Just An Object

The best is saved for last with Objects in Space, an episode that revolves around River's place on the ship. Up till now, everyone with the exception of Inara, who has decided to leave, has found a place on Serenity. Mal, Zoe, Kaylee, and Wash were the originals. Book has found a flock, however resistant they may be to his teachings. Jayne is learning loyalty after feeling guilty about his betrayal in Ariel. He and Book have a blossoming friendship. Even Simon is growing to like the place with his love interest running the engine. Among the crew, intimate dinners full of laughs and storytelling are now commonplace. River is on the outside looking, Simon's efforts at tinkering with her medications largely ineffective.

The opening sequence brilliantly brings River's warped perceptions to the viewer, a metaphysical bridge to her reality. She moves with the grace of a dancer through the ship, interpreting conversations between crew members with paranoid delusions stemming from her alienation on board Serenity. Finding a relatively innocuous object on the floor of the cargo bay - a twig - the perspective changes to reveal her wielding a loaded gun as the rest of the crew try to restrain her. She had somehow managed to get her hands on it even though it was locked in Jayne's case.

Enter Jubal Early, the original Operative - a bounty hunter working on behalf of the Alliance who isn't afraid to hurt people. Providing a counterpoint to River, he has his own unique perspective on things. He likes to understand how objects function, how experience leads to understanding purpose. So he suggests to Simon that surgeons be forced to endure surgery prior to performing it, the better to understand its purpose. River, on the other hand, relates the function of objects to their form. Her shortcomings stem from interpretating the form itself, seeing a loaded gun as a twig - "just an object". Both have a talent for intuiting facts about others, Early by plain psychoanalysis, and River by altered brain morphology. The difference is that Early is a monster of nature while River was created as a victim of monsters like Early.

River's abilities as a weapon finally become apparent. As if playing a game, she arranges all the pieces in the right place, mere objects in space to aid in reaching her objective: neutralizing the threat of Early. All but her uninformed brother place their trust in her and follow her plans. She finds redemption within the most unlikely of places: the maladies of her tormented mind.


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doh! my bad.

doh! my bad.

"Objects in Space" did air;

"Objects in Space" did air; the unaired episodes were "Trash,""Heart of Gold," and "The Message."

Paranoid delusions? Seemed

Paranoid delusions? Seemed like mind-reading of the characters' hidden feelings to me.

simon: "I would be there right now."
jayne: "I got stupid, the money was too good."
book: "I don't give half a hump if you're innocent or not. So where does that put you?"
zoe and wash kissing: sounds of wind and ocean
inara: "I'm a big girl, just tell me."
captain: "None of it means a damn thing."