bit of the series to come.  It’s obvious to just about anyone that this was written and inserted by Joss Whedon as a move to appease the network, a move that worked out well.

Finally we’re back in real time, showing Mal and the rest of his crew in the midst of crime.   This is where the story really kicks in and we start meeting the characters living on board Serenity.  The pilot (and Zoe’s husband) Wash, Kaylee the incredibly cute mechanic and gruff mercenary Jayne (soon to be on the receiving end of many jokes he doesn’t understand.  There is also Inara, a Registerd Companion who works in what is now one of the most reputable areas: whoring. Along with the crew there are a number of new passengers.  Shepard Book, a minister with a mysterious past, the seemingly normal gentleman Donovan and Simon Tam, who dresses well and seems to have a thing for John Lennon sunglasses.

Of course we meet all these folk while and after Mal, Zoe and Jayne go off-ship on the planet Persephone, where they are trying to unload ill-gotten booty (or, as they say on M*A*S*H ill-booten gotty) to a gentleman named Badger.  Badger’s not taking the goods since they are marked by the Alliance, who are sure to be looking for the stuff.  It’s then that Mal meets the passengers and tells Zoe to shoot anyone (but politely) who goes snooping around the cargo hold. The dinner scene that comes soon afterward really gives us a sense of who Mal is. Shepard Book is told by the captain not to say dinner prayer out loud but Jayne is sent to his room after making crude comments about Kaylee’s obvious crush on Simon.
 
Later that evening Mal finds Simon in the cargo hold after learning someone on the ship sent a transmission to the Alliance. Believing Simon to be the government mole Mal confronts him only to find it’s actually Dobson, another passenger who boarded at Persephone. He’s there to arrest Simon but winds up, after a confrontation, shooting Kaylee. Dobson is apprehended by the crew and Simon is called upon to heal the mechanic but refuses to do so unless Mal runs from the Alliance cruiser bearing down on them after Dobson’s call.
 
After ensuring that Kaylee is stable and should recover Mal decides to see what is in the box Simon brought on board. When he opens the box he finds Simon’s sister River who has been in a state of suspended animation but soon wakes up. Wackiness, as it so often does on Joss Whedon’s shows, ensues.
 
The crew eventually makes there way to a border planet to offload the goods Badger refused on a contact named Patience. The crew is wary of trusting her since she apparently shot Mal a while ago. Mal, of course, can’t see why everyone is making such a big deal out that one little thing and insists on going ahead with the deal. Despite an obvious double-cross by Patience Mal does actually come out ahead on this deal. On their way off the planet, though, Wash has to do some fancy piloting to outrun the Reavers who have tracked them down.

Did I forget to mention the Reavers? Don’t worry. We’ll get to them in another episode.

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Evan Adams

idiot fox for canceling this show. It was the next Star Trek Enterprise or B5

August 12 2005 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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