We're moving Forums to the Community pages. Click here for more information and updates.


Season 1 Episode 10

Objects in Space

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Dec 13, 2002 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
911 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


A bounty hunter boards Serenity to capture River for the Alliance.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Objects in Space

    The good;

    All of it, very, very good, especially love the opening of Summer as she prowls around the ship listening to everyone's thoughts, the character of Jubal Early, the crew's meeting to discuss River and her plan is inspired.

    The bad;

    River's reluctance to use firearms to dispose of Early seems a little strange, she's never seemed to have any reservations before. Plus shooting him would be a lot more humane than leaving him to suffocate?

    Best line;

    Simon; "My sisters a ship, we had a complicated childhood"


    Mal; "If I wanted medical jargon I'd talk to a doctor"

    Simon; "You ARE talking to a doctor"


    Simon; "Come on out Summer, the nice man wants to kidnap you"

    Kinky dinky;

    Early threatens to rape Kaylee to get her co-operation. We take it that when he talks of giving Kaylee and 'present' and ridding her off a 'problem' he means River but maybe he takes her as a virgin and is telling her they're going to have sex? River observes he's all about "Power, control, pain'

    River voyeuristically 'mindrops' on Wash and Zoe getting kissy on the bridge (aside from Homer and Marge they seem to be the most sexually active married couple ever). Topless Simon for the straight girls and sly boys (Joss admits he doesn't mind giving his audience some cheesecake) plus him playing footsie with Kaylee. He also relates the story of some youthful streaking to celebrate his graduation as a surgeon. Book is celibate but avoids the question of masturbation.

    Notches on the Serenity bedpost; we don't know what happens between Kaylee and Early after he ties her up but I don't think so. She also relates a possible story about bedding a 14 year old 'genetic experiment' but again, unconfirmed.

    Capt subtext;

    Mal says that he's perfectly fine with Kaylee never having killed anyone, he wants to keep her the one sweet and innocent thing in his life. Early's fate, left hanging in space with an uncertain future is a metaphor for the series itself.

    When Jayne threatens that he and Wash will 'Go somewhere' over his teasing Wash says he hopes it's somewhere with candlelight.

    How'd they get away with that?

    Early threatening Kaylee is hard to watch as is his pistol whipping Inara across the face. Early licks the ship? Is he descended from Benton Fraser RCMP?

    Subverting the Hollywood cliche;

    We expect Book to tell the truth about being knocked out but he actually lies. We think Jayne is reaching his arsenal when he pulls the curtain back but actually he's just grabbing a blanket. Kaylee actually gives in, surrenders to Early and let's him tie her up, betraying River to him.

    Bondage; Kaylee tied up by Early

    Mal; 2

    River; 1

    Simon; 1

    River; 1

    Jayne; 1

    Wash; 1

    Kaylee; 1

    Knocked out; Book and Mal by Early

    Book; 3

    Simon; 2

    Kaylee; 1


    Mal; 3

    Wash; 1

    Inara; 1

    Zoe; 1

    River; 1

    Women good/men bad;

    Early questions why men are physically stronger yet women have the children?

    Kills; Mal kills Early (or does he? Put him down as a possible)

    Mal; 17-plus one possible, Jubal Early

    Zoe; 17-

    Jayne; 16-

    Wash; 2

    River; 3

    Happy high-class hookers in Space;

    Early exclaims "I'll be a son of a whore"

    Know the face?

    Richard Brooks a familar face for all Law?der fans (until his replacement by Mrs Gere and then Kate Lochley) and truly excellent here in a role where he really plays against type.

    Whedon alumni- Joss likes to reuse the same actors in his series, let's count up their appearances (let me know if I miss any)


    Plenty about the future adventures of Jubal Early. Amongst the means for his survival are;

    1) Venting air from his spacesuit to propel him back to his own ship

    2) Boosting the power of his magnetic shoes in order to attract him back to it

    3) Remote control of his own ship once Serenity is out of sensor range (it does seem to fly off under some form of direction)

    4) Firing his gun to use the recoil to direct himself

    5) Picked up by the blue gloves who are also trailing Serenity

    Unfortunately some include him making good on his threats to Kaylee.

    Missing scenes; or deleted scenes in this case

    1. Scene where we see Zoe and Mal being picked up by the rescue ships after the battle of Serenity. Very graphic with the ground littered with corpses and Zoe in particular looking as though she's on her last legs. It's a powerful scene but if they had left it in it would have detracted from Mal's 'loss of faith' moment in the pilot.

