Mark Watches ‘Firefly’: Episode 9 – Ariel

In the ninth episode of Firefly, the relationships between Simon and River, and Mal and Jayne are tested when they attempt to heist medical supplies and information from one of the most highly-guarded Alliance worlds. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Firefly.

Seriously, this show continues to get better and better. I’m actually a bit upset that I avoided it for so long, if only because I feel like blaming myself for the show going off the air. THAT IS TOTALLY MY FAULT, OK? I’m all right with each and every one of you blaming me for all of it, ok?

“Ariel” uses one of the better tropes found in western cinema: the heist. Mixed in with the suspense are two relationships strained to their inevitable end: Is Simon actually helping River or hurting her? What happens when Jayne finally gets offered enough money to betray Mal?

The planet Ariel is our first complete look at the Union of Allied Planets; we’ve spent most of the season on the edges of the system, where newer technology is rare and desired. Here, we see the advances humankind has made in the last 500 years. It’s the spectacle we were told would exist long ago. (No, seriously, why don’t we have flying cars yet? The Jetsons are a bunch of goddamned liars.)

Because the crew of Serenity can’t resist flirting with (read: taunting) the Alliance, as Inara goes to have her yearly Companion license renewal exam, Simon decides to give the crew a job: sneak him and River into the medical facility so he can use the equipment to analyze her brain, and he’ll pay them with a large supply of valuable medical supplies via theft.

I wondered exactly how much the opening scene played into Simon’s motivation for this. River had slashed Jayne in what later proved to be a defensive measure because she read his thoughts at the time.) Did Simon’s guilt convince him to finally accept that perhaps there were personal justifications for committing INCREDIBLY ILLEGAL crimes? I’m thinking so.

There hadn’t been a montage in a hot minute, so I smiled as Simon’s voiceover explained exactly how they’d sneak into a heavily-guarded Alliance medical facility. I don’t always think montages are bad, especially in the visual medium, because it can get tedious and time-consuming to have each of these instructions spelled out in explicit detail.

Of course, something is bound to go wrong in these scenarios, and it certainly does: Mal and Zoe are directed to the morgue by a particularly insistent doctor after they’ve dropped off River and Simon. But it’s not nearly as bad as the shocking scene when Jayne slips out of the examination room to call an Alliance officer: he is going to collect a handsome reward for turning in the fugitives.

This was my face when it happened:

That’s right, FIREFLY GIFS fuck yeah.

This show does an excellent job of creating a symmetry between episodes without necessarily going the serialized route like LOST or 24. (And don’t get me wrong, I adore serialized shows/books/comics, etc.) This references the very first episode, when Mal asks Jayne what will happen when the day comes when he’s offered enough money to betray him. “Ariel” explores that possibility and it is not at all what I expected.

Mal and Zoe’s problems with the cranky doctor aren’t that complicated, as they actually manage to get into the supply room and steal so much medicine that they’re certain to be well-off for quite some time. The main thrust of this centers around what happens in the diagnostic ward where Simon gets a chance to use a neuro-imager on River’s brain. It turns out that the Alliance scientists removed her amygdala, which disables her ability to suppress her emotions. It helps explains precisely why she is in so much pain and why her moods shift so much. It’s not really explained why they did this to her, nor how it relates to her uncanny ability to read thoughts, behaviors, moods, and other such things in the people around her. (Clearly this is going to be addressed in the future and I’m glad it wasn’t really answered here. It’s not like I needed to be more interested in the show, but I’m definitely hooked at this point.)

What does the Alliance want with River’s brain? I can’t think of a reason yet, which just means I will probably be shocked by whatever it ends up being. I REALLY LIKE SURPRISES.

Jayne’s actions almost immediately backfire on him; Jose Molina’s writing for this episode is rapid-fire, leaving us few moments to catch our breath as things unfold quickly on the screen. Jayne is betrayed by the Alliance officer he spoke with, who decides to arrest Jayne as well and take the reward as his own. A bad situation turns worse, essentially.

But it all truly goes to shit after Simon and Jayne manage to break free of their captors when they’re being transferred to a detention cell. (And can we have a moment to laugh at the way Simon fought by simply throwing his body on top of the guard? I sincerely laughed really, really hard.) Unsure which way to escape, River utters the creepiest line of the series: “It doesn’t matter. They’re here.”

Cut to the men in blue gloves who I DO NOT LIKE BECAUSE THEY MAKE ME FEEL BAD IN THE TUMMY. Only now, they become a billion times more frightening: they own a sonic device that causes people to bleed from every orifice. NO! SERIOUSLY! It is an awful, terrifying scene and I hope I don’t have to see them do this ever again or even hear it and NO THANK YOU.

