We see a more moral side to the Serenity crew and love the face-off between Jayne and the other without Mal around.
The sick bay design is rather stupid, wouldn't you want some privacy rather all those windows for people to see in? No one notices Serenity flying alongside the train?
Zoe (about to fight the bar thugs); "Jayne?"
Jayne (shrugging) "Hey, I didn't fight in no war"
Zoe; "I have an image of that guy hanging from the ceiling"
Mal " I have an image of that guy not being me"
Mal; (of ripping off the Alliance goods) "I would do it for free"
Zoe; "Can I have your share?"
I'm reliably informed by the folks on the yuku Xena forums that the sniper rifle Jayne used in Serenity is a Blaser R93. The bar thugs pack a Colt 45, Glock and 44. Automag. The Alliance troops use H&K MP5s and SA80s.
Sexy belly dancer.
Notches on the Serenity bedpost;
Inarra;1-a paying customer who wishes to make her his kept woman
Wash; 1-the missus
Zoe; 1-the hubby
Mal talks of 'being on the edge' then 'moving towards the middle', possibly alluding to the frontier and the central planets. Innara and Kaylee have a big girly hairstroking session (how the Summer's girls on Buffy used to express physical affection for one another). Inarra remarks to Kaylee "We could experiment". Mal seems keen on the idea and refers to Inarra 'servicing the crew' but she dismisses that as his 'lonely pathetic dreams'. Summer points out that Mal=Bad in Latin/French.
Mal tells Zoe he loves her but it's all part of their cover(?)
How'd they get away with that?
People on meathooks, never a good thing. River being experimented on also not good.
Total Serenity crew; 7(8?) River comments of Serenity "This isn't home". Book is now part of the crew with no backstory but still wonders about his role onboard. Jayne doesn't consider Simon or River part of the gang.
Devoted siblings, haunted charismatic leading man. Teenage girls with superpowers. Hookers. Babbling insane girls with truth in their madness.
Knocked out; Jayne by Simon
Women good/men bad;
Kills; Mal kills Crow and Zoe kills at least 2 of his men
Happy high-class hookers in Space (the title the porn industry wished they'd thought of!);
Kaylee seems fascinated by the details of Inarra's profession. Inarra claims a companion gets to pick and choose her clients which I think is about as realistic and truthful as the Dollhouse staff pretending to themselves that they don't hire the Actives out as sexual submissives. Mal still needles Inarra about her hooking but does so more subtlely and less nastily than he did in 'Serenity'. The nature of the companions work is left very vague here, if you hadn't seen Serenity you wouldn't know exactly what her job is, she could be a beautician.
Inarra enjoys turning the tables on Mal, pretending he's her indentured man (some form of community service in the future?).
Know the face?
Tom Towles plays the thug in the bar, he's also Cooper in the far superior remake of Night of the Living Dead and guest starred in Anthony Head's series VR5 (in which he essentially plays a prototype Giles)
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)
Nathan Fillon-3; Firefly, Caleb in S7 of Buffy and Dr Horrible
Gina Torres-2; Firefly and Jasmine in S4 of Angel
Alan Tudyk-2; Firefly and the villainous/heroic(?) Alpha in Dollhouse (haven't seen season 2 so don't spoil it for me)
Adam Baldwin-2; Firefly and Marcus Hamilton in S5 of Angel
Summer Glau-3; Firefly, Dollhouse and the prima ballerina in the LEGENDARY S4 Angel ep 'Waiting in the wings'.
Carlos Jacott-3; The Fed in Firefly, Ken in the 'Anne' ep of Buffy and Richard Straley in 'The Bachelor Party' ep of Angel.
Andy Umberger;3-the captain of the Dortmunder in Firefly, D'Hoffryn in Buffy, the psychic surgeon in the Angel ep 'I fall to pieces'.
Mark Shepherd;2-Badger in Firefly and later turns up as one of Ballard's FBI colleagues in Dollhouse. Also a BSG alumni.
Jeff Rickets;3- one of the blue handed men here and Weatherby on Buffy/Angel plus the spiderdemon at the end of Angel season 4
Gregg Henry; 2- he's one of those faces that occur time and again in TV/movies and he later recurrs in the Dollhouse ep 'Ghost', one of my favourite eps of season 1.
Alliance good or bad?;
Again we see people who are pro-Alliance and not just upper class types like Simon. Here the Alliance provide medecine for needy and as the Sherrif points out they weren't the ones whole stole it.
