Mark Watches ‘Firefly’: Episode 8 – Out of Gas

In the eighth episode of Firefly, nothing is really that funny at all and I might have to use the “Jurassic Bark” GIF more times than should be legal. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Firefly.

This episode is evidence for why Firefly should never have been cancelled.

Obviously, there are reasons littered throughout the whole series and the fact that FOX fucked up the broadcast order is certainly one way you can blame the network for the show’s demise. This episode, however, showed that even in the early stages of the season and the show’s greater mythology, the writers were willing to escape from the traditional narrative format in order to deliver one of the more moving and poetic stories told through the medium of television.

Tim Minear, who helmed the writing for this episode, eschewed the traditional linear model of narration to tackle something more akin to The Fountain or Amores Perros. All unfolding in real-time for us, we deal with the past (how Mal bought Serenity and assembled his crew), the near past (the events that lead to the oxygen leak) and the present (Mal, alone on his ship). The story lines are just confusing enough that I was engaged to the point of wanting to know what was going on, but not to the point where I was frustrated.

The point of the cuts and flashes to the other narrative lines are perfectly placed to create a visual poetry to the action on the screen. Every cut is a reference to a place, a thing, of something said in another part of the story, providing an almost ironic symmetry to everything. They operate like memories do: we can’t control what triggers them, and neither can Mal. Despite that this was obviously composed with careful attention to detail, Minear never makes the flashes seem out of place. When Mal stumbles to the floor after the captain of the second ship shoots him, he’s reminded of stepping over that exact place when he first brought Zoe on board Serenity. The show never briefly flashes to these moments in the past like most shows might; instead, the memory takes over and we see it in its entirety. It gives a sense of realism to the point of view; we start feeling that we are actually inside Mal’s head.

I sort of want to avoid doing a plot summary for this review because the multiple narrative lines would make this a bit too convoluted than I’d like, so I’m going to jump right into a long list section because I seriously have a lot of ~really deep thoughts~ I’d like to share.


  • The immediate compliment I want to make: This is Nathan Fillion’s best acting. He’s always dependable and believable, but in this episode, he clearly outshines everyone else. From the gasps in the cargo bay as he tries to make it to the engine room, to the damning look of defeat on his face as he stares at Inara for what might be the last time, Fillion is completely in his element throughout “Out of Gas.” Bravo, sir, you’ve made me a fan.
  • I felt that this episode would have made an amazing season ender, especially if it cut to black when Mal collapsed from blood loss and then IT NEVER WENT TO THE NEXT SCENE. Best cliffhanger of all time? Yes, I am an utter genius, someone get me a TV show to write for.
  • Wash’s mustache must come back. It has to. It was spectacular.
  • When Mal walked in on the sex acts in the engine room, my first thought was that he discovered Zoe and Wash. When it was revealed to be Bester, I thought it was going to be Inara in there, especially once I saw the flower print top. Could seriously not believe it was Kaylee and that makes me love her a billion times over.
  • Inara’s flashback demonstrated that she has far more control over Mal than we ever thought. It was pretty ironic that she said he could no longer call her a “whore” again, since that seems to be his go-to insult. That being said, he has actually stopped calling her that for the last couple episodes.
  • Jayne’s recruitment, though, is my favorite of the bunch. The look on his face when he realizes he can get his own bunk? Priceless.
  • “The ugly one.” “Could you be more specific?”
  • I like that the port compression coil has been mentioned multiple times by Kaylee, always needing to be fixed. Oops. πŸ™
  • This episode, aside from the humor in the flashbacks, is overwhelmingly not funny at all. This is made incredibly evident when the AMAZING scene of Simon’s birthday celebration is contrasted with everything else. It’s the calm before the storm and it makes everything after it a thousand times worse.
  • When River goes to talk to Book, he is awash in darkness and River is lit up and bright. Loved that detail.
  • “But that won’t happen. You’ll freeze to death first.”
  • Mal effectively prevents a Lord of the Flies incident from happening aboard the ship and that’s why he’s such a great captain. His fight with Wash was tense.
  • This is only the eighth episode of the season, so it’s obvious that Mal is going to survive. It’s what makes this episode so unreal: as Mal bids goodbye to all of his friends and crew members, it’s heart-wrenching. It feels completely real. Major kudos the entire cast and crew for making me believe this.
  • I’m now more than halfway through the series. Goddamn it.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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195 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Firefly’: Episode 8 – Out of Gas

  1. xpanasonicyouthx says:


    Mal asking the crew if they'll be there when he wakes up = MOST AMAZINGLY HEARTBREAKING THING EVER.


    • Meltha says:

      Yup. That one is a tearjerker. I love the dialog in this show.

    • Pseudonymph says:

      YES. I started tearing up.

    • kayla says:

      OMG I know! I love love love this episode to a million pieces (though I say that about every episode seriously).

    • takashid says:

      RIGHT? i was really tearing up when he said that, he looked so vulnerable, and not like the usual Mal!

