Tue
May 4 2010 4:38pm
Firefly Re-watch: “Jaynestown”

It’s him! The hero of Canton! Jayne Cobb himself. Maybe he will regale us with stories of his past exploits! I hope he sings. Just be warned, he likes to talk about everything that’s been done, so if you sit and listen and haven’t seen the spectacles first hand, you might get a fair mite spoiled for ya.

Episode Summary:

Kaylee and Simon are talking in the passenger area, where Simon professes that he swears, just like anybody else, and Kaylee doubts him. Inara walks past, and Kaylee asks her if she is off to an appointment, which she confirms, and Kaylee wishes her well with a “Have good sex!” Simon looks at Kaylee in mild disbelief, but before anything more can be said, he sees Jayne rummaging around the sickbay. When questioned, Jayne says that he had to find tape, apparently so that he could secure a handgun to his stomach. Simon flusters, saying that Jayne is “like a trained ape, without the training.” Mal then steps in and says the town they are setting down in, Canton, doesn’t allow guns and firmly tells Jayne that he won’t be bringing one in no matter what. Mal especially doesn’t care that Jayne likely has enemies in the town after some stunt he pulled a few years back. Let down, Jayne rips the tape off.

Inara leaves as soon as the ship is in the atmosphere and Serenity sets down outside of the mud-mines of Canton. The crew, Simon included, disembarks, and Mal explains that this is a simple pick-up-and-go job from a man named Kessler. Zoe is left to hold down the ship. Kaylee then advocates that Simon come with them into town and Book offers to stay behind with River. Mal takes to the idea, deciding that Simon would do well to pose as a buyer of the mud. He starts to describe Simon, from his clothes to his soft hands to his pasty complexion. Jayne, who is wearing as conspicuous of a disguising outfit as possible, is rather irate over this, but Simon gives in.

 

SIMON: Fine, I’ll go. Just stop describing me.
MAL: You’re the boss, boss.

In the outskirts of the town they meet a foreman and Simon does a very poor job of sounding like he has any clue of what he is talking about. The foreman ignores this, though, and goes on about how most of Canton’s workers are indentured and paid very little. This is apparently a selling point as the savings are passed on to the buyer. Mal watches Simon flounder for a few moments then rescues him, giving the foreman a reason to leave and explaining that they are just going to have a look around. The crew heads into town and Mal and Wash heckle Jayne over his getup, saying that no one is likely to remember him. As if to prove them wrong, they find a statue of Jayne, looking like a big damn hero. To prove his earlier point, Simon says “son of a bitch.”

Jayne professes to have no clue why there is a statue of him. Mal doesn’t believe him, and Simon is simply dumbstruck as he looks at it. Jayne explains that he was on the planet a few years back and stole a lot of money from the magistrate. Surely they don’t make statues of people for doing that! They admire the statue a few moments more:

WASH: I think they captured him though. Captured his essence.
KAYLEE: Looks sorta angry, don’t he?
WASH: Kinda what I meant.

The crew continues to be fixated on the statue and Jayne tries desperately to impress upon them that the magistrate would be rather unfriendly if he found out Jayne was planet-side.

Meanwhile, Inara arrives at Magistrate Higgins’ house. The magistrate is a right pompous ass, but shows some manners in his small talk. Inara is all business, if coy about it, and suggests they “start” at 7:30.

Back on the ship, Book is watching after River.

BOOK: What are we up to, sweetheart?
RIVER: Fixing your bible.
BOOK: I, um— What?
RIVER: Your Bible’s broken. Contradictions, false logistics— Doesn’t make sense.
BOOK: No, no. You can’t—
River: So we’ll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God’s creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels are already there.
BOOK picks up ripped out pages.
RIVER: Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven, eleven times but always comes out one. Noah’s ark is a problem.
BOOK: Really?
RIVER: We’ll have to call it “early quantum state phenomenon.” Only way to fit 5000 species of mammal on the same boat.
BOOK: (grabbing the Bible as River rips out a page): Give me that.

 

They fight over the Bible a little, and Book talks about faith and belief, asserting that “You don’t fix faith, River. It fixes you.”

