original airdate: 10-25-02
is simple enough. Engine broken, ship lifeless in space, only
a few hours left to live. But the method used to present the
story adds some liberal spice to this otherwise standard plot.
Three timelines are represented as the viewer leaps from present
to recent past and then to many years ago. All three jumps
are made repeatedly and frequently, but after a few you get
the hang of it, and the story starts to come together.
the first fifteen minutes leaping around to the various timelines,
you catch on to the idea there is a serious problem with the
Serenity. The catalyzer on the port compression coil has blown
in a most spectacular way. Life support is down, engines wont
run, and well, you get the idea. This leads to an episode
fraught with peril and ample character background.
timeline, representing the years past, proves to be the most
interesting to fans of the show. Mostly unrelated to the episodes
plot, a large amount of background information comes out of
image as the dreamer and leader is reinforced. He bought the
firefly ship because he fell in love with it, and then he
found a way to make it work. (In a nod to Pinter, that "first"
scene is the last one.) His leadership is shown over and over
in this episode. He has a few harsh scenes where he appears
uncaring and overbearing. But from the big picture you can
see he has his mind on the crew and the ship and does what
he must to make sure both survive.
should be no surprise, Jayne was a mercenary and a thief prior
to joining the crew of the Firefly. He is a man with a price,
and the price wasnt too high, so Mal hired him under
dubious circumstances. You can see that he at least has respect
for Malcolm and the crew, most of the time, so loyalty does
exist. But he is a true service to the highest bidder
kind of guy," and probably not to be completely trusted.
care for Wash when he first came on board the ship. She didnt
trust him and didnt think he should be on board. Apparently
her tune changed some time before they got married. But no
information on this transition is provided. Yet.
is just a natural wiz kid. Her arrival on the ship was both
comical and completely by chance. But luckily for the crew
she arrived when they needed her most and has remained working
for them with the blessing of her parents.
joined the crew of the Firefly of her own free will. The ship
that she pilots is in fact one of Serenitys main shuttles;
she leases it from Malcolm and has an agreement for full autonomy
under her lease. Her personal reasons for joining the crew
and setting up shop with this band of misfits remain her own,
though she admits that she's loved this ship from the moment
she set eyes on it (the ship...or Malcolm?). But she is a
tough negotiator and did not underestimate her value to the
captain and crew.
no additional information about the arrival of Simon and River
is provided. But the original pilot holds that information
and should be coming up soon in the broadcast sequence.
forward/back/middle device works reasonably well for this
episode. The story itself is entertaining and well played
out. And it gives a nice opportunity to show additional background
on the characters. For any fan of the show this is some excellent
long-awaited dirt on the characters and where they came from.
Overall this episode was fun and dramatic at the appropriate
On a funny
note, the website for Firefly had broadcast the Captain's
s.o.s., and some TV gossip sites took that to mean that the
show was being cancelled. Thankfully, that is not the case,
but the show still has a ways to go before it secures itself
for another season. Future episodes are slated to pull more
on the main story line. We can expect the Alliance and the
Tam family to start having more importance in the shows to