    • niamheryoumind says:

      It's such a small look of vulnerability in a small scene but it adds a lot to the character. It gives you the idea that someone looking after him has never crossed his mind before.

      Non-liner storytelling is my favourite.

  2. hpfish13 says:

    This episode is the one that made me realize how attached I was to everything in this show. Not just to the characters, but to the ship itself. When Kaylee is so distressed about Serenity not being fixable I was right there with her.

    Also, the music in this episode is just plain fantastic.

  3. sageofmudora says:

    You are right, it is so sad this was ruined by the network. Such a short lived series.

    Great review, Mark. Thanks so much for doing this!

  4. jshen says:

    After the show was over, Alan Tudyk stole the big red button and gave it to Joss Whedon so that he could call them all back πŸ™‚

  5. maript says:

    This episode made me cry, both for what it is and for what could have been. Everything I watch from now on will have the shadow of this hour of television to deal with. Thank you, Mark, for being one of the catalysts that finally made me watch this (the other one was Dayna – if you ever need a reason to go back to Made of Fail, you and Dayna need to share airtime).

  6. Quiqonky says:

    I finally just watched this show too, and it is a damn travesty of the highest order that the show did not last at least a good seven seasons.

  7. Michelle says:

    I agree, this has got to be the most heartbreaking episode you have watched so far. Plus I loved how all the characters are introduced to the ship. Too perfect. When Zoe tells Mal that she doesn't want to hire Wash because something about him rubs her the wrong way, I was in love with the episode. Moustache and floral hawaiin shirts should make a comeback. I wonder if maybe Wash had been watching some old school Magnum P.I.?

  8. elusivebreath says:

    This is by far one of my favorite episodes! The opening sequence, with Mal lying on the ground and the slow drip of blood was so intense! I also loved how it started out sort of at the end and then cut back and forth between the different time frames, without it ever being disconcerting (in a bad way) or feeling forced. It really was seamless.

    The part with Bester and Kaylee was hilarious, and the same with Jayne … Again, the comedy is there even though the episode is so intense and dramatic. I am reminded once more of why I was SO SAD that there was only one season of this show. I just don't get it, it's GENIUS :/

    • ldwy says:

      I agree, I was super impressed by how natural the flashbacks felt. It was amazingly well done. It was just complicated enough that you were glued to the screen, wanting to understand, but you could understand, and it was fascinating to learn so much beautiful backstory.

  9. Karen says:

    This is my favorite episode of the show. Maybe. Idk. My favorite varies from day to day. But I do love this episode. It's so good. My favorite scene is where Wash and Mal fight in the infirmary because seriously Wash/Zoe OTP.

    Tim Minear has been involved in some of my favorite episodes of Angel, so I wasn't surprised to learn that he wrote this episode.

  10. cait0716 says:

    This is such an amazing episode and I love everything about it. Whedon and Co tend to do their best work when they depart from traditional tv storytelling.

    Also I love the way Mal gets Jayne to join the crew. It really highlights the fact the Jayne could betray them at any time. Mal has to talk a fine line with him.

    Also, "Everyone dies alone" makes me cry every single time.

  11. Kim says:

    Inara would never companion in a dirty engine room! She's fancy!

    That moustache is why Zoe didn't like him (IMO). (Also, re: Wash, love how parental he looks toward Mal when he comes to: "You got a thing in your arm…")

    How perfectly planned out to send one of them (Zoe) away unconscious so she could come to and initiate the return to save Mal.

  12. Maddi says:

    Haven't actually finished the review yet, but I just felt the need to tell you you get eight billion points for the Amores Perros reference. Siriusly, A+.

    • kayla says:

      BATMAN SHOULD NEVER LOOK THAT SAD. WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO BATMAN *cries* (sorry for the capslock but Batman *cries more*)

  13. Gretchen says:

    This damn episode.

    It's my favorite forever and ever, and it never fails to make me cry. DAMN IT FOX WHY DID YOU HAVE TO CANCEL THIS SHOW.

  14. JSpawn says:

    Other awesome/fun fact about this episode: Nathan still has the Compression Coil prop and in fact had it on the shelf of Castle's apartment in an episode from last season (the Halloween one).

  15. echinodermata says:

    From your Serenity review: "Prediction: We’ll see the day when Jayne is offered enough money."

    I love that in fact it's when he joins the crew that he's offered enough money to betray his (former) team. It's just such a great way to bring his character into this crew.

    And Kaylee's entrance is amazing as well. I really do appreciate that there's a general sex-positive perspective on this show, and espcially how they give respect to Inara and show her as a powerful, independent woman.

    And Wash's mustache! There's an amazing scene on the gag reel about this, but unfortunately the rest of the vid is spoilery.

  16. Rach says:

    Simon's "It was my birthday" line always moves me.

    I love how you are made to think that the salesman is talking about Serenity, but in the last flashback (I think) its a completely different ship, which is being ignored by Mal because he has fallen in love with the firefly at first glance

    • hpfish13 says:

      I forgot about that line! You've got me tearing up just remembering it. Sean Mahr's delivery is so perfect on that line.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        Ugh, that line is also so good.