The crew on the planet sits in a bar, and while Jayne protests his statue some more, Wash is taken by surprise by the local drink, “mudder’s milk”, which from the sounds of it makes a Hefenweisen mixed with Guinness sound appetizing and light. Simon makes a comment that it is similar to what the ancient Egyptians gave their slaves. Kaylee tries to praise the knowledge, but comes off rather weakly. Just then, a rather well-dressed man walks into the bar, and Mal takes note of him. Jayne takes the pause to notice a waif is staring at him and he snaps at the boy to “git”.

The fancy gentleman walks to the crew’s table and reveals that Kessler is dead now, but the job can still work. All they have to do is somehow get the goods across town unnoticed from Kessler’s old stash-hole. The fancy gentlemen gives an on-queue “let’s all just lay low for a moment,” and the Ballad of Jayne Cobb starts up. As he listens to it, Jayne realizes what must have happened. He explains how he had to ditch the money to escape and figures that it must have fell right into the mudder town. The mudders, not knowing any better, set Jayne up as a local Robin Hood.

Back on the ship, River attempts to apologize to Book, but she does so when he is washing his rather long, afro-like hair. The change freaks her out and she turns tail, screaming.

Back in the bar, Jayne tries to leave, only to find that the waif he sent running has told the entire town that he is here. Said town is now outside the bar, cheering for him. Jayne runs back inside, where he is recognized, and instantly treated to the best whiskey in the house, causing Jayne to think that being a hero might not be bad as he was thinking. The gentleman gets testy with Mal, but Mal disarms him, saying that it is part of the plan. He then admits to Kaylee that he is still working on it.

Inara, meanwhile, prepares for her service, which apparently is with Fess, the magistrate’s son. Inara starts to kick the magistrate out. He reveals, through complaining, that his twenty-six year old son is still a virgin and that Inara’s job is simply to change that. Inara then deftly kicks him out.

Jayne is fully in the swing of enjoying the mudders’ attention. Meanwhile, Kaylee is drunkenly and flirt-ily (yes, that’s a word!) listening to a very drunk Simon grouse over how he’s saved lives, and the most he ever got was a hamster named after him. She tells him he is funny and he tells her she is pretty. D’aw. The complement catches her off guard, and he continues on. Mal just then appears, telling them they need to leave, and Kaylee very pointedly shoos him off. Amazingly, Mal gets the hint and leaves them alone.

Back on the ship, Zoe and Book try to coax River out of the smuggler’s hole where she has absconded, but she refuses because there is too much hair. Book tries to calm her down, saying that his order requires him to keep it long, but she won’t listen. Mal and Wash show back up and Zoe informs them that the buyer is chomping at the bit for his goods. Mal says there are a few wrinkles to work out and then Wash, rather drunkenly, drops the folk-hero bomb on Zoe. She doesn’t believe him because of his breath, but Mal confirms it and says they are going to use it as a distraction the following day, which is apparently going to be Jayne Day.

In the companion shuttle, Fess confides in Inara how embarrassed he is, but she tells him it isn’t a bad thing to be a virgin, nor does it make him less of a man. They then start to get down to business (see what I did there?).

Back at the bar, a particularly enthusiastic youth is recounting how the magistrate failed to take his money back and tear down the statue of Jayne, seeing as the entire mudder population resisted him. Jayne is moved that they rioted on account of him, and when the youth says he is glad Jayne is back, Jayne asks how he could have ever stayed away.

Meanwhile, the foreman shows up at the magistrate’s house and informs him that Jayne has reappeared. They two of them go out to the hot-box cells, release a rather gnarly looking old, one-eyed man named Stitch and give him a gun. Stitch wonders why he is being given a loaded gun and the magistrate informs him that Jayne, his old partner who betrayed him, is back in town and living up his hero’s legend.

The next day, Simon and Kaylee, asleep on each other on a bench in the bar, are woken up by Mal. Simon puts his foot in his mouth trying to convince Mal, for whatever reason, that he and Kaylee didn’t get it on. In particular, he says that he would “never” with Kaylee. She, of course, gets huffy over it. Jayne shows up, and Mal snags him, saying they have work to do, and Kaylee goes with them. When Simon tries to follow along, she tells him to stay put.

