[Rewatch] Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episodes 12-13

Hello everybody!  I hope you find serenity this Sunday!  Today, we are going to talk about Firefly episode 12, The Message and episode 13, Heart of Gold.  These episodes are not as fun as other episodes, but they are still great episodes because Firefly can do no wrong.  If you need a refresher on the characters, read about episode 1.

Episodes 12 and 13 are all about relationships.  12 explores the burgeoning relationship between Simon and Kaylee.  13 examines the relationship between Mal and Inara.  That’s what I’m going to focus on, these relationships.

Episode 12- The Message

Awkward Simon and Kaylee
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If we’re talking about wooing the ladies, Simon is about as smooth as a piece of sandpaper.  While Kaylee and Simon were looking at an alleged alien (it was a cow fetus), Simon is saying all the right things.

Then, he basically says that she is pretty much the last woman on earth.  He makes it sound like if he had better options, she wouldn’t stand a chance.

Of course, he did not mean it that way, but I still rolled my eyes.  How can someone that is so smart say things that are super dumb?  Now that I think about it, the only person on the ship that may be able to give him pointers on courting is Sheppard Book.  Wash is a dork, Jayne is a jerk, and Mal is just as clueless as Simon.

Tracey and Kaylee (sitting in a tree???)

While Simon was walking around with his foot in his mouth, Queen Zoe and Mal get a huge package.  It turns out that it is the body of an old subordinate from the war, Tracey.

Tracey sends along an audio recording, asking Zoe and Mal to take him home to be buried.  Kaylee listens to audio, feeling some sort of attachment to Tracey.

It turns out that Tracey is alive and using Zoe and Mal to get away from some Alliance guy.  He takes Kaylee hostage trying to get away.  You would think Kaylee would be wary of strangers after being shot.  But, her disposition is too sweet.

Tracey dies anyway and they still take him home to his family.  The scene is very moving.  In the end, we see Simon and Kaylee holding hands.  He may be socially awkward, but at least he won’t kill her.

Episode 13- Heart of Gold

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Mal and Inara

Inara receives a distress call from an old friend from companion academy, Nandi.  Nandi runs a brothel that is threatened by a real a-hole named Ranse.  She asks Mal to help protect the unborn child of Ranse.  The child is carried by one of Nandi’s prostitutes.

There’s quite a bit of hanky-panky in the brothel.  Most of it is Jayne having sex with one of the ladies.

But, Mal has sex with Nandi.  This devastates Inara, no matter how brave of a facade she tries to put on.

Mal having sex with someone Inara knows is in poor taste.  But, Inara would have felt the same way if Mal had sex with anyone.  It’s like she expected him to pine after her forever.  And when he finally gets laid, she decides it’s time to leave Serenity.

My best guess is that there is some sort of heartbreak in her past that leads her to decide on leaving.  Her deep affection for Mal frightens her.  I understand that!  But, you can only call someone a crook and a thief for so long before they start to believe that you are not interested.

At the end of the episode, Nandi dies, the douchebag Ranse dies, and Inara decides to leave Serenity.  Honestly, I really didn’t care.  Inara was always the least interesting character, so I was like “bye, girl”.

Another suspicious Shepard moment

Okay, we have another “who is Shepard Book” moment in episode 12.  He is sitting in the cockpit looking at the radar.  He notices that the alliance members chasing them did not notify the nearest Alliance HQ that they were in pursuit.  He deduces that the return of Tracey’s body is an off-the-books job.

This dude knows too much about Alliance protocol not to be a former Alliance intelligence officer or something.

Overall

These two episodes give the series more layers.  If the show continued, we would have seen how these complicated relationships impacted the people and the crew as a whole.

Wrapping it up

Well, that’s it for Firefly, episodes 12 and 13.  Next Sunday, we will conclude our discussion with episode 14 and the movie Serenity.  Before I move on to Psycho-Pass, I want to take on the last look at Firefly as a whole.  There are so many things we can take from the show and the movie.

Until then, be sure to join me this Tuesday for Radiant episode 4.  On Thursday, I will review Ace Attorney, episode 4.  I hope you had a terrific weekend!

Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episodes 10 & 11

Hello everybody!  I hope you find serenity this Sunday.  Today, we are talking about Firefly episode 10, War Stories, and episode 11, Trash.  These two episodes compliment each other perfectly.  First, we see the return of characters we’ve previously met.  Second, episode 10 is pretty heavy, while episode 11 is a light-weight caper.  I am only going to touch on a few things from each episode.  If there is anything you would like to add, please comment below.  Also, if you need an introduction to our main characters, read this post.  Let’s do it!

Episode 10- War Stories

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War Stories marks the return of Niska from episode two.  If you need a refresher, please read my post on that episode.  Based on that episode’s goings-on, Niska wants to settle a score with Mal.  He gets his opportunity when he learns that Mal is in the area trying to conduct business.  He kidnaps Mal and Wash (I’m coming back to Wash) and starts torturing them.