      • Tanbarkie says:

        Yeah, the delivery is amazing. That line could very easily have gone wrong (like, "what happens when a toad gets struck by lightning" wrong) – a lesser actor might have come off as self-pitying. But Maher gives it this sort of wistful tone, like he's just in disbelief that it would happen today of all days. He's afraid of dying, and he finds the coincidence of the dates bitterly ironic, but he doesn't feel sorry for himself.

    • ldwy says:

      Yes, I loved that the salesman turns out to be talking about a totally different ship, but Mal uses the words of the sales pitch later.

  17. Jenny_M says:

    This is the episode that made me love Firefly. I don't remember which number it was in the original airing – four or five, I believe. I had been waffling on continuing with the show, and when I saw Out Of Gas, I was hooked. Forever.

    There's an amazing fanvid for this episode. Probably one of the only fanvids I like! Of course, I can't find it on YouTube, but it was a perfect use of "Hallelujah" before "Hallelujah" became the most overused song ever.

  18. pica_scribit says:

    My very favourite episode. I love the "how they met" trope, and I love the use of different colours of light and different camera filters to show the different timelines.

  19. Meltha says:

    This really was just a beautiful, beautiful episode, and in some ways a good metaphor for what caring about people, a sort of made family, is about.

    And in a completely different vein, you mentioned loving NF's acting in this one, and I know you were a Lost fan. I don't know if you ever mentioned this, but did you ever realize Nathan played Kate's police officer husband?

  20. Hypatia_ says:

    The mustache? Okay, this clip:
    Starts at 1:16. The relevant bit is only about 8 seconds long, but are 8 seconds of 100% WIN. Nothing spoilery before that point, but the last, oh, 5 seconds are a bit. So if you watch it, Mark, end it after the…mustache moment.

    • acbatz says:

      Oh thank you, I was just going to go look this up! It had to be mentioned – as should the fact that any Firefly outtakes are pretty much comic gold.

      • Hypatia_ says:

        Especially the ones with Nathan Fillion goofing off. The absolute best one is from the Big Damn Movie and is seriously spoilerrific, so I can't post it yet. As soon as Mark finishes watching "Serenity", it's going up here. That one never, ever stops being funny.

  21. Znachki says:

    My favorite episode of my favorite show. My favorite opening scene – the silence is deafening, and my favorite closing scene – Mal falls in love. Fun fact about the closing scene – Nathan Fillion had a bad case of the flu – hence the hectic color in his cheeks and the dazed expression. Also, notice that the lighting in each of the time segments is different. "Now" is different than "immediate past" is different than "past".

  22. Pseudonymph says:

    I hope this doesn't come off as blasphemy but does anyone else think there could be a Firefly: re-imagined type thing? Like they did with BSG? I don't exactly know how that would work but it seems like the only way that we could ever get more Firefly. Different actors, yes, and probably different writers. But maybe the universe and the story could be preserved and progressed. And maybe Joss could even have some sort of advisory role? It just kills me that we get so little time with these characters.

    • jshen says:

      it's too soon!

      • kayla says:

        Agrees BSG waited decades before they re-imagined it. As of right now because the cast and crew are still around if they did revive Firefly I'd want all the regulars back. It just wouldn't be the same without.

        • Fuchsia says:

          They've all said that if there was a way to bring Firefly back, they'd still do it (there were originally going to be three movies, if the first did well enough). I love that the cast is the biggest fans of us all.

        • Pseudonymph says:

          Well when I said "like BSG" I actually meant, like, 20-40 years in the future because I agree that it would be too hard to watch something called "Firefly" without all the original cast, especially while the original cast are still working actors.

    • Openattheclose says:

      Hmm, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I know FOX is working on a Buffy movie remake without Whedon's imput and none of the tv actors and that kind of bums me out.

    • Tanbarkie says:

      No thanks. The actors and writers are what make this show work. Replace them and you get the upcoming "Buffy" remake, not BSG 2003.

  23. Narcissaa says:

    "Grav boot aint your trouble. I seen the trouble plain as day when I was down there on my back before…?"


    I was excited for you to get to this ep because while it's not my favourite in the series I really love the set up and wanted to read your thoughts on it. You did not disappoint!

    And couple more episodic gifs.

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    ILU unsure Mal!

  24. Hermione_Danger says:


    God I just cry, every time. Sorry not to have something more substantive to say. Although, one thing: young-hopeful-flashback Mal makes me so sad. And always-chipper-sex-positive Kaylee makes me so happy.