Interesting ST:TNG fic where Picard learns that the Fedearations use of warp drive is destroying a sentient species who live in subspace. He protests to Starfleet Command but he's then asked what the alternative is, should they give up space travel leaving Starfleet defenseless against the Ferengi/Borg/Romulans? In the end he decides to toe the party line but accepts that the 'Prime directive' is an exercise in hypocrisy.
Mal is thrown through the bar window but in the future it's a forcefield. Telegraph poles beside the train track even in a world with inter-stellar travel. Jayne's 'aiming for his head' remark may be a reference to The Magnificent 7. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid/Jesse James also big on train heists (anyone watch the 'Deadliest warriror' showdown where The James Gang goes up against Al Capone? For my money it's James by a mile, he's a trained soldier and a combat veteran whilst Capone probably never faced a target who fought back.
Weak tea=not good
Companion=high class courtesan
Rutting=bloody (or perhaps 'fraking'?)
Shot; shot by the Fed during the robbery.
Reminds me off;
Mal refers to 'We'll rise again' which relates to the Confedracy in US Civil War. Does anyone else expect Niska to tell a story about Meerkats and try and sell Mal cheaper car insurance? (if you're a Brit you'll understand that, if you're not don't worry about it). The town of Paradiso may refer to the old Western series 'Paradise'. Crazy genius River is very Drusilla/Pylea Fred, drugged Jayne reminiscent of AI in 'Spin the Bottle'. Wash's Hawaiin shirt is very Xander especially the one he lent to Spike in the season 4 ep Doomed. The 'we're not going' remark is reminiscent of Aliens where Ripley goes to rescue Newt. Joss in his commentary draws comparison from Mal to Angel.
Of course the Alliance remind you off Starship Troopers but then Joss explains why on the commentary.
Questions and observations;
We now know the war ended 6 years ago. Inarra has been on the ship 8 months. Here we have a much more upbeat, likeable Mal, perhaps the events of Serenity mellowed him? He even says 'It's the right thing to do'. Book refers to the 'Fuzzy wuzzies' referring to Kiplings poems concerning the Sudan campaign Britain fought against Islamic fundamentalists in C19th (and we're still doing it today!).
What is the chain of command on Serenity? It seems to go Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Wash, after that anyone's guess. Note Mal doesn't kill the Fed on the train, just knocks him out. Joss refers to Inarra and Mal as Beatrice and Benedict from 'Much ado about nothing', check out the Kenneth Branagh version for the Beatrice and the Duke (Denzel Washington) proposal scene alone. Joss refers to Firefly as Star Trek;TNG dark underbelly, much as what was explored in DS;9.
Marks out of 10; 5 out of ten, nowhere near as good as Serenity, not a bad ep in itself but feels cheap in comparison to it's predecessor, like Charmed to Buffy.
After a bar brawl on Unification Day, the crew of the Serenity gets another job. A dangerous criminal power in the galaxy, Niska, wants them to rob a train, candidly mentioning that any sort of failure in this job will result in their deaths. Mal and Zoe find out however that this particular job is not their usual line of work.
In the first non-pilot episode of Firefly, "The Train Job," the audience finds out that, although they are technically criminals, the crew of the Serenity are not evildoers. "The Train Job" is a good Firefly episode - star Nathan Fillion is especially entertaining with a lighter take on the Mal character than he had in the series pilot. Despite that however, the episode is not particularly special - it is good, no doubt, but it ends up being not as exciting as the pilot episode was.
What FOX likes to call the pilot but fans know this as the second episode. Joss Whedon handled this well and able to deliver a script that presented the spirit of Firefly and her crew. Mal as my favorite character is the captain of a diverse group of people. Firefly's crew is dedicated to each others' care and safety. Even Jayne. A fine line is drawn between survival and justice. This ep exemplifies what Firefly is about in a question of what is right and wrong. As an outlaw, there are certain things that just are not done. Mal proves that in this ep and in a classic ending of what not to do when an outlaw declines a job.
So, Serenity gang gets another work and it does not look good as the man who hires them is little crazy and the job gets even harder when they soon realize that on the train are many soldiers but somehow they are not protecting the cargo they are after - so we have quite exciting moments and action on train but all goes wrong and Mal and Zoe cannot leave - now the rest of the crew have to figure out a way to get them off - and with help of Inara they do it..
and in the end - they do return the stolen goods too as things are not as first thought..
This is a great episode of Firefly, and it introduces all the characters nicely for those who didn't watch the actual Pilot first.
The show uses a great mix of western and SciFi mixed together that is amazing to watch and makes things like an ordinary train heist seem brand new and really Exciting! The characters, especially Mal have great development in the episode as well, the viewr is able to see not only the hatred he has for the alliance, but his loyalty to the crew and his willingness to help those that are in need, even if it means he loses out on some money. I highly recommend not only this episode but the entire series.
