original airdate: 12-20-02
Captain and Zoe it all started during the war. For the viewers
it started sometime later, but at last, Fox shows us Joss
Whedon's original vision of Firefly.
during this early part of the pilot is extremely grainy, dark
and dirty. It's likely that this was an artistic attempt to
make war appear filthy and unpleasant. But the unfortunate
side effect is that you can't really see much of what's going
on. However, the footage does give a glimpse into the trauma
and struggle involved in the war.
is no clear picture in the pilot of why the war occurred,
who the battle was with, or why Zoe and Mal were fighting
on the side they'd chosen. The main effect is seeing that
they went through a lot of hardship and they fought on the
us to the crew, the pilot jumps forward six years. They are
on a mission to 'salvage' supplies from an abandoned alliance
ship. As Zoe, Mal and Jayne work on extracting the goods Wash
sits on the bridge of the Serenity playing with his toy dinosaurs.
Also on board, Kaylee waits while the three main thieves do
their work on the abandoned ship's hull.
cruiser suddenly, and very inconveniently, arrives to inspect
the wreckage. The
firefly tries to play dead but is spotted by the the alliance
ship hails them and orders them to stand down to be boarded.
Things appear dire for our trusty heroes. Luckily, they already
have a contingency plan.
klicks away from their current location, they planted a bouy
designed to fake the distress signal of a large personnel
ship sending out a message they their life support has failed.
The alliance ship falls for the decoy and the firefly gets
away, almost clean.
pilot, the first introduction of Inara is much less romantic
and respectable than the portrayal of her character throughout
the series. Our first view of the lovely companion involves
seeing her bare back while she does the nasty with a client.
This particular client seems to have a less than honorable
attitude about the experience as well. He suggests that she
somehow cheated him out of some time by speeding up her clock.
However, no further
matter is made of the accusations.
Mal and company were stealing was part of a job for the infamous
Badger. This is the same unsavory character from the earlier
episode where Malcolm almost meets his maker at the end of
a sword. Thanks to the Alliance markings on each of the stolen
items, and the fact that an all points bulletin has been sent
out for the goods, Badger cancels their deal.
they've got a whole lot of something stolen from the alliance,
and no one to sell it to.
back at the ship, Kaylee tries to earn the crew some extra
money by enticing some passengers on board. This leads to
the introduction of Book as he wanders the shipyard looking
for a ship. He doesn't seem to care much where the ship is
going, only about the look and the feel of it.
In a rarely
shown moment of insight, Kaylee recognizes this and offers
him the idea that her ship is the most interesting and best
available for his money. As a counter, Book bribes his way
onto the ship by giving Kaylee a box of fresh strawberries.
convinces two others to travel with them: A distinguished
gentleman with a large box, the same fella we all know as
Simon Tam. And another gentleman whom we don't know, but that
seems harmless enough.
dialog from the pilot episode: Inara and Book talking about
"Why are you so fascinated by him?" - Inara
"Because he's a mystery. Why are you?" - Book
"Because so few men are." - Inara
rape us to death, eat our flesh and sew our skins to their
clothing. And if we're very lucky they'll do it in that order."
- Zoe, speaking of the Reivers
didn't think you'd come for me." - River
"Well, you're a dummy." - Simon
don't know me, son. So let me explain this to you. If I ever
kill you, son, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me and you'll
have a weapon."
- Malcolm explaining his philosophy to Simon Tam
the most amazing things in this episode was the level of competence
each actor had
for his or her character. In many ways they had already nailed
the traits and actions that seemed to falter in some later
episodes. With the exception of some awkwardness from Book,
the remaining characters seemed to be very solid and very
consistent with the overall picture developed throughout the
every element later introduced slowly throughout the season
got packed into this pilot episode. There were the Reivers,
the Tam Family, Badger and crew, the Alliance conflict, and
of course the evil folks chasing River. The network may have
made the right call forcing Whedon to shoot a different pilot.
Slowly introducing these plot elements rather than just revisiting
key plot points from the pilot works better. That being said,
it's nice to now see this story and know how the group of
space misfits came together
shame this may be their last.