Time To Wake Up

Simon, of all people, proposes a new heist, and an ambitious one at that: procuring medicine from a hospital on the core planet Ariel where Inara is attending to a client and Book is visiting an abbey. An increasingly incoherent River has just slashed Jayne across the chest with a knife, and Simon wishes to get her inside for neuro-imaging while the others simultaneously obtain the medications that can be resold on the street. Interestingly, the justification given for the pilfering the medications from a place where they are needed to treat the sick is that they have a nearly zero marginal production cost. For Jayne, the day has finally arrived when the money is too good, and he sells the Tams out to the Feds.

Ariel is the least Western episode of the series, in direct contrast to the later episode Heart of Gold. Technology is everywhere on Ariel resulting in luxurious scenes of the Ariel City skyline and the helicopter landing pad atop St. Lucy's Hospital. Life on the frontier in Firefly is always portrayed as a tradeoff. While there may be greater autonomy for people with conceptions of the good life differing from that of the civilization dominated by the Alliance, there is also less security and stability. Life on the core planets also involves tradeoffs. Ariel is portrayed as a place of highly advanced technology, yet the price of wealth and security is the abuse at the hands of those in power. An authority with the power to oversee a sufficiently large advanced civilization also has the power to enforce whatever rules it desires and strip the amygdalas of talented little girls without remorse.

Though Simon and River are oblivious to Jayne's selling them out to the Feds, once aboard Serenity, Mal knocks him out and isolates him in the outer cargo lock with the door open as the atmosphere thins while the ship climbs. After trying and failing to convince Mal of his innocence, he finally caves in and comes clean. As Mal is seemingly content to let Jayne die, Jayne spends his last few seconds of life trying to convince Mal to not let the others know about his treason.

JAYNE: What are you gonna tell the others?

MAL: About what?

JAYNE: About why I'm dead.

MAL: Hadn't thought about it.

JAYNE: Do me a favor. Make something up. Don't tell them what I did.

Since the beginning of the series, this is only the second time that Jayne expresses something close to remorse, the first time being after the mudder took the bullet for him in Jaynestown. From his actions in later episodes, the change after this confrontation with Mal appears permanent. Jayne slowly transforms from a cold-blooded mercenary to a loyal crewmember, perhaps helped along by learning of the fruitlessness of dealing with the Feds.

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Anyone else find the the Mal

Anyone else find the the Mal & Jayne scene in the airlock to be absolutely magnificent? There was a rage and cold fury from the captain that was just downright palpable right through the TV screen. For all that Jayne is a major character, for a minute I was _utterly_ convinced Mal was going to decompress him to death. Jayne sure as hell was.

Certainly caught me by

Certainly caught me by surprise- I was thinking that they couldn't get rid of him, but the pacing and the weight of the characterization had me believing right at the end- and then Mal relents as I figured he would have (but had decided he wouldn't) and then we get more character study from him after the clemency, making what might have been predictable into something deeper. Awesome stuff.