Who are these men? Are they not Alliance at all? I feel like that’s been somewhat confirmed, but I’m unsure at this point. WHAT DO THEY WANT WITH RIVER? Oh god, I have so many questions none of them are being answered.

But let’s all talk about the most important/best scene of the episode: Mal locking Jayne in the cargo bay’s airlock as the ship leaves. The unhinged look on Mal’s face as he accuses Jayne of betraying Simon and River is frightening and, just like the sonic weapon thingy, I hope not to see this again. “Out of Gas” showed us just how much Mal loves his crew. (And I’m calling it love, FYI.) Now we see what happens when someone tries to violate that sort of trust and respect.

I thought Jayne would get away with what he’d done and was completely taken back by Mal figuring out what happened. I’m intrigued to see how Jayne interacts with the rest of the crew (especially Mal) in the future.

All in all, one damn fine episode of television.


  • Where is Book most of this episode?
  • “It’s time to wake up.” I really enjoyed how much this episode showed Simon’s love for his sister.
  • How are the medical supplies going to influence them in the future? They got away with A LOT of medicine; will they immediately take a new job?

That’s all I got for today!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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275 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Firefly’: Episode 9 – Ariel

  1. kohlrabi says:

    Believe me, you are not alone in feeling guilty for the cancellation of this magnificent show.

    • maript says:

      Yeah, eventhough I'm not even IN the US, and therefore would not be able to make any kind of difference, I feel terribly guilty for not watching this before.

    • Fuchsia says:

      I always felt guilty for not watching this while it aired, too. I heard about it but never got to catch an episode. Thus, MY FAULT.

    • kaleidoscoptics says:

      Yeah. I never even heard about it until it was cancelled, which just goes to show how shitty Fox advertised it.

      • jonni13 says:

        I know! I heard how great it was but never got around to watching it ๐Ÿ™
        So glad someone lent me the DVDs

      • thimbledore says:

        I also hadn't heard of it until it was already canceled. A friend showed me the DVDs way after the fact and I fell in love with the show right off the bat (I think it was the "Kaylee's dead… psych!" that did it). It hurts my heart that this show died such an early death – it wasn't even given a fair chance, what with the nonexistent advertising and airing episodes out of order! Very few of the episodes are purely stand-alone and the premise is unfamiliar enough that it really requires a good introductory Ep 1.

        I cried a good bit when I saw Serenity in the theater, not just because of the emotional shit that goes on in the film [no way can that count as a spoiler, considering the wringer this show puts its characters through!], but because of the intense feeling of "goodbye" and "it's over".

        Feelings resurfacing! Urge to wail rising! BAWWWW~

  2. ribbit says:

    Mal mentioned really quickly at the very beginning of the episode that they dropped Book off at an abbey to meditate.

  3. Meltha says:

    Aw, don't blame yourself. Fox is undoubtedly responsible. Any company that puts Glen Beck on the air can only be trusted to yank the rug out from underneath anything that smacks of goodness.

    • pica_scribit says:

      It helps if you regard Glenn as being just one step away from Stephen Colbert. The problem is the people who take him seriously.

      • Hypatia_ says:

        There's also the fact that Stephen Colbert (the real person, not the character Stephen Colbert) doesn't take himself seriously or actually believe his show to be a credible news source. Whereas I get the distinct impression that Glenn Beck does take himself seriously and does believe his show is real news, rather than entertainment.

        I so enjoy having these discussions with my family back in the States, while I live happily in Canada with my socialist medical care and cheap graduate school tuition.

        Ahem. Back to Firefly.

  4. Gretchen says:

    I know this episode has lots of SRS BSNS stuff, and I love it for that. But honestly, I think my fave part is when they arrive at the hospital with the huge long speech rehearsed about the dead body…all that preparation to just be waved on through without question. Jayne looks so crestfallen. XD

    • cait0716 says:

      I like that Jayne says his line anyway. He spent so long working on it, he was damn sure gonna say it

    • bookling says:

      Haha, I love that moment. He TRIED SO HARD to memorize his lines, gorram it!

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


    • ldwy says:

      Yes, I love that Jayne says it anyway, and that's almost more of a give away than it he'd gotten it wrong.
      I love the perfect humor even in a serious episode.
      Blue glove guys are CREEPY-and they're killing everyone with that device, even Alliance people.

      • Meltha says:

        The first time I saw the show, I kept mentally referring to the blue-glove-guys as the Killer Smurfs. I still think it'd be a darn fine name for a rock band.

