Set 500 years in the future, the drama centers on the shady crew of the transport ship Serenity as it conducts some not-so-legal runs across the Alliance-governed star system.
I wrote these originally when the series was airing and they need updated! Especially with the unaired episodes on the DVD set. I’ll be expanding this section soon!
The Train Job - Airdate: September 20, 2002
A battle for control of the craft threatens to erupt after Capt. Reynolds and his sidekick Zoe become entangled in a botched mission to steal cargo from another ship.
Summary: The episode opens in a dark, musky bar on Unification Day celebrating the day the Alliance took over the universe. Zoe and Mal are playing a game while Jayne watches. Of course there is a loud mouth who has to badmouth those who fought in the war against the Alliance (such as Mal and Zoe) and of course, a fight ensues. The bar brawl ends up outside with Wash bringing the Serenity over for a last minute rescue along the edge of a cliff.
Looking for work, Mal, Zoe and Jayne meet a man named Niska with his resident henchman Crow. Niska has a job for them - a train job stealing the cargo from a passenger train. As it’s supposedly Alliance goods, Mal has no problem. But then he finds out the ‘goods’ are actually medicine needed for the city’s residents who are suffering from a degenerative malady the miners suffer due to living conditions. So Mal must decide whether he wants to get paid and possibly be responsible for the death of miners and their families, or return the cargo and face the wrath of Niska.
Our Reaction: A little too heavy on the western parallels, but very interesting characters with a lot of promise. Look forward to seeing how things develop. Discuss it on the message board.
Bushwhacked - Airdate: September 27, 2002
A salvage mission goes from dreary to deadly after the crew members find their site ravaged by the cannibalistic Reavers and targeted by an Alliance ship that could do more damage than anyone imagined. The final scene of Wash describing Zoe was part ad lib.
Our Reaction: Better than the first episode with a better mix of action and character/universe information. No as many “wild west” references. Discuss it on the message board.
Our Mrs. Reynolds - Airdate: October 4, 2002
The discovery of a stowaway (Christina Hendricks) leads to an even more shocking find---she's actually Mal's payment for a past job. Meanwhile, the Alliance has its eye on the Serenity. Or at least someone aboard it.
Joss considers this the best script he’s ever written according to the official website.
· Christina Hendricks as Saffron
Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Vondie Curtis Hall
Our Reaction: The best episode so far. Some great character development (Wash actually does have a personality!) and several twists and turns that kept me surprised. Discuss it on the message board.
Jaynestown - Airdate: October 18, 2002
Jayne is a local hero of a town Serenity visits. The episode is said to include a song written by Ben Edlund “The Hero of Canton, the Man they call Jayne”. This episode was moved up in the schedule as it was originally to air in November.
Our Reaction: A fun episode, if not overly logical (why did Jayne have to go and then why did he stick around after he saw the statue???). Discuss it on the message board.
Out of Gas - Airdate: October 25, 2002
Includes more back story about how the characters got together, including a flash back of Mal showing Zoe around for the first time. Includes a scene of Kaylee showing off her expertise in the engine room.
Our Reaction: The best episode so far. Includes flashbacks of Mal showing Zoe around Serenity for the first time, how Kaylee became the mechanic, and more. A lot of great character bits. Discuss it on the message board.
Shindig - Airdate: November 1, 2002
There’s trouble ahead for Mal after he gets into a dust-up with one of Inara’s less-than-noble clients. Mal makes a social faux pas while attending a fancy ball, and ends up challenging Inara's date, Atherton Wing, to a duel. It would be pretty manly, except that Inara now has to teach Mal how to use a sword. The rest of the Serenity crew would probably enjoy laughing at his predicament, but they are being held hostage by the ruthless crimelord Badger, who has his eye on Serenity.
Our Reaction: Not as tightly written as Out of Gas which knocks it down just a bit in the vie for best episode, but wonderful character interaction and shows how well the crew work together. Discuss it on the message board.
Safe - Airdate: November 8, 2002
A battle with cattle dealers leaves Book in dire need of Simon’s aid. Too bad the doctor - and his sister - are out of reach, having been abducted by hillbillies looking for a healer. Includes a bit about Simon and River’s childhood.
Our Reaction: Another great episode with some interesting twists we hope Joss will have time to explain....like what was on Book’s ID that rated his prompt medical attention from the Alliance? The character development is definitely the strength of the series. Discuss it on the message board.
Ariel - Airdate: November 15, 2002
The crew helps Simon infiltrate a ritzy planet’s hospital for info on the experiments going on at River’s school. But as he uncovers the cause of her psychosis, a betrayal by one of the Serenity members puts the Tam siblings back in the hands of the Alliance.
Will find out more about River at the Academy. This one is said to be a big ‘caper’ a la Ocean’s Eleven with face paced action and a no-nonsense scene with Mal & Jayne at the end.
Our Reaction: The ending alone is worth watching this episode for - though the entire thing is just plain excellent! Nice to see Simon taking over a bit - he’s been in the background for some time and he really gets to shine here. Discuss it on the message board.
War Stories - Airdate: December 6, 2002
Niska, a vengeful crime lord, sets out to derail Wash and Mal’s medical-supplies scam as a payback for Mal’s part in a botched train heist. But the bad guy may have met his match in another member of the Serenity crew, who refuses to see the captain go down without a fight. Nice to see more continuity from episode to episode.
Our Reaction: Not easy to watch Mal and Wash getting beat up but wonderful seeing the crew come together to help when needed! Also gives us another thing to ponder about River! Discuss it on the message board.
Objects In Space - Airdate: December 13, 2002 (bumped from January)
A bounty hunter is lured into a treacherous game of cat and mouse after he infiltrates the Serenity to deliver the much sought-after River to the Alliance.
Our Reaction: A bit disturbing but very interesting as we get a glimpse of how River’s brilliant mind works. Keeps you wondering for a while. Discuss it on the message board.
Serenity - Airdate: December 20, 2002
The original pilot that Fox had Joss replace with an episode of ‘more action’ to lead off the series. This is a truly awesome episode that explains so much and as far as I’m concerned, Fox should have just let Joss alone. Be sure to watch it and tell your friends who perhaps haven’t caught on to Firefly yet to watch it - I think they’ll be hooked after seeing it!
Our Reaction: What more can I say than this is excellent and Fox was more than crazy to not have aired it first! Discuss it on the message board.
Heart of Gold - Never Aired in the US. Available on the DVD Set only.
The crew comes to the rescue of an old friend of Inarra’s now running her house of Companions on a distant planet. It features a number of Companions - which Jayne takes full advantage of. It includes the first glimpse of technologies like laser pistols and a hovercraft, but has a truly western feel.
- Melinda Clarke as Nandi
- Fredric Lane as Ranse Burgess
- Richard Brooks as the bounty hunter
- Kimberly McCollough as ?
- Christina Hendricks as Saffron from “Our Mrs. Reynolds” may also reappear - she is said to be in an episode in production and I’m guessing it’s this one??
Writer: Brett Matthews