Wash and Zoe

One thing I loved about this episode is that I understand what both Wash and Zoe are going through.  Wash is feeling insecure because he feels that Zoe blindly follows Mal’s lead.  Zoe has a loyalty to Mal that comes from being in war with him.  As a former soldier, I understand that you can build these strong bonds with the people you eat, sleep, train, and deploy with.  This is something that civilians like Wash do not understand.  With that being said, I am also a spouse.  You want to know that at the end of the day, the one you married has unflinching loyalty to you.  Zoe proves this when it comes time to rescue Mal and Wash and Niska makes her choose between freeing her husband or freeing Mal.  She chooses Wash without hesitation.  She does this because she knows that Mal can take the pain of torture (I’m coming back to this as well) and Wash cannot.  But, I also like to think that even if he could withstand the torture as much as Mal, she would still choose Wash.

Mal is a little scary

Mal is subjected to a lot of brutal torture at the hands of Niska.  He’s being electrocuted, poked, and cut.  Niska even cuts off his ear and gives it to Zoe.  Mal eventually dies, but Niska brings him back to life so that he can continue to torture him.  Even after all of this, Mal manages to overpower Niska’s henchman and almost gets his hands on Niska.  What kind of crazy person is subjected to that amount of torture and dies, just to come back to life to kick ass?  No one should ever cross Mal…ever!

Sheppard, we need to talk

Back in episode 5, Sheppard is shot.  He was not going to receive treatment from the Alliance until he shows his ID, then people are tripping over themselves to help him.  This episode, he recognizes that Mal and Wash are kidnapped via ambush by sharpshooters.  Also during the gunfight with Niska’s men, he shoots without hesitation.  This brings me back to my original question: Who the hell is he?  Based on his knowledge of weaponry and tactics, I’m guessing that he was a high ranking officer with the Alliance prior to becoming a holy man.

Episode 11-Trash

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After the brutality of episode 10, episode 11 was a nice change of pace.  This episode marks the return of Saffron from episode six.  She is up to no good as usual.  She convinces Mal and the crew to participate in a little caper where they steal a priceless artifact from a wealthy man who we learn was also married to Saffron (he knew her as Yolanda).

Saffron needs to pick another profession

Saffron is pretty much a grifter with companion training.  This line of work does not appear to work out for her.  In episode six, she is discovered.  In episode 11, she is married to one man (who knows her as Bridget) and he abandons her on a moon where she bumps into Mal.  Apparently, she tried to steal the artifact once before and failed.  Then, she tries to trick Mal by getting his help to steal the artifact and then abandoning him naked in the desert.  But he has Inara there to back him up and get the artifact before Saffron can obtain it.  Maybe she should just be a companion.

They know, Jayne

In episode 9 of the show, Jayne tries to turn in Simon and River for a big reward.  He fails, of course.  Up until this point, Simon was unaware of the role Jayne played in the siblings nearly getting captured.  As a matter of fact, he thinks Jayne is a hero.  River informs Simon of the truth.  Simon informs Jayne that even though Jayne betrayed him, he will always take care of Jayne because he is the ship’s medic.  And, in one of greatest moments on the show, River reminds him that she can kill him with her brain.  I love how River is evolving throughout the season.  By the time we get to the movie, she is an absolutely amazing character.

Wrapping it up

Episodes 10 and 11 further prove that Firefly is top-notch when it comes to writing and character development.  Had the series continued, I’m sure that we would have seen more of Niska and Saffron/Bridget/Yolanda.  Maybe we would have finally learned what is up with Book.  Watching this show again reminds me of how other shows are often convoluted or lazy when it comes to character or plot development.

Well, that’s it for Firefly episodes 10 and 11.  Next week, we watch episodes 12 and 13.  Until then, be sure to join me for my thoughts on episode 3 of Radiant.  Next Thursday will be my review of episode 3 of Ace Attorney.  Have a great week and I will see you later!

Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episode 9-Ariel

It’s Serenity Sunday!  Today we are watching episode 9 of Firefly.  In this episode, Jayne is a jerk and we learn more about River.

Hello everybody.  I hope you find serenity this Sunday.  Today, we are watching episode nine of Firefly, Ariel.  This episode is not necessarily centered around Jayne like Jaynetown, but he is a huge factor.  We also get some new revelations about River, and why she is so traumatized.  Let’s get into the episode.  If you do not know our characters, click here.  Allow me to give you a quick recap before we discuss a few things.

Going to the ER

This episode begins with the crew in a bad situation.  There are not jobs and barely food.  The food they are eating Jayne tells us, “tastes like crotch”.  Inara needs to go to Ariel, which is a part of the elite central planets and is Alliance territory.  She’s going to get her annual companion physical.  Mal forbids anyone to leave this ship while on Ariel.  It is too risky.  While Mal is explaining this, River grabs a knife and cuts Jayne across the chest, out of nowhere.  Jayne backhands her, hard.  As Jayne is getting patched up by Simon, he tells Mal they should turn in the siblings and take the reward money.  Of course, Mal refuses.  Simon realizes he needs to find out what happened to his sister when she was locked away.  He hires the crew to help him and River sneak into the sophisticated hospital on Ariel so he can conduct a brain scan.  In exchange, he will show them a treasure trove of drugs they can sell for lots of money. The crew agrees to the mission.