In the companion shuttle, Inara and Fess have post-coital chatter, and Fess is amazed that he doesn’t feel different. Inara assures Fess is the only one who can make himself a man. Of course, shortly thereafter Fess’s dad starts pounding on the door, demanding that Fess “get out here.” Apparently, there is a criminal hearing that will be going on soon and Fess’ father has ordered him to attend. Fess explains about Jayne vaguely and Inara at first thinks he is talking about Mal. When she hears Jayne’s name, she is shocked, but she recovers and subtly encourages him to undo his father’s plans.

Meanwhile, Mal explains the idea to Jayne, and Jayne actually feels guilty over using his fame to hoodwink the locals. Mal points out the contradiction, but Jayne persists. Mal insists, though, and then zooms off to the hide-hole with Wash, Zoe and Kaylee in the mule.

Stitch shows up at the bar and beats the snot out of Simon after Simon resists telling him where Jayne is. He is about to cut out one of Simon’s eyes when he hears the chanting of Jayne’s name. Outside, Mal and crew get the stuff on the ship and get ready to leave while the foreman and his thugs hold fast, watching the crowd. Jayne gets up to make a speech, which falls somewhat flat but at least comes out somewhat sincere. Just then, Stitch shows up and calls Jayne out.

Stitch threatens to kill Simon while Jayne watches, but Jayne draws the attention to himself and says Simon isn’t a friend. Stitch relates to the mudders how Jayne wasn’t a hero. Turns out Jayne had kicked Stitch out of the shuttle first when they were hit, trying to save the strongboxes for himself. Jayne admits to it, and when Stitch is about to kill Jayne, the enthusiastic youth jumps in and takes the bullet. Jayne, in rage, throws his knife into Stitch’s chest, and the two then grapple it out, and Jayne quickly kills Stitch. He then yells at the dead youth and at the mudders, renouncing his hero-status and trying to give them a hard lesson of life; in particular, that good fortune just doesn’t drop out of the sky. The crowd is quiet and the small waif returns Jayne’s knife. Jayne snatches it, then jumps up and topples the statue.

The crew makes it back to the ship, Jayne with a heavy heart, and they take off. There is a moment of worry in the cockpit as Wash sees the landlock, but it suddenly turns off as Inara walks onto the bridge. They take off safely.

Back at the magistrate’s house, Fess gloats to his father about how he let Jayne go, and points out that what he did was something a man would do, so it was a product of his father’s own wishes.

In the sky, Jayne mulls over his knife. Book walks into the lounge and sees River “fixing” some other text, and she tells him to just keep walking, so he does. Kaylee worries over Simon and they have a talk about “them”. Kaylee wonders over why Simon has to be so proper all the time, and he tells her that it is just his way of showing that he likes her. She then pulls a prank on him, asking about “when we made love last night—?” Simon flusters, and she laughs at him, calling him an easy mark.

Mal shows up and talks to Jayne in the hold, where Jayne is conflicted and torn over the events of the day. Mal explains something of how people need heroes.

MAL: It’s my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of a son of a bitch or another. Ain’t about you, Jayne. It’s about what they need.

The words really affect Jayne, but he protests that it still doesn’t make any sense.

Commentary:

First, sorry for the long River-Book quote. I really enjoyed that scene, and not for the obvious “haha, religious people” aspect. No, I really enjoyed Book’s defense. He acknowledges the inconsistencies, and asserts that it isn’t about it being factual, but about the spirituality of it. The continued interaction between River and Book was really awesome too, but honestly was just fun fluff.

No, the molded protein of this episode comes down to why my commenters seem rather split on calling this their favorite or least favorite episode of the series. Which, I’d guess, is Jayne’s plot. Myself, I enjoy it, but it isn’t my favorite.

What I really enjoy in this episode is the massive multiple levels it works on you while seeming to not do it at all. There is huge character depth added to Jayne here. He gets to feel what it is to be adored and to be a hero, and instead of getting super arrogant with it (he does get somewhat arrogant with it, especially with the adoring female fan) he actually feels guilt. Not the gun-toting redneck we’ve all come to laugh at and adore.

