Well, while I'm in TV-writeup mode, I might as well say something about the other two Firefly episodes we watched this weekend. Episode numbering borrowed from FireflyWiki.org's Episode Guide.
"The Train Job" (101): No, nothing special, but not awful either. It was definitely daft as anything to show it first; I was poking around some LJ posts from its first airing, and if people are wondering whether Shepherd Book is a member of a religious order . . . yeah, not so comprehensible.
I thought Mal getting tossed out a window that's not actually glass was a nice touch. It was important to see that Mal is perfectly willing to be ruthless once he's decided on a course of action (kicking the guy into the engine). And blue latex gloves are unexpectedly creepy.
"Bushwacked" (102): even considering that I get creeped out easily, this was very creepy. Jim Macdonald has pointed out, quite rightly, that there are certain deep-rooted cultural hooks about derelict ships; while this episode didn't hit the specific hooks he mentions, it rang folklorically true all the same.
According to the shooting script, there was an explicit statement of Simon's prior pro-Unification position, which was cut from the episode we saw. It seemed a safe assumption, regardless. And if it was that or bits of the interrogation scenes, I imagine you can guess which I'd prefer stay in.
After that, we watched the deleted pilot scenes just to shake off the creepiness. These were well-deleted, in my opinion, as being both less interesting and less subtle.
- Mal/Inara does not particularly interest me, I have to say, but we'll see.
- I think it says something about my approach to science fiction that, until I read a comment that Mal was on the side of the Confederacy, I didn't even think of the U.S. Civil War. Yes, even with the Western influence, and the war over Unification, and all that. I took the first as a frontier thing rather than a Civil War thing, and the second as space opera genre convention: among other things, multi-planet governments make better enemies. Science fiction universes are first, to me, creations in their own right, and only second commentaries on other things (yes, I'm aware that these are not mutually exclusive; it's a question of priority and emphasis, and I'm not sure how else to phrase that). At any rate, I have no idea whether the show intended a connection to the U.S. Civil War (I'm guessing not), but the question should really have occured to me independently.
- Following the lead of the writers, I am choosing to ignore the scientific ends of the world-building.