The Train Job

The Train Job was the first episode the public ever saw when Firefly first aired.  The massive brains at Fox decided that the Pilot was just not good enough and instead, wanted to showcase more action – thus the Train Job.

It’s a weird mish-mash of action and plot exposition.  The voice-over from Shepherd Book in the start just feels weird after watching the Pilot recently especially as I know it never happens again. The characters and world are reintroduced in a way, yet not as well as the actual pilot in my view.  Then again, if this was the first you saw; maybe it was a nice actiony pilot.

I do enjoy the Inara and Kaylee scene, mostly because the two have a moment of quiet, female chemistry that they re-establish here and continue through the scene.  It’s a very big sister / little sister moment, spoiled by Mal.

The Plot

Perhaps the best part of the entire show is the introduction of Niska.  He’s amazing and his reappearance later is one of the best parts of the show really.  Here, he’s appropriately strange and menacing, with his brute doing the straight up menace.

The rest of the plot is pretty simple – Mal and crew taking a job to keep flying, realising what the job they pulled off actually means for the residents and going back on their word to Niska.  Mal even gets to be a bad-ass, having his ‘he shot first’ moment towards the end and the Whedonesque punch-line afterwards.

It’s interesting to see how they set-up a world of Chinese and Western influence joining together, but never really exploit it.  Chinese is used, but no Chinese actors are ever cast – heck, I can’t ever recall any Chinese / Asian actor given any real role.  Instead, they are all background – all downtrodden and smashed.  Perhaps it’s an unconscious desire from Whedon? That he believes the cultures might mash, but the power players will of course be White.

Ah well, I still love the show but this part always grates.

So, thought I’d discuss the pilot after rewatching it recently.  Here’s a few thoughts:

Forgot the Opening Scene of the Episode Itself

Not the Battle of Serenity itself but the scene right after, when they are looting the ship for Badger.  It’s a really good scene, and one that I forgot in the majority beyond the dinosaurs and ‘Cry, Baby Cry’.

Kaylee is a bit chubbier than present-day Jewel

It’s funny really, knowing that Jewel herself is ‘normally’ not that chubby (her food exploits in real life aside) and that they asked her to put on the weight for the show.  Not to say she isn’t adorable and cut and perfect, just that it’s funny since my present day image of her is so different.

Everyone’s so young

I guess it’s a way to showcase my age, but god, everyone is so damn young in the show. Fillion especially looks just boyish compared to the older gentlemen you see in Castle.

Jayne’s a dick

Jayne was always a dick, but I never really realised how much of a dick he was in the first episode.  The change in him, from the first to the last showing is significant; even if you don’t realise it.  Such a nice thing to realise that even his character changed.

The Plot Point

Also known as River, she really is just a random plot point in the first episode.  She’s this crazy, wibbly creature with no real character as yet – just something that you know will eventually be a plot device.

 

I was first introduced to Firefly about a year after it had gone off the air via a comment by one of my many geeky friends. I thought, why not and proceeded to watch the show, first on a lent pair of DVDs and then soon after, on my own copy.

The Cast of Firefly

The Cast of Firefly

I’m Chaotic Good by nature and have always been more of a fan of Han compared to Luke. I’m a geek through-and-through, always on the outside looking in at popular culture. Is it a surprise that Firefly caught my heart then? A group of outcasts banding together on the other side of the law, living on the edge with their own set of morals?

It’s not just Mal that I love though, Inara made my mouth go dry, Kaylee made me smile, Wash and Zoe made my heart melt and Jayne cracked me up. River and Simon were interesting additions to the ship, even if River was more a plot point than a character in the first episode. Overall, I was ready to fall in-love with the series and I did.

It’s amazing the chemistry they had, and the sheer fun that that seemed to permeate the show. More than that though, Joss managed to create a world that seemed alive. So, I watched it again and again and then watched Serenity when it came out.

I’ve managed to make it to multiple ‘Can’t Stop the Signal’ events, helping to raise money and have even managed to meet both Morenna and Jewel in-person. Both are as lovely as they seem, and while I no longer watch the series regularly it’s still got a special place in my heart.