  25. Hanah says:

    FAVOURITE EPISODE SO FAR. So, so amazing. I loved it. I've always adored 'how they got there' stories and this was so clever and brilliant and just…LOVE. Also OMG THE FOUNTAIN IS THE BEST FILM EVER AND PLEASE DON'T TALK TOO MUCH OF IT OR I WILL CRY. D':

    Wow it's pretty quiet old Serenity way
    Shit what is up with Mal?
    Love you Zoe!
    Aww this is before Wash? How cute!
    So what is going on here? SHIT NO NOT BLOOD NOT GOOD!
    Damn I love these titles so much. I could literally watch them all day
    Omg what has happened here?!
    I love their happy gatherings. πŸ˜€
    Aww Kaylee is such a cute flirt
    How shit is this funny story going to be? πŸ˜›
    Yay it's his birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! πŸ˜€
    Mmmm protein cake…yum!
    Uh oh. Bad sounds.
    Oh my god this is so many levels of bad
    Fuuuuuuck what happens to Mal?! And everyone else?!
    Oh Zoe D: This is so not good
    Come on Kaylee. Come on sweetie, get it together
    Wash, dude, you have to do your job
    This is so awful πŸ™
    Omg Wash, what is that 'tache?
    Awww Zoe, you will looooove him! πŸ˜€
    Lol how long did hippy dude last?
    This is like…the most fearifying stressful episode EVER
    Wow. That's a positive thought to dwell on then huh?
    I love it too. <3
    Aww River is going back to Shepherd
    Thanks River. Comforting thought
    Stop yelling guys πŸ™
    Nice one Jayne
    Oh god Mal, please be okay D:
    Lol not surprised they fired that one
    I bet that girl's Kaylee
    Fuck yeah go Kaylee
    Ha nice one!
    Mal is such a great captain
    Oh Mal, come on, you can fix it!
    :'( Captain goes down with his ship oh god this is so sad
    Aww the start of Inara. Nice headpiece πŸ™‚
    Lol 'cause that rule was well maintained!
    Go on. Admit your feelings. Might be your only chance
    D': <-me. Except about ten times more tears
    Omg omg omg PERSON!
    No Mal, there was somebody there! SPACESHIP! πŸ˜€
    YAY! But…Mal ends up bleeding? So something goes wrong
    I think you should join the crew actually Jayne πŸ˜›
    Awww poor Jayne doesn't get his own room πŸ™
    This episode? Is amazing.
    Come on Mal. You can do it. Save Serenity
    Only a few more steps Mal…no don't fall down!
    They'll come back anyway won't they? Because they <3 him
    YES! *air punch*
    Omg they love him so much. They're such a lovely family of awesomeness
    Awwwwwwwwww my heart is so full of love <3

    • pica_scribit says:

      I seriously love your comments and look forward to them every day, though sometimes it's hard to tell exactly what moment you are referring to. This is such an awesome episode. The "how Kaylee joined the crew" bit is my absolute favourite part. She is so unapologetic and positive about who she is. We should all try to be more like her!

      • Hanah says:

        Aww thanks so much! Sorry about them being a bit hard to work out – reading back on some of them from last week I don't remember what I was talking about either! I literally just open up notebook and write exactly what comes into my brain as I watch it then copy/paste it here. So sometimes what I am referring to is TOTALLY UNCLEAR.

        It *is* so awesome isn't it?! Ahhh I want to watch it over and over forever. <3333 And Kaylee has totally become my favourite fictional female possibly ever. I love her insanely. I wish I was that awesome.

        • ldwy says:

          Yes, I too wanted to thank you for posting these. They're so fun! And half that fun is trying to riddle out the parts that aren't immediately obvious. πŸ™‚
          I love Kaylee.

    • takashid says:

      And this episodes best line ever is "Y'all gonna be here when i wake up?"
      so heartwarming and awwwwwwwwish

      P.S still loving your comments

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  27. Fuchsia says:

    If I had to choose a favourite, this episode would be it. I love it so so much. And even though I've seen the series countless times and I know that everyone comes out of this episode alive and well, I *still* get worried and nervous and sad. Everything is just perfect, and I love seeing how they all came to be on the ship.

  28. Eilonwy_Llyr says:

    This is my absolute favorite of the series. Anytime I feel like just watching a little bit of the show, this is the episode I pick. Makes my cry even to talk about it. And I'm not generally a crier, it's just so beautifully done and masterfully acted. It's always like a knife to the gut when you realize this show was so short lived, and very unfairly so.

  29. Lily says:

    This episode makes me BAWL. Every. time.
    And I don't cry much.
    I think it's the beauty of the storytelling combined with the storyline and the fact that this amazing show got cancelled WAY before its time.

  30. xpanasonicyouthx says:


    • Znachki says:

      I think it comes out number 1 in every "What's your favorite episode of Firefly?" poll I've ever seen – followed closely by one other one. Then there is a secondary tier of about 4.

    • Araniapriime says:




    • kayla says:

      IT'S TRUE THIS EPISODE AND THE ONES AFTER IT ARE MY FAVORITES. Wait they're /all/ my favorite episodes because this show rules everything forever.

    • takashid says:

      OF COURSE XD!!!

    • This episode has been my absolute favorite since the first time I saw it, and I was so excite when I realised a few days ago that you would be posting it on my birthday. But then I went and had so much fun I forgot to go online, and I didn't read it till this morning πŸ™

  31. notemily says:

    "Be with you til the day you die." WELCOME TO MY MOST FAVORITE EPISODE.

