Firefly Review: Safe

You can’t take the sky from me.”

Firefly

If I am scrupulously honest, I have to admit that I don’t actually remember Safe very much at all. I watched it three weeks ago, and I have a feeling that everything about the episode made a lot more sense then than it does now. Which is a bad sign, either for me or for the show.

Safe sees the Serenity ka-tet land on a godforsaken planet to sell some cows. Unfortunately, the sale goes wrong, and Shepherd Book is injured. Meanwhile, Simon and River have disappeared into the wide blue yonder, kidnapped by one of those bizarre hill cults that populate Firefly‘s spacescape. With Book in serious need of medical attention, Mal chooses not to go rescue the ship’s doctor and instead flies straight into the Alliance’s hands.

Clearly, this makes no sense whatsoever. It makes even less sense when Serenity rocks back up on the planet later to pick up Simon and River in the nick of time. The whole episode feels like the scriptwriter in charge of Sensible Character Motivation was on holiday that week and the scriptwriter in charge of Mysterious Hints took over to cover him (or her), since the stupid plot machinations allow us to discover two Strange Things about Serenity‘s crew: River is apparently psychic, and Book can pull weight with the Alliance for Secret Reasons. I’m sure these revelations will eventually pay off in interesting ways, but it’s just annoying that they had to be set up so blatantly.

Not that Safe was a disaster; I’m not sure any Firefly episode can be that. It was well-characterised and well-plotted and full of heartbreaking little details about this future world. It just didn’t make any sense.

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