Firefly Rewatch Episode 2: Train In Vain

Nice Work Dumbass. Casey – Jayne

I’m sorry to start that way, but that is pure Casey.  Of course it was pure Jayne first.  But if I have to make note of every great line or character moment or exchange or bit of dialog… Well let’s just say that while this episode may have served as a second pilot, and didn’t so much introduce the characters as flesh them out a bit in the re-watch, it did do something wonderful.  It reminded me of one of the things I love best about Whedon’s shows.  The characters, sure, but oh my, the dialog.  The wonderful lines and exchanges these characters have.  More gushing after the jump.

I’ve given some thought to moving off the edge. Not an ideal location. Might get a place in the middle.  -Mal

So it turns out Mal isn’t such a morose guy after all.  He’s apparently more a Gilbert and Sullivan type pirate than a real Aargh, walk the plank matey pirate who would shoot someone in cold blood or abandon helpless people to their fate on a desolate planet on the edge of the verse.  And he likes to tweak the Alliance.  Or drunks.  Or a bit of both.  He also manages to find himself in an Alliance friendly bar every Unification Day.  Anyone else getting the impression Mal’s war isn’t quite over?  Zoe clearly seems to relish a good fight too.

And Jayne.   Well he didn’t fight in no war.  But he still seems to love a good fight.  You start to see why they keep him around as Jayne manages to eject 4 or 5 from the bar and take them down with some inventive use of a bar stool.  Well the Independents may rise again, but not today.  Gettin’ out with their skins intact and a job contact will have to be enough for now.

Take us out of the world, Wash. Got us some crime to be done.   – Mal

Whedon does great villains.  Mishka is no exception.  I love Mishka in that he’s-so-deliciously-evil-love-to-hate-him sort of way.  “My wife’s nephew… I’ll be getting an ear-full at dinner…”  So our merry band has a job and an employer who one doesn’t want to disappoint.  On to the job.

Time for some thrilling heroics. – Jayne

I wish I had something profound to say, but aside from a lot of good dialog, some fun action and Jayne getting shot, not much outside your normal spaceship robs a train caper happens here.  Oh yeah, Mal and Zoe are detained, Jayne tries to take over the ship, the crew rebels, the doctor drugs Jayne, Inara rescues Mal and Zoe and Mishka’s man Crow shows up to take the goods; the entire supply of a medicine critical to the survival of an entire town.

These are stone killers, little man. They ain’t cuddly like me.  – Jayne

So Mal has his limits after all.  Crime is one thing, killing another, but innocents aren’t part of the bargain.  He’s not OK with collateral damage.  Knives flying, guns blazin’ Mal and his merry band save the day and deliver the medicine back to those who need it.

They also now have no money, no cargo, and a very dangerous man angry at them.  Well not for long, Crow that is.  Yes, it’s dark, but MAN was that funny.  Indiana Jones and the pistol funny.  No, Mishka is the dangerous man who’s mad at them.  Just one more thing to be looking over the shoulder for.

Speaking of which, unmentioned so far is that riddle wrapped in an enigma, River.  She’s apparently very valuable to some scary people, and she knows it.  So far though she isn’t in a conversant frame of mind.

So now with both the pilot episodes out of the way we can get to some thrillin’ heroics next week with Bushwacked.  And Maybe I’ll be able to get a synopsis and some thoughts up in a timely manner.  Let the comments begin.  And just because I felt constrained to not relive EVERY great line, don’t feel it applies to you in comments.  😉


About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
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10 Responses to Firefly Rewatch Episode 2: Train In Vain

  1. OldDarth says:

    Probably one of my least favorite episodes but even then there is a lot to like.

    Great write up!

  2. jason says:

    A bit of a mauser moment, when mal kicks the biggie bad guy into the engine intake or whatever that was, sort of wish Chuck had done such a thing to shaw, around episode 3.5, that would have been a FIRST CLASS use of a jet engine – LOL – River is so off the wall, that she makes Burn Noice’s Fiona appear sane – for some reason or other her character works for me too, you wonder with 4 seasons what jayne would have evolved into, but casey has so many things in common with jayne that you’d have to think firefly was his chuck audition tape – thx again for turning my head toward firefly – still is amazing for all the differences of opinion chuck may bring out in some of us bloggers, how much this group enjoys the same type of TV?

  3. Lauren says:

    Niska scares me. Plain and simple.

    This episode seems to catch a lot of flak for being the hastily created second pilot, but I think there’s lots to love. Especially towards the end: Jayne going crazy and falling asleep, Wash using Jayne as an impromptu footstool, Inara smacking Mal, Gregg Henry’s performance as the sheriff (which became more interesting to me on repeat viewings), Crow (Krull?) getting kicked into the engine. I’ll leave some great moments for other viewers to point out.

    All in all, not the best episode but still re-watchable.

  4. joe says:

    Quick, obvious observation. I can’t help but think of Jayne as “Neanderthal Casey.” Is that possible? Is Casey a “civilized” Jayne; Jayne in a black suit and tie?

    Yup. I love the image linking River and Fiona, btw, Jason.

  5. Dave2 says:

    Can anyone else hear Mal say “I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy ‘verse. Someday you’ll understand that.”

  6. atcdave says:

    Somehow, after repeat viewings this episode just keeps getting better to me. Kind of like “Tom Sawyer” from Chuck, I thought it was pretty good the first time around but it has more belly laughs the more I watch it. Inara rescuing Mal and Zoe is just classic, and Crow’s demise, just wow, one of the funniest (dark) moments I’ve ever seen.

  7. jason says:

    maybe one of you would know if this is always true of firefly, or just this episode, but on reviewing the train episode, I noticed a great deal of B plot character development, the irina / callie scene, the irina / shepard, doc and river, shepard & the doctor asking to be part of the mission or to help, I loved that, no fast forwarding thru those without missing lots of helpful and heartwarming nuggets.

    • atcdave says:

      I think that was always the great strength of Firefly, all the characters matter. You’ll see a lot of interesting growth as they go. Jayne will have some incredible moments, both good and bad (in “Jaynestown” you’ll see a lot of both at once!). Shindig is coming up, that’s a personal favorite of mine; you’ll love and hate Mal all at once (is it possible to be a noble jerk?) and Kaley is so sweet and funny.

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