      • Hypatia_ says:

        Am I the only one totally creeped out by the fact that the TSA security screeners in airports wear blue gloves? I see them and all I can think is "Hands of blue…"

    • xynnia says:

      I KNOW!!! I felt so sowwy for him at that moment XD And then he went all Judas on our asses. D: NOT COOL JAYNE, I WAS BEGINNING TO SORT OF THINK ABOUT LIKING YOU.

  5. elusivebreath says:

    They dropped Book off at the seminary, I believe?? I actually would have liked to see how he handled this whole heist situation, lol.

    While I was watching this episode, when it showed Jayne call the Alliance, I actually said out loud, "Jayne, you son of a bitch!" causing everyone to look at me wierd since I was watching it on my laptop, lol. Anyway, am I alone in kind of wanting Mal to have actually let Jayne get sucked out of the airlock? I mean, the idea of River in the hands of the now-terrifying 'hands of blue' dudes gives me ALL THE NIGHTMARES. It's like Jayne had some redeeming qualities in Jaynestown but Whedon wanted to remind us that he is still a wild card and not all warm and fuzzy now. Kudos, I consider myself reminded!

    • Nibor says:

      You're not alone. I feel sadistic, but I really wanted Jayne to pay for his betrayal. I don't think that Mal could have actually killed Jayne, he is part of his crew after all. At least he got the scare of a lifetime and will hopefully act right for a while.

    • porcupine8 says:

      I seriously thought Mal might do it. I wasn't sure how many episodes were already shot when they got news of the cancellation, so I thought if they knew they only had a couple eps left they might just say "What the hell" and kill off a main character.

      But I like the way it played out. Mal knew from the beginning that Jayne was opportunistic and might pull this kind of shit if given the chance, but now he's shown him in no uncertain terms that it will not fly on this ship.

    • para_bellum says:

      I am watching Buffys fourth season parallel to Firefly with Mark, and Spike parades around saying "Goddamn you Scoobies, can't anyone of you remember that I am still evil and still hate you all? Just because I can't bite you I've suddenly completely changed my personality!" Your comment on Jayne reminds me so much of this.

      On the other hand, killing Jayne would have been too short a satisfaction, and in the meanwhile Mal would still need a hired gun, so it is probably better to work with the one he knows and whos reactions he can read off his face than to hire another one as liable to sell them out but not as predictable.

  6. echinodermata says:

    This episode leaves me so thoughtful. Depending on my mood, it's either my favorite or second favorite episode of Firefly. And is probably in my personal top 10 episodes of TV ever.

    So, I loved getting River backstory – she's easily my favorite character, and I'm going to be biased towards liking this episode.

    I think Mal, Zoe, and Jayne rehearsing lines is such a brilliant moment, and I love the punchline of them not needing it.

    But most importantly, I have something of a competence kink (ESECIALLY when it's not just competence related to fighting or action sequences), so a heist episode fits right up my alley (and explains like 70% of my love for Leverage). But when Simon does his super-intelligent doctor thing? Hearts in my eyes.

    And “It doesn’t matter. They’re here.” Summer Glau does such an amazing job conveying her fright, and makes you primed to be creeped out by what comes next – and hands-of-blue guys are sooo creepy .

    I also think it's interesting this is when Jayne sells out Simon and River, but that it was precipitated by him getting cut. It makes him seem like less of a scumbag, I guess, and his plea for Mal not to tell the others the truth makes me sympathize with him some more.

    I just really love how much this episode reveals about the characters, as well as having a fantastic plot, in addition to finally getting some River backstory. And it still fits in some great humor and terror moments.

    • maript says:

      But most importantly, I have something of a competence kink (ESECIALLY when it's not just competence related to fighting or action sequences), so a heist episode fits right up my alley (and explains like 70% of my love for Leverage). But when Simon does his super-intelligent doctor thing? Hearts in my eyes.

      Please be my astral plane TV watching companion? So much YES to both Simon and Leverage. Competence kink is the perfect way to describe it.

    • cait0716 says:

      Yes Leverage! Which, admittedly, I only started watching for Christian Kane. But it's definitely one of my can't-miss shows

    • ldwy says:

      his plea for Mal not to tell the others the truth makes me sympathize with him some more.
      Yes, it shows that he is ashamed of it. Which means he knows it was wrong.

      I'm loving Simon too. I mean, I kind of love them all, but really, that take charge moment was pretty hot. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Also loving your username.

    • notemily says:

      Leverage!! <3 <3 (Those are hearts in my eyes for Leverage. And also for Simon.)