You disappoint me, Jayne!

Firefly-Episode-9-ArielThis episode shows Jayne at his most despicable.  I know River cut him, but the slap of all slaps should have been enough punishment.  But that wasn’t good enough.  He decided to get rid of a pest and someone he didn’t like while making a little money in the process.  So, Jayne decides to notify the feds that Simon and River are at the hospital.  This backfires of course.  He gets arrested along with Simon and River.  What happens next makes him look like the scum of the universe.  Once they are rescued and make it back to Serenity,  Simon is hailing Jayne as a hero because he helped them escape.  Simon doesn’t know that Jayne was the one that snitched.  After Simon showers Jayne with praise, Jayne has the nerve to say how he did it because they are a part of the crew.  Look, I know he didn’t want them to know he was the snitch.  But you don’t have to pretend like you were thinking about their well-being and that’s why you helped.  The opportunity presented itself, that was all.  Mal didn’t buy his humility for a second.  That is really low, Jayne.

The River mystery is solved

This episode explains what they did to River in that “school”.  When Simon looks at her brain, he sees that the school cut into her brain multiple times.  They were scraping away the part of the brain known as the amygdala.  Explained less eloquently than Simon, it is the part of the brain that helps you control your feelings.

Firefly-Episode-9-ArielThat is why River is so manic, she can’t help it.  At the end of the episode, Simon gives River a treatment that may help her.  I know we see some improvement in Serenity, where we see her at her absolute best.

Wrapping it up

We see the guys with the blue gloves again (I call them the Blue Hand Group).  They are truly scary, like on the level of The Borg from Star Trek: TNG.  I’m sure they would’ve been fearsome in later seasons.  Well, that’s it for episode 9.  Next week, we watch episode 10, War Stories.  Until then, be sure to join me tomorrow for my thoughts on Angels of Death.  I’m moving my anime post to Monday for the time being.  It’s a day where I have time to watch and write about anime.  Rod-Tino Tuesday will feature Kill Bill, vol. 1.  I know I said we are doing the original Twin Peaks after Firefly.  I’ve decided to go with a more current title.  So, after Firefly we are watching Candle Cove.  Candle Cove offers quite a bit that Twin Peaks does not provide.  Like I said, it is more current.  Also, the seasons are short with only six episodes per season.  More importantly, I have only watched the first two or three episodes in the first season.  A lot of the show will be new to me.  Okay gang!  I appreciate your support and I will see you tomorrow!

 

 

 

Rod-Tino Tuesday: Once Upon A Time In Mexico

Hello everyone!  How was your weekend?  Great I hope!  It’s Rod-Tino Tuesday, where we watch a movie directed by either Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez.  This week, we are watching 2003’s Once Upon a Time in Mexico, a movie by Robert Rodriguez.  This is the final part of a trilogy that includes El Mariachi and Desperado.  Of the three, this is the weakest movie.  But, I’ll get more into that in a second.  Let me give you a brief summary of what happens in this movie.

Down in Mexico

This movie continues the journey of El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas).  He is a part mariachi musician mostly kickass fighter.  El begins working for shady CIA agent Sands (Johnny Depp).  The agent asks him to stop drug kingpin Barillo (Willem Dafoe)  from attempting to kill the Mexican president (Pedro Armendariz).  But, that’s only part one of Sands’ complicated plan (I’m coming back to this).  Anyway, this plan benefits El as well.  He gets to take revenge for the death of his love (queen Selma Hayek) and their unborn child.  There’s a bunch of gun battles and slick action moves.  At the end of the day, El gets his revenge, Sands loses both of his eyes, and the president is saved.

Yes El, Yes!!!

Once-Upon-A-Time-In-Mexico

Antonio Banderas kills it in this movie…in the entire trilogy!  He is so cool.  There’s a scene where El is trying to escape a church.  Apparently, Sands set him up to “test” him to see if he is the man for the Barillo job.  He shoots about eight people.  To kill one of the guys, he jumps from a high balcony, shooting one of the henchmen, and landing on his feet.  He barely says 100 words in the movie, but he still projects badass.  Sands gives us a different type of energy.

Sands is killing me

The beginning of the movie is great.  The end of the movie is fine.  The middle of the movie is a lot of nothing.  They could have cut about twenty minutes out of the middle.  We see a lot of Sands running around trying to execute his convoluted plan.  Those scenes are a little forgettable.  It’s difficult to remember who is supposed to be what in the plan.  The scenes went on for entirely too long.  Like when Sands was recruiting a retired FBI agent.  It takes freaking forever.  Then there is Sands’ fixation on a pork dish.  I thought that this quirk was supposed to make him seem a little crazy.  But, he never quite gets to that crazy point.  He was too busy trying to be clever.  If you’re going to give me crazy, give me crazy!

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Overall

Once Upon a Time in Mexico is not the best example of Rodriguez’s work, but it’s not the worst.  If I’m not mistaken, we have yet to see the worst.  I think Banderas’ intensity and machismo make this movie tolerable.  As for Depp, not my favorite performance, from him (my favorite is Cry Baby) or Willem Defoe (can you guess my favorite Defoe performance?).