    I, too, love the foreshadowing of the compression coil and I'm surprised you noticed it–I didn't, not until I rewatched. BUT YOU ARE TEH SMART.

    This episode WOULD have been a great season-ender, even if they hadn't done a cliffhanger. IF ONLY THERE HAD BEEN AN ACTUAL FULL SEASON TO END

    I wonder how long Book had been preaching, before he came to Serenity. AND WHAT HE DID BEFORE THEN. BOOK IS SO ~MYSTERIOUS~

    I like how Zoe is appalled by the idea of cooking for her husband when Saffron mentions it, but she saves him some food here and tucks his napkin in. Hee hee.

    Ugh, I hate when Jayne cuts Simon off. Let him try to make a joke! Although he'd probably fail.

    The moment when he takes a breath and then the fire happens… oh. So horrible and wonderfully done. And then the cut to the ship floating, dark, silent. I LOVE THIS EPISODE SO SO MUCH <3333

    I don't know if the fire would actually look like a twisty column spinning out of the ship, but it looks AWESOME so I don't really care.

    Kaylee's love for the ship continues to win my heart.

    Mal is such a good captain. He knows he has to get Wash to come with them, even though Zoe might be dying. It's the only way.

    LOL FLASHBACK TO WASH WITH A MUSTACHE. And Zoe is like "he sucks." πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Do you think Zoe made him shave the mustache off? Hee hee.

    And Wash yelling at Mal while Mal was telling him what he could do to fix the problem cracked me up. I'm a lot like Wash–I hate being told what to do, even when I know it's the right thing. I have problems with authority. πŸ˜›

    I love Kaylee in the flashbacks, because we get to see a side of her that hasn't really come out: her sexuality. Engines get her hot! And she's unashamed of it! I love her. It makes her one of the best female characters on television, I think, because so far she's been portrayed as kind of childlike–not Lolita childlike, actual little-kid childlike–and usually that means she wouldn't get to have sexual desire. But she can have childlike enthusiasm AND want to have sex in the engine room. Kaylee <3333

    The whole "Simon's birthday" thing makes me wonder how they measure time on the ship. I guess that would have to do with whether they have faster-than-light travel, which Joss has already said he didn't want to have to worry about. When they went to Persephone and it was morning, I assume they set their watches or whatever to the local time–but then do they just have it on that time until they touch down on another planet? I DON'T EVEN KNOW. Man, jet lag must be nothing compared to spaceship lag.

    I like how even Jayne is all business when this happens. No more jokes, just doing what has to be done. We don't usually get to see him like that. Angry, sure, but not calm and serious.

    The look on Mal's face when the air from the other ship rushes in. This really is great work by Nathan Fillion.

    And I love when he rises up with the gun. He's not going to let anyone take his ship.

    I like that when we get to the point at which the episode started, the camera takes us back on a tour of all the places Mal's been. Empty rooms. And then he doesn't make it to the button!! BUT THEY COME BACK ANYWAY!! <3333

    Did Zoe take one shuttle back and then call the other back, or did they both come back at the same time?

    This show is so pretty. The stark blue tones of the shots of Mal staggering around the ship, and then the warmness of when everyone comes back.

    The final fashblack scene made me tear up. Not gonna lie. <3.

    • ldwy says:

      I am in love with this comment.
      I am also in love with these characters. All of them.

    • bookling says:

      I don't think Zoe is appalled by the idea of cooking for Wash, I think she's appalled by the idea that because she's a WOMAN, she SHOULD cook for her husband. And I don't think she likes being told what to do or how to be a good wife by Saffron.

      Haha, I love when Jayne interrupts Simon because you can tell Simon is a terrible story-teller. He's going to stutter and stammer and give you all these extraneous details and then it'll take forever for him to get to the punchline. He's so awkward.


      AND YAY SEXY KAYLEE. I just wrote a comment about this part as well, because I love how Kaylee can have a kind of wide-eyed optimism but still be sexy, how she can be innocent but not have to be a virgin or a Judgey McJudgerpants about Inara's sex work.

      • notemily says:

        I don't think Zoe is appalled by the idea of cooking for Wash, I think she's appalled by the idea that because she's a WOMAN, she SHOULD cook for her husband. And I don't think she likes being told what to do or how to be a good wife by Saffron.

        Yeah, that's true. She does stuff for him because she loves him, not because she's a woman and it's her place, or whatever.

        I know Simon is a terrible story-teller, but Jayne is such a meanie! πŸ˜‰

    • takashid says:

      Book backstory was actually revealed recently in a (comic, book?) something that was released by josh. spoilers obviously, so i wont say anything.

  32. kaleidoscoptics says:

    This episode is absolutely beautiful. I love this type of origin story–not as a first episode "Everyone meets and heads off" but looking back on the past after we already know the characters a bit.

    Can I also say how much I love that the ship gets an origin scene? Because really, the Serenity is a character in her own right.

  33. Megan says:

    This is Zach Whedon's favorite episode, as he just recently said at a Q&A with Chris Samnee in Portland, Oregon. Why? "Cause it's so dang good!" There's an interview on Youtube but it is very spoilery for everything.