As a general outline of what to expect from this show in terms of mission-of-the-week, "The Train Job" works rather well. It does this by consistently reintegrating its large cast into the A-plot, rarely sidelining anyone, and giving everyone a chance to shine; thus proving that the mechanic isn't just there for show and that a companion can come in handy in a time of need. ~~
Morality is called into question here, and although it serves to demonstrate just what kind of jobs Mal and his crew take, and the people they'll take them off, little else is really made of it. Maybe it might not have been the most appealing thing to do, but after reading alleged trivia on the site, detailing how Joss wanted Mal to keep the cargo anyway to show his crew comes first, I think it might have been the more intriguing route to take. If Joss' intentions were to have his audience question his crew, such a manoeuvre would have done just that.
Anyways, to stay on point and comment on what actually happened instead of what could have gone - the interaction between everyone is a truly delightful thing to bare witness to. And, as mentioned a paragraph or two ago, how everyone is utilised, whether it's Simon showing how he can take initiative and dopes Jayne (hilarious, by the way), or Wash and his logical-y ways, gives this hour some great momentum.
And, yep, this is more action packed, and that's why FOX opted for it to be the pilot. Bad move (obviously!). Apart from a few fleeting remarks, there's very little here in the way of background, and although the events onscreen are a might compelling, it's all about the mission, and how work in the verse…uhm, works, leaving little time for little else than a crew of quip-y folk.
All in all, a decent effort in expanding the verse and showcasing the assortment of jobs the crew will get into. Morality is called into question, but only ever in tiny doses. Still, the character interplay keeps things moving and those seeking more action will hopefully be satisfied with this outing.
The Train Job, which was supposed to follow on from the pilot episode, is an outstanding episode which is streets ahead of the previous, Serenity. While the pilot provides a logical introduction to the series, this episode immediately draws you into the everyday world of Firefly, and it is even more exciting and compelling than you would imagine.
In my opinion, what is already setting Firefly apart from other television shows made in a similar vein, is the clever, tight and very funny script. These characters have some of the best one-liners I have heard in many years. The dialog is so amusing you find yourself backtracking on the dvd to listen again - it is just that good. Mal (for obvious reasons) gets most of the good lines, but the other characters get their fair share and the resulting episode provides such an entertaining journey you are left hanging out for more.
The opening scene of this episode, with the highly amusing and very well shot fight in the bar is just a brilliant opening scene. You really feel a connection with the characters, even at this early stage, and it is a privilege to be sharing an hour here and there with them.
What also ensures the success of these episodes is the fabulous chemistry between the leads. Clearly a lot of effort has been put into casting and it genuinely pays off. You find yourself intrigued by each and every character, even though it is obvious that it will be quite some time before your waiting will pay off. There are so many interesting relationships, at so many levels - the romantic and sexual tension between Mal and the mysterious Inara is very enjoyable to watch, as is the adorable Kaylee and her interactions with everybody else. It is these relationships that ultimately help you to connect with the characters on a deeper level, and whether you are a sub-texter, a shipper or just an appreciator, the series gives you a great deal to work with.
There are so many interesting aspects to this episode. The "enemies" (or foes, opponents, whatever works for you) are quite unique. This episode is really not about the enemy-of-the-week, these are people running from something much bigger and badder, which hangs over them like a shadow constantly. Already the Alliance is dark and dangerous enough in our minds to almost give you shivers, and you find yourself fearing an enemy of which we know virtually nothing. This, in my opinion, is very clever and adds a great atmosphere to every scene and every interaction.
After the action-packed pilot, this episode gives you a chance to look deeper into some of the themes in the show that will be touched on in greater detail, including love, loyalty, friendship, the greater good, good vs evil, and how each person is fighting their own personal battle. There is so much to play with here it is so sad to know that the show never even got a chance to find its feet.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole episode. I thought it was funny and clever, with great character interactions and a solid plot. It definitely leaves you hungry for more, and that, in my opinion, is the most important thing.