Wrapping it up

Well, that’s it for Once Upon a Time in Mexico.  Next week, we watch a Quentin Tarantino movie.  Who would have guessed it would be the first Kill Bill.  So gather your Crazy 88s and make sure you join me.  Until then, Anime Thursday puts Angels of Death back into the spotlight.  Serenity Sunday is episode nine of Firefly.  If you’re in the path of hurricane Florence, be safe!

“We are the sons of Mexico”- El

Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episode 8- Out of Gas

It’s Serenity Sunday!  I hope you are ready to get deep into your feelings because we are watching episode 8 of Firefly!  Mal’s leadership is on full display!

Hello everybody.  I hope you find serenity this Sunday.  Today we are talking about Firefly episode 8,  Out of Gas.  There is no other way to describe this episode but great television.  It is tense and emotional, without being super melodramatic.  It gives us an example of leadership and sacrifice that you do not often see in the real world, let alone in a television show.  But, we will talk about this later.  As I always say, if you need an introduction to the crew of the Serenity, click this post.  Let’s get into the episode.

No air

Just a little bit of a disclaimer in case you want to watch the episode later: I’m telling you what happens out of sequence.  This episode is mostly flashbacks and it’ll be hard to explain and understand if I go in order.

At his point, the crew of the Serenity is pretty cohesive.  Today, they are sitting at dinner, laughing at Sheppard’s anecdotes.  The crew, specifically Kaylee, surprises Simon with a cake since it’s his birthday. At this point, there is a large explosion.  It disables Serenity, ignites a fire, and knocks Zoe unconscious, doing some sort of internal damage.  Zoe is rushed to the infirmary for treatment.  While Simon tries to stabilize Zoe, Kaylee investigates the source of the explosion.  She learns that something in the engine failed, causing the disabling of the ship and the life support.  They are in the middle of nowhere and are running out of oxygen.  Mal orders Wash (who is very upset) to send out a beacon.  He then tells the entire crew to get in the little shuttles and go as far out as they can in the hopes of attracting some attention.  He remains on the cold ship, running low on air.  A ship finds the Serenity and tries to hijack it, shooting Mal in the process.  But he manages to get the part he needs for the ship, get the hijackers off the ship, and place the part in the engine.  He would have died if a revived Zoe did not make the shuttle turn around and go back to Serenity.

Flashbacks

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We already know how Simon, River, and Sheppard find their way to Serenity.  In the flashbacks, we learn how Mal became the captain, and how the crew became the crew.  It is smart to put this episode later in the season.  Sometimes, it can be annoying to have an introduction of a bunch of people that we have yet to give a crap about.  By episode eight, we are invested in this crew.  Now, we can get to know them a little better.  Kaylee’s origin story is my personal favorite.  She is having sex with the mechanic who is supposed to be on board.  But, she impresses Mal and Kaylee takes the guy’s place.

A Real Leader

Firefly-Episode-8-Out-of-GasYou always see and hear people talk about whose a leader, what makes a good leader, why someone is a good leader, and so forth.  Mal personifies leadership in this episode.  He is calm, even though his best friend and second-in-command is unconscious.  He knows what needs to happen and gets the ball rolling.  He is willing to make tremendous sacrifices for those he claims to lead.  They matter to him, so he does what he can to keep them safe.  Leadership…take notes people!

Wrapping it up

We only have six episodes and a movie left before I wrap up Firefly.  So what’s next?  I’ve been going back and forth about which show I want to cover.  So, beginning in November, I will start watching the creepy show Twin Peaks.  Not the new version, we’re going back to the original.  Each week, I will discuss an episode, concluding with the movie that put a bow on the entire series.  I am looking forward to discussing the show with you.  Next Sunday, we watch episode nine of Firefly, Ariel.  Until then, don’t forget about Once Upon a Time in Mexico for Rod-Tino Tuesday.  Anime Thursday will see the return of Angels of Death.  This show has issues.  Have a great week and I will see you on Tuesday.

Rod-Tino Tuesday: Kill Bill Vol. 2

Hello everyone!  It’s Rod-Tino Tuesday where we watch a movie directed by either Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez.  Today’s movie is  2004 Kill Bill vol. 2, directed by Quentin Tarantino.  It’s weird starting with the sequel, but fate wants us to watch this first, so here we are.  If the first Kill Bill is your ninja movie, this one is more your revenge western. I remember being extremely excited about this movie.  After watching it again many years and many movies later, it’s not as amazing as I remember.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing moments in this movie, but there are also some real lackluster moments as well.  But, before I get into that, let’s refresh your memory on the movie.

