Tue
Aug 3 2010 4:36pm
Firefly Re-watch: Serenity: Those Left Behind Part 3

And here we have the thrilling, if delayed by moi, conclusion to our episode in comic form. We have Judo, we have heartbreak, we have snark, and we even have a sword. What an issue. Past exploits are here. Spoilers are obviously below.

Issue Summary:

Aboard the primary derelict from the Battle of Sturgis, Jayne looks at the numerous corpses, Alliance and Independent both, and mutters that it just doesn’t seem right. Mal pauses a moment in respect, then tells them to keep moving as there is a job to be done. Outside, the blue-hands sneak up under Serenity in their small shuttle and establish an airlock and prepare to breach.

Aboard the ship, Simon walks into the infirmary and is shocked to find his medicine cabinet busted into and a trail of blood leading back into the passenger dorms. He follows it and finds River all doped out on her bed and bloodied from where she’s been injecting herself with anesthetic. He asks her why she doped herself up.

RIVER: Because they’re here, Simon. They’re here and I don’t want to feel it when it happens.

Inara is on her shuttle, looking at a picture of Mal, when Simon brings River to her and asks for her to watch River while he runs some tests. Inara says that of course she will, and Simon says it won’t even be a problem since River is so doped up, but then River screams out “Belly!” and indicates she is talking about the ship’s.

Meanwhile, Mal, Zoe, and Jayne reach the spot where the coin is supposed to be to only find more dead bodies. Jayne says he supposed they should have seen it coming, and Zoe confirms to Mal that they are at Badger’s coordinates. Jayne remarks he only sees dead people, and then Dobson reveals himself with a drawn gun and says he was thinking exactly the same thing. Dobson’s thugs then reveal themselves and surround the three, and Dobson tells Mal and crew to drop their weapons, because he wants to make it slow.

In the cargo bay of Serenity, Simon and Kaylee open the floor-doors, but Kaylee says she doubts they will find anything of concern, as she ran a full diagnostic the last time they were docked for more than day. Simon points out that he doesn’t even remember when that was, and Kaylee admits she doesn’t either. As the doors fully open, a blue hand grabs her throat and flings her to the floor. As she falls, she brings a large patch of fabric with her from her assailant’s clothes, then mutters in fear as the blue-hand, now revealed to be wearing a blue bodysuit of some sort under his suit, looms over her. Before the man can do anything, though, a dumbbell is introduced to his forehead by Simon, who then yells for Kaylee to close the doors.

Back on the derelict, Jayne is confused and asks Mal why Dobson is there if Mal shot him in the head. Dobson growls about his false eye, and Mal asks him what he wants. The answer is simple: Mal dead. Mal wonders that it is strictly that, seeing as how much time and money it had to have taken to track them, and Dobson reveals how his life was ruined—the law marked him as dead without a search—so all he had left was revenge. Thus, all he wants is an eye for an eye.

Jayne snarks that it sounds fair, and Mal tells him to shut up then asks Dobson what he was exactly planning on doing after he had killed Mal. Dobson quips that he’ll find a hobby, and Mal then orders Zoe and Jayne to kill the thugs and Dobson after Dobson shoots Mal. Zoe preempts him, though, and judo-throws the nearest thug between Mal and Dobson just as Dobson shoots, thus providing a convenient meat shield. Mal grabs the thug’s weapon, and Dobson mutters “not again” just before Mal shoots him through his other eye. The crew makes short work of the remaining thugs.

Zoe then asks what Mal’s plan was for after they killed Dobson, and he admits he hadn’t gotten there yet. Jayne admires Dobson for being able to hold a grudge, and Mal agrees then shoots Dobson again for good measure. Mal contacts Wash, saying they are heading back, and Wash indicates that Mal isn’t the only one with a problem.

Down in the hold, Kaylee is desperately trying to out-jury-rig the blue-hands as they try to hack and blast through the doors, and Book picks up a large wrench in preparation of the fight. Simon asks what he is doing, calling him “Shepherd.”

BOOK: Please don’t call me that. It makes this harder.

Mal demands Wash to explain what is going on, but Wash, in his stress-calm, tells Mal he is busy flying fast through a mess of pointy stuff, but that he has just found a good fit. He then squeezes through a narrow area of wreckage and, after “peeling the burr off our butt” heads over to where Mal and the others are waiting and picks them up without even bothering to stop. Of course, the blue-hands are still in hot pursuit in their shuttle. The second Mal and the others are inside, Serenity starts a full burn, and the blue-hands’ shuttle is toasted in the blast.

Serenity makes it to Sihnon, where Inara says her goodbyes and is welcomed by several other Companions. She tries to say goodbye to Mal, but admits she doesn’t know exactly what to say and wonders if Mal does. Mal hesitates, and then says “I’ll miss you, Inara.” Of course, by the time he says it, he is standing alone in the galley, and the ship is already back in the air.