Now, in a random discussion I had with a friend once, he observed that Jayne was the only character in Firefly that received a full plot arc, that is to say, he had completely heel-face-turned by the end of the series. Of course, “Ariel” really cements it in two episodes, but here we get the beginning of the “Jayne Cobb isn’t all he shows himself to be” story. Not that he is being sneaky or contrary like Book or Mal. No, Jayne actually is having a moment of self-revelation about who he is, which of course is why this is not just character depth, but growth.

And I must say, Adam Baldwin pulled it off amazingly. The conflicted, confused looks Jayne has at the end really hammer home how his entire paradigm has shifted over the events on Canton, and while he is going to have a small relapse into cold-hearted thugery, he is on his way to being a bigger, better person. The impact of Mal’s “estimation” at the end over how people just need something to believe in is evidence of this.

Which actually moves into my second point with this episode, which is the commentary on faith and symbols. Firefly is fraught with examinations of religion and faith, but I don’t really think there is anywhere else in the series or the movie that look at it from the same perspective as “Jaynestown.” In this particular instance, it isn’t arguing over any particular characters needs or beliefs, but instead about humanity as a whole, and it makes a good point.

I am loathe to quote The Matrix Reloaded here, especially the character of Col. Sanders, I mean the Architect, but “Hope . . . simultaneously the source of [humanity’s] greatest strength and [its] greatest weakness.” The theme has appeared elsewhere, too, even in video games. In the original Wild ARMS, hope is likewise treated as a strength and weakness. I am sure you can come up with places you have seen this, too. In this episode we see it wrapped into one solid package: people need hope. And the source of that hope doesn’t really matter. It can come from a misunderstanding of the biggest son of a bitch this side of the ‘verse, but long as people have it, they can go on. They can hold up their heads, have dignity, and do what needs done.

Which is my thinly veiled way of segueing into my next point over this episode, which is self-worth and society-assigned worth. In particular the plot with Fess and Inara and the discussion of what it is to be a man. Inara says, when Fess wonders if he is supposed to be a man now, that “a man is just a boy who’s old enough to ask that question.” She advocates, rightly so, that self-worth is more important than the worth others place upon you, but on the same hand, it isn’t like she didn’t pop his cherry. So, while one could argue that she was just doing her job, one can also say that she has seen some value to the societal outlook on the coming-of-age in their “ritual” together. After all, this is hardly the first time we have seen Inara catering to an awkward youth who perhaps was a virgin beforehand. (The pilot, anyone?). So I guess what we can take away from that is that self-worth is important, but don’t shun societal worth altogether.

Which, I dunno, I kinda don’t like. As someone who doesn’t fit into my usual society very well and who—post-convention—is feeling it rather acutely since most of my local friends are not in the sci-fi fandoms, the whole societal worth thing annoys me. I have my own sense of self-worth, and I run with it, and I’d rather make people accept me for what I am (in a non-confrontational and actually very tolerant way, mind), than kowtow to what is “normal.” So this message that it wasn’t just Inara’s words that gave Fess his backbone, but also the sexin’, well, yeah. Thoughts? Am I interpreting this all strangelike?

And speaking of sexin’, or the lack thereof, d’aw to Simon and Kaylee sitting in the bar. F-L-I-R-T-E-R. I was happy to see an “Us” conversation, because dude, they are real. Movies and TV shows, and even books, love to portray the romantic pairs hooking up and just knowing they are together and a thing, and that just isn’t how it works in my estimation and experience. There is an awkward hook-up of some sort, or a realization that just-friends isn’t what is going on, and then there is an awkward and utterly terrifying “Us” conversation. Here, more than in the initial picking-up or hooking-up, is the fear of rejection. The ultimate moment when “It isn’t you, it’s me” or “I just don’t think we’d work” or “I’m not ready for this in my life” can all come out. And major kudos for Kaylee not chickening out and starting the talk, ‘cause that is the hardest part. Yes, it is frightening the whole way through until you realize that neither of you are going to say one of the above horrible things to hear, but it is much easier once the first step down the path is taken. Trust me, I know, ‘cause I can’t recall ever having the cajones to actually start one myself.

