Sunday, May 1, 2011


Simon and River try to escape from the hospital on "Firefly"
Credit: FOX
I know I promised this review earlier, but a lot of things got in the way so I had to delay this to the normal schedule. Anyway, I continue my look back on Firefly with the caper episode "Ariel". My thoughts on the episode are after the jump.

"Ariel" is one of the simpler episodes of Firefly that I've seen so far, but it is one of the most interesting. It is a fun caper episode that did a good job at doing what it tried to do. It was a fun episode that told some very interesting backstory for Simon and River, and had some very strong character moments for Jayne.

Even if it did have some very good character moments, the plot of the episode was very simple. The team decided to go into a hospital to steal medicine and help Simon get his scans of River's brain. The basic ideas were executed beautifully through the preparation and completion of the mission of the week.  It was very funny to see the team getting the mission together, with the scene involving Kaylee in the junkyard and the scene involving Mal, Zoe, and Jayne learning medical talk. That scene was so funny because of the great writing and the three actors selling the dialogue. These three were so funny that the scene worked very well. And the added punchline with Jayne saying the lines even if they weren't needed was very funny as well. When they got to the hospital, the episode continued its excellent execution of the mission with some very funny scenes involving Mal and Zoe moving through the hospital and meeting some obstacles along the way.

But even if it was a case of the week episode it didn't forget the character material. Simon's main purpose in setting up the mission is he wants to get scans of River's brain. I'm surprised that they went to this place with the plot this soon but I'm glad I did. The revelations in this episode were so well plotted and very good. We now know that what the Alliance was doing to her was they were cutting into her brain and they removed part of it. This is an interesting revelation and I'm excited to see where it leads. But before we could find out more, River and Simon are arrested and processed. Now what this ended up showing is exactly how far the Alliance will go to protect the secret of River Tam. All that needs to be said about this is "Two by two, hands of blue". Those two are very creepy, but they're creepy in a strangely awesome way that made for an awesome climax for the episode.

Even if the character material for Simon and River was very strong, the best character material in the episode involved Jayne. Jayne's loyalties have never particularly been towards any person, they've been towards the money, and this episode exemplified that. Jayne sold out Simon and River for a little bit of cash. And the way this played out, especially in the final scene with Mal and Jayne was awesome. Mal almost let Jayne die, and I'm sure that he would have if Jayne hadn't said that last line. What Jayne did was wrong and a complete betrayal of Mal's trust. I don't want to say that he should die, but Mal would have the complete right to kill him for this betrayal. That scene was so well performed by Fillion and Baldwin.

Some other thoughts:

  • Loved the Kaylee moment when she explains what's going on to Inara like it's no big deal. It was such a good Kaylee moment.
  • I'm not sure what to think about the moment when Simon saves a patient in the hospital. It was a cool moment, but it was incredibly stupid on Simon's part to expose himself like that, even if a person was dying.
  • No Ron Glass in this one, Shepard Book was off "meditating".
Overall, that was a very strong caper episode of the show. I loved it a lot because of how good of a cool down it was from "Out of Gas" and because it didn't forget the character moments.

Next week: I take a look at what happens when Wash gets a little jealous in "War Stories"

For more information about the Old TV Watch Project and an archive of reviews of previous Firefly episodes please go to the home of the project right here.

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