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Date Posted: 13:53:36 07/01/03 Tue
Subject: Unspoiled Serenity Cruise: Bushwhacked and Shindig
A nice couple of episodes, first one of the tenser numbers, and then a typical Espenson comedy. The episodes so far do seem to be very episodic and low-key, which places quite a stress on the significance of each ep's plot to keep the audience watching. From the board, I seem to be seeing the eps in a totally different order from everyone else.
Seeing Bushwhacked after Serenity increases my admiration for what they are doing with the Reavers. Eventually, ME would have to let us actually see some, but the flashes we got here and the portrayal of how lethal the "proto-Reaver" was help to build up the suspense for that point. Loved the beginning with the game of basketball - when Simon discussed the lack of sides, I know the feeling. Interesting to see Kaylee riding on Jayne's back - one wonders if she's aware of how deep his potential feelings for her are.
I was considerably reassured about the subtlety of the political set-up by the portrayal of the Alliance commander as bureaucratic and inflexible rather than malevolent. Whatever dubious activities may be going on a certain points within the government, the whole thing isn't evil.
Being slightly spoiled about River (and her scene with Badger in the second ep confirmed it), it's a nice little hint to show how happy she is in deep space. The idea of having the Tans hide on the outside of the ship shows that sensor technology in the Firefly-verse is considerably less powerful than in most other TV SF universes. It's interesting what they have and don't have - they appear to have "magic gravity" (no rotation) and star drive, but no shields are referred to and armaments are relatively limited.
Best bit - the various interrogation scenes with Zoe, Wash and Jayne. Cultural snippet of the week - Book's reference to the Good Samaritan confirms that his religion is either Christianity or some far-future development of it.
Shindig started a bit slowly for me, but quickly became rather more interesting, if cliched. The board's analysis on Persephone's social climate and fencing certainly added more than a little depth. The enjoyable part, for me, is that JE seemed to be deliberately making the episode accessible to viewers who thought Mal was a hero, and those (like me) who felt that he spent most of the episode behaving like something of an arse. Sorry, but I'm really not keen on these characters who claim to be peaceful but walk around trying to provoke everyone in sight into fights. There's some interesting stuff on the Companions as well. On the romantic side, they obviously weild far more power than a local bully like Atherton. On the other hand, the fact that Inara was hanging around with a creep like Atherton to begin with suggests that "spiritual compatiblity" really was a euphemism for "credit rating". And the episode really does make me think that the Companions are meant to be a hybrid of hetairai and the higher classes of traditional Chinese prostitute. Still trying to work out the gender implications of Kaylee pining over a frilly dress but ending up talking engines with the guys...
Most interesting but unconnected moment was River's apparent reading of Badger. Unfortunately, the copying of Badger's cockney accent made her seem more like a xerox of Drusilla than ever.
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