So yeah, and also major props to Simon with his whole true-to-self defense of why he is how he is. No, “Oh, I don’t have to be awkward, yay!” Nope. Also props to Kaylee understanding, at least a little after-the-fact, why Simon was being all stiff the morning after their drunken merriment. I do have to wonder, though, how far they did get considering the position in which they fell asleep. (Makes mental note to skip across universes and kill Simon Tam and then take his place.)

Speaking of lovey-dovey, why does Inara have to open up to the awkward twenty-six year old, but doesn’t have the gonads to open up to Mal? Sheesh.

Factoids:
Originally Aired: 18 October 2002
Original Position: Episode 4
Richard’s Favorite Line: Double River:

RIVER: I tore these out of your symbol, and they turned into paper, but I want to put them back, so . . . AHH!

And

RIVER: They say the snow on the roof is too heavy. They say the ceiling will cave in. His brains are in terrible danger.

Fun Goofs: The mud left on Simon’s shoulder by the foreman slapping his back has disappears soon after, despite him having had no opportunity to change or clean his jacket. (thank you IMDB, I thought that mighta been the case, and so do you.)

 

 

As an aside, you might notice that my summaries are not exactly in order of the episode as I occasionally condense several of the back-and-forth scenes into their plot lines. This is because I have a vendetta against the word “meanwhile,” and as such try to use it as little as I can. I also have a lesser hatred of “Back [on the/at the/in the][place]”. Pardon my summarizer’s liberty.

Anywho, I’ll see all y’all next week for “Out of Gas”, as we get a whole buttload of backstory.


Richard Fife is a blogger, writer, and thinks we all need to go to the backwater town where he is a hero. You can read more of his ramblings and some of his short stories on http://RichardFife.com.

23 comments
James Hogan
1. Sonofthunder
Yay Jaynestown!!! I simply adore this episode. I think the first time watching the show, this was definitely my favorite...after several re-watches, other episodes(Ariel, Mrs. Reynolds..) rose appreciably in my estimation, but I still love Jaynestown. First of all, it's just hilarious. I have the audio clip of Jayne's song on my iPod, and every time it randomly starts playing while I'm driving home from work, I'll just start grinning ear-to-ear.

And secondly, while I'm not always a fan of Simon/Kaylee(because gosh, Simon IS such a stiff!), they are absolutely adorable here in their-waking-up-after-spending-night-together-moments. Apparently I have a semi-romantic side after all. Darn.

And thirdly, River's reaction to Book. "Too much hair." Priceless. Even though I sigh and moan over the mild digs at Christianity(being a Bible-loving person, myself) I still love River in this episode.

And great analysis of Simon and Kaylee having the talk. Truly, I know how frightening that can be..."Oh gosh, will she really want to be with *me*??"

Again, great post...loving this re-watch!!

Edited for lousy spelling and grammar...
Joshua Evans
2. JoshuaEvans
Love this episode.

Wash: We gotta go to the crappy town where I'm a hero.

The River/Book interaction was great.
Rikka Cordin
3. Rikka
I love Zoe's reaction to the hair almost as much as I love River's.

Also, my brother and I, half-jokingly, figure this episode is part of the reason this show got kicked off the air. This and Inara kissing a girrrrrl.
some guy
4. NateTheGreat
I can't believe you'd review this episode and not post this:
Hero of Canton on Youtube
james loyd
5. gaijin
I didn't notice it in the show, but in the still at the top of this page the statue looks a LOT like Lenin.
some guy
6. NateTheGreat
Did you knwo that you can find a couple different versions of "Hero of Canton" on Youtube? I tried to post a link, but apparently my comment was swallowed.
Jennifer B
7. JennB
I love this episode! Reading the summary, I kept thinking that you left the best two quotes out and I was going to have to look them up so I could post them. Luckily I got to the bottom and there they were with the factoids. Yay! I also agree with Rikka @3 about Zoe's reaction.
Zoe: Preacher, what the hell did you...Whoa.
Zoe: River, honey, he's putting the hair away now.
River: Doesn't matter. It'll still be there...waiting.

We also hear Inara's "I chose you because you are special." schtick. I get the impression that she uses this line alot. (This is also the first client of her's that we get to meet who isn't a total ass. Of course, I guess that his father is enough of an ass for both of them.)