And so begins the latest offering from Joss Whedon, the brainchild behind the cult favorites “Buffy” and “Angel”. Unlike his other two series, which are closely inter-related in terms of characters and themes, this is a series that is clearly drawn from a more realistic point of view. As much as this series is set in space, with the main characters traveling on a spacecraft, this is essentially a Western in disguise. The setting itself is practically lifted from the history books. In the real world, in the years following the American Civil War, there were a number of Confederate soldier who fled capture by the Union by seeking their fortunes on the frontier…the Wild West of American lore. The frontier had long been a place where federal control was weak and just about anything could happen, and freedom was effectively given to anyone with a useful set of hands. Malcolm Reynolds is the central figure, the captain of the Serenity and the leader of the gang. Perhaps already acting against type, Mal has a very educated way of speaking. One can easily imagine him to be a learned man forced into fighting for his freedom of thought, only to be resigned to a life on the run. He’s cocky, has a bit of a death wish, and no longer has patience for thoughts of God or higher meaning. Still, his basic morals are intact, and he will take a bullet when it’s the right thing to do. Zoe, his right-hand-woman, apparently has known Mal since the war. While nothing is said about her background in this episode, we can make the assumption that she served alongside Mal in the war, and chose to continue with him when he went mercenary. She’s tough, loyal, and perhaps more sensible than Mal appears to be. She also married to Wash, the pilot. Jayne is the other main mercenary in the crew, but he was not serving the Independents in the war. While he is willing to do what it takes to make his profit, he’s not especially loyal to Mal or anyone else. If a better offer were to come along, even from the Alliance, Jayne might take it without a second thought. Wash is the pilot of the Serenity, and beyond his marriage to Zoe, we have yet to learn much about him. I have the feeling that he came onto the crew along the way, having met Zoe after the war. But that’s simply a matter of speculation. One thing is for certain…he and Jayne have very different opinions as to who’s in charge when Mal is out of contact. Kaylee is the young engineer of the Serenity. Full of energy and a tendency towards openness that belies mercenary work, she is also very attractive and sexy in that innocent sort of way. She’s obviously very interested in Simon, one of the passengers, and doesn’t like Jayne’s self-centered attitude one bit. Inara is perhaps the most high-profile passenger on the Serenity, even though she usually remains on her own shuttle. A registered Companion, Inara is a kind of courtesan, taking on only selected clientele when it suits her. Because of her status, she is afforded a great deal of respect by almost everyone the crew encounters. Why she travels with the Serenity is a mystery, though there’s reason to believe it has something to do with Mal. Book is another odd passenger, a priest seeking to spread the word of God to the frontier. Given Mal’s lack of patience for things spiritual, it’s strange that Book would choose to be on the Serenity at all. But he seems to find some degree of solace in providing advice, and no doubt we will discover more about him in the future. Simon Tam was once a privileged man in the Alliance, rising steadily in the medical field. However, he recently exhausted all of those resources to rescue his sister River from a secret Alliance experiment, and now he’s on the run. River doesn’t seem to be any more aware of who she might be than we are. It’s clear that her memory has been scrambled, and she’s not entirely coherent for any stretch of time. While the various mercenary jobs appear to be the basis of the initial episodes, allowing us to see different characters in situations that might reveal their inner secrets, it’s the mystery surrounding River that has the most potential as the main plot arc for the season. I expect that the attraction between Inara and Mal will also play a part in the evolution of the series, given Mal’s central role and Inara’s obvious allure. If anything is going to give this series life, it will be the magic of Whedon’s usual formula of melding the usual serious and dark intrigues with a healthy dash of irreverent humor and a hint of sex appeal. If Inara and Kaylee are perfectly crafted to appeal to the male demographic (and let’s face it, Zoe and River fall into the category as well), then much of the male cast is equally well suited to the female audience. That additional sense of humor and sensuality balanced out the requisite slow patches of exposition. That’s still an area where Whedon could use a little work, because he struggles with exposition (something he is more than willing to admit) and, as a director, really has no idea what to do when shooting those scenes. Frankly, he does exactly as much as can be done, which is plow right through it. There are likely to be some similar moments in the early episodes, but hopefully that will pass in time. In the end, Joss and the others at Mutant Enemy deliver a competent introduction to the characters and the premise of the series. Only time will tell if the series will be given time to build on this potential.
The crew of Serenity when times are tuff sometimes take work on the wrong side of the law. In this case while the A team style operation didn't exactly go as plan they have the loot which is also needed in the mining town that Mal and Zoe are hold up in. Finding out that it is valuably needed medicine they show remorse and decide to give it back to the honest sheriff. But doing this action puts them in jeapordy with the crime boss who hire them. Now the henchmen who work for Niska take revenge on the crew. A fast paced action episode with robbing a train from the air,not getting caught by the local law, and escaping the wrath of the crimelord's henchmen.
Once again network executive did not know brilliance when they saw it and forced Joss Whedon and Tim Minear to write a whole new pilot (just watch the 2-hour pilot "Serenity" and you will see how dumb this decision was) or they wouldn't pick up the series. In two short days they'd written a rolicking adventure filled with witty dialogue and a bit too much exposition (but what were they to do? NOT write a new pilot?). Although it's not the best episode, it's very good, with something for every character to do. Could have use more Book, but then every episode cold have used more Book.