Coming for Bill

Kill Bill as a whole is about revenge.  Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) was an assassin.  She gives up that life and disappears once she finds out she’s pregnant with her boss/lover’s baby.  Her boss is the ruthless Bill (David Carradine).  Once he discovers she’s alive, he and his subordinates attempt to kill her, even though she is extremely pregnant.  But, they fail and now she’s on a mission to avenge near-death and the death of her unborn child. When we begin volume two, she has already killed some of her enemies.  All that’s left is Bill, his brother Budd (Michael Madsen), and Elle (Daryl Hannah).  Little does Beatrix know that her daughter is still alive and living with Bill in Mexico.  Beatrix finally gets her face-off with Bill, but that’s after she is shot with rock salt and buried alive by Budd, and in a deadly kung fu match with Elle.

Pai Mei

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Without a doubt, my favorite character in this movie is Bea’s sensei Pai Mei (Gordon Liu).  If you do not remember the scene, Beatrix is buried alive.  She panics but calms down when she recalls her training with the grumpiest old man ever, White Lotus master Pai Mei.  Because of him teaching her how to punch through a wall at close range, she is able to escape the wooden coffin.  What is so fun about watching Pai Mei is that he is not very kind or nurturing.  He is what I imagine an old, cantankerous kung fu master is supposed to me.  Pai Mei isn’t socialized enough to show empathy or thoughtfulness for his student.  Frankly, he doesn’t have time to be your friend or your new dad.  You’re there to learn, he’s there to teach.  Everything else is a waste of his precious time.  A teacher does not always have to be your friend, as long as your learning the lessons.  That is one of the lessons Pai Mei offers the audience.  However, I do not encourage anyone to start beating people over the heads with sticks.  You are not an ancient kung fu master.

The Elle and Bea brawl

This is one of the best scenes in the movie.  Beatrix is back from beyond the grave.  She is headed back to Budd’s to finish what she started.  Meanwhile, Elle is in Budd’s trailer, trading a million dollars for Bea’s stunning Hatori Hanzo sword.  Elle has placed a black mamba in the case with the money.  The mamba strikes Budd in the face and he dies.  As Elle is about to leave with the sword and the money, Bea dropkicks her back into the trailer.  What follows is a claustrophobic and brutal fight between two women that absolutely hate each other.  They manage to break through every wall in the place.  It’s all very exciting.  I loved how Bea ended the fight by plucking out Elle’s one good eye.  That’s for Pai Mei, b***h!!!

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After the brawl

Here’s my problem with the movie.  Everything after Elle loses her eye falls a little flat.  The Elle scene is where the movie peaks.  Then there’s all of this boring stuff with Esteban (Michael Parks).  When she finally gets to Bill, we go through another long scene about when she found out she’s pregnant.  And then, it’s time for the final battle.  Here we go, here’s the payoff for enduring so many long flashbacks.  And what happens?  The five-finger exploding heart technique and it’s over.  Bill’s dead, Beatrix is reunited with her daughter B.B. (Perla Haney-Jardine) and we’re done.  You CANNOT take us on this journey of epic revenge and end it on such a lackluster note.

Overall

The first Kill Bill is better, but that has a lot to do with the overall style of the movie.  It looks like the mindset is that we get the satisfying, over-the-top violence in the first movie, and we get more storytelling in the second movie.  I’m fine with this, but you have to end it with a bang.  Make me feel like I did not waste my time on this journey.

Wrapping it up

Well, that’s it for Kill Bil, vol. 2.  Next week, we are back with Robert Rodriguez.  Our random number generated selected movie number six.  So, get ready for Once Upon A Time in Mexico.  If you need the list of the movies, click here.  Until then, be sure to join me this Thursday for my Planet With review.  We are watching episode 8 of Firefly for Serenity Sunday.  Thank you for your constant support, and I will see you on Thursday!

Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episode 7- Jaynetown

It’s Serenity Sunday!  In episode 7 of Firefly, we find out that Jayne is something of a hero in certain parts.  How did he get such adoration?

Hello everyone!  I hope you find serenity this Sunday.  Today, we are talking about Firefly episode seven, Jaynetown.  This episode has a lot of little parts in it, but they mostly revolve around our friend Jayne and this crazy little town.  Other parts of it are not connected to that story.  However, they give us a little insight into some of our characters.  More importantly, the side story gives us an interesting conversation topic.  We are going to talk more about why it’s awesome how the b-stories are executed in a bit.  First, I will refresh your memory about the episode.  If you need a reminder of the characters click here.

Jayne: The Robinhood of Canton

Episode two is the most exciting episode, but Jaynetown is certainly the funniest.  Mal is taking the crew to the town of Canton, home of the mud manufacturers.  Yes, friends, they manufacture mud.  When it comes to making money, Jayne is usually the first to jump off Serenity, looking for a payday.  But, it’s different in Canton.  You see, Jayne stole some money from the local magistrate a few years ago.  He managed to escape, but now feels like a marked man when he returns.  Much to everyone’s surprise and amusement (for both the crew and the viewer), there is a statue of Jayne in the town square. Jayne is a local hero to the workers because be robbed the rich magistrate, then dumped the money onto the workers.  They think he is a hero, but he did it to lighten the load of the ship so he would not face capture.