    This is also my favorite episode. Favorite favorite. For all your reasons and for just how beautiful it is.

  34. pkeridactyl says:

    This is also my very favorite episode, though there are some close seconds. I'm always so excited when someone else falls in love with Firefly – even total strangers! Now I'm curious to know what you would think of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog; once I can convince people not to hate automatically because it's a musical, they all enjoy it. One of my favorite Whedon projects of all time.

  35. mrsnorris says:

    I love the fact that other than those nasty gun guys that shot Mal, the main conflict in the episode is between the ship and its crew. Not that the ship is being mean or nasty, but it is neat that all the troubles caused came from a broken part of the ship, which could have happened at any time. They aren't being chased down by the alliance, aren't pulling off a job or anything, just travelling, when everything goes wrong. And it was simon's birthday πŸ™

    • notemily says:

      yes. and it's kinda Mal's fault, he knows it's his fault, because he never gave Kaylee money to buy the new part, but nobody starts blaming him. they're all in it together.

  36. stellaaaaakris says:

    Oh my, what an episode. LOVE LOVE LOVE. As I was watching this episode, I got worried that Netflix wouldn't have Serenity to watch instantly (it does – phew). I am going to NEED to know what happens.

    I actually gasped out loud, "NO!" when I saw Wash with his mustache. That was magic.

    And I absolutely adored how they met Kaylee. At first I thought it was going to be blond guy and Zoe (look, I don't know how my brain works). I thought we'd meet Kaylee playing with puppies or something.

    I might possibly be in love with Nathan Fillion now. Just saying.

    I really thought this would have been the last episode that FOX aired. It feels kind of "full circle"-y, but IMDb says it's only epi 5 or something. On the other hand, all the other episodes were out of order too so maybe it was still only half a circle when this episode premiered. Oh, what a different experience watching this when it aired would have been. What a disservice to this absolutely amazing series.

  37. bookling says:

    The scene where we find out how Kaylee became the machanic is one of my favorites of the whole series. I love how Kaylee can be so wide-eyed and innocent, but she's never portrayed as childlike or stupid. She's still a smart, capable, and sexy woman. Most TV shows would make a character like Kaylee a virgin, but Kaylee is pretty open about sex, when it comes to herself or to the way she doesn't judge Inara. And this is why Joss has a reputation for writing the best women characters.

    • ldwy says:

      YES, I love the way that Kaylee has the genuine blunt honesty of a child, and the enthusiasm and optimism, but she's not depicted as child-like. She's capable, smart, and possibly the most open about sex. I actually have very little experience with Whedon shows (I haven't watched Buffy or Angel—GASP! I know—), so I was floored with what a great female character she is!

      • Karen says:

        I actually have very little experience with Whedon shows (I haven't watched Buffy or Angel—GASP! I know—), so I was floored with what a great female character she is!

        I love Joss. Really, I do. But he does have archetypes that he likes to go to for his characters. Kaylee is basically Willow + Anya. River is Drusilla + a bit of early season 3 of Angel Fred. Wash is Xander (except somehow through the magic of Alan Tudyk, Wash is lovable while Xander veers towards the annoying). So idk. I watched Firefly before Buffy or Angel so when I first saw Firefly I was really struck by Kaylee too. But after seeing Buffy… yeah. She seems less unique.

        • Tanbarkie says:

          I disagree. Wash and Xander, I can maybe see, if you view Wash as a Xander who has grown up, but the other comparisons don't match up in my mind. Kaylee is not socially awkward, which may be the most basic character trait for both Willow and Anya. Drusilla speaks in nonsense, while River speaks in deeper truths (an important distinction) – they may both be crazy, but in very different ways. Dru sees the world through her madness, while River sees through her madness at the world.

          • Karen says:

            It'd obviously be an oversimplification of all the characters to say that they are the exact same, but I think that there are definite and strong parallels. I think you're wrong about Dru though. She's not all nonsense. Post-season 4 Willow isn't defined by social awkwardness at all, and Anya isn't socially awkward exactly, she's just very blunt and honest like Kaylee. But um. Yeah. Mark is intending to watch Buffy at some point, so I don't want to get into specifics here, but I really do see a lot of Buffyverse characters in some of the characters in Firefly.

            I guess my point is really that Joss has certain types that he likes to write for and Kaylee kind of fits into some of his favorite types. (Like when she tells Inara "have good sex!", that could have come straight from Anya's mouth. And half of Wash's lines could have come from Xander.) It doesn't make him an awful writer. It's just something to think about I guess. Idk.

  38. ramondestroys says:


    5 minutes in, I decided I wouldn't word vomit as the episode went on, and I'm glad I didn't because I was so involved. Everything you said about it was spot on and I really have nothing to add.

