Sunday, March 13, 2011


Simon and River are in a sticky situation on "Firefly"
Credit: FOX

As with every Sunday, I continue my look back on Firefly with the episode "Safe". My thoughts on the episode are after the jump.

I found this episode to be very much like last week's episode Shindig in that instead of focusing on the mission of the week, it focused on characters. This episode was very much a Simon and River Tam episode with a dash of other moments thrown into the mix. I did enjoy the episode because it helped flesh out these two characters, who needed to have backstory explained. It also gave more information about what exactly happened to River and what Simon was willing to give up to help her.

That was the main function of the Simon and River plotline, not as a plot, but as a way to share the backstory of these characters. The episode showed moments from their past, like the flashback to when they were kids (*). This scene helped introduce what the relationship between these two was like. It was very cute, and it was also very interesting. The episode continues on with River wandering away from Simon on a planet and having him following her. She finds a dance and starts dancing. I found it interesting how she was easily able to pick up the dance. She had a huge smile on her face and it was one of the few moments so far when she seemed to be truly enjoying herself.

(*) Which featured young Simon being played by a very young Zac Efron, in probably the best role of his career. He mimicked Sean Maher very, very well.

The plotline really took off when Simon is kidnapped from the party. With River following him, she get caught up in the trouble. They get brought to a town that needs a doctor. This town showed the culture of the planet in a very interesting way. It showed that these people are very desperate and will do anything for medical attention. In this town, we get more from Simon and River. They seem to be somewhat happy, or at least content, in their new situation. River seemed to be very happy picking berries and bring them back to Simon, who seemed perfectly content eating them. Things start to go wrong when River is accused of being a witch. This lead to the most touching scene between the two of them. The scene atop of the stake was absolutely fantastic. Simon standing up with his sister, and not letting her die alone, was one of the strongest moments between the two of them. Simon cares enough about River that he won't let her die alone, but they will die together.

Another part of the show that was explored in this episode was Simon and River's place on the ship and the dynamic between them and the captain and other crew.Simon was never really sure of his place on the ship and he didn't seem to be completely happy about it. His rant in the shop showed how he isn't truly happy on the ship. The scene between him and the captain at the beginning of the episode also showed this really well. But, as the episode showed, his love for his sister eclipses any negative feelings that he has about being on Serenity. The idea of him not fitting in was capped off by having the captain come in and rescue them from the town. "You're on my crew". They may not completely fit in, but they are a part of this family, and that's what's amazing about their place on the ship.

Some other thoughts:

  • I really liked the plotline involving the Shepard. Ron Glass played everything very, very well. He played everything involving him getting shot very well. 
  • The scene in the infirmary with Zoe and Book. It was very good.
  • They really emphisized the western part of their DNA this week. With the cows and the secluded town they really showed off how western this show can be.
  • I appreciated the mission being a continuation of the previous week's ending with the cows.
  • I love Kaylee. Everything involving her was fantastic. The scene with her in the shop was very well played by Jewel Staite. I also loved the scene in the infirmary with her holding Book's hand (in a reference to "Serenity", which was unaired at this point).
  • The tension between Kaylee and Simon is one of the few sexual tension situations on TV that actually works. The obstacles between them don't seem artificial at all.
  • Jayne "reading" Simon's diary was absolutely hysterical and it was one of his funniest moments to date. "Today I was pompous and my sister was crazy"
  • I don't usually do this for one hour shows but I couldn't resist quoting this line: "We should start dealing in those black market beagles". Great line.
Overall, a great character episode that fleshed out the background of Simon and River.

What did everyone else think?

Next Up: I take a look at the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds"

For links to reviews of older episodes, go here.

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