• The Ploughman

    I will confess this is the first episode of Firefly I remember liking. I don’t know why it took me a bit to respond to these characters – and by the end of the series I was a true believer – but I’m guessing this episode was on the second disc of the DVD set because I remember wondering after sending the first back to Netflix what the fuss was about.

    • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

      Been thinking it over and a lot of this episode comes down to knowing who these people are intimately – we’ve seen Jayne be nothing other than a jackass for six episodes now, so seeing him be seen as a hero is just hilarious.

  • Conor Malcolm Crockford

    One of the things that was always a shame about the all too short run of the series was not being able to see the greater arcs planned for the characters being able to play out in full, especially considering Whedon’s ability to really radicalize them (I am sincere in my belief that Wesley Wyndham-Price has the greatest character arc in any series). Jayne is a good example of this where “Jaynestown” and the later Simon/heist episode feels like where his character would likely go, a guy having to question his aggressive cynicism and seeing that there are things in this universe worthy of belief.

    • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

      Man, the ending of “Ariel” is so good. “Make something up. Don’t tell ’em what I did.” Some of my favorite writing is in showing a small but necessary shift in character with a simple line of dialogue.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        I think the key to make Jayne on some level a sympathetic character (even if he’s still a violent asshole) is his capacity to feel shame. His first instincts are to kill or steal, but he’ll question that urge.

  • Yuhaddabia “Big Shot” Dijna

    It’s not just that he’s a “nice guy”, but there’s a huge social, economic, educational and cultural gap between Kaylee and Simon, and I will have to think about it a lot more before I’m able to say anything worthwhile about it…

    But great review! After the last installment, I actually dragged out the DVDs and watched the 2 episodes with Christina Hendricks back to back. It makes for a good and satisfying Firefly fix if you’re not ready to sit down and watch the whole series again. Watching the pilot episode and the movie in tandem works the same way. There’s a lot of callbacks to the pilot in the movie that I didn’t notice until I watched them back to back.

    But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m really enjoying these reviews. So glad that you’re doing them!

    • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

      I can’t help but see not just what Simon is (and you’re 100% correct on this; for once the Alliance works in the show’s favour, representing order over Kaylee’s liberty while showing the appeal of both) but what he represents; he is to some extent the fantasy of a gentleman, someone who speaks and acts elegantly and with poise – I believe he is what Nice Guys want to be, and what some must surely think they’re like.

      And thanks.

  • GhostZ

    “All right, fine, I’ll go. Just… stop describing me.”

    I’ve never made this connection before, but it’s a nice touch that this episode has people confronted with both reasonably accurate and crucially inaccurate versions of themselves. Simon’s viewing is corrective, a “here’s how you come off” take, where he may have to consider adjusting or learning to use that perception as an image only; that’s psychology, a literary counterpoint to Jayne’s more dramatic version of the same basic idea.

    As one of our designated religious Soluters, I’ll say that I’m not half as annoyed by River trying to “fix” the Bible as I am by Book’s half-assed, hand-wavey rebuttal of it.

    • Dead Jerk Jerk Dead

      Much agreed on River trying to “fix” the Bible; people do that all the time. The problem is that the show’s self-appointed keeper of the faith – professionally, even! Not just casually interested – had nothing of note to say on the point. Come on you guys.

  • Dead Jerk Jerk Dead

    This episode is one of my very favorite examples of how you have the action leave its mark on a character in a long-running show where you don’t want to disrupt status quo too rapidly. Jayne is the show’s thudding immovable object, after all, the chin-first meathead who is easily the least likely one to take away a deep, meaningful lesson from life. I just loved the way it left him standing at the railing on the ship, clearly affected by the events of the day but elementally incapable of changing his stripes. Great writeup as always, too.

    • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

      I actually don’t think he completely walks away unchanged – I think his actions in “Ariel” will definitely come from this episode in some way, though I’ll have to get there to figure it out more precisely.

      (Thanks!)

      • Dead Jerk Jerk Dead

        I didn’t say that well. It affects him, but it doesn’t change who he is, fundamentally. We’re not going to have one of those creepy-religious Christmas stories here; he’s still Jayne through and through.