  7. cait0716 says:

    I actually watched Firefly when it was originally airing and still feel slightly guilty for not being proactive about telling Fox how much I adore this show. Seriously, though, it's all Fox's fault. They did everything they could to make this show fail.

  8. takashid says:

    so much happens in this episode which i like, river cutting jayne, the hands of blue, and mal taking jayne to task for the betrayal. one of the best in my opinion.

  9. cait0716 says:

    I should really take a second to think before hitting that submit button so I don't end up writing too many comments.

    Anyway. One of my favorite Simon moments is when he rushes off to save the man in cardiac arrest. Being a doctor is truly his calling and I love that he simply can't walk away when someone's in trouble. It makes the fact that he gave it all up even more heartbreaking. Especially when you see how proud River is of him.

    Sorry if I got any of those details wrong. It's been at least a year since I watched this particular episode (I've fallen behind while following along). I'll clearly have to fix this immediately.

  10. pica_scribit says:

    Pretty much everyone but me loves this episode. It has a lot of great moments, but I dunno…just can't really get into it. Not a favourite. I do, however, love the scene where Simon is coaching Mal, Zoe and Jayne on their roles. Something about good actors pretending to be bad actors is inherently hilarious to me. And then Jayne insists on delivering the line he worked so hard on, even though it draws attention to them.

  11. Openattheclose says:

    I think one day you will feel that some sonic devices are okay. Just not the ones that make you bleed from every orifice.

  12. Randomcheeses says:

    All hail Simon Tam, criminal mastermind extraordinaire!

  13. Elfy says:

    By the time we got the show in Australia it was well and truly cancelled. I had even seen the entire run, because a friend loaned me the DVD's. I think I went out and bought them after watching them. I still can't believe that a network, any network cancelled one of the best shows ever after half a season!

    • porcupine8 says:

      Yeah, I was very surprised when I realized it didn't even get a whole season. I knew it only ran for one, but when I pulled it up on Netflix streaming I was expecting 22-ish episodes. It was a real shock to see only 14!

  14. Fuchsia says:

    I love the very end of this episode. Did we actually see remorse and regret from Jayne for what he did? Mal believes so, which is why he let him live. I've always been conflicted on that, though; to me, it seemed that he just didn't want the rest of the crew knowing what he did so as not to spoil his good name. At least on some level. I don't know.

    "Try for some remorse, Riddle."

    • kellythered says:

      I think the thing is that he cared enough about them that he wanted them to think well of him- to like him. For someone who betrayed his original crew by shooting one of them in the leg for an opportunity for his own bunk, that's character development. It's a start, which is why I think Mal let him live.

  15. Anonymouse says:

    This is the episode where Simon proves he is a badass criminal mastermind. LOVE! And all your questions are totally justified, I too want to know more about the blue gloved men…

    "Unsure which way to escape, River utters the creepiest line of the series: 'It doesn’t matter. They’re here.'"
    I disagree. The line "Two by two, hands of blue." was WAAAAYYYY CREEPIER!

    • para_bellum says:

      What I find waaaay creepier, is that when blue men activate the sonic killing thingy, they didn't even have to put on glasses or something like in MIB, it just doesn't effect them at all. It makes them look less human than the Alliance soldiers they killed.

      • Anonymouse says:

        I've always kind of wondered how that happens… Are they just not human, and therefore CAN'T bleed out of their eyeballs (and everything else)? Or what?
        Gorramit Fox! Why did this awesomeness get cancelled?!?!

    • xynnia says:

      Yes! Agreed!! And now we know exactly why the line goes how it does D:

  16. Karen says:

    I LOVE this episode. One of my favorite, for sure. I'm just a fan of any episode that has a lot of River and Simon in it. I like that we get to see Simon in his element, in the hospital and I love learning a bit more about River.

    And of course that scene at the end between Mal and Jayne is brilliant. Mal is really starting to see Simon and River as part of his patchwork quilt family.