My friend showed me this episode of Firfly first instead of the pilot for some reason. But man am I glad she did because I was hooked. This was just as good as the pilot with a little more action though. I loved the first few minutes in this episode the most. It really got me hooked. The only thing i wanted to do was watch more. This episode helped this show become my anti-drug! ha ha. I loved the part where they went back and returned the medicine. Very noble. The good guys were the bad guys. The fact that they didn't steal the money was great too. They sent it back. Very funny. Great to watch for the perfect TV show.
Note to self: if I'm planning to kill a pirate, don't let him know about it beforehand, or he'll throw me into a whirling vortex of death. I would think that Claw would have been aware of such protocols. Live and learn, I guess.
I love bad guys in really nice suits, and even better when they're all slim and svelt. This episode has one of those guys, and he's a nasty one. Hangs people upside down and slices 'em up, makes thinly veiled threats about reputations. Yeah, he's going to be fun. Now, if only he had a cat to gently stroke while he issued commands to his subordinants. THAT'S evil. Right, so, that Sheriff was just a little too good at dropping the right information to persuade Mal to return the medicine, don't you think? Come on, guy, you're breaking my heart here. Why don't you haul out a few more sickly orphans to tug at the heart strings. Maybe an old blind woman. Come on. Looks like I was right about Jayne; he's a grade-A ass. Why keep around a guy when you know he's going to sell you out at the first convenient opportunity? Does Mal know something secret about him? Did he save his life at some point? I would've pushed him out an airlock a while back if I were Captain Reynolds, I think. Overall, a little too predictable. Our heroes gave back the badly-needed medical supplies to the beleagured townsfolk after witnessing their hardships, and then played tough when their client came looking to collect. At least they have a villain now, and he's a lot better dressed than those tools up on the spaceship. Seriously, who picked out those uniforms? Ugh.
This is a nice episode, the crew of the serenity takes on a job to steal medical supplies from a train. But after succeeding, they realize that the people aboard the train were sick of a degenerative disease. The medicines that were stolen are needed to cure the people onboard. The serenity crew brings back the medecine out of compassion. It shows that our hereos have morals despite living a life of crime. It's cool to see imperfect characters taking chances to help those in need. We get to delve deeper into the main characters. Overall, this episode is a good one.
The Train Job has been slided for being neither a good pilot nor a good episode. I think this criticism is poor.
The Train Job had a difficult task to fill, be a 40 minute pilot, have lots of action, and be written in a weekend. However, we are not grading on a curve, are we?
Honestly, the Train Job is brilliant. I love the fact that Mal and Zoe get trapped with no good way out, but the crew does something very unexpected to get them free. Mal's line of "She hit me" is just priceless for the somewhat serious, but very funny attitude of this show.
Further, how many showes do you see with the crew giving up lots of money to do what is right, even though they might get caught and WILL be introuble with their employer.
The world would be a better place if there were more real people like Mal in it.
This was my first view of the series, and I enjoyed it so much more on second watch.
My reaction on the first time I watched it was ‘what the hell is going on?’ the episode makes so much more sense after watching ‘Serenity’ first.
The episode is about the crew having to rob a train, they don’t know what’s in it or care, all they know is that they have to succeed or the guy who gave them the job will be very cranky.
Very early I fell inlove with the chemistry that Inara had with Book, a ‘companion’ and a ‘preacher’, so different but so very much alike. Their talk about Mal and about praying was great.
Jayne was the character that got on my nerves, he’s selfish and doesn’t care about anyone else besides himself. But it was very fun to watch him dosed on try to catch some little angels.
Anyway, then Jayne succeeds to rob the medicines, Mal and Zoe stay behind. They are such great liars but Inara gets my most-convincing-liar-award.
The episode has plenty of funny lines, the best moment was when the ‘bad guys’ came to collect what was theirs but got beaten and Mal put on his badass character and pushed one of them in something that made the guy who *squish*.
Also the character River is very interesting, she has a flashback of the alliance putting things in her brains, she also keeps going ‘two-by-two-hands-in-blue’ and at the end of the episode are two men looking for her and both have hands in blue.
Aired first but filmed third in production order, this is the first regular episode of Firefly, with a simple job-of-the-week structure but the same action and quick-witted dialogue featured in every episode.
The Train Job sees the Firefly crew hired to pull a robbery on a train. But, when Mal discovers what they are stealing, he faces a dilemma whilst deciding what to do with the loot. Meanwhile, mysterious men step up their search for River.