    SO MUCH SAD. Thankfully the ending melted my heart and brought me back to Happy Land πŸ™‚

  39. KellyG says:

    This is my favorite episode, from the first shot of Serenity dead in space – the absolute stillness of her gave me the biggest knot in my stomach. Intellectually knowing that things would turn out right in the end didn't matter one little bit. It was totally gut wrenching from start to finish. I've watched this episode more than any other and every single time I do, I feel like I'm walking into my own home only to find that someone I love has died.

    • Tanbarkie says:

      Zoic did incredible work with the drifting shots in this episode. In virtually every other scifi show/movie I've ever seen, a spaceship adrift sort of tumbles slowly or slows to a stop (?!). In accordance with actual physics, the broken Serenity and her debris move silently through space at a constant velocity.

  40. pbrim says:

    I thought people might enjoy Bedlam Bards filk on this episode. If you want spoilers, you may want to avoid the other songs for now.

  41. takashid says:

    well, it my number 1, but a lot of them are tied for my number 1, this episode is one of them. i love it sooooo much, i was wondering what you would think of it. you don't seem to like Mal that much, so i was "wonder if out of gas will change Mark's mind?". i cannot tell if it has, but i can see you love this episode, thats good enough. seriously, how is it possible that this show makes you belive that people can die? when Zoe gets hit by the explosion i was like ZOE NO!
    when mal got shot i was like that too, except it was more like WHAT NO-YOU TRAITOROUS BASTARDS!
    i think it's because this show isn't afraid of hurting it's characters, like you said, but also cause it's Josh Wheedon, and he is notorious for killing off people so watch out for getting your heart broken Mark. in a Wheedon show you never know who will get killed off for real.
    P.S did i spell josh's last name right? i cant tell, but spell check seems to think i didn't

  42. fireflyfan says:

    Love these comments by the people who are seeing Firefly for the first time. Reminds me of when I first saw it and how awesome I thought it was.

    • KellyG says:

      I only saw it for the first time a month ago. It arived in the mail during the last week of graudate school when I had three papers to write in one week. Friends had talked me into putting it on my queue, and I thought I would hate it, but I hated the papers I was writing just as much, so I decided to watch just one episode ('cause I was going to absolutely hate it!)….and then I watched another one, and then the next one, and then I watched them with the closed caption on, and then with the commentaries….and the then I was in real academic trouble because the next day the next disc came in the mail….

      Luckily, I watched all 14 episodes and passed grad school and got my parents hooked on the show when I went to visit them over Thanksgiving (Mom kept asking why there are only 14 episodes….) – It was something of a Fillion fanfest at the parents' house over Thanksgiving..

      Amazing how a nearly ten year old show with only 14 episodes can attract fans from 7 years old up to folks in their 70s (and older, I'm sure).

      Fox screwed up.

      Big time.

      • fireflyfan says:

        " Friends had talked me into putting it on my queue, and I thought I would hate it, but I hated the papers I was writing just as much, so I decided to watch just one episode ('cause I was going to absolutely hate it!)"

        LOL, your comment reminded of an article I read once. It contains spoilers from the Serenity movie (not the pilot, the final movie) though so please don't read it if you haven't seen the movie yet.… (CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS)

  43. Brittney says:

    Picking a favorite episode of Firefly is almost like picking a favorite kid, but "Out of Gas" is my personal favorite (an upcoming ep is only just slightly less tied with it). When this ep aired, I knew that my love for this show would forever rival the heat of every star in the 'verse.

    This episode has two of my all-time favorite non-verbal moments* of the entire show:

    Moment #1: when Mal is telling them the reality of the situation he reached up to a pipe just above his head and caresses it, as if comforting Serenity.

    Moment #2: when Mal finally gets the compression coil put in, and he does this little patting thing with his blood-covered hand, again in a kind of soothing, reassuring gesture. OMG I go to pieces every time at that little moment.

    *(My list of favorite non-verbal moments in Firefly is actually very long. Another from that list: in the first episode, when Simon is working on Kaylee and there's a shot from outside the infirmary or Jayne crouching near a window, anxiously watching to see if Kaylee's going to be okay.)

    • Tanbarkie says:

      Serenity – the tenth member of the cast.

      • KellyG says:

        I love that ship. I love every beat-up, patched up, grubby, dented, folded-origami-spaceship looking bit of her.

    • One of the upcoming episodes is my only just second favorite to this as well. I wonder if it's the same one? But then again, my favorite character is Wash, and any episode which features him is awesome in my book. *hint*

  44. farrellpaules says:

    No matter how many times I rewatch Firefly or have the option to, I always go back to this episode. Out of Gas is by far my favorite. Back when it was on air and in fucked up order, I felt like this was stand alone enough that I clung to it and it sealed the series for me as one of my favorites for life.

  45. DameDallas says:

    Loved this episode. I thought that if the pilot weren't the pilot, this epy could have replaced it. The characterization in this one is FAN-FUCKIN-TASTIC.

  46. Chameleongirl says:

    Ooo, Out Of Gas <3 <3 <3

    I visited the US a few (or more, ouch getting old) years ago and friends made me watch all the episodes of Firefly (in correct order). I came home with a new DVD box set and a giant love for everything about this show.

