Sunday, March 27, 2011


Jayne stands in front of his statue on "Firefly"
Credit: FOX

I continue my look back at Firefly with the episode that features our favorite big man "Jaynestown" My thoughts on the episode are after the jump.

This week's episode focused on the man, the brute, the "trained ape without the training", Jayne Cobb. It was a fun episode that shed more light on the character through making him a folk hero. We know Jayne as this brute who says funny things and kicks ass in action scenes. The character is largely used for comic relief and muscle. Adam Baldwin walks on, says something funny, and then kicks peoples' asses and saves the day. The episode really didn't change that for the majority of it, but it did add a humanizing part that made for a very good character change. It was a very fun episode of Firefly that worked on many levels.

Even though it didn't change Jayne much until the end, it was still a lot of fun to see Jayne as a folk hero. I could tell that Adam Baldwin was having a lot of fun playing Jayne in this episode. He was reveling in the fame that he had with he poor on this planet. Baldwin showed jayne's feelings changing from the fear of being recognized (*) to the pure joy of having the fame on this planet . The scene with him walking in after a night of "fun" was hysterical. Baldwin was hysterical, walking in and singing the Jayne folk song (**) with the woman. He played it very well.

(*) with the very funny attempt at a disguise. That opening worked very well. Everyone making fun of Jayne was hysterical.

(**) I have to give a lot of credit to the music writers in this episode. Greg Edmondson and company do a great job writing the music for the show and capturing the mood of the series. Also, jayne's folk song is a very cool song, it made great underscore to the scene. It did a good job serving the two functions that it was meant to serve.

What changed everything for Jayne was the Jayne Day celebration. With everyone watching, his old partner Stitch comes in and reveals that Jayne is not a hero, he just had to get away. We see the shame cross Jayne's face, which is something that we've never scene before. We also see how important Jayne is to these people, with the martyr sacrificing himself for Jayne.

This made for an convincing transition in Jayne's reaction to his fame, from reveling in his fame, to Jayne questioning the fame and his position. This was another thing that  Baldwin did very well. The scene between him and Mal was very well done and very interesting. Jayne reacting to the man martyring himself for Jayne was fantastic and very realistic. I could see exactly how he was feeling and why he was feeling that upset. He realized that he didn't deserve everything he had, but he ment more to the town then just being a figurehead, he was the thing keeping him going. It clearly bothered him, but he realized that they needed him. 

The other plotlines in the episode weren't completely throwaway, but they mainly served as comic relief. The Simon and Kaylee plotline was a lot of fun. Shows use this type of relationship and it usually annoys me but Sean Maher and Jewel Staite work so well together that it doesn't annoy me. It ended up being a fun little plotline that worked really well.

Some other thoughts:
  • The Inara plotline didn't do much for me. It didn't do much more then serve as a way to allow Serenity to escape the landlock, even if it did explore more of the role of a companion. 
  • The River plotline was throwaway. It was funny to see River's reaction to Book's hair (and Zoe's reaction as well). And the delivery of "Keep walking preacher man" was priceless. It wasn't anything more then a bunch of throwaway moments, but I didn't have a problem with that.
  • Sean Maher was very, very funny this week. They gave him a lot to work with and he was fantastic. I loved every reaction of his towards Jayne's fame. It was very funny.
  • I can never think of Gregory Itzin as anything more then a creepy, traitorous President, so it was fun to see him as the "hidden" dictator of the town.
  • There were a lot of funny moments for Alan Tudyk to play in this episode, he is amazingly fantastic.
Overall, this was a damn good episode for Jayne and the rest of the cast. We were able to see more sides of him then anything that had came before this. It was a lot of fun to watch and I enjoyed it immensely.

What did everyone else think?

Next up: "Out of Gas", which many people to consider to be the best episode of the series. I won't be writing a review for next week because I'll be on vacation but I'll be back on April 10th with a review of this episode.

For reviews of older episodes you can go to the home of the Old TV Watch Project here.

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