We’re just over halfway through Firefly with this week’s episode, “Out of Gas.” This episode is structured in an interesting way, mixing chunks of the A-Plot – starting out of order – with flashbacks that show how the crew came to live on Serenity. The first time I saw it, I was really impressed by the way the story structure helps build and hold tension throughout the episode. And even now that I’ve seen it many times, and know damn well how it ends, I still feel a little thrill of “ohnoes what will happen??” I guess that means that Tim Minear, who wrote this episode as well as “Bushwacked,” the other one that freaks me out, has a hell of a handle on things that make me nervous. If he ever writes a horror movie, I’m gonna skip it.
ANYWAY, enough about my scaredy-pantsness – back to the show!
One of the things I really like about this episode is the humor in the little vignettes that introduce the characters. I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone to hear that I find Jayne’s particularly entertaining, but they’ve all got some winning lines.
Well, except maybe Inara’s. I think she’s supposed to come off as sassy, a self-confident foil to Mal’s social ineptitude, but, well… Jenn said it:
This episode sadly established Inara’s ground rules that Mal breaks frequently. I know we’re supposed to find boundary trespassing romantic. I just still don’t understand why.
Also, wtf is up with Inara’s headgear? I dig her eye makeup, though.
You know, I just realized that I didn’t start this write-up off with a full summary of the plot. Sorry, guys. I’m a little distracted – the kids across the street are playing some kind of super-noisy game or something, and on top of the yelling every single dog in the neighborhood is barking and howling. But I’m sure all of you remember which one this episode is, anyway, so I’ll just leave my intro as-is.
…Er, back to the show!
So, yeah, Mal is frequently a dick, particularly to Inara, which we definitely see in this episode. Another thing we see here, though, is that Mal’s jackassery is sometimes an effective management strategy. Jenn said this, and I agree:
[W]e see Mal at his best – cultivating others toward their best, so they can all function and survive as a team. I like that it’s his brains and moxy that give him his prowess, not physical toughness or always having the biggest weapon.
It’s nice to see that, since most of the time Mal’s behavior leaves me wondering why anyone would put up with him for any length of time. (Some observations could be made about a pattern, here, with intended-to-be-sympathetic male characters in other Whedon shows…)
Okay, so, I wanted to talk about the awesome, not-at-all-romance-flavored interactions between Mal and Zoe that we see over a wide stretch of time, but the screaming from outside was grating on my eardrums, so I decided to go do a “you kids get off my lawn” impression, and -
Well. It’s not the kids across the street. God, I hope there still are kids across the street. No cars in the driveway, which is probably a good sign.
I don’t know exactly what I saw out there. I shut the door again fast, and I’m not going to risk moving the curtains to look. I don’t want them to see me.
I’m going to grab my laptop and camp out in the bathroom – no windows in there, and I can lock the door. I’ll check in when I can. Please do continue the discussion in the comment section, those of you who are able to. I suspect we’ll all be hungry for some distraction.
…Hungry might have been a poor choice of word, there.
Next week we’ll be watching “Ariel.” If we’re all still here next week.
ETA: Welcome to Blog Like It’s the Apocalypse 2011!