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Firefly Episode 11-12 "Serenity" - Tvsquad.com Review

Keith McDuffee

Friday 2 June 2006, by Webmaster

(S01E11/S01E12) When I decided to go the route of reviewing the ’Serenity’ episodes before ’The Train Job’, I wasn’t quite sure what Firefly purists would think. Most fans of the series know that Joss Whedon had originally pitched this two-parter to FOX as what would kick off the series, but the execs disagreed. They thought it wasn’t the right kind of thing that would draw viewers in for following weeks, so ’The Train Job’ was aired first, shuffling off the ’Serenity’ episodes well into the season, right before it got canceled.

So, why am I not starting with ’The Train Job’? Because, my friends, this is how the series should have started. This is what makes sense. This is what Joss envisioned as what would start his beloved series, and I can see why. I mean, who introduces characters at the end of the series?

Rather than thrown into the thick of things, meeting characters we know nothing at all about nor how they were brought together, these episodes show how it all began. To those of you who had seen the movie before ever catching the series, first of all, shame on you. Secondly, you shouldn’t go into these episodes thinking the movie was a continuation of what happened in the series. Off the top of my head, there are notable changes, such as Simon and River being introduced borught about differently in the movie, while Book is on some other planet, having already known Mal for a long time.

The differences between the movie and the series aren’t at all something to complain about. Joss did the right thing in making a movie that both fans of the series and newcomers would enjoy, and he obviously succeeded. But enough about the movie.

What we learn in the opening sequence helps us understand Mal’s discontent with the Alliance, something that in other episodes will be touched upon every so often though little (if ever) depicted like this.

Obviously what we come to learn is that everyone on the ship has a reason to hate the Alliance. They’re brought together with different purposes in mind, but in the end they all hate and/or fear the Alliance and their hulking ships that threaten each of them in different ways. It’s this hatred and fear that Simon and River have for the Alliance that helps Mal in deciding to keep them on board for the long term, even if they might mean more trouble for him.

What really struck me about this show was some of the details put into it to make sci-fi geeks squeal in delight. There is no sound in space, and that’s just what you get on Firefly. Being a "companion" is something not commonly looked down upon. It also makes sense that people on these terraformed planets and moons are left with the bare essentials, left to live the lives of those from the late 1800’s; the Alliance is evil and the universe isn’t rich enough to make everyone live the life of kings.

I also liked how the Reavers were brought into the story in these episodes. We’re left with a lot of mystery as to who or what these creatures are, only knowing they are definitely more frightening to everyone than the Alliance. And the escape sequence toward the end of the episodes? Just plain "wow."

Next week, we’ll pick up where the show really started out, and we can see how strange it would be now knowing what we know from these two episodes. Then you can tell me if you thought the networks were right in airing that episode first.

Jayne-ism of the episode: "The only fluid I see here is a puddle of piss refusing to pay our wage!"