Firefly 1.3 – Bushwacked

I occasionally have problems choosing a picture to illustrate these silly posts, particularly when the bit that our son enjoyed the most doesn’t lend itself to still pictures. “Bushwhacked,” which was written and directed by Tim Minear, deals with a derelict ship on which something is still living, even while most of its passengers were brutally killed. So there’s lots of skulking around in low-lit sets, and it succeeded magnificently in getting under our son’s skin. “That was really creepy,” he announced.

Conceptually, about the only thing I don’t care for in Firefly are the Reavers, who take the place of evil space aliens since this program doesn’t have any aliens in it. These are roving gangs of once-humans, who’d gone so far out in space that they’d gone mad from isolation and whatever else. It seems like the sort of thing that might could happen occasionally, but the show presents it as something that happens a lot, and to large groups of people. The show presents it extremely well for something so unlikely. There’s a moment here that I like quite a lot on that front, actually.

See, there’s a clumsy bit in the first pilot where Simon has never heard of Reavers, which is convenient, since it lets everybody else explain them to the audience. But here, we see that Simon’s ignorance is not an isolated moment for the viewers’ benefit. It turns out that the cops have heard of Reavers, but they don’t believe in them. There are very, very few cops – they have giant floating space precincts, but space is really, really big – and they occasionally hear these outlandish stories of lunatic cannibals on junk starships from little criminals trying to talk themselves out of trouble. It cements the idea that people in “civilization” in the 26th century simply do not care what goes on in the outer fringes of this solar system, and makes Simon a more believable character in the process.

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