According to Firefly lore, “The Message” was the last episode shot but not the last episode aired during the sci-fi western’s original run on Fox in 2002. In fact, “The Message” never aired at all. Sad. This was one of the great ones, full of metaphorical resonance about Firefly itself. The story had the smugglers of Serenity transporting a corpse to its final resting place. During the execution of the task, the dead man sprung back to life.
“Trash” is one of three episodes of Firefly that Fox declined to air during the show’s original run in 2002. Those shelved treasures have since been seen by any and all who care via DVD and previous cable network telecasts. “Trash” brought back Mad Men’s Christine Hendricks as Saffron, the sexy silver-tongued scam artist who duped Mal into marriage and tried to sell Serenity for scrap.
Of all the war stories told throughout the ages, The Fall of Man is certainly one of the oldest, and possibly still the most relevant, depending on your religious beliefs. Not a war story, you say? Then what to make of the punishments God gave Adam and Eve for their apple-eating betrayal? God not only booted his peeps out of Eden, but he made it clear that their lives would be full of strife – with Him, with the Earth, with each other, and between husband and wife.
Since the beginning of these Firefly Flashback recaps, I’ve harshed on the show for its depiction of religious faith as embodied by Book, the preacher with the mysterious Alliance past. In Firefly’s ninth episode, “Ariel,” which Science aired on Easter evening, Team Whedon* found an entirely new way to marginalize its Shepherd by cutting him out of the narrative altogether.
“Out of Gas” was one of my favorite episodes of Firefly. It’s also an episode about which I have very little to say, and even less today given that I am mentally fogged-in from a head cold.
The clever pun of the title “Jaynestown” – the seventh episode in the Firefly canon – winked in the direction of a tragic bit of recent human folly: Jonestown, where gone-crackers cult leader Jim Jones totally lost his nut and tricked 909 followers into mass suicide. That’s a heavy reference for a mostly light-hearted affair that fleshed out Adam Baldwin’s cartoonishly tough Jayne.
Last week, it was Zac Efron. This week, it was a before-she-was-famous Christina Hendricks – Joan from Mad Men – popping up on Firefly in the memorable role of Saffron, the intergalactic femme fatale who stowed away on Serenity and then took Mal and company for a ride, in more ways than one.
Watching Firefly anew on Science Channel nearly a decade after the show’s original run on Fox does contain a few unexpected pleasures, and I’m not talking about the newly produced interstitials with physicist Dr. Michio Kaku. No, I’m talking about how present perspective can affect the way you process a previously viewed experience. Or, put another way: “HEY! IS THAT ZAC EFRON PLAYING YOUNG RIVER TAM?” It was, though I didn’t recognize the High School Musical star until late in the scene.
Week Three of Science Channel’s Firefly revival brought us a “Shindig,” a lighter, more playful affair than the bleak thriller that was “Bushwhacked.” I wasn’t blown away by “Shindig” when I first saw it back in the day, and perhaps Fox wasn’t, either. During the original 2002 run of Joss Whedon’s sci-fi/western, “Shindig” was the third post-pilot episode produced but the sixth episode that aired, losing its spot in the intended order to “Our Mrs.
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