One of the most interesting aspects of this series is that there are so many genres blended together. We have an exciting space drama mixed in with throwbacks to 60's westerns. It's an imaginative premise and Joss Whedon manages to pull it off perfectly, with this episode starting off with a Clint Eastwood-worthy bar brawl before descending into full on science-fiction later on.
Each character is allowed there time in the spotlight during the A-story. Inara proves her resourcefulness by saving both Mal and Zoe whilst Jayne gets to be the comic relief when doped up with painkillers toward the end of the episode. Whilst she mostly babbled in the pilot, River's storyline gets a hell of a lot more intriguing when we discover she is being hunted down by mysterious, black-clad men and is having dreams of her torture at the hands of her teachers at "the academy".
We also get some insight into Mal's personality. The opening scene hints that he likes to cause mayhem and get into fights for his own personal enjoyment, and his decision to hand over the loot to the people who need it prove that he knows the right thing to do. It's interesting to have a lead character with so many different character traits. And one who's also completely awesome, especially when kicking henchmen into Serenity's engines.
With some quirky dialogue and excellent performances from, in particular, Adam Baldwin and Nathan Fillion, The Train Job is a stunning episode which never lets up it's pace.
Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: Joss Whedon, Tim Minear
This episode was written in a weekend. Apparently Fox didn't trust Joss Whedon (no one ever does) with the pilot that he originally wrote and told him to have one finished in a weekend. So, clearly, Joss didn't have the time he no doubt would've liked for this episode. No matter, it's still impressive and enough to get a fan of quality tv hooked. I'll admit, I never watched the show on tv. I didn't know it existed until I read about it on penny-arcade.com. Shameful, I know. I blame fox, cause I watched a lot of tv and I never heard about it. Anyway, when I bought the DVD set, I was lucky enough to be able to watch the actual pilot (Serenity) before this episode. So, I was disappointed when I saw it. I didn't hate the episode, I just knew that the show could do better. As it turns out, Fox put Firefly's WORST foot forward, but that's Fox for ya. And truly, as worst episodes go, this is pretty good. The writing is clever and you can get a feel for the characters on Serenity.
-"Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?"
After giving shelter to the brother and sister fugitives River and Simon, Mal goes back to his wheelin' and dealin' in order to keep the ship running and the crew from mutiny(i.e. Jayne) and is enlisted to do the dirty work of Adeli Niska.
This was the selling point for the entire tv show to Fox and was written to show that Joss Whedon could write an action western sci fi show to bring in viewers. While the show eventually was cancelled, the series lives on in DVDS and the Sci-Fi channel. The Train Job was the second episode I encountered on the Sci-Fi channel and found it to be very enjoyable.
The episode was full of action, comedy and the always evident moral that Joss loves to incorporate. From the pilot to the Train Job only one slight change seems to have taken place: Mal is considerably light hearted rather than the empty Godless being that was shown in the pilot. Other than that slight change in character; the episode soars. A fun episode to watch, and probably the episode that brings most people to discovering Firefly. A sci fi epic that is to remain in the hearts of many for years to come.
The Train Job is a great episode. You get to see first hand how it always seems that the plans that the Serenity comes up with always has something go wrong. Even better you see them as not just hardhearted criminals but people with honor. A great episode for a great show.
If nothing else can be said about Joss Whedon, he’s consistent. He manages to have roughly the same elements in each of his series, and yet they can stand completely on their own. Once again, an episode starts off strongly. Mal, Zoe and Jayne are playing a game of Chinese checkers(I believe) when Mal goes for a drink. A difference of politics and insults slung toward Mal soon erupt in a barroom brawl that results in a standoff that is resolved by Serenity’s intimidating entrance. After they reboard the ship, things take on their usual ebb and flow. Shepard Book confronts Mal about his choices of harboring River and Simon, in a devil’s advocate sort of way; it’s a great bit of dialog. Mal, Zoe, and Jayne meet up with their contact, Niska who offers them a job, a train job. Niska makes a very clear point that he will not tolerate failure/non-compliance.
Even though most of the crew hasn’t performed a train job before, so tensions are running high. Jayne is wounded but gets the goods while Mal and Zoe walk off the train without a second look. They overhear that what they were hired to steal was medicine for a colony. This brings attention to the Alliance of the theft. Meanwhile, there’s a difference of opinion as to what should be done in the captain’s absence, which is resolved by Book’s point that they would most likely kill the captain if they thought he was in a position to talk. Mal and Zoe play husband and wife to get more information as to their current dilemma. Jayne demands they get underway, and promptly passes out, thanks to Simon administering a sedative. They come up with a great plan, sending Inara in, to rescue Zoe and Mal.
