Firefly Watch: Episodes 12 and 13

We’re quickly coming up to the end of Joss Whedon’s Firefly.  Links to the rest of my posts about the show can be found here.

Firefly Episode 12 – The Message

 

Once again, a wonderful episode.  It’s come to my mind as I’ve been watching the show and writing up my thoughts about each episode that I’ve been heaping a lot of praise on, well, everything about the show.  Which if you’re not too familiar with the show might lead to some questions about why the show was ever cancelled, I’ve given it some thought, and I’ll talk about it during my wrap up of the show, which will come after two more episodes.  Yeah, I’m quickly running out of show.

Anyway, this episode set up a really interesting premise.  Mal & Co are at a space station picking up some supplies and they receive a large package, with a coffin and a corpse of a man Mal and Zoe knew from the war against the alliance.  He has a small message recorder asking to be taken back to his homeland to be buried alongside his family.  When they’re chased after by police who are after the body, they become a little curious about why, and then the fun starts when the corpse wakes up.

It’s become kind of standard for the show, so it’s not at all surprising to see the double-crossing that goes on all the time.  But it’s well done enough, and I’m watching one episode every night, if you were watching one episode every week, you probably wouldn’t notice the repetition quite as much.  This episode also has a tear-jerker of an ending, which is a welcome surprise since the show has mostly focused on the action and humor moments.

This episode does two things really well when looking at it from the character development perspective.  It continues to show Mal as a very deep character, one who is loyal to his crew and everyone he’s worked with in the past, but not beyond making tough decisions quickly when they need to be made.  Mal is the kind of Captain that people would run through a brick wall for, and it shows – both from his actions as well as the fact his crew has risked their lives to save him.

The other part of this episode that I enjoyed was the furthering of the romance between Kaylee and Simon.  I think it’s been done well, and it’s definitely been a lot of fun to watch.  It would help if Simon would stop putting his foot in his mouth, but it’s well within his character to constantly do so.

I’m also once again very impressed by Book, I said after the first episode that I thought he had the most room for growth as a character, and while he hasn’t changed much as a character, he has definitely proven himself to be the deepest character and one of the more mysterious (after River of course).

Firefly Episode 13 – Heart of Gold

 

I have two very separate thoughts about this episode.  On one hand, the characterization is once again absolutely fantastic.  On the other hand, more idiot plotting, I hate idiot plotting.

This one begins very simply, Inara gets a call from a friend (Nandi) who was formerly a companion asking for help.  Of course Inara asks Mal to help, and being the standup guy he is, he decides to take up the job.  The basic premise is that one of Nandi’s girls has gotten pregnant, and the father wants the child.  Mal & Co are called in to help protect the baby.

I have two big problems with this episode, both of which come from the gunfight towards the end of the episode, so obviously if you haven’t seen it this will spoil the ending.

The first problem, as Ranse and his boys are coming up on the bordello; Jayne shoots the person who was manning the turret on Ranse’s hovercraft.  Just shoot Ranse, he’s the only one who has a legitimate reason to be storming the premises, and he’s the one who rounded up everyone else and got them to attack Nandi’s bordello.  If he dies, it’s over.  This irritates me all the time.  Don’t piddle around and draw things out, get the job over with.  Ranse dies, everyone else calms down, nobody else has to suffer.  But if we do things the simple way, we don’t have the emotional moment at the end with Inara and Mal (which this episode does set up very well).

The other problem that I have with this episode, Wash and Kaylee are going back to Serenity so they can fly around and disrupt the attackers who are all riding horses.  When they get into the ship, they’re immediately fired upon by more of Ranse’s people who have gotten into the ship ahead of them.  Lets think about this for once second: you have an interstellar transport ship and you DON’T LOCK THE GORRAM DOOR?!  Aside from that, your plan has them getting there minutes before they have to take off?  Shouldn’t they have been there hours before they expected the skirmish to begin?  Wash at least should have been there if not Kaylee as well.

Idiot plotting aside, this episode does a great job of exploring Inara and Mal’s relationship – or lack thereof.  It’s kind of obvious that there is something between them, if for no other reason than the fact that Inara tolerates Mal’s behavior far more than she really should.  Along with this, there was another very interesting story seed planted in this episode.  While they’re working to set up the ambush, Zoe and Wash are arguing about having a child.  It’s obvious that they’ve had the discussion several times before, and they both have very valid arguments for their specific sides.  Unfortunately, both of these story seeds come in the penultimate episode of the show, which means I doubt they have time to explore either of them very much from this point on.  Which is unfortunate.

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