Reputations And Mysteries

The Train Job begins with more background about the Unification War as Mal, Zoe, and Jayne end up in a bar surrounded by Alliance sympathizers on Unification Day. A fight eventually ensues - started by Zoe - which ends with our heroes ending up outside the bar backed up against the edge of a cliff. Browncoat Mal never did get over losing the war and before Wash flies Serenity to the rescue promises, "I'm thinking we'll rise again." It also becomes apparent that Jayne did not fight in the War and does not share the disguist with Unification that Zoe and Mal do.

After escaping the bar brawl, Mal decides to undertake a train heist on Paradiso for gangster Adelai Niska. Even though they pull off the job with a car-full of Feds in close vicinity, they feel guilty upon finding out that the loot was medicine needed to treat an outbreak of Bowden's Malady among the settlers. They decide to betray Niska by giving it back to the local Sheriff.

Smaller plot arcs are introduced and advanced. River keeps saying, "Two by two, hands of blue," as an introduction to the pair of Alliance insiders that desire to bring her back in their possession. The mystery behind the Shepherd's past grows as he reveals his knowledge of Niska and his methods. When he asks, "Is this Adelai Niska you're talking about?" Jayne replies, "Now how would a Shepherd know a name like that?" The romance between Simon and Kaylee shows the first signs of budding.

Ultimately, the episode's purpose was to demonstrate that the Firefly crew do abide by a set of morals. They could have handed over the medicine to Niska and been handsomely rewarded. Instead, they choose to put their lives at risk and ruin their reputations in Niska's eyes by giving it back. The decision would come back to haunt them in the future. Rarely do good deeds go unpunished in the 'verse.

Bushwacked is by far the weakest episode in the short-lived series. While playing a futuristic version of basketball, a thud is heard. It turns out to be a dead body impacting Serenity, likely ejected from a deserted ship. Exploration of the ship yields a sizable loot but also massacred bodies and a single mad survivor. Mal concludes that the ship has been hit by Reavers which sends his crew into a panic. Eventually, they run into the Feds who board Serenity, and look for Simon and River. In the end, the Feds fail to find the Tams but take the loot away.

One of the highlights of the episode was Wash's description of his wife while being interrogated by the Feds. After Zoe adamantly refuses to talk much about her husband by claiming that they're "very private people," the scence shifts to a very relaxed-looking Wash.

The legs! [laughs] Oh yeah, [I] definitely have to say it was her legs. You can put that down. Her legs, and right where her legs… meet her back. Tha— actually, that whole area. That, and… and above it. […] Have you seen what she wears? Forget about it. Have you ever been with a warrior woman?

Another superb scene came as the Feds were exploring Serenity, the camera pans back in a single continuous sweep to outside the ship's windows as it is revealed that Simon and River are hiding in spacesuits outside Serenity, the ship itself attached to the enormous Alliance cruiser. As Simon struggles with his queasiness at having a mere layer of mylar and glass separating him from "nothing", River reveals more of her personality by smiling, enchanted by the uninterrupted view of the stars above.

Bushwacked is a largely forgettable episode that advances the plot mostly by raising questions. Who are the Reavers? Why have they gone mad? Why does Inara run with a band of smugglers when she could be a lady of standing on one of the core planets? Why does Book travel aboard a ship captained by a man who has lost his faith?

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"Bushwacked is a largely

"Bushwacked is a largely forgettable episode" --- Are you insane? Possibly the coolest, scariest TV horror episode I've ever seen was 'largely forgettable'? --- "Who are the Reavers? Why have they gone mad?" --- That's exactly what's so good about it! Once you understand who and what they are, and see a lot more of them, they cease being scary. Witness (the otherwise wonderful) Serenity film. If one thing about that film was lacking, it was the horror aspect of the Reavers was lost.