She plays her part perfectly, accusing Mal of running out on his indentured servitude with a friend’s wife. Mal and Zoe are remanded to Inara, and they head back for the ship. Once aboard, they pseudo-inform the crew of their plan to return the stolen goods, but are interrupted by Niska’s thugs. A brief interchange between Mal and the head thug quickly goes South, starting off with a blade into Mal’s shoulder. The battle escalates with Mal taking quite a few hits, and Jayne with a well shot bullet, puts down Mal’s assailant. This is a great development, and really shows the crew’s character. Although it will mean another enemy they have to watch their backs for, they are still willing to do the right thing. Mal and Zoe run into the sheriff while trying to return the goods, and reconcile with him and the townsfolk.
They return to the ship and leave Niska’s men on the planet, returning the money they were paid to do the job, and attempting to make a resolution. Niska’s main thug threatens them and vows revenge, Mal kicks him into the engine, and turns to the next thug, who eagerly accepts his proposal. The episode ends with Simon voicing his concerns for River, as she continues rambling about hands of blue, two by two. The screen cuts to two men with blue gloves on, federal agents, inquiring about River.
Again as questions are answered, more are raised. Another great episode of Firefly.
"The Trainjob" was written over a weekend by Tim Minear and the wonderful Joss Whedon. Apparently FOX didn't like the original pilot episode, so first they forced Joss and Tim to make changes and then they made them do a completely new ep.
"The Trainjob" serves several purposes. Since it was basically a rewritten pilot it introduces us to the characters again, but it also manages to stay in continuity from the actual pilot. It works well either way and shows the true brilliance that is Tim Minear and Joss Whedon. How many writers can reintroduce us to characters, but not make it feel like we're covering the same ground from the previous ep? They made it blend so seamlessly that unless you're actually looking for it you may not even notice it.
We begin with Mal, Jayne, and Zoe in a bar on U-day (the anniversary of the day the Alliance won the war). First off we see the Chinese influence - they are playing Chinese checkers. We also get a sense of who these characters are. We find out that Mal likes to live on the edge, and that he fought on the loosing side of the war.
While they are at the bar, one of the patrons makes a toast to U-day. Mal chooses this particular moment to go get another drink from the bar. He walks up next to the patriot to order his drink. The man asks Mal if he'll toast with him, then he notices that Mal's coat is brown (the independents wore brown in the war). Mal smarts off and says he got it on sale. They exchange words and we find that Mal was just distracting the guy so Zoe could come up behind him and hit him in the face with her shotgun.
They are proud of themselves for about 5 seconds until they realize that everyone in the bar is ready to come after them now. Jayne stays seated at their table - he says he won't join in because he didn't even fight in the war.
So we know that Mal and Zoe are veterans, and they aren't happy with the current people in charge. We also know that
Jayne tends to worry more about himself - though he does eventually join in with the fight.
The fight spills to the outside, where the patron end up cornering Mal, Zoe, and Jayne at the edge of a cliff. Things look dire until Wash makes a dramatic entrance with the ship from behind them - popping up from below. He tells the patrons that they had better go back inside or he'll blow a hole in their moon. Turns out he was bluffing since they are on a transport ship - but it did the trick. Everyone went back inside.
On the ship we are again introduced to all the passengers. There is a ships doctor who seems to be on the run from the Alliance, his sister who has something wrong with her. I love the flashes they show River having that dramatically shows in just a couple of seconds the torment she went through at that government sponsored academy. It gets the job of introducing her done without making it so obvious.
We also see that there is a Sheppard on the ship, and we find that Mal doesn't like God - though in this ep we don't learn why. Mal tells Book "You're welcome on my ship. God ain't" or something to that effect. Kaylee's job is made very obvious in less than a second. They have her pop out from under something mechanical when you first see her. So you know right away that she's the ships mechanic. We already know that Wash is the pilot.
Later we see Kaylee getting her hair brushed by Inara. She is asking Inara questions about her clients and it becomes apparent that Inara is a companion.
I love seeing Mal just waltz in to her quarters. We get the nice banter between Mal and Inara and you gotta love that sexual tension.
Inara: What did I say to you about barging into my shuttle?
Mal: That it was manly and...impulsive?
Inara: Yes, precisely. Only the exact phrase I used was "don't".
Mal yells at Kaylee for not doing her job and tells her to get back to work. Then Mal tells Inara that he would like her to stay in her quarters when they meet the guy about their next job. Apparently Mal is concerned for her safety.
As he leaves the room he asks if she has time to do his hair. So much good in that scene.