Firefly-Episode-7-Jaynetown-Jayne

Jayne’s heart grew three sizes

Firefly-Episode-7-Jaynetown-Jayne

This episode shows us a softer side of Jayne.  Before returning to this town, Jayne appeared t0 not care for anyone.  But, after he becomes a hero to people who are basically slaves, he feels responsible for them.  When one of the “mudders” sacrifice himself for Jayne, a guy that is normally tough is visibly distraught.  He tells the people not see him as a hero, even though he knows they will anyway.  What Mal explains to Jayne is that the statue is a symbol.  My guess is that it is a symbol of rebellion and standing up for the little guy.  Mal tells Jayne right when he says it isn’t about him.

Kaylee and Simon

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I know I give Kaylee a hard time.  I like her, it’s just that she has a tendency to slip into this baby talk I find annoying.  But, I do like Kaylee.  I like how she is persistent in her pursuit of Simon.  That poor girl has a lot of work to do, breaking through the inherent snobbery that Simon likes to put on display.  But, in this episode, she appears to make some progress.  He even says she is pretty.  He was drunk when he said it, but I’ve heard that “drunk men tell no tales”.  This is the beginning of a relationship that we will see evolve later.

The Sheppard and River

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While most of the crew laughs at Jayne on Canton, Sheppard volunteers to keep an eye on River.  She manages to get a hold of Sheppard’s Bible. What she does next is genius television.  She begins going through the Bible, using scientific/mathematical theory to correct it.  Sheppard sits down and talks to River about faith and how you are not supposed to fix faith, it is supposed to fix you.  What makes this scene so fantastic is that it shows two people with different points of view having a sincere discussion about faith.  It’s not heavy-handed or self-righteous.  In these divisive times, people can take a page out of Sheppard and River’s book.

Overall

There’s another side story feature Inara and a 30-year-old virgin.  It’s used as a device to help the crew escape Canton.  No need to elaborate on it.

Recently, I’ve been rewatching “My So-called life”.  It’s a really good show but it has a tendency to give you these “who cares” b-stories.  With Firefly, even the b-story holds value.  River and Sheppard’s moments have nothing to do with Jayne’s story, but it was still interesting because it is topical.

Wrapping it up

Well, it’s the middle of the night and I need some sleep. I hope you enjoyed our visit to Jaynetown.  Next Sunday is episode eight,  Out of Gas.  Until then, be sure to join me for Kill Bill, vol. 2 on Rod-Tino Tuesday.  I know I owe you my Planet With review.  You will see that for anime Thursday.  You may get my Disenchanted review on Saturday, depending on my school commitments.  Happy September one and all!  Fall anime is almost here, thank goodness!

Rod-Tino Tuesday: Planet Terror

Hello everyone!  Welcome to Rod-Tino Tuesday, where we watch a movie directed by either Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez.  This week, we are watching the craziness that is 2007’s Planet Terror, by Robert Rodriguez.  The release of the film back in 2007 was in the vain of the old grindhouse double feature.  The movie was released in conjunction with Death Proof.  There were also trailers, one of which is Machete.  I would’ve loved to experience something like that in theatres.  But, I was in Iraq at the time.  Enough about past regrets, let’s start with a brief summary of the movie and bring in the terror.

Oh, the (planet) terror!

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Planet Terror takes place in a small town in Texas.  Located in this town is an old military base, where a deadly chemical is stored by scientist, scumbag businessman, and testicle collector Abby (Naveen Andrews).  Army Lt. Muldoon (Bruce Willis) wants to relieve Abby of the toxin, including some that Abby has hidden.  Instead, Abby shoots one of the containers and releases the deadly toxin into the atmosphere.  This causes people in the town to become zombies.  You can imagine the chaos that occurs after the release of the toxin.

Cherry and Wray

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There are so many people in the cast, it’s ridiculous.  So, I’ll focus on the most important people.  Cherry (Rose Mcgowan) is a miserable go-go dancer who wants to be a stand-up comedian.  What I like about her character is that she could have easily been a victim when the zombies attacked and ran off with one of her legs.  But, her badass boyfriend Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) does not allow her to sit around feeling sorry for herself.  With his encouragement, Cherry becomes something of a superhero, especially when he attached a gun to the stump where there was once a leg.  She winds up being the leader that the survivors of the contagion need.

Dr. Dakota Block

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When you’re married to Thanos, you will do your best to get away.  Dr. Dakota Block (Marley Shelton) works in a hospital as an anesthesiologist.  Her brute of a husband Dr. William Block (James Brolin) is an ER doctor at the same hospital.  One can deduce that Bill is not a good guy.  He proves as much when he stabs her in the hands with a local anesthetic after he finds out that she is taking their young son and leaving with her lover Tammy (Fergie…that Fergie).

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Dakota is put through the ringer in the movie.  She manages to escape the hospital once the toxin takes over, with two paralyzed hands!  Dakota handles her son shooting himself in the head better than anyone under the circumstances.  She even gives Cherry advice that helps Cherry realize her full potential.

