Firefly: S01E02: Bushwacked

The show opens with the crew playing a makeshift game of basketball in the hold. Simon and River watch intently. Inara enters and enquires about Rivers progress; Aren't they sillySimon tells her that she’s getting better… slowly. Simon doesn’t know if being on the Serenity is a help or hindrance. Inara thinks it will help her.

Suddenly an alarm sounds to signal the close proximity of another ship. Wash runs of to investigate. Come play with meThis leaves one man short and the doey-eyed Kaylee tries to encourage Simon to join in. He looks down on her smiling face (and surely noticed the low cut tee shirt) but declines (?!?). This man has a will of iron!

On the bridge, Wash sees a small transport ship spinning helplessly in space, then he sees one of the inhabitants its passenger’s fly into the windscreen! The shock makes him (and most of us) jump. The Serenity is jarred slightly and the rest of the crew run up to the hold to see what’s happening.

goody.... Ghosts!They try to imagine what must have happened to the ship. Whatever it is it’s pretty bad. River is hiding behind the doorway. With a wry smile, she says, “It’s Ghosts.

The derelict ship is one that has been retrofitted for short-range transport. With the right configuration, it is able to make one-way trips to the frontier worlds with maybe 15-20 families.

Book suggests that they go over to check if there are any survivors. Mal and Zoe suit up (have you seen anything more stupid than a geezer putting on a spacesuit and strapping on his six-shooter?). As the Serenity attaches itself, we see some worm-like protuberances attach themselves to the Serenity’s hull.

As Mal and Zoe explore the derelict ship (in their deep sea diving space-suites), they notice that food is laid out (half eaten) in the canteen and there are few signs of a struggle deep sea diving gear(although there is a solitary children’s doll on the floor, perhaps they have all been killed by Drusilla!). Mal becomes even more concerned. He notices that all the ships systems seem to be ok. Everything was left on. The controls must have automatically powered the ship down. It seems that all the passengers have disappeared. Nobody has been left on-board. As Zoe checks the logs, River begins screaming back on the Serenity.

Back on the Serenity, Jayne tells Simon that he needs to suit up and come and help the crew on the derelict. Simon is plainly frightened of space and nervously puts on his space suit. When he arrives on the ship, he’s surprised to see that everyone else is breathing without the need of a spacesuit. It was Jayne’s little joke – that guy has a sick sense of humour (I’m really getting to like the guy).

They all split up and look for things that can be salvaged. Jayne head off for the kitchen and begins packing the kitchen utensils (!). Zoe and Mal head of for the cargo hold where they hope to find something valuable. When the open a locked door to find all the belongings of the passengers, Zoe becomes worried that even if the passengers had escaped on a life pod/boat, they would still have found some room for supplies. The concerned look on the face of Captain Malicious however, belies his deep-seated desire to ransack the derelict for all it worth.

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DinnerRiver enters the ship and finds her way to where Zoe and Mal. But instead of saying, ‘hi, how’s it going’, she just looks up at the ceiling. As Zoe and Mal follow her gaze, they notice a whole cluster of un-mutilated bodies hanging upside down. They look like sausages hung on a big hook in a butchers shop.

Mal immediately calls Jayne. He’s guessed that someone must still be on the ship and that he tells Jayne to come over to the Engine room immediately. But the big dude is caught off guard and clobbered on the head. When Mal and Zoe get there, they find that although Jayne has suffered a blow to the head, he managed to fire and hit the geezer. They follow the trail of blood and find a half crazier young dude. Captain Malicious punches him in the face and has the poor dude taken to the Serenity’s infirmary.

Mal looks on as Simon examines him. The man rants on about mercy and fresh meat and Mal comes to the disturbing conclusion that the disturbed dude is a Reevers, or at least someone who has been ‘turned’ by being forced to watch as his shipmates were butchered (eeew!)

Patronising old gits (s)The crew have mixed feelings about this. Mal is convinced that the disturbed dude will never recover and that he is VERY dangerous. Jayne is frightened and Book thinks that he should be looked after and that he could, with time, recover.

I don’t accept that. Whatever horror he witnessed, whatever acts of barbarism, it was done by men. Nothing more.” Says Book.

Reevers ain’t men!” Exclaims Jayne worriedly.

Of course they are.” Replies Book patronisingly, “Too long removed from civilisation perhaps, but men. And, I believe that there is a power greater than men. A power that heals.

Mal calmly points out that Reevers don’t have a philosophy, they just eat you. Personally, I’d have been a little harsher with the sanctimonious old priest.

The blue sun football teeshirtJayne is surprisingly agitated. (Did you notice by the way that Jayne was wearing a tee-shit that had a ‘Blue Sun’ motif on it? Joss Whedon has indicated that the story arc for this series will be centred on something called ‘Blue Sun’. Whatever it is, it can’t be particularly covert if people can buy the t-shirt). When Mal tells him to go back to the ship and load the cargo, Jayne refuses. Simon volunteers.

I’d like to go with him,” Says the old priest. “Maybe see what I can do about putting those folks to rest.

Those folks are already resting pretty good Shepherd. We already saw to that.” Replies Mal.