We meet Niska, who is a wonderful bad guy. And by wonderful I mean evil. He shows Zoe, Jayne, and Mal a man that he has hanging from the ceiling in the other room. The man has obviously been tortured and he is now dead. Niska says "Now for you my reputation is solid, it is fact." Niska is having them pull a train job. The crew are interested in making money and they don't ask what it is they are stealing. Later they will wish they had.
Zoe and Mal are to be passengers on the train so they will have easy access to the cargo. Wash will fly Serenity over the train while Kaylee lowers Jayne onto the train to pull up the cargo. It's supposed to be easy. Simon comes into the cargo bay while Kaylee is getting things ready to lower Jayne onto the train. He asks what she is doing. Kaylee says "Crime" without hesitation. You get to see how much Kaylee is crushing on Simon as she explains the plan to him. Simon says "so you've done this before?" Kaylee says "oh no".
As Mal and Zoe head off to the car carrying the cargo they notice that there is a regiment of Alliance soldiers on the train with them. This doesn't deter Mal, he thinks it will make them look all manner of stupid if they manage to pull the job underneath the noses of the Alliance. Mal says, "I'd even do the job for free" to which Zoe replies, "then can I have your share?"
The job starts out going smoothly, but then Jayne lands hard on top of the train and Mal makes noise with the panel he detached from the roof of the train. An Alliance soldier hears the commotion and goes to check it out. Luckily Zoe had set up a trap that made it hard for him to see them when he opened the door, but it didn't stop him from shooting off his gun. Mal and Zoe don't manage to get on the crate as Kaylee pulls it out of the train because there is no time.
They do manage to fog up the next car so they can slip in with the other passengers unnoticed. Since the Alliance soldier didn't get a look at them they are safe, for now.
They are trapped in the next town while the sheriff investigates. They are upset when they find out the cargo they stole was medical supplies. The people of the town are afflicted with a degenerative disease and they need that medicine to have a somewhat normal existence.
Mal and Zoe have to pretend to be newlyweds, and they aren't very good at it either. I love how Mal just can't resist bringing up the fact that there was an entire regiment of fine young Alliance soldiers on board the train and yet someone managed to steal the goods. He really does hate the Alliance.
Meanwhile, back on the ship, Jayne is trying to insist that he's in charge and therefore they must take the goods straight to Niska. Everyone else wishes to rescue Mal and Zoe. While everyone argues Simon quietly dopes Jayne to get
him out of their hair.
I love it when Jayne rushes on the bridge demanding that Wash fly them off, the he goes crazy and passes out. Simon tells them that he wasn't comfortable with Jayne in charge and he hopes that's okay.
Of course it's okay, Jayne shouldn't be in charge of anything.
Book says something that makes you wonder about his past. He's familiar with Niska and he tells Jayne that it would be better for them to be late than try to make the deal without Mal. How is it that a Sheppard is familiar with a crime lord?
Inara ends up being the person to rescue Mal and Zoe. Since she's respectable she can just waltz in and take them.
It's great when she slaps Mal across the face and tells them that he's her indentured man. Her crack about Mal giving off an oder is especially good.
So they arrive back on the ship and prepare to give back the goods - only to find Niska's men have arrived. They have a fight and manage to get the upper hand. Then they return the goods. They run across the sheriff as they are bringing
the goods back and he lets them go. He's impressed that they returned the medicine even though they could have made a huge amount of money for the sale of the goods. He understands how work is scarce and he can see how sometimes a man wouldn't look to closely at a job that he accepts.
When they return to the ship they try to give Crow a message to take back to Niska - but he only promises them death.
Mal kicks him back and he flies through Serenity's engine to his death. A very shocking scene the first time you watch it, and a very deserved death for that man.
When Mal starts to repeat the message to the next guy he readily accepts it. He babels on and it's obvious he doesn't want to die.
So Mal gave the man back the money that Niska gave them up front. He's a very honorable man, even if he does have to resort to thieving on occasion.
This was an excellent installment, but it didn't quite work as a pilot episode. The first time I saw it I felt as if I was being dropped into the middle of the show - even with the nice character set-up in the beginning. It made it hard for me to really love the show when I first watched it air. I liked the show well enough to buy the DVDs - and I'm so glad I did - but I only liked the show.
Having the eps shown out of order really made it hard to know what's going on because things that were explained in some eps never made it to air so you're kinda lost at times.
Watching things in the order Joss intended makes all the difference in the world. This episode works really well as a third episode - just not as a first episode.
But then they did write it over a weekend and if this is what they come up with over a weekend then they are very brilliant indeed.
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