Titled "Our Mrs. Reynolds," Firefly Season 1 Episode 6 marks the first of a pair of really fun episodes of Firefly. Enjoy them... because the show gets really intense for a while after these.
After saving a small town from plunderers, Mal and the rest of Serenity's crew are treated to a little celebratory party.
However, after leaving the town the next morning, Mal finds out (much to his chagrin) that he accidentally married the lovely young stowaway, Saffron, during that party.
This episode is memorable for so many of the fun Firefly quotes and jokes from the show. Mal's horror at being married - and the crew's amusement at the same - made for a lot of hilarity. There's also Mal's "pretty floral bonnet," Jayne's beloved Vera, and the "special hell" that Shepherd Book so adamantly warned Mal about.
However, the episode still does explore a theme: women. Joss Whedon, creator of Firefly, is well known for his solid writing of female characters, and those female characters take centre stage here. In this episode, we get three women who are different in almost every way, yet they're all strong and empowered.
The story we get at the beginning is that Saffron has been married off to Mal in order to pay off the village's debt to him. She essentially was a slave, and appears subservient and submissive to Mal, offering to cook for him and wash his feet as she believes a good wife should.
Mal, of course, has a problem with that. He sees Saffron not as a slave, but as a person who should be free to make their own choices. Including trying to kill someone if they try to kill you first. He spends most of the episode trying to get her to be her own person, to make choices and to be strong. He didn't fall for her seductions until it was clear that she was choosing to be with him.
Zoe is exactly the kind of woman that Mal was trying to create in Saffron. While Zoe answers to Mal and his captaincy, it's clear that she does this of her own free will. Furthermore, there's a sense of equality in her marriage to Wash, even though it doesn't seem like it to others.
Wash may seem to be intimidated by the warrior woman he married who could kill him with her pinky, but they still have a mutual respect of each other. Zoe is as impressed with Wash's prowess as a pilot as he is with her prowess with firearms.
Then there's Inara: demure, graceful and generally softspoken, unlike Zoe, whose assertiveness and physical strength are wonderfully intimidating. Inara is of the highest social standing on the ship, simply because of how she's been trained to use her body. Inara's sexuality is definitely an asset, but while it earns her a living and social stature, it still doesn't define her as a woman. She's certainly not to be underestimated.
Saffron, of course, turns out to be a charlatan, using the guile of subservience and innocence to steal the ship from her unsuspecting husband. However, we have to begrudgingly admit that, despite being a terrible person, she's still a badass.
Saffron used her body to her advantage - not because she needed to. When Mal asked her why bother with the seduction, given that there were easier ways to steal, she countered that the payoff wasn't the point. She did it because she wanted to and she could. I gotta respect that.
While Zoe, Inara and Saffron are very different women, one thing they do have in common is strength. I'm not saying Saffron is a role model - again, she's a terrible person - but it's hard to deny that she was a strong villain in the Firefly 'verse.
- Again, Shepherd Book shows astounding knowledge of criminal operations.
- There was very little of River in this episode.
MEET THE CAST:
- Shepherd Derrial Book is played by Ron Glass. He's most well known for this role, and for playing Detective Harris in the old sitcom Barney Miller. He was seen recently in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Dr Stretian.
Our Mrs Reynolds, Saffron, was played by none other than Christina Hendricks, well before her days as Joan Harris on Mad Men.