    2. Zoe tells Simon about the battle of Serenity in all it's gory detail, 500,000 killed in less than 2 months. What makes this more interesting is that she states that the Browncoats leaders left them to rot on the battlefield for a week, they resent the Independents High Command as well as the Alliance.

    3. Well I guess I owe Alan Tudyk an apology, there IS an incestuous subtext between Simon and River (at least on River's part) he didn't just make it up out of the blue in his commentary for War Stories. It's all actually quite innocent, like a little girl playing at weddings and casting her father or brother as the groom. She accuses Saffron of being a thief, the crew think she means snaffling the food but she actually means more than that. Mal's speech to Saffron about standing up for herself shows his attitude towards women and gives her the idea of how to hoodwink him. This scene also explains why Summer Glau had no lines in the whole of Our Mrs Reynolds.

    4. Inara announces she's leaving, excised because of the crazy order in which the show was shown so as to make more sense.

    Reputedly there was also a scene where Zoe and Wash garner Simon's professional opinion on them starting a family

    Firefly speak;


    Weak tea=not good

    Back birth=idiot

    Companion=high class courtesan



    Rutting=bloody (or perhaps 'fraking'?)


    Purple belly=officious bureaucrat

    Ta-gow=Oh god!

    Won-gwa-pee= to urinate or defecate





    Wah=what the hell?

    Mah song=quickly


    Nu-shu-quong=nice going


    Sheinou-niou=no good

    Mei, mei=little sister



    Moon brain=inbred?


    Swa-shi=petty, small time


    Roller=tank or armoured vehicle


    Wetware=smuggled organs




    Shot; Simon shot

    Mal; 2-





    Simon; 1-

    Crew injured;

    Mal gets a beating as does Simon again, Book get's a sore head. Inara get's a split lip from her pistol-whipping.

    Reminds me off;

    I guess I don't have to say Bobby Fett right down to his suit, gun and ship because Joss admits it in the commentary. Early threatening Kaylee reminds me of Glory and Tara in Tough Love.

    Early's remark of " Maybe I've always been here?" is very The Shining.

    Questions and observations;

    I had thought it was stupid that Serenity had controls allowing someone to seal the crew into their cabins from the outside but it was pointed out if the ship was depressurised they would need to be able to seal off each compartment. Note Kayleigh is the only one not to have any hidden thoughts for River to read, she's totally open. Book's thoughts make you wonder if he was previously a cop or judge? As early observes, "That's not a Shepherd" Jayne appears to cook pancakes. Note when River has the gun it's Kaylee who backs away most having seen what she's capable off. The crew still don't know about Jayne's betrayal on Ariel.

    Mal sure does love his double negatives when talking. Wash seems to delight in teasing Jayne although you'd wonder if he'd be quite so brave without Zoe to back him up? He also thinks telepathy is science fiction even when he's on a spaceship, very postmodern.

    It appears people eat horses in the future. Early is the kind of interesting recurring villain the series sorely needs. Unfortunately this is the final ep.

    Marks out of 10; 9/10, nice to see the series go out on a high

  • The crew of Serenity encounters perhaps their most dangerous threat, Jubal Early. He is the exact opposite of the dreaded Reavers - he is articulate, physically disciplined and, most importantly - driven to insane distraction by his over analytical mind.moreless

    This is as good as Firefly ever got, and it's quite impressive at that. It is one of my favorite episodes from any sci-fi TV series. It's very self-contained, feels like a classic Twilight Zone installment. It also has an Alfred Hitchcock feel. Maybe that's because Greg Edmonson's music for "Objects" is reminiscent of of the kind of sublime scores composer Bernard Herrmann provided for Hitchcock. Everything about the episode conveys an internal struggle - the music, sounds, lighting and cinematography. It's a great combination of dread, insanity and claustrophobia. In closing, the casting of Richard Brooks is a gem. Quite frankly I liked the film Serenity - and Chiwetel Ejiofor played a very good villain - but I couldn't help but compare his driven character to Brooks' Jubal Early in 'Objects". Richard Brooks fills every scene with an eerie Richard III-type panic, so much so that you get the feeling if this were a movie, he just might wipe out the entire cast.moreless
  • by far the best firefly episode.

