Hi everybody! I hope you find serenity this Sunday. Today, we will discuss episode three of Firefly entitled “Bushwhacked”. They should call it “You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About”. I’ll explain this a little later. In this episode, we gain a better understanding of the menacing and terrifying Reavers. Let’s join our friends back on Serenity, where they are enjoying a little downtime. If you need to familiarize yourself with the characters, I encourage you to read my discussion of episode one.
At the top of episode three, we find the crew playing a ball game. At first, I thought it was a version of basketball. But, it looks more like the ancient Mesoamerican game which also contains a ball and hoop, but no one knows the rules. During the game, the alarm sounds which alerts the crew that they are approaching another ship. As Wash investigates the signal, a body hits the front of the Serenity. The body is from a cargo ship modified to carry settlers. Mal decides it’s time for him, queen Zoe, and Jayne to investigate. Upon boarding the ship, they find that it’s abandoned. It appears as if everyone on the ship left in a hurry.
As the crew continues to investigate, Mal and Zoe find some valuable cargo. River, who has meandered onto the ghost ship after hearing “voices”, finds something else. River points to the ceiling. Mal and Zoe cast their eyes upon the object of River’s curiosity. It is the settlers. They are dead, mutilated, and swinging from the rafters. Mal instantly knows why. He is looking at the work of the Reavers. Meanwhile, Jayne is investigating the galley, when he is attacked by a traumatized survivor. At this time Mal, Zoe, Simon, Jayne, River, and Kaylee are on the ghost ship. Mal decides it’s time for all of them to regroup on the Serenity, where they lock the survivor in the infirmary.
Mal briefs everyone about the ghost ship and the survivor. He explains that the survivor’s experience watching the reavers skin those people is so horrific, he might as well be dead. Shepard begins his speech of how the Reavers used to be people and that they lost their way because they are far removed from society. Here’s the problem with this conversation: how the heck does he know? He doesn’t know what the fringes of civilization or Reavers are about. He just recently left Persephone. But, I guess I should let it slide because he is speaking from a preacher’s perspective.
Speaking of know-it-alls, here comes an Alliance patrol ship. They basically “pull-over” Serenity because there is a BOLO out for Simon and River, last seen on a Firefly-class ship. Mal instructs Jayne to put the cargo in plain sight, and he instructs Simon to get his sister. Simon begins to protest, saying that Mal is going to use the siblings for a bargaining chip. Again, what are you talking about? Why would he risk more trouble by ratting you out? Jeez!!!
The Alliance commander boards the ship looking for the fugitives. River and Simon are in space suits, hiding on the outside of the ship. The Alliance forces find the survivor, and he is messed up!!! His face is mutilated and he looks absolutely crazy. The commander orders the troops to take “yuck-face” back to the Alliance ship, along with the crew that he is placing under arrest.
This part was kind of funny, except for Inara and Shepard. We did not need to see their interrogations. Zoe is telling the commander to mind his beeswax when he asks about her marriage. Wash can’t shut-up about Zoe. Jayne isn’t saying a word. Kaylee is explaining to the commander that Serenity isn’t trash. The commander is trying to get Mal worked up about the war. He also accuses the crew of murdering the people on the settlers’ ship. He dismisses the talk of Reavers. This is his first fringe of the system patrol. He doesn’t even know what a reaver looks like.
You never go full Reaver
While the commander is trying to throw his rank around and intimidate people, the survivor has become a Reaver. This is what Mal was trying to tell Shepard and the commander! When someone survives a Reaver attack, they devolve and become a reaver. The survivor makes his way to Serenity, hunting for a victim. By now, River and Simon are back on the ship. River is trying to warn Simon about the Reaver on board. But Simon thinks she is merely having an episode. Simon needs to stop babying River and start LISTENING TO HER!!! She was right about the dead people on the ship, and she sensed the danger of the Reaver. You say she is gifted, but you chalk it up to trauma. Ugh! But, this may be me projecting my knowledge of future episodes onto this scene.
The commander and Mal return to the ship, where Simon and River are nearly discovered. But the Reaver pops out and attacks the commander before this can happen. Mal kills the Reaver. The commander releases the crew, confiscates the cargo, and destroys the settler ship.
I think if the show continued, we would have seen more reaver activity. Maybe one of the crew winds up on a Reaver ship. Maybe someone becomes a reaver. There are many possibilities. This was another awesome episode. I love how this show does not give you one conflict per episode, but mounting conflict.
Wrapping it up
Wow! This is why I decided to give each episode individual attention. Next Sunday is episode four, “Shindig”. This is another great episode. Until then, be sure to join me for Rod-Tino Tuesday and Death Proof. Next Thursday, we dive back into Angels of Death. Have a great week!