|River looks at a "harmless object" on "Firefly"|
Oh boy is this review delayed! This review fell trap to my very schedule outside of the blog. I would have time to sit there and write a part of a paragraph, but never a full review. So, finally, here's my continuation of my look back at Firefly with the episode "Objects in Space" after the jump.
This episode of Firefly did something that very few shows have the guts to do. Most series would settle for telling a simple story about a bounty hunter breaking into Serenity and not do anything interesting with it. This episode almost made the plot behind the story the background and it brought other ideas to the front. The idea of who River is and what exactly she can do was never fully explained but we definitely got a good sense of how her mind works in the episode. The show used a unique style of giving us a little insight into how her mind works. That is what differentiated the episode from others of its kind and of the series.
The first thing I would like to discuss is the existential ideas that are present in the episode. If there's one thing that the episode was obsessed with, it was the idea of an object. What does the object mean, and does it depend on who is looking at it? Those are the questions that aren't easily answered and the episode really doesn't try to tell us what the answers are, all it does provide insight into River's thoughts. This insight is very prevalent in the scene where she sees the gun as a stick. She perceives the "object" as something very different from what everyone else does. She thinks of it as something totally harmless. This probably stems from the Alliance training her to be an assassin. She sees the gun as something as harmless as a stick.
The relationship between River and the Serenity crew is central to the episode. Even Whedon has said that the reason why the episode exists is to show the team and River make amends and actually accept each other. That certainly did happen in the episode, but it wasn't easy to get to that point. The team has a reason not to trust River, she's freaking crazy. This isn't necessarily a great reason, but it's a justifiable reason. They have no idea what she will do at any given moment and that thought scares them. The episode is able to temporarily resolve this idea in a very cool way. The crew does end up slightly trusting River after she helps defeat Early. I'm not sure that they completely and wholly trust her, but they do not question her presence on the ship. They don't question her place in this family. This is a part of the episode that gives closure, and I'm glad that they didn't leave this thread open.
Jubal Early is possibly one of the creepiest villains to have time on my television screen this year. The thing that makes him so creepy is that this guy is REALLY crazy. It's very difficult to get a complete picture of him after one (or three) viewings because there's so much more to him and how his mind works then initially meets the eye. I could probably sit her and talk for hours about exactly what the words that come out of his mouth mean. Even at the simplest level, Early is a very creepy villain. He has a menacing presence that can be taken as an actual threat. Most of the credit for this can be shared between Joss Whedon and Richard Brooks. Brooks does a fantastic job with both the menace and the humor behind the character. Some of the credit also has to go to other members of the cast who did a great job acting terrified in the presence of Early.
Some other thoughts:
- If there's any episode where you should listen to the DVD commentary, it's this one. Joss Whedon's explanation for this episode is very interesting and is almost better then the episode itself. This will definitely be a commentary that I'm going to listen to again to make sure that I got all of the intended meaning, when I get a chance.
- Even Early knows that there's something up with Book. I wish the series got to spend more time on Book's backstory because there's a lot of great potential there that never was reached.
- Joss is right, Jayne will NEVER do the right thing and help when he doesn't want to help.
- Damn it Book! Why did you have to interrupt Simon and Kaylee's kiss?! We'll never be able to see them kiss now.
- I never knew Jewel Staite was that good of a dramatic actress until the scene with her and Early. Her performance in that scene was chilling and brilliant.
- Kaylee had an interesting mental journey with her friendship with River. At the beginning of the episode, she was telling the story about how River killed the men and how scared she was and at the end of the episode she was playing jacks with her. That's quite the interesting change and it is represents the team learning to trust River after what happened with Early.
- I wish there was time for more Wash and Zoe in this one. Their presence seemed small in this episode.
Overall, this episode was brilliant and it was a great note for Firefly to leave on. For the third week in a row I'm upset that the show didn't get to make more than fourteen episode. The thing that's getting my head around the cancellation is the fourteen that were produced were perfect. This show is and will continue to be remembered as one of the best sci-fi series of all time, even if it was cancelled way too soon.
What did everyone else think about the finale?
Eventually: My look back at Firefly finishes with me sharing some thoughts on the Firefly movie "Serenity"
For more information about the Old TV Watch Project, an archive of reviews of previous Firefly episodes, and information on the two series that launch this week please go to the home of the project right here.