    this is such a great episode. i love it because it focuses mainly on river. she is trying to fit in with the crew, but they dont understand her. she picks up this stick, but then it turns into a gun, and she is shocked. when mal asks her if she understands, its so sad. she says she understands, but doesnt comprehend. then kaylee tells them what happened when river shot those guys that were trying to kill her. they told simon he would have to controll river, because she was dangerous. we also learn that she may be psychic, though it was hinted at. river seems like a different person in this episode. she probobly talks more in this episode that all the others. which is good for her. well jubal comes in on the ship to take river to the alliance. he is a bounty hunter and a very clever one. his scene with kaylee was so powerful. she seemed so scared, but calm. it was very good. and river tells him she is no longer "river" but the sip serenity. she said how no one wanted her, which was sad. she got under jubals skin by reading his past. and hse ends up telling him she will go with him. but mal aves her in the end by not letting him get back to his ship. well. not really, but for the episodes end, yes. so this was technically the last episode, not counting the movie, but what a great episode it was. it really sums up everything. at the end with river and keylee playing jacks, it was just perfect.moreless
  • A beautiful episode

    A River again, in the attention of all but it really works fine. She is amazing char and the whole way there is so many angels of her..

    The story was really exciting - a bounty hunter managed to get aboard the ship and lock most of the crew away and he is after River but she is more clever than imagined - she starts a really scary play with the bounty hunter and says she is merged with the Serenity.. very psychological game, but she for sure managed to be top of it and make the situation solve.

    A gorgeous episode..moreless
  • River becomes Serenity.

    This was a really enjoyable episode. It's too bad it's the last episode. I really wish there was a second season. I liked this episode because it's based on River and River is my favourite character. I liked that the crew was discussing that she's psychic. It's obvious these episode was filmed earlier because thay should all know by now that she is psychic. I liked how everything was in her perspective. It made the episode more interesting. It was genious for River to sneak to Early's ship and pretend to be Serenity. I thought that was really cool. I give this episode a 10/10.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • During Kaylee's explanation of the events aboard Nisska's space station, there is a red pot behind Jayne. However, when Kaylee says, "Please don't be mad," the pot disappears and something that appears to be a coconut of some sort is there instead.

    • At the climax of the story, Mal moves in behind Jubal and pushes him off into space. But actions and reactions are equal -- the shove should send Mal flying off in the other direction. There is no indication that he is braced against anything or has secured his footing in either the wide shot or the close-up that shows him appearing quite suddenly behind Early.

    • When River is still claiming to have merged with Serenity, she is able to speak to several rooms individually. Is this possible to do from Early's ship? And how could she tell that Mal was rolling his eyes-- was it a big goof or a psychic awareness?

  • QUOTES (33)

    • Kaylee: Don't let the space bugs bite.

    • River: You're wrong, Early.
      Early: I'm not wrong, dumpling. I will shoot your brother dead if you don't...
      River: Wrong about River. River's not on the ship. They didn't want her here, but she couldn't make herself leave, so she melted. Melted away. They didn't know she could do that, but she did.
      Early: Not sure I take your meaning there.
      River: I'm not on the ship. I'm in the ship. I am the ship.

    • (River comes out of a vision to find herself holding a gun, which Mal takes from her)
      Mal: Fully loaded, safety off. This here is a recipe for unpleasantness. (to Simon) Does she understand that?
      River: She understands. She doesn't comprehend.
      Mal: Well, I'm glad we've made that distinction.

    • Wash: This is all very surreal. I hate surreal.

    • Early: So is it still a room when it's empty? Does the room... the thing... have purpose? Or do we.... what's the word?
      Simon: I really can't help you
      Early: The plan is to take your sister... get the reward... which is substantial. "Imbue"... that's the word.

    • Early: Yeah...you know me real well.
      River: Wish I didn't. You like to hurt folk.
      Early: Part of the job.
      River: That's why you took the job. Power, control, pain... your mother knew. Sadness in her when she waved goodbye. She's relieved... saw a darkness in you. You're not well...
      Early: You'll be wanting to shut up now.

    • River: I don't belong... dangerous like you. Can't be controlled... can't be trusted. Everyone could just... go on without me and not have to worry. People could be who they wanted to be... could be with the people they wanted. Live simple... no secrets.
      Simon: No...
      River: I'll be fine. I'll be your bounty, Jubal Early... and I'll just fade away.

    • Mal: I find River pleasant enough myself, but she does have an oddness to her.

    • Simon: So you're a bounty hunter?
      Early: No, that ain't it at all.
      Simon: Then what are you?
      Early: I'm a bounty hunter.

    • Early: Your sister's becoming a real annoyance.
      Simon: I feel for you.

    • Early: I know you're on this ship, little girl!. So here's how it goes: You show yourself and finish this exchange or your brother's brains be flying every which way. (aside to Simon) You understand I'm sort of on the clock here--it's frustrating...

