We open with war and death, and the fun of shooting a giant gun. And so, in a way, this opening teaser shows exactly what makes Joss Whedon’s writing so great. The humour, believable. real characters, emotion and let’s not forget the explosions, because, they are important you know. But, as well as introducing Mal and Zoe as ex-soldiers, this sequence is all about Mal. We get to see his faith and belief utterly destroyed in a single moment.
Then we move from the explosions of war to the silence of space. Because, despite the laser sounds and exploding spaceships of Star Wars and Trek, in space there is no sound.
And let’s not forget the dinosaurs.
Okay, they may not be real, but come on, who doesn’t love Wash and his little plastic dinosaurs?
I will admit to not liking the theme song at all on my first viewing. But it really has grown on me. Besides, the credit sequence is great, especially the ending with the ship spooking the horses.
As a pilot I think this episode does a wonderful job of introducing not only the characters, but the whole feel and atmosphere of the series. We get to hear people talk over one another, conversations carry on in the background. There are Chinese phrases, western style phrases, Alliance cruisers, cockney thieves and all blended together in an unmistakable style. There really is nothing else like Firefly out there.
The main plot of the pilot episode revolves around getting the job done; in this instance that involves traveling to a moon in order to get paid. Along the way picking up a few passangers, characters whose own storylines grow in importance. We also encounter the Reavers, and learn, through various crew reactions, that they are to be feared more than anything else in the ‘verse.
And then there is the shock of Kaylee’s shooting. An incident that revewals so much about the crew. Zoe remains business-like and calm; Jayne first instinct is violence; and we get the first inklings of exactly how ruthless Simon can be when his sister is threatened. The shooting also gives us the scenes that really made me love this show. Mal telling Simon that Kaylee is dead, the look of horror on Simon’s face, his dash to see the “body” and then discovering that Mal really is a “mean old man” and has lied. Plus the other’s laughing their asses off up in the bridge.
Mal:We’ve done the impossible and that makes us mighty
Mal:We canâ€™t die, Bendis. You know why? Because we are soâ€¦veryâ€¦pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die.ï¿½?
Wash: â€œEverything looks good from hereâ€¦ (beatâ€¦playing with plastic dinosaurs over his console) Yes. Yes, this is a fertile land, and we will thrive.ï¿½?
(as Stegosaurus) â€œWe will rule over all this land, and we will call itâ€¦ â€˜This Landâ€™.ï¿½?
(as T-Rex) â€œI think we should call itâ€¦your grave!ï¿½?
(Stegosaurus) â€œAh, curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!ï¿½?
(T-Rex) â€œHa ha HA! Mine is an evil laughâ€¦now die!ï¿½?
Jayne: â€œTen percent of nuthinâ€™ isâ€¦let me do the math hereâ€¦nuthinâ€™ into nuthinâ€™â€¦carry the nuthinâ€™â€¦ï¿½?
Mal: …I’ve given Jayne here the job of finding out.
Jayne: He was non-specific as to how.
Mal: Now you only gotta scare him.
Jayne: Pain is scary…