I write a review for both episodes four and five of Firefly, Shindig and Safe.
“Some great episodes that further explore the uniqueness and awesomeness of Firefly and Joss Whedon’s most awesome creation.”
You’ll note first off that I call Firefly Joss Whedon’s most awesome creation, and not Avengers Assemble. That is because, in short – it is. I’m just enjoying Firefly a lot more than I did Avengers, and I really enjoyed Avengers as well. This is quite possibly the most fun TV series out there that I’ve ever seen, and the quality set across in the first three episodes does not decrease here, for Shindig and Safe are two other truly excellent installments in a series that should have lasted much longer than one season.
I’m going to write two mini reviews of these episodes and include them in one review, I think it might be a good idea to pre-warn you. I’m going to be using this format more regularly, purely because I don’t have as much time as I would like to to devote reviews to every single episode on its own, and if I use that method I will quickly end up falling behind. As a quick reminder, this is only for shows like Firefly that I have on DVD. Newer shows like Arrow that I am watching when episodes come out I will still stick to my original format of one review per episode.
Shindig is one of my favourite episodes so far. I loved the whole idea of incorporating a fencing match into the Firefly verse and Mal’s reaction to the fact that a duel would be fought with swords is hilarious. The characters are all given their limelight here, whether it is Jayne’s cheating when it comes to cards or delivering one of the best lines of the episode: “Now that there, was the distraction we could have used,” to giving Kaylee her time to shine at the Ball where she becomes more friendly with the men talking about technical stuff than hanging out with the women.
The plot is pretty awesome here, and shows that Mal is willing to defend Inara’s honour even if it means interfering with her work, and possibly his job as well. This episode is full of quotable scenes, and although the writers are having trouble fitting in things that were already shown in the unaired pilot again, Shindig demonstrates a great example of just how good TV can be, continuing to delve into the Firefly verse and whilst we visit places that have already been explored in this episode, we still manage to uncover new things about it an in particular I loved the scene between Badger and River that for me has to stand out as the highlight of the episode, especially when coupled with Jayne’s perfect timing of the line above.
The primary focus of this episode is the relationship between Mal and Inara and Shindig has managed to pull the balance between this and giving the other members of Serenity roughly even screentime in a great way that will keep people who are already growing attached to some of the characters happy. This episode, whilst beginning with a similiar barfight scene to The Train Job, does have a difference – mainly due to the fact that Inara is there. This simple scene explores the cultural differences between the crew of the Serenity and manages to keep me watching despite the fact that this episode began in the same way to the aformentioned The Train Job.
Whilst Shindig explored Mal and Inara’s relationship, Safe explores the relationship between Simon and River and the rest of the crew. When the crew deliver their cattle that they picked up at the end of Shindig to a backwater planet, Simon and River find themselves captured. Not only is this used as a chance to test the loyalty between the newest members of the crew and the old hands, Safe also delivers one of the best lines of the series so far, coming near the end of the episode. “What does that make us, Zoe?” Mal asks, as they enter the scene, weapons in hand, triumphantly, to which Zoe replies “Big Damn Heroes, Sir.”
Firefly I think is turning out to be a show that If I had to pick my favourite quote from I would really struggle, and if great lines such as the above continue to get thrown around in every episode, then it will just make the choice even harder. Switching back to a slightly darker tone than Shindig, Safe might not be as dark as Bushwacked, it certainly has its moments and is another episode that just demonstrates how varied Firefly can be. The show takes the audience through a variety of settings and even makes them understand that due to circumstances, Mal has to end up cooperating with the Alliance yet again against his will when a crew member is injured whilst Simon is captured – this also shows that Mal has a bitter hatred for the bad guys as he is initially reluctant to get their aid to save the life of a wounded man.
This episode also serves as a sort-of origin story for Simon and River with some flashbacks to their times as a young children which were made even more powerful given the circumstances of this episode. Safe also does a great example of showing the audience over telling them. I was actually really surprised to learn that Zac Efron plays a young Simon in the flashback of this episode, which I certainly didn’t guess it was him upon a first viewing.
Jayne has another great funny moment in Safe as well, when he’s reading Simon’s diary. “Today I was pompus and my sister was crazy….” and the line that follows is one of the actor’s greatest moments in the show so far and proves that pretty much everyone on the ship can be a show stealer when they need to be.
Safe was another solid episode that didn’t let me down and lacked any obvious flaws. It gives Simon some much needed depth and continues to show just how much depth the characters can have to them.