  17. Hanah says:


    Mmmm appetising…
    Aww a planet called Ariel.
    "That's not boring like she made it sound!" ๐Ÿ˜›
    I bet they set foot on that planet
    Physical examination? Fun for Inara…
    Oh shit River sweetie put down the knife FUCK WHAT WAS THAT?!
    Oh god I forget how insane she actually is
    Uh oh. Is Jayne going to do a bad thing?
    No don't throw Simon off! He has to have sexytimes with Kaylee!
    Hee Kaylee/Inara with side-mention of Simon/Kaylee. YAY!
    Horseshoe quoits. <3
    I don't think I'm going to get over the fact that I'll only get these credits a few more times. :'(
    LOL are they doing a drugs raid?!
    <3 Kaylee is so considerate
    How awesome are their blueprint machines?
    Simon you're so sexy when you plan
    Awww Kaylee ILU
    Ha line-learning. FAIL Jayne
    Welding Means Building…
    Totally having Moulin Rouge flashbacks to Toulouse line-learning
    Oooh shiny!
    Awww River ๐Ÿ™ Simon will protect you!
    Ha it's like ER XD
    Jayne…what are you doing?
    ๐Ÿ™ Simon
    Uh oh.
    Oh River sweetie don't do that
    No Simon, it's not worth it!
    But if you have to do it PLEASE SAVE HIM AMAZINGLY
    Get him Zoe get him! OH WELL PLAYED
    o_0 That's a creepy chair
    The music in this episode is reeaaally really good
    That is an awesome/creepy bit of software
    Oh god why did they lobotomise River?! Her amygdala oh FUCK THAT'S NOT GOOD
    Fed guy you are a knob though. I hope you die
    Awww naked beach <3
    Oh Simon don't thank him!
    The Feds look SO MUCH like Stasi. This cannot be a coincidence I think?
    Lol River just standing watching them fight
    OH SHIT. Hands of blue?
    FUCK. YES. OH GOD. What is the creepy blue wand?
    Kaylee ILU so much. I wish you were in this episode a bit more
    Awwww cute hug ๐Ÿ˜€
    Oooh does Mal know?!
    Oh fuck. Is he executing Jayne?
    Jayne you're such a fucking liar
    Shit is Jayne actually going to die?
    Okay. I think I am glad about this. Now he can redeem himself y/y?
    Wow gorgeous matryoshka dolls River <3
    'It's time to wake up' *chokes up*

    • takashid says:

      "OH SHIT. Hands of blue?
      FUCK. YES. OH GOD. What is the creepy blue wand?
      lol this part is so perfect. its exactly the reaction i had when seeing them the first time, when the fed dies with blood coming out of everything, your just like OMGWTFRUNRUNRUNRURUN.
      the fact that they have no problem killing alliance people is even creepier in a way.

      seriously one of the best parts ever in this episode is Mal going papa wolf protecter on jayne, i mean he really almost kills him for that betrayal, i was like "fuck yeah mal!"
      still loving these comments XD

    • Mreeb says:

      This is beautiful. That is all.

  18. auddie956 says:

    this is such a good episode!! i just love seeing how much simon loves his little sister… and what he will go thru to help her. and i really wasnt suprised about jayne either. you knew it would happen.. sooner or later.

    i dont think i could even pick my "favorite" episode to this series. i first thought.. out of gas… but then, i love ariel… and i lover serenity… and i love… you get the idea. i am already going to have to buy a new copy of the series cause the one i have now is getting worn down.

  19. bookling says:

    As I keep re-watching episodes, I just keep thinking, this one's my favorite! No THIS one's my favorite! It's hard to choose when you only have 14 episodes.

    Man, I love the moment at the end when Mal confronts Jayne. Mostly because you really believe that he'll airlock him, and because the thing that makes him have mercy is that Jayne doesn't want him to tell the others what he did. It's like Jayne's growing a conscience!

    I also love, "He looks better in red." Oh, River. Never change.

    • hpfish13 says:

      I feel like I should feel bad about thinking the "looks better in red" line is absolutely hilarious, but I can't help loving the dark humor…..

    • Jenny says:

      I'm so glad someone mentioned the, "He looks better in red." line. I seriously giggled like a maniac at that line….maybe I am a little twisted. >.>

  20. forthejokes says:

    This must be my favourite episode of the show. And I will never blame you for letting it get cancelled – I only discovered it earlier this year. I just love how intense it was and how well-planned and then Jayne goes and ruins it. I think the reason that the money was good enough is because he was stabbed earlier in the episode. If not, maybe he wouldn't have. He felt that River wanted to kill him so he had a way to get rid of her.

    Firefly is one of the best shows I've ever seen.

  21. Mary Sue says:

    Where is Book most of this episode?

    I seem to recall (and I could stand to be corrected) that he took the time to go visit one of the monasteries.

    Here’s the thing I take away from this episode: Simon is a much, much, MUCH better planner-of-crime than Mal. I wish that had been explored more.

    • Fuchsia says:

      Well, the heist takes place in a medical facility, which he's intensely familiar with (he was a doctor in a very similar one before the series), he knows all the security measures and he knows which supplies will get them the most money (and which ones he needs to restock the ship). I think if it had been any other medium, he wouldn't have been as good a planner. Not bad, of course, but this took a lot less preparation for him because he already knew the ins and outs.