And of course Simon puts his foot in his mouth, again. Is there a pattern emerging here?

Jayne grows. I enjoy the Jayne plotline, especially the other crew members' reactions and Jayne's moment at the end with Mal.
caulkhead
8. caulkhead
Book with his hair down looks like Einstein. I could never decide if that was what caused River's reaction to him or if that was just coincidence.
j p
9. sps49
I thought Book was given an excellent line re: faith with River. You can't prove much of anything in (pick your Book) rationally, but faith is the big requirement. Doubting Thomas was the example of "good for you, believing the Resurrection when you meet Jesus afterward, but those who believe w/o that proof will be more blessed".

I think Simon sees Mal as a father figure, at least for Kaylee (I didn't touch your daughter, nossir, it would never cross my mind! Honest!) and Kaylee didn't like the implications of rejection and the notion she isn't a grownup. Maybe it's just me.

And come on, nobody else sees some Jayne in Adam Baldwin's portrayal of Col. Casey?
Marcus W
10. toryx
I've always enjoyed the easter egg on the DVDs that Adam Baldwin did singing his Hero of Canton song. With the hat he gets later. It's always awesome when an actor shows a genuine appreciation for his work and character like he does.

I wouldn't call this my favorite episode but it is one I enjoy a great deal. Jayne definitely grows a great deal here, and it's just hilarious to watch the other crew react to his fame, Wash and Simon in particular.

I like the bible stuff because I completely agree with River's assessment. And the business with the hair is fantastic. This episode has a lot of great lines all around.
Vincent Lane
11. Aegnor
i always really liked this episode, and I love the song. Aside from the absolutely hilarious bits with Jayne on Canton, his reaction to what happened at the end, is what really sold me. Adam Baldwin really did an incredible job with the great material he was given.

Next week, though, is my favorite episode. Out of Gas is one of the best episodes of television I've seen.
Evan Langlinais
12. Skwid
Actually, mixing Guinness (a notably light beer in both calories and alchohol content) and Hefeweizen (a physically light-colored beer that frequently has "light" citrus notes) is called a "Cream of Wheat," and is IMNSHO very light and refreshing!

*twinkle*
The More You Know...
Vincent Lane
13. Aegnor
I always thought it was called a Black and Tan, but maybe that's only when a light colored beer other than Hefeweizen is used.
caulkhead
14. Foxessa
There are viewers whose view of River's reaction to Book's unbound hair in a very different way than you all do.

Just sayin'.
Evan Langlinais
15. Skwid
Aegnor, a Black and Tan is Guinness floated on Bass Ale. Contrarily, a "Half and Half" is Guinness floated on Harp Lager.

There are many beer mixers with Guinness.
Vincent Lane
16. Aegnor
Foxessa@14,
"There are viewers whose view of River's reaction to Book's unbound hair in a very different way than you all do."

Hmmm....don't get it.
Richard Fife
17. R.Fife
@Skwid Aight, fine, throw in some aged Barleywine while we are at it. Need to get the ethanol content up anyway.
Church Tucker
18. Church
In a forum I help moderate, an infrequent poster came up with an absolutely brilliant observation about this episode.

But I wanted to point out the crucial Book/River scenes in Jaynestown that weren't talked about in the podcast. They weren't long scenes--River points out "flaws" with the Bible, Book tells her "It's not about making sense. It's about believing in something, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It's about faith. You don't fix faith, River. It fixes you." And later she returns pages from his Bible: "I ripped these out of your symbol and they turned into paper."

In these two scenes, Joss reinforces the theme of the show. Jayne, like the pieces of paper, is a fairly simple piece of work taken on his own. But vested with the meanings people have projected on him, as a symbol he's become something much more important to the Mudders. They've projected on him their need to believe in a better world, in some remote chance that their lives could be better in some small way. And what horrifies Jayne in the end is realizing just what he means to the Mudders in contrast to what he knows he really is. The responsibility scares him, and all Mal can do is tell him "Ain't about you, Jayne. It's about what they need. "

However, in typical Joss fashion, he argues the other side as well: Inara takes it on herself to teach her young client that he needs to stop placing his concept of manhood on the external symbols his father uses to measure him, and believe in himself and his own judgment--his roadmap for dealing with himself and his world have to, finally, come from within.


