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October 4, 2015

Firefly: Shindig

by Keith McDuffee, posted Jun 23rd 2006 10:57PM
firefly shindig
(S01E06) Once again I'm diverging from the original airing sequence of the episodes and am instead focusing us on the intended order of episodes. In this case, however, at least the production numbers tell the tale, as 'Shindig' is numbered #3, where 'Our Mrs. Reynolds' is #5.

This episode concentrated very much on the relationship (or lack thereof) between Mal and Inara, with some very cute Kaylee scenes thrown in for good measure.

At one point in the episode, Mal tells Inara that it's not her he has a problem with, it's her profession. It's interesting how, though being a "companion" is looked upon highly in the future, Mal still thinks like the past, where being a companion is simply a fancy term for being a whore. It could be that he just hates the profession out of pure jealousy, as it's clear even from the premiere episode that they have feelings for each other.

I will say that I thought the idea of a Victorian-era-like ball took the whole past-meets-the-future aspect of this show a little too far. I can accept the thought of poor colonists on planets who can barely scrape by, needing simple medicines and cattle to go about their lives, but Persephone was of an upper-class area. So why are they also living like the past, dancing in circles and looking all pretty? When I think of the Firefly time period, I see two statures of people: the poor, cowboy-like colonists and ex-Browncoats, and the very futuristic-looking, neat gadget toting Alliance people. So where do these rich snotty folks living in the past come in?

If you didn't already love Kaylee, this episode definitely does it. She's innocently ignorant of what it means to be a "proper" lady on Persephone, and wins over the stuffy gents with her sophisticated engineering talk.

Not one of my favorite episodes, but it'll do.

Jayne-ism of the episode:
Jayne: "What we need is a diversion. I say Zoe gets naked."
Wash: "No."
Jayne: "I could get naked."
Wash: "No!"

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Just to add to what others have pointed at, I believe in the context of the VERSE - that Persephone and Boros are 'Middle' worlds so to speak - they are the most civilised of the rim worlds and as a result are not as backward as the rim planets but are not technically part of the core worlds. The middle worlds are the major centre of what once was the independence and are made up of older european settlers and as a result have their own little quirks some of them hearkening back to old earth - it is also hinted that there are nobles even on the core worlds but they would probably look down on men like Atherton Wing. 'King of Londinium with a nice shiny hat.'(Actually the whole concept of a Companion / Courtesan is pretty tied up in some concept of upper class..)

June 29 2006 at 9:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Happy Monkey

Joss picks the order, not FOX.

As for the Victorian stuff, I suspect that was pretty prevalent thoughout the upper classes in the Firefly universe. The home scenes in from River and Simon's childhoods had a bit of a Victorian feel to them. Outside of those examples, the only upper class Alliance views are either military or medical, which are antiseptic and uniformed, so you can't get much of a feel for the culture.

June 26 2006 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Akbar Fazil

So by your idea Doc, we should only talk about episodes that fox did no preempt or shove aside for other things. And we should not even talk about Objects in Space.

When you have a producer as your head writer on a show, his chosen order for the story to unfold is what should be viewed. NOT the suits at the networks idea of what makes better television.

June 24 2006 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

doc -- I understand what you're saying, and I struggled with the decision a few times. The fact that I at least point out the differences in the production order versus the original airing order is enough for me. There are a few more episodes that diverge from the original airing order, and I'll be following that again. So no need to mention your disagreement every week. :)

June 24 2006 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason Anderson

My favorite line:

"You want a slinky dress? I can buy you a slinky dress. Captain, can I have money for a slinky dress?"

June 24 2006 at 3:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love the exchange when Kaylee and Mal get to the party where she's fixed on the buffet table as Mal explains what to look out for.
"Is that him?"
"That's the buffet"
"How will we know for sure until we've questioned it?"

Man, I love Jane Espenson's writing...

June 24 2006 at 1:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Once again I'm diverging from the discussion aspect of the comment threads to point out that this is 'Retro Squad', and no matter what order Joss Whedon pulls out of his ass, I think the episodes should be viewed as they originally aired.

That said, I really like this episode. They did a great job with the casting. Edward Atterton (Three!) and Larry Drake (Prey!) were both pretty big name guest stars for the show at the time and their performances make the show that much better.

The scenes back at the ship while the shindig was going on were very good too. River's interaction with Badger is one of my favorite River parts in the series. And of course, the plotting you touched on is very amusing.

I get what you are saying about the style of the party being a bit off in the continuity of the series, but I always just chalked it up to people being weird. 500 years ago, today, 500 years from now, people will be doing junk that makes you scratch your head.

And hey, if you look really quick you can see The Starlight Intruder in the background.

June 24 2006 at 1:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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