      • D.J. says:

        To be fair, I worked in a hospital for 4 years and I wouldn't even know how to begin to plan something like that. But then my situational awareness leaves a lot to be desired ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Fuchsia says:

          Ha, maybe I just have a mind for crime (I grew up around a private investigator and my best friend's a locksmith… but I promise I don't do anything, I just scheme!). I *always* know how to pull off breaking in and stealing stuff anywhere I work. Oops?

      • para_bellum says:

        True, hospital is something that Simon is most familiar with, but he was a doctor there, not a security quard, and most people wouldn't be able to plan a heist out so completely even someplace they are familiar with. (For example, how does Simon know about their garbage disposal or who their contractor is?) But Simon IS a genius, so thinks of these things. What is working in his favor is that he grew up in the Core, he is familiar with the mindset, with how things are regulated. And this knowledge would be helpful to plan a heist on most Alliance-run facilities, not only the hospital, because it is something the rest of the crew – except maybe Book – wouldn't know how to implement in a plan. (Though Mal and planning? Where does he plan anything? He acts – not always, but – mostly on instinct and that is what brings them trouble. Though I guess it is important on the Rim)

        • Jen says:

          I'm wondering if he had spent time thinking about this before, when he was trying to locate River. Even though he said that he wasn't the one who actually got her out, we know that he tried (and got caught snooping around) at least once before the start of the series.

      • notemily says:

        ALSO he's experienced with crime on the central planets. I think people forget that he must have had to do some seriously illegal shit to smuggle his sister out of the Academy. That's probably how he knew about the ID badges and uniforms they could get.

  22. buyn says:

    I think it's nice how when Jayne figures out that River going back is probably a really bad thing, he's all "You know what? We need to leave 15 minutes early, and through a different door." Cause he changed his mind.

    • Hanah says:

      But…wasn't that when he was leading them out to the Feds? I thought they were just his evil sneaky lies to get them to go and that's why Mal ripped him out for it at the end? I am very possibly wrong of course, being a lowly new viewer, but that is the interpretation I had of it and that it was only when he got captured too that he tried to free them all.

      • buyn says:

        I always interpreted that face as "OH CRAP CHANGED MY MIND." But then the feds showed up earlier than he thought, so he figured he'd cash in anyways. Then the fed was like, "LOLZ I LIED TOO." And no one was happy ever again.

    • bookling says:

      No, that was him turning them in. He had to have the Feds meet him at a different entrance than the one where Wash was waiting, because he didn't intend for anyone else on the crew to get caught.

  23. Hotaru-hime says:

    If it makes you feel any better Mark, there are comic books.
    It's not the same, but it's all we have.

  24. Nibor says:

    Persephone, Ariel, why do all these central planets have princess names?

  25. affableevil says:

    I love this episode but I don't think I have anything new to say, so here's a good Nathan Fillion clip instead :b

  26. D.J. says:

    This is by far one of my favorite episodes, I love the A-Team element to it, and I love that Joss can write strong male heroes that don't have to rely on the rompy-stompy gun-toting macho man stereotype. Simon was really in his element here.
    And the montage never fails to crack me up, especially the part where Simon catches Jayne doodling, and leans over him like a stern, fed-up schoolteacher – Jayne has this sullen, "caught" look on his face that cracks me up every time! I don't think Jayne spent much time in school, but I bet this exact scenario played out more than once when he did.

    I also wonder, based on Zoe's comments, how many times she's been on Core planets before. She seemed to have a disdain born out of experience…

    And I wonder what a bio-luminescent lake looks like.

    Also when Simon was looking at the scan, the line "They did it over…and over" is just heartbreaking. You don't have to understand what he's looking at to understand what he's SEEING – the horror of what was done to River comes out in his voice.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      Not a lake, but there's a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico, with microorganisms that flash when they get disturbed. Based on the photos, it looks like it's only really noticeable in the night, though.

      Someone kayaking:
      <img src=""&gt;

      Someone swimming:
      <img src=""&gt;

      • D.J. says:

        okay, that's AWESOME. It kind of reminds me of the Blue Grotto in Capri, but the water didn't make colors when you moved in it like that!

    • Znachki says:

      [i]I also wonder, based on Zoe's comments, how many times she's been on Core planets before. She seemed to have a disdain born out of experience[/i]

      I've always speculated – and that's all it is – no spoilers – that Zoe is from a military family, and that her father was a Sr. Officer.. She seems educated (sanguine) and well traveled, and knows a lot about things military and governmental. My little scenario includes a story where her father is somehow unjustly blamed for something, and dies or is imprisoned, and she responds by fighting for the Browncoats.