    • Zoe: (removing bullet from Simon) This is really not my area of expertise, doctor. I tend to be putting these into people more than the other thing.
      Wash: Can I mop your brow? I'm at the ready with the fearsome brow mop.

    • Book: I just feel such a fool.
      Jayne: Yeah. All those years of priest trainin'. Taken out by one bounty hunter.

    • Mal: I thought she was on the mend.
      Simon: Ah, her medications are erratic, there's... theres not one that her system can't eventually break down and...
      Mal: If I wanted medical jargon, I'll talk to my doctor.
      Simon: You are talking to a doctor.
      Mal: Yeah, okay. My point is: could have been you she might have shot, just then, the doctor, as you just made note of. And who exactly could have fixed you? Not nobody. We're deep in space. Corner of "No" and "Where". You take good care of her, because we're very much alone out here.

    • Early: You ever been shot?
      Simon: No.
      Early: You oughta be shot. Or stabbed, lose a leg. To be a surgeon, you know? Know what kind of pain you're dealing with. They make psychiatrists get psychoanalyzed before they can get certified, but they don't make a surgeon get cut on. That seem right to you?

    • Early: (last line of the episode, floating stranded in space) Here I am.

    • Mal: You know, you ain't quite right.
      River: It's a popular theory.

    • Early: You know, with the exception of one deadly and unpredictable midget, (River) is the smallest cargo I've had to transport, and by far the most troublesome. Does that seem right to you?

    • Mal: How come there's a guy on board and how come you're all of a sudden the ship?
      River: I know you have questions
      Mal: That would be why I just asked them.

    • Early: You're all insane.
      Simon: My sister's a ship. We had a complicated childhood.

    • Early: Where'd (River) go?
      Simon: I can't keep track of her when she's not incorporeally possessing a spaceship--don't look at me.

    • Early: Man is stronger than woman, but only woman can create a child. Does that seem right to you?

    • Simon: You're out of your mind.
      Early: That's between me and my mind.

    • Simon: Are you Alliance?
      Early: Am I a lion?
      Simon: What?
      Early: I don't think of myself as a lion. You might as well, though - I have a mighty roar.
      Simon: Ummm, I said "Alliance."
      Early: Oh. That's weird.

    • Early: Maybe I came down the chimney to give presents to good girls and boys, Kaylee. Or maybe not.

    • Jayne: If wishes were horses we'd all eat steak.

    • Jayne: I don't like the idea of someone hearing what I'm thinking.
      Inara: No one likes the idea of hearing what you're thinking.

    • Wash: Psychic, though? That sounds like something out of science fiction.
      Zoe: You live on a spaceship, dear.

    • Jayne: Are you saying (River's) a witch?
      Wash: Yes, Jayne, she's a witch. She's had congress with the Beast.
      Jayne: She's in Congress?
      Wash: How did your brain even learn human speech?

    • Jayne: Anyone remember (River) coming at me with a butcher's knife?
      Wash: Wacky fun.
      Jayne: You wanna go, little man?
      Wash: Only if it's someplace with candlelight.

    • Jayne: Let's move this conversation in a "not Jayne's fault" direction.

    • Wash: Little River just gets more colorful by the minute. What will she do next?
      Zoe: Either blow us up or rub soup in her hair. It's a toss-up.
      Wash: I hope she does the soup thing. It's always a hoot, and we don't all die from it.

    • Jayne: So like, never?
      Book: Well, no.
      Jayne: Not ever never?
      Book: Some orders allow Shepherds to marry. But I follow a narrower path.
      Jayne: But I mean, you've still got the urge. They don't... cut it off or nothing.
      Book: No, I'm more or less intact. I just direct my energy elsewhere.
      Jayne: You mean, like masturbating?
      Book: I hope you're not thinking of taking orders yourself.

  • NOTES (1)

    • When the Firefly series was released on DVD, this episode was placed as the series finale. However, according to the official companion, this episode was originally filmed between "War Stories" and "Trash", but Joss Whedon and Tim Minear felt that this episode best summed up the series. If you watch some of the other episodes, you will notice that they let slip some of the things that should've been discovered in this episode: for example, in "The Message", Jayne mentions that River is a psychic, which isn't learned until this episode. Similarly, in the episode "Trash", River says that she can kill Jayne with her brain, which is supposed to be based on River having psychic abilities.


    • Jubal Early: His name
      Jubel Early was a Confederate General during the Civil War who led a daring raid on Washington. Given that much of Firefly is patterned on the American Civil War and the similarity of names, presumably there is some kind of significance intended by Joss Whedon, but it's not quite clear what. Apparently the General is a distant ancestor of Nathan Fillion.