That said, while I loved this episode the first time through, I rarely watch it on repeat. Something about it just drags on repeated viewing.

I suspect Foxessa is alluding to the fact that you could view it as a racist reaction (correct me if I'm wrong.) I don't buy it, because she has no other indications along those lines, and it IS a lot of hair. My GF has a similar thing going on, and you have to fluff it out to get it to do that (black hair has more 'memory' than white hair,) so it was obviously done for comedic effect.

Also, "Black and Tan"=Guiness & Harp, but you're safer calling it a "Half and Half" because some nationalist Irish/Irish-Americans will take serious offense to the former term (the Black and Tans were British criminals recruited as cops to police the Irish, essentially.)
caulkhead
20. Kokiri
Aegnor @11: You wrote: "Next week, though, is my favorite episode. Out of Gas is one of the best episodes of television I've seen."

I agree, it is my favorite episode of any SF series I've seen. I'm really looking forward to the summary, commentary, and friendly commenting banter.
caulkhead
21. lemmage
Not to nitpick, but the index page has been staying about one episode behind the discussions. I still have to bookmark each episode's page or scroll way through Tor.com entries to check on the current episode's comments.
caulkhead
22. MerinSun
I absolutely agree with you about the contradiction inherent in the Inara/Fess story. After their conversation about sex not really defining who you are, I totally expected that they would not have sex. And to be honest, that would have cemented in my mind how different a Companion is from a prostitute: you are a person who brings comfort and solace and sex just sometimes (okay, most of the time) is what fits the bill.

I felt that the final scene with Fess was really lacking in umpf. "I did what you wanted of me, Father, and look! It worked!" That's all that I saw. Instead of "I'm my own man, Dad, and I don't need you to tell me what that is!"

Otherwise, I adore this episode. And I sing the Hero of Canton when I'm drunk :)
Lee Schumacher
23. lelliot
I think the key to the impact of this episode on me (and I suspect a lot of people) is that it originally aired as episode 4. I distinctly recall being on the fence with this series through the first 3 episodes and watching 'Jaynestown' was the first time that I really felt an "Aha" moment - that I was getting it. It wasn't just that I liked the episode, but that the characters and the setting and the story and the dialog all gelled and I really understood what Whedon was trying to do. Its not necessarily my favorite episode, but I think it holds a special place in the series for me because of that.
caulkhead
24. Lili
Why does Inara have to open up to the awkward twenty-six year old, but doesn’t have the gonads to open up to Mal? Because she can have with that stranger the kind of conversation she cannot have with Mal. These kinds of conversations can really only be held with strangers. We all need to talk about metaphysics, but those who know us well want details and specifics; strangers allow us to operate more vaguely on a cosmic scale and you can only say "I feel like I've known you for years" to someone you have not known for years. Inara loves Mal and feels that since a future between them is probably not possible, she does not want to get down that road too much. With a stranger it is a completely different story. Nothing is at stake. She does the job and leaves.

As to Kaylee and Simon: something about Simon seems odd to me, he seems so disinterested in romance. I have never bought that he had a thing for Kaylee. Mal has a passion and fire in him when he looks at Irana - they dont need to talk, you know they want each other - but i ve never felt that about Kaylee and Simon or actually only Simon. Simon just does never look at Kaylee that way. He looks at her like he looks at his sister. Anyway i guess the point im trying to make is that the Kaylee and Simon romance never sat right with me. Not because i think they shouldnt or are not good for each other but because i just cannot find any evidence in Simon, as there a lot of in Mal for Inara, regarding his affection for Kaylee. He recites the lines like "you look beautiful" and "i regret not having been with you" but he doesnt believe them and so the performance is unbelievable for me because i dont believe it either. There is not only no chemistry between him and Kaylee, it is negative chemistry. I would have appreciayed a Jayne/ kaylee romance even though Jayne is an asshole.

Speaking of which: Jayne is an ass through and through with very few redeeming qualities in my opinion. He's a motherfucker. I did like that they gave him some depth in this show but then that was taken right away in "Ariel" when he turned them in.

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