      • D.J. says:

        I think I read somewhere that Joss decided that Zoe was born in space, and yes was raised in a military environment. I wish I could cite that for you, but I think you may be correct. And I very much like your plot bunny – did you write a fic to go with it by any chance?

    • tethysdust says:

      If I wanted schooling, I'd have gone to school. ~ Jayne

      Yeah, I don't think he spent much time there :).

  27. Narcissaa says:

    Yayriel! This is usually the ep I'll watch if I'm just choosing something at random because it's just such a good dose of what makes Firefly great. The suspense, the creepifying and the action are perfect. It's amazing seeing River's story unfold over and over.


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  28. Jackie says:

    I hate how science classes ruin good tv. Removal of the amygdala in monkeys leads to the Kluver-Bucy Syndrome, which is characterized by a tame temperament, hyper sexuality, and a strange tendency to put random things into your mouth. Does this sound like River? No. Damn you science getting in the way.

    • Anonymouse says:

      I have to wonder if that's all they did to her, because for the most part, she does have a very calm temperament, the episodes she has are few and far between, if you really think about it. But I have a feeling that stripping her amygdala is only the tip of the iceburg. And we know that the more we play with the brain, the wierder and more unpredictable a person will get.

      • Starsea28 says:

        I think that's where the repetitive operations come in: "They did it over… and over." Oh the horror and sadness in Simon's voice. I agree that cutting away the amydala is just the tip of the iceberg.

  29. TyBlack says:

    I havent gotten to this episode yet but I dont understand how this show didnt go the way of Chuck and take the title of "First Show saved by a fan campaign". I cant say that I would trade it for Chuck (My favoritest show ever) but I would definately catch it online or something.

    Question1: is there any way to watch this online since IMDb is taking forever to put the rest of the episodes up?

    Question2: Can someone help me figure out what book has the river Tam in it? I know I have heard this as the name of a place before but it I cant remember.

    • Penquin47 says:

      Chuck wasn't the first show saved by a fan campaign. Roswell was saved 10 years ago. Millions of Tabasco bottles arriving at the WB offices! The second season was disjointed and the third season sucked, but at least it got those seasons.

      I don't think FOX would have listened to a fan campaign – they were actively trying to kill the show.

      • TyBlack says:

        Oh. I always heard that is was the first. I guess people just like to say that.

        FOX doesn't seem like the type to care about what fans think. But I like Bones, Fringe, and Glee so I am stuck with them. (Bones is probably the perfect example thinking about it.)

      • tethysdust says:

        I believe there was a highly active fan campaign for Firefly. The fans were pretty extreme, though I don't remember half of what they did back in the day. I think it was established that FOX wasn't ever going to budge on the cancellation, no matter how many people or how much effort the fans put into saving it.

    • FarStrider says:

      Dude. Two words for you: "Star Trek". . .the original Star Trek was the first show saved by a fan campaign back in 1967. . .

    • TyBlack says:

      I get the point, I was liviing in a bubble. Can anyone help me with my questions?

  30. SpiritWolf1201 says:

    I think the scene between Mal and Jayne at the end is one of the best scenes in Firefly.

  31. ramondestroys says:

    Jose Molina’s writing for this episode is rapid-fire, leaving us few moments to catch our breath as things unfold quickly on the screen.

    Jose Molina’s writing for this episode is rapid-fire, leaving us few moments to catch our breath as things unfold quickly on the screen.

    Jose Molina’s writing for this episode is rapid-fire, leaving us few moments to catch our breath as things unfold quickly on the screen.

    YES, YES, YES. That sums up the entire episode perfectly.

  32. para_bellum says:

    Ooooh, I waited sooo long for you to see this episode! I love the show completely but this episode is my favoritest. I never ever heard anything of Firefly and the two reason I finally bought the DVD Box were 1. I read two short fanfics and the fascinated me so much that after rereading them a couple of times I thought "if the show is even half as good as these fanworks, I have to see it" (yepp, it was FANFIC that sold the show to me, not advertising or anything, I must be a really strange person) and 2. the DVDs were cheap. I was completely flabbergasted by finding out that the show aired in Germany. There was never a hint of it!!

    As for the episode, isn't it an AMAZING character development for Simon? He is a freaking genius as was established before but until now he didn't act like it very much, and finally he can show, that if he puts his genius mind to it, he can be the next Moriarty except not evil.

