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Date Posted: 12:03:20 06/23/03 Mon
Author: KdS
Subject: Unspoiled Serenity Cruise: The Train Job

Well, now it's clear. Fox wanted to kill this show.

OK, The Train Job has some nifty dialogue, but the plot is fairly blah and doesn't do a vast amount with the characters. OK, we find out that Mal is grey but has limits to what he's willing to do, and that Jayne's limits are rather more elastic, but it isn't as effective as Serenity, which admittedly was double the length.

Particular thoughts:

Some dubiousness in the opening narration. A "solar system" has "hundreds of planets", many of which can be terraformed? Looks like Joss doesn't just suck at maths, but astronomy as well.

Something I noticed after writing a review for the last ep, and was explicitly stated in this one - the Serenity itself is unarmed. Nice change from other shows where it seems that every single vessel has weapons of mass destruction.

Does River remind anyone of Dru without the biting people and trying to end the world part?

While the Mal/Inara UST and potential Jayne/Kaylee/Simon triangle were both referenced again, knowing ME viewers I suspect that the first Kaylee/Inara femslash stories were being written ten seconds after that haircare scene. On Inara, I suspect that the Companions are based more on Ancient Greek hetearae (correct spelling?) rather than geisha, who as far as I know didn't have sex with people on a one-night-only basis. On the cynical side, I know some people have felt that prostitution here is being treated a little fluffily. I just have to quote from the review by the infamous British web critic SadGeezer, on Inara's revelation that spiritual compatibility is required:

[So she] basically means that she is only interested in bonking nice people for money.

Another notable revelation about Alliance culture in this ep: slavery is legal, at least in its debt-based form.

Mal's continuing moral ambiguity: while he may be a nice guy, he is very casual about killing people. After his shooting of Dobson last ep, we now have him kicking Nietchka's thug into the Serenity's engine. OK, the sanctity of human life in Firefly is considerably less than in the Buffyverse.

Only three problems with the ep as I saw it. Firstly, after Badger last week and Nietchka and his mob this week, it'd be nice to see some hoods with American accents. Secondly, that

TOUGH GUY: Nice shot.
TOUGHER GUY: I was aiming for his head.

exchange has now become a modern-day Western/war movie/gangster cliche that should be retired.

Thirdly, with the minimum technology lifestyle established for the colonies, maglev/antigrav is a pointless, energy wasting technology that doesn't really fit. What's wrong with steel wheel on steel rail?

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