The zombies

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If you ever watch Planet Terror, make sure you don’t eat lunch while doing so.  These zombies make the ones in 28 Days Later look downright sexy.  They are riddled with boils and pus.  There’s one scene where a zombie squirts pus out of one of his boils and wipes it on Bill.  But the scene that brings the gross-out to a climax is with Quentin Tarantino.  He is one of Lt. Muldoon’s soldiers.  These soldiers are infected with the toxin, but take small doses to keep their “humanity”.  Well, Tarantino’s character was so busy trying to sexually assault Cherry, that he neglected to take a dose of the toxin.  When he pulls down his pants, his man parts start oozing off of his body.  You can’t help but frown at this disgusting sight.

Overall

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If you’re looking for some profound cinematic experience, you are barking up the wrong tree.  But, like The Faculty, Planet Terror offers a campy, crazy good time.  You can see the grindhouse influence, from the old movie reel style to the cool soundtrack.  It’s gratuitous, over-the-top, and loads of fun.

Wrapping it up

Well, that’s it for Planet Terror.  The random number generator has selected the sixth Tarantino film on our list.  Grab your sword and call Pai Mei.  We’re watching Kill Bill: Vol. 2.  Click here if you need the movie list.  Until then, be sure to join me on Anime Thursday for Planet With.  On Saturday, I discuss Disenchanted.  Serenity Sunday continues with Firefly episode seven, Jaynestown.  See you later!

Serenity Sunday: Firefly Episode 6- Our Mrs. Reynolds

Mal has a little problem in this episode.  Her name is Saffron and she is his wife!!! How did he get into this mess?

Hello everyone!  I hope you find serenity this Sunday.  Today, we are watching episode six of Firefly, Our Mrs. Reynolds.  I should not have to tell you that this is another great episode.  Plus, it proves something that other shows need to take note of.  I will explain what I mean later.  Mal really steps in it this episode, and our friends on the Serenity almost pay the price.  Let’s get into this crazy episode.  As usual, if you need a refresher on our characters, click here.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mrs. Malcom Reynolds

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This episode is pretty clear-cut.  Mal and the gang save a town from bandits.  The town praises the actions of Mal and the crew.  The townsfolk throw a party to mark the occasion.  As a reward, they offer Jayne a rainstick that he loves.  It’s the funniest thing watching him gush over the rainstick.  Unbeknownst to Mal, he gets a bride.  When the Serenity takes off from the planet, he discovers he has an extra passenger, sweet and innocent Saffron (Christina Hendricks).  Saffron informs him of their betrothal.  Everyone gets several chuckles from Mal’s predicament, except for Inara who is seething.  Mal tells Saffron that he’s going to drop her at the next planet, where she can find work and be her own woman.  But Saffron has other plans.

Sneaky Saffron

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Saffron has the dudes on the ship wrapped around her finger.  Wash thinks she is quaint.  Jayne wants to trade his gun for her.  Sheppard is trying to protect her chastity from “lecherous” Mal.  Queen Zoe recognizes trouble when she sees it, and Inara recognizes that Saffron has a particular set of skills…companion skills.  Saffron ends up drugging Mal and knocking Wash unconscious.  She then redirects the ship for another location, where a group of pirates is waiting to snare Serenity in an electronic net, sell it for parts, and kill the crew.  Saffron escapes in a transport ship.  Damn, Saffron!  You’re a busy girl.

Inara and Mal sitting in a tree

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Throughout the series, we’ve seen the palpable sexual tension between Mal and Inara.  Inara gives us a little more of a peek into her longing for Mal in this episode.  When she learns of Mrs. Reynolds she sees two colors: red and green.  This is one of my favorite Inara moments.  Underneath all of that glamour, class, and companion swagger, she’s still a woman infatuated with a man who lacks the skill to read the situation.  When realizes that he isn’t dead when she thought Saffron killed him, she kisses him like he is her everything.

Overall

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This episode proves something that I believe many TV show creators do not get.  The audience does not need some huge plot twist to make a show interesting.  If you tell the story well in the first place, a small plot twist is just as entertaining.  Saffron being a traitorous floozy is not life-altering news.  But, I was so amused by Mal’s discomfort, Inara’s jealousy, and the crew’s amusement, that the small plot twist is fine.  I’m watching another show that is not particularly well made but tries to compensate with “shock” value.  It does not make the show better.  If anything, it gets in the way of whatever story the show is trying to tell.  Sometimes, subtly offers a greater payoff than bells and whistles.

Wrapping it up

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Well, that’s it for Our Mrs. Reynolds.  Next week is episode seven, Jaynestown.  Episode seven marks the halfway point of the series.  I’m starting to think about my next show.  I’ve had a few votes for Twin Peaks.  What do you guys think?  I’m also thinking of doing an absolutely terrifying show that premiered in 1996 called American Gothic.  The show is scary as hell and only lasted one season.  So I’ve narrowed it down to Twin Peaks or American Gothic.  I’m going to write a post in a few weeks explaining both shows.

Rod-Tino Tuesday will feature Planet Terror.  Next Thursday, we will revisit Planet With.  On Saturday, I will explain why Disenchanted is my type of show.  Make sure you follow Couch Cruisin on Instagram and Twitter.  Also, you can buy me a Ko-Fi if you’re feeling generous.  Later!!!!