  33. Alex says:

    Another show you might like is Fringe. It is made of awesome.

  34. para_bellum says:

    Also, did someone else interpret Rivers last line "Is it time to get to sleep again?" as a question if Simon is going to mercy-kill her? She looks so desolate in this scene, that I am inclined to believe she knows full well that without a cure he will pressed to do it or Mal will do it for him.

  35. FlameRaven says:

    Now you know why 'Two by Two, Hands of Blue' is one of the most terrifying sentences ever. D:

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  37. stumpoman says:

    I had the oddest dream last night. I was in space at a Panda Express. I was attacked by tracker jackers and then saved by Senor Chang with a sonic device… I blame Panda

  38. I feel like the only person who's not really upset Firefly was cancelled. A couple of years ago I got into Buffy and angel, so I've seen what happens when Joss is allowed to go on for a long time.

  39. tchemgrrl says:

    So I'm picturing you reading Ch. 14 of Hunger Games and watching this episode at the same time. Nightmares forEVER.

  40. embers says:

    I don't think it is over stating it to say that Mal 'loves' his crew… in fact I decided (I think it was in 'Out of Gas') that Mal had lost so much in the war, and had become so bitter and incomplete, that in a way each of his crew represent parts of himself that are missing…. He NEEDS his crew!

  41. fakehepburn says:

    "Only now, they become a billion times more frightening: they own a sonic device that causes people to bleed from every orifice. "

    This was not a funny line, and I should not have giggled. The bleeding orifices thing is indeed horrifying, but that wasn't the part I focused in on.

    You need to watch Doctor Who soon, Mark. I can't handle this waiting.

  42. saintmercy says:

    "I’m actually a bit upset that I avoided it for so long, if only because I feel like blaming myself for the show going off the air. THAT IS TOTALLY MY FAULT, OK?"….I totally feel the same way! When I first saw Firefly the city I lived in showed one of my favorite Sci-Fi shows(Andromeda) at 1:00 AM on Mondays and I would religiously stay up to watch it. Then all of a sudden this other show was being aired instead and the few minutes I would watch of it before I got mad and went to bed looked like a stupid weird western. I was so mad I even called the station and complained! After a while Andromeda started coming back on and life resumed as normal. I did not even know the name of the other show. A few years later an angel gave me a copy of Firefly with instructions to watch it immediately. Half way through the 4th episode I realized that it was the "crappy show that stole Andromeda from me" and that I had made a horrible misjudgment about it. I promptly repented for my resentment.

  43. eleniel says:

    I have nothing to say but this episode was freaking amazing. Definitely my favorite so far.

  44. notemily says:

    "Well, it beats just sitting." "It is just sitting." MEDITATION JOKE ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    I really like this episode. I love Simon/River stuff, and I love seeing Wash and Kaylee get their ship-geek on and MAKE A SHIP OUT OF SPARE PARTS. "Ooh! Synchronizers!"

    I also love the "3-D neuroimager" which wouldn't work at all ever in real life but LOOKS REALLY DAMN COOL.

    I also like that even though they treat Simon like this namby-pamby rich dude that's not useful to their work, but he actually knows a ton of stuff about security and how to get around the central planets. He did, after all, have to do some illegal shit to get his sister out of the Academy.

    Also, notice how he's wearing a sweater in the opening scenes? He's slowly becoming more "like them" and it's showing in his clothes. I love the little details on this show.

    Jayne just HAS to say his line. Hee.

    Simon's badass moment with the doctoring! <3! He just fucking SAVES THAT DUDE. Simon will you come be my hott doctor boyfriend plz. He's so awesome. *crush*

    Whoever did the closed captioning for the DVDs is really lazy. I just want to say that. He said "gorram plan," not "grand plan"! Haven't you been watching the SHOW, captioners???

    Simon's praise of Jayne cracks me up. "He was amazing!" Simon knows, dude. He totally knows that you suck and would sell him out in three seconds.

    They even foreshadow the walkie-talkies at the end! Mal and Zoe use them to communicate with Wash while they're going to rescue Simon and River. This shooooow.

    I LOVE Mal's lecture to Jayne at the end. He's so badass. Can I have BOTH of them for my hott boyfriends??

  45. 7Mars says:

    did anyone else notice the attention to detail with that brain-scanner? If you watch it when Jayne says they have to leave, and that the plan changed at the last minute (it's been a while, I don't remember the exact words, but he was lying out of his ass)… well, when he says that, River's brain scan changes colours and reacts to the lie. I just love that little detail that can easily be missed… those are the best touches, the ones that aren't zoomed in on and centre-screen…

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