Book walks in, saying he hopes he isn’t interrupting anything, and Mal asks what he wants. Book reveals he is leaving the ship, although he isn’t quite sure where he’ll go. He just knows he needs to leave.

MAL: Look, Shepherd, I’ll make this plain. It don’t matter to me that you hit me.
BOOK: Which is exactly why I need to be away from you. Because sooner or later, it won’t matter to me either.

Mal then goes to his cabin and sits along on his bunk, thinking, and Zoe calls down to him, asking where she should tell Wash to get them headed to. Mal replies, “Forward, the same as always.”

Meanwhile, an Alliance officer is making a call to a mysterious figure with a sword at his side. He informs the figure that the “independent contractors” have disappeared—as we are treated to the sight of their burned out shuttle and bodies—and that their task falls to the figure. The figure accepts and picks up a printout with River’s picture on it.

Commentary:

Dun, dun, dun. So yeah, all in all, my impression of this graphic novel is not all that much of a happy one. Yes, yay it is Firefly, but also, it was just missing something that the episodes had, which of course is the live action. I may have Ron Glass’ and Nathan Fillion’s voices reading in my head, but it just isn’t the same. Also, there is a bit of something lost in a fight scene without the motion.

Now, the opening scene in Part 1 was actually not bad. But this one, well, it was just too easy. There was all this build up to Dobson being a maniac on the loose, and while his ended was fitting, it was just a bit rushed and easy. Kind of a “Hi, I’m here, oh bye, I’m dead.” And then his worthless thugs, can’t even gun three people down when you outnumber them like 3 to 1. Good muscle is so hard to find in the future, it seems.

The blue-hands’ death equally irritated me. Yes, it is nice to know where they went, but really? They have nifty body-suits and are all scary, and Simon and Kaylee beat them off and then Wash is who technically killed them? No offense, but I kinda wanted some River-getting-back action. Poor girl needs some catharsis, and nothing provides the healing pain like a good revenge killing. Right Dobson? Oh...right.

Main character wise, yay for Mal almost getting to be manly and have the guts to say it. But, well, he didn’t. Which I still continue to say: Mal in that relationship did not bother me near as much as Inara. And again, only because Inara has training over her emotions. If you want to see it done right, in my opinion, watch Moulin Rouge. It’s a beautiful movie about what it means to love a whore—well, and what Love means in general—but mainly about loving a whore.

Book’s decision to leave was well played in the end. Yes, his “starting to become like them” was a little drastic, but I think it ended much better than it started with the above quoted text. Especially if Book is really a former Operative. His fear of falling back into his old ways after a bit of a Saul-Paul leaf-flip (again, all speculating) would be rather poignant.

One last thought: Sihnon. It is portrayed in the book as a lush jungle world, and come to think of it, the planet Inara is on in the movie (can’t recall if they say it is Sihnon or not) was very vegetated. Seems rather contrastful (I love making new words) with the “Anglo” side of the Alliance, where it is all super-urban metropolis with very “controlled” plant-life. I suddenly wish we had more episodes (or even a regular episode) where Serenity had visited the “other half” of the Alliance.

And last thing to think on. Why is Simon looking like a badass with a gun on one of the covers? Really? Anyway, that is really all I have to say about that. Next week, The Big Damn Movie!

Factoids:

Pub Date: September 09, 2005
Covers: Simon, River, Wash
Pages: 32


Richard Fife is a writer, blogger, and not a dead body floating in a derelict. You can read more of his rambling and some of his short stories (including one he recently put up that he improved for his kids’ bedtime story) at http://RichardFife.com.

4 comments
j p
1. sps49
Simon is shown as a badass with a gun so somebody will pick up the comic that mightn't've. Ever seen a Silver Age crazy cover with little to do with the story? Yeah.

I was disappointed that River went passive instead of fighting. And with the Dobson fight.
Megaduck
2. Megaduck
The line where Mal asks Dobson what he's going to do after he's killed him was one of the best in the series.

The theme of, "What are you going to do when you're revenge is complete?" is a big one in fantasy and here they just skip over it with a joke. It's awesome.
Megaduck
3. a-j
Agree that the whole thing was underwhelming. I picked up the trade edition just to see how they married the series to the film. It did seem rushed and the performances were sorely missed, though the written dialogue did chime with the series style.

Fwiw, the only successful TV to comic adaptations I'm aware of are Peter David's 'Who Killed Captain Kirk' and an Avengers (with Steed, not Iron Man) one written by Grant Morrison (I think) and drawn by Ian Gibson.
Megaduck
4. wandering-dreamer
Ah, this helps the movie make a bit more sense. I just watched the tv series+movie for the first time and these reviews on the comics make the movie feel a bit more connected (still feel like we're missing a few acts though). Although I don't think I'll be picking up those comics to read myself, pretty picky about art style and the few pages you've posted just don't look that appealing.
Can't wait for the Big Damn Movie!

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