Rod-Tino Tuesday: Pulp Fiction

Welcome to Couch Cruisin and couchandchill.com!!!  It’s Rod-Tino Tuesday and we are talking about an absolute classic, 1994’s Pulp Fiction. I remember when people talked about indie movies, Pulp Fiction was one of the first titles mentioned.  This is the film that made Tarantino a household name, made Samuel L. Jackson a legend, and revived John Travolta’s career.  It’s hard to say anything fresh about a movie this iconic, but I want to talk about a couple of scenes that I rarely hear about.  If there’s a chance someone has never seen this movie, here’s a little about the fiction!

Fun fiction

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Pulp Fiction takes place in California.   Most of the movie revolves around Vincent (John Travolta) and Jules (Samuel L. Jackson).  They are enforcers that work for crime boss Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames).  Vincent’s and Jules’ main mission is to pick up an item for Marsellus.  Also, Vincent has a side mission of taking out Marsellus’ new wife Mia (Uma Thurman).  Pretty much everything that happens in the movie involves Vincent, Jules, and Marsellus, it just happens over a couple of days in different situations.  Mia almost dies from snorting Vincent’s heroin; Vincent accidentally shoots associate Marvin (Phil Larmar), and The Wolf (Harvey Keitel) has to save the day; Jules gives a powerful speech to Pumpkin (Tim Roth) and Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer) while the couple is robbing a diner; boxer Butch (Bruce Willis) saves Marsellus from pervy, racist, rednecks.  Everything is connected.

The foot conversation

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As I kind of mentioned when I discussed Death Proof, Tarantino has mastered the art of filming seemingly mundane conversations and turning them into brilliant little moments.  I can pick any conversation to illustrate my point, but I’m going to talk about a conversation between the “Royale with cheese” bit and the “strike down with vengeance” bit.  Basically, Vincent and Jules are talking about how Marsellus threw poor Tony “Rocky Horror” off of a balcony for touching his wife’s feet.  Jules thinks this is overkill.  Vincent says that it was justified because Jules would not touch a man in such an intimate manner.

For a moment, you forget that these are hardened criminals.  They are just regular guys having a regular guy debate.  It makes you think about your own position on the topic.  For the record, I agree with Vincent.  At any rate, that’s the power of the Quentin Tarantino conversation, it’s immersive.  You feel like you are there discussing touching someone’s wife’s feet.  I have seen these seemingly mundane conversations backfire in another movie, but that’s for another time.

The Wolf

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There are several scenes I can mention, and people will instantly know what I’m talking about: The Royale with cheese scene, the rape scene, the iconic Ezekiel 25: 17 scene.  These scenes are great, but my favorite scene features The Wolf.  Let me segway for a second to say that Harvey Keitel is freaking awesome.  He was great as Jacob in From Dusk til Dawn, he does a great job in movies we will see later.  But, his role as The Wolf is one of my favorites.  When he enters Jimmie’s (Quentin Tarantino) home to clean up Marvin’s dead body and dispose of it and the car, we the audience is very aware he is in charge.  It is not easy to command the presence of the room when you are sharing a space with a big personality like Samuel L. Jackon. But, Keitel’s The Wolf gives you leadership, decisiveness, and experience, without being the loudest voice in the room.  It’s fantastic to watch!

It’s not all perfect

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I’m praising this movie a lot, but there is one thing about it that annoys me to no end.  It is the entire bit with Butch.  If you do not remember, Butch is the boxer who is supposed to throw a match for Marsellus but kills the opponent instead.  Then there’s this whole thing with Butch’s girlfriend and how she wants a potbelly or pancakes or both…I don’t know.  Then, Marsellus sends goons after Butch.  Butch ends up escaping, killing Vincent in the process.  All of this sets up the scene of Butch saving Marsellus from the disgusting rednecks.  I think it would have been okay without the pancake/potbelly mess.  This part does not feel as natural as the rest of it.  We did not need this much character development for Butch and his girlfriend.

Overall

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Pulp Fiction was a huge movie for Tarantino.  People hailed him as a genius director.  That’s understandable since this was Tarantino at his absolute best.  I thought Reservoir Dogs was the better movie, but it didn’t see Pulp Fiction success.  I think the difference is the charisma of Samuel L. Jackson.

Wrapping it up

Well, that’s it for Pulp Fiction.  Next week we return to Robert Rodriguez.  The random number generator selected the eighth movie.  We are about to get absolutely nutty because we are watching Planet Terror.  If you need the movie list, click here.  Until then, be sure to join me for Anime Thursday and Calamity of a Zombie Girl.  Also this Serenity Sunday is episode six of Firefly, Our Mrs. Reynolds.

Speaking of Sundays, we will conclude Firefly in October.  What should I talk about next?  I’ve narrowed my options down to four:

Dead Like Me

Kingdom Hospital

Zero Hour

Twin Peaks (the original)

Let me know what you think I should watch, even if it’s not listed.  I will see you on Thursday!

“English m***** f*****!  Do you speak it???!!!”- Jules

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