How we treat our dead is what make us different from those did the slaughterin’{Ugg}. Adds Book patronisingly. It’s strange how Book can seem articulate sometimes and have the eloquence of a 10 year old at other times.

come to bed with me!Mal agrees and orders a disgruntled Jayne to join Simon and Book. Jayne is unimpressed with Mal conceding to Books request. He doesn’t feel that the ship should be put in jeopardy for a funeral. Mal disagrees. He doesn’t believe in putting dead people to rest, but if there “is rest to be had. Those folks deserve a piece of it.” Inara smiles (in a damp mushy sort of way). “Just when I’ve got you all figured out.” She says admiringly. Actually, Kaylee was pretty mushy about Mal’s sentiments too.

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The rest of the crew head back to the Serenity’s bridge. Mal has surmised that if the ship was attacked by Reevers, there would be a sort of booby-trap device on-board. (Do you remember those little worm things). The device causes the ship to explode if it tries to move away and is used in an attempt to secure prey for the returning Reever ship. A baddies go, these Reevers are both innovative and totally scary! It’s no wonder that Jayne is so nervous.

Kaylee is confident however that she can dismantle the booby-trap. River meanwhile wakes up and begins screaming again – the mad dude in the infirmary is also awake and doing the same.

Just as the cargo is brought on-board, Kaylee manages to disengage the Reever device and just as they are about to leave an alarm sounds. It’s not Reevers this time; it’s an Alliance Cruiser.

kill the kids!His crew advises the Captain of the Cruiser that there is a bulletin about a Firefly class transport that may be harbouring two fugitives. Since the bulletin is not specific, the Captain orders that the fugitives, should they be found, are shot. on the Serenity, Mal orders that the cargo is unpacked and that Simon goes to get his sister. Simon is worried that he will hand them over to the Alliance as bargaining chips, but Captain Mal has a plan.

As the Alliance Captain comes on-board he confronts Captain Mal by telling him that he has just been caught illegally salvaging a derelict, at best, he will loose his ship. Mal seems unconcerned and points out that he has managed to rescue a survivor. What Mal doesn’t realise is that the Reever dude had Serious yet still serenebroken away from his restraints and proceeded to mutilate himself. When the Alliance troopers discover this they assume that Mal and his crew are responsible and the Alliance Captain orders them detained for interrogation.

The interrogation was a blast. The Captain chooses to interrogate Inara first (as you do) and he finds out about Mal and Inara’s business arrangement. No not that sort of arrangement, Mal’s ship helps her discover new clients and she is able to help him (in an Ambassadorial role).

Questioning Zoe is a lot more difficult. She is very protective of discussion about her husband since she doesn’t believe that their relationship is anyone’s business but her own.

SHe has a great ass!Wash is far more helpful, “Her legs, it was definitely her legs…. You can put that down… her legs and right where her legs meet her back …. Actually that whole area…. that and above it.” He continues to a mildly disinterested Alliance Captain. “Have you seen what she wears? …. Forget about it. ….. Have you ever been with a Warrior woman?!” (I wish he’d stop, he’s making my mouth water).

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Jayne’s interrogation was surely more irritating for the Alliance Captain than it was for Jayne. The big shallow dude (Jayne) just looked at him tight-lipped and menacingly.

Kaylee on the other hand was unimpressed by the hapless Alliance Captain’s comparison with the Serenity and junk. She begins a monologue attempting to explain the difference between the Serenity and junk (in this case an Alliance Cruiser).

Book pleads ignorance when asked about Simon and River. But the two siblings are hiding from the Alliance by hanging on to the outside of the Serenity while dressed in spacesuits. Simon is petrified. He hates the emptiness of space and the effects of violent depressurisation space but River is enthralled by it’s vastness.

Your new to this aren't you?The final member of the crew to be interrogated was Captain Mal. The Alliance dude was sure that Mal was still bitter about the War and that his attack on the little transport ship was because of this. Mal dismisses this and explains that Reevers hit the ship and that it should be destroyed immediately. He explains to the inexperienced Captain that the survivor is slowly (but surely) turning into a Reever and is therefore very dangerous. The first stage in this is that he will begin cutting himself …. Then he’ll begin killing.

Suddenly an alarm sounds and we learn that the madman has escaped. Mal tells the Alliance Captain that he will most likely head back to the Serenity (because it’s familiar). Never do your own body-piercing!Mal volunteers to help them find him.

On the Serenity, the madman is eventually cornered and when he attacks the Alliance Captain, Mal comes quickly to the rescue and strangles the poor dude – putting him out of his misery.

Eventually, they let Mal and his crew leave (but without the cargo). And the Alliance ship blasts the little derelict with it’s Kerosene Cannon.

I had wondered how the ship could be destroyed. I remember nearly hyperventilating when I saw an Alliance Cruiser fire a laser beam.

At last! I thought, something realistic! But alas, if you look closely you’ll see it was probably just a ball of fuel (same green stuff that comes out of the back of the Firefly on full burn). And since the Firefly is probably using some sort of space-fuel-kerosene (presumably in keeping with the western motif), I had to conclude that a space cruiser the size of three Empire State buildings was only able to defend itself with a sort of Kerosene Cannon!

Overall the show was pretty good. I still have issues with the crappy science and the way they seem to want to ignore basic physics at the expense of the Wild West motif.

I’d rate this an interesting 29,451 out of 10. What did you think?

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Firefly reviews are © 2002 – 2019 Tony Fawl.
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