Firefly Watch: Episodes 2 and 3

This is the second post where I discuss my thoughts about Joss Whedon’s Firefly.  After I watch each episode I take a few minutes to write out my thoughts about it, and then post them here.  Links to every post can be found here.

Firefly Episode 2 – The Train Job 

 

Even though I’m only 2 episodes into the series, I’ve really enjoyed what Whedon has done with the characters.  After the first episode I talked about how the actors started the series immediately in character, and I think the second episode really works to prove that point.

Mal especially shows signs of being a very deep character.  His overall character seems like it would be a typical gruff soldier type, but he really has a more compassionate side to him.  The first episode showed this when he was defending Kaylee from Jayne’s comments, and the primary plot of this episode showed the same thing.  He’s a harsh man when he needs to be, but he never lets ruthlessness overcome his compassion for other people, even those he doesn’t know.

This episode also gives a little more of the back-story behind the world.  It gives some information about the war Mal and Zoe were fighting in as the first episode opened, and explained part of why Mal is so willing to work against the alliance.

I’m still absolutely loving the interplay between the characters.  There are 9 people traveling on the ship, and each individual member has conflicts with 2 or 3 other members of the crew.  This is brilliant for a couple of reasons.  The first is that it feels very real.  If you have a small crew, they’re all going to know each other very well, and they’ll be constantly running into each other.  Secondly, it keeps everything fresh because you’re constantly seeing the different combinations of crewmembers interacting.

The slightly shaky camera continued in this episode, which really shows that it was intentional, although I think it was toned back a little.  Episode 3 is the first episode directed by someone other than Joss Whedon, so we’ll see if they set that up as a part of the show or if it was simply something Joss decided to do.  Either way, looking forward to episode 3.

Firefly Episode 3 – Bushwhacked

 

This is probably the darkest episode of the show thus far, as this is the first episode to really deal what the consequences of running into Reavers.  They’re briefly described in the first episode, but you never see the consequences of running into them until now.

Although it ends up being very dark, this episode starts by showing the crew playing a game of some sort in the cargo hold.  The closest analog to the game is basketball, but it’s a very strange version, and even the players seem to be using abstract rules.  It is interesting and helps to build a little more depth to the world.

Thus far I think they’re doing an excellent job of building curiosity around what happened to River while she was under the control of the Alliance.  There’s definitely something going on with her, and I’m really hoping that they had time to explore it in the short run that the show was given.

Couple thoughts about the characters; Inara is a very intriguing character.  The idea of the companion is one that seems a little odd for a science fiction story set 500 years in the future.  Right now, prostitutes are hidden in the shadows of our society when they aren’t outright persecuted for their trade.  It’s a little odd that in the show she is probably the most respectable member of the crew when they interact with society as a whole.  But then again, there were times in Earth’s history when courtesans were more respected and recognized as a more open part of society.

I’m also going to talk about Wash for a moment.  One of the places that I’ve heard about this show was the Writing Excuses podcast.  In the podcast where they discuss it, they mention Wash as pretty much the unanimous favorite character for the 3 podcasters.  3 episodes into the show, I think I could argue that he’s the flattest character in the cast.  To this point he seems like he simply serves as a comic relief character.  Unfortunately, he isn’t really needed in that role, the conflicts between other cast members lead to plenty of humorous moments.  I’m hoping that his character is explored more in the later episodes.

I loved one of the lines Mal delivered in this episode.  When talking to the Alliance Commander, the commander says: “Seems odd you’d name your ship after a battle you were on the wrong side of.”  To which Mal promptly replies: “May have been on the losing side, still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

It seems like the shaky-cam is here to stay.  It does make the show stylistically different from a lot of other shows, but I still say it’s annoying.  Oh well, on we go to episode 4.

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4 Comments

  1. Wash really comes into his own in an upcoming episode, I’ll be interested to see if your opinion changes after that one. But really, there isn’t a character that I don’t LOVE in Firefly. You are so right in that all the actors are right in character from the very beginning. That becomes even more apparent later on when you watch the episode Out of Gas, easily one of my favorite episodes of television. I’ll wait until you watch it to tell you what I mean by the comment.

    I’ve been aching to rewatch Firefly and Serenity but am waiting at this point until I can grab them reasonably on blu ray. It is such a great show and it is high time the family revisit these beloved, at least to us, characters.

    Reply
    • I’m up to episode 12 so far, I’ve been watching one episode a night and I have a Word file with my thoughts for each episode.

      The characters are all very well done, and honestly if it was any other show Wash would be a really solid character for me. Unfortunately he’s so far overshadowed by Mal, Book, and Kaylee in terms of personality, and River has so much intrigue in her backstory that Wash just kind of falls flat for me.

      It’s a very good show, I’m kind of sad that I’m running out of episodes so quickly – which is also why I quit watching two episodes every night and started watching just 1, keep it going a little longer.

      Reply
      • The first time we watched it we held off watching the last two episodes for several weeks (this was before Serenity had been released in the theater) as we knew we would be devastated when it was all over.

        Wash is definitely overshadowed by many of the other characters, but I’m very fond of him, not the least of which is because he is the one married man in the cast. He always felt to me kind of like the “reader” character if this were a book, the one we would inhabit to experience the rest of the story.

        So, has the theme song grown on you? Gotta admit it was odd at first but we grew to really love it.

      • The song is growing on me a little. It’s very appropriate for the series, but on it’s own it’s not a great song.

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