    Hope you don't mind, but I want to link you to a seriously awesome fan-vidder by the name of Luminosity.
    Scroll down to her fanvid for OOG, simply labelled 'Serenity'. It's one of the best vids I've ever seen πŸ™‚

  47. Naazneen says:

    This was my favourite episode of the series. It gets me everytime.

  48. Laurel says:

    My first comment on this blog~ whee!

    …I had a really awesome and poignant post in here about how the show was awesome and it was all emotional and whatnot and then firefox betrayed me.

    So, pretty much, I <3 Firefly, I <3 you and your blog, Mark, and I highly recommend reading Those Left Behind and Better Days; I haven't read the other ones, but those two are best pre-movie but post-series, and the others are definitely better to read post-movie because Float Out has some MAJOR spoilers. The Other Half would probably work better for pre-movie, whereas Float Out and The Shepherd's tale would be best for after the movie.

    Looking forward to the next review :3

  49. auddie956 says:

    Mark…. after you finish the series… you NEED to watch it again with the Commentary on. some are a lot better than others…. but they are all worth a listen

  50. embers says:

    This may be my favorite episode of the series (there are several I absolutely love however), it is so beautifully crafted and just seems better when reviewing it over and over again (I've watched Firefly many many times).

  51. whatsername says:

    This is my husband's favorite episode but I have a really hard time watching it because it's so bloody heart-breaking! It is one of the best episodes though, I think.

  52. forthejokes says:

    I just re-watched the series in about 3 days, it's absolutely fantastic – so I understand you being upset at the fact that you're more than halfway through. The first time I saw the series I liked it, but not as much as I do now, and I really wish it hadn't been cancelled.

  53. It was my birthday yesterday so I wasn't here for my FAVORITE EPISODE EVER! and I don't even have time now to comment in depth on this or Ariel because I'm supposed to be doing homework which is due tomorrow! *sadface* Seriously, though. I've been so excited for this episode, it's my very favorite πŸ˜€

    Well, if I don't have time for in-depth comments, let there be screencaps!

    <img src="; height="200" width="350">
    "Fei-oo" = "Junk" πŸ˜›

    <img src="; height="200" width="350">
    Jayne smiling makes me weak at the knees πŸ˜›

    <img src="; height="200" width="350">
    You tell him Mal!

    <img src="; height="200" width="350">
    "I don't like him."
    "Something about him bothers me"

    <img src="; height="200" width="350">
    "Sure it is! Grav boot ain't your trouble. I seen the trouble plain as day when I was down there on my back before. Your reg couple's bad."

    <img src="; height="200" width="350">
    Wash in a sweater… totally cute πŸ˜›

    <img src="; height="200" width="350">
    "Not as deceiving as a low-down… dirty… deceiver."
    "Well said. Wasn't that well said, Zoe?"
    "Had a kind 'o poetry to it, sir"

    <img src="; height="200" width="350">
    Dawwwwww everyone's ok now.

    " Yes, Mal! It would boost the signal. But even if some passerby did happen to receive, all it would do is muck up their navigation!"
    "Could be that's true."
    "Damn right, it's true! They'd be forced to stop and dig out our signal before they could even go anyplace."

    "Well, maybe I should do that then!"
    "Maybe you should!"

  54. Tilja says:

    You know, Mark, you should get your own show to run. You already have your primary audience built up right here. Did you notice that? You already have an audience built to boost ANY show you might want to produce.

    Now I need to find the next episode. This one was #10 Ariel, and #9 Out of Gas is something that starts with references of "Sun Tzu" so… I'll just keep looking into which might be the real Ariel.

  55. Mreeb says:

    This is my favourite episode, rivaled only by…er…I'll mention it when we get to it, since it might be a spoiler to say which is my favourite. But yeah. This episode is STUNNING.

  56. stellans says:

    ok, I've been following your blog for a while now and I was so happy when you finally decided to watch Firefly, which is one of my all-time favorite shows! And I'm thrilled beyond telling that you like this episode as much as I do.

    I want to add to all the other fanvid links which have been posted: OOG, set to Rufus Wainwright 's Hallelujah. It's just so freaking beautiful, it really sets off my personal favorite episode of this show. Enjoy (I hope I got the coding right): Out of Gas/Hallelujah

  57. stellans says:

    ok, I've been following your blog for a while now and I was so happy when you finally decided to watch Firefly, which is one of my all-time favorite shows! And I'm thrilled beyond telling that you like this episode as much as I do.

    I want to add to all the other fanvid links which have been posted: OOG, set to Rufus Wainwright 's Hallelujah. It's just so freaking beautiful, it really sets off my personal favorite episode of this show. Enjoy (I hope I got the coding right): Out of Gas/Hallelujah

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  60. hothotpot says:

    Coming late to this party but I had to take a break from the Twilight reviews. I love Firefly fiercely and have watched it an embarrassing number of times. Your reviews are lovely and I love that you love it because I love when anyone loves it. This episode is wonderful and your review is wonderful and seriously brought a little tear to my eye. Great job!

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