‘Firefly’: "Jaynestown"

27Jun09

I’ve been putting off writing about this episode. It’s not that “Jaynestown” is horrible — the plot doesn’t make much sense, but that just means it’s on par with the rest of the series. It’s no worse than “Shindig” or “Safe” and it annoys me less than “The Train Job,” but I’ve been avoiding it because I don’t care about anything that happens in this episode.

I like Jayne fine, but I think he is decidedly a supporting character. I love that I can laugh at him and that he actually serves a purpose in telling stories, but I have little interest in learning much more about him. At least not right now. I find Jayne’s mercenary attitude refreshing amongst all these criminals with hearts of gold, so I really don’t understand this lengthy, blatant attempt to humanize him, especially with an effort this shallow. Moments in “Serenity,” “Ariel,” and even “The Message” flesh out Jayne as a character better than this half-baked plot.

Immediately I’m perplexed when Zoe stays behind while Kaylee, Wash, and Simon tag along on the job. Zoe says she stays with the ship because she outranks Wash, but that’s not really an answer. Why Mal wants Kaylee and Wash to help out remains a mystery: he doesn’t give a reason at the top of the episode, and they spend most of their time being drunk and, in Kaylee’s case, barking up the wrong tree. Kaylee, sweetie, Simon is gay. He’s gay. And possibly very close to sleeping with Mal if the intense once-over – that’s really more of a thrice-over – the captain gives him is any indication. (Seriously. Watch that scene on the cargo ramp. Mal gives Simon some lusty glances and checks out his ass at least three times.)

So Mal allows himself to be talked into bringing Simon along (like he needed much convincing) because Simon can pose as a buyer and distract the foreman of the mud fields. Except after alerting the foreman to their presence, they all leave and go to the bar to meet Mal’s contact. Shouldn’t Simon have stayed at the mud fields and, you know, actually distracted the foreman? Mal and NotKessler seem so concerned about slipping their goods past the foreman, but I think someone “magically” pulling a coin out of his ear would have distracted him sufficiently. And why can’t they move Serenity so that they don’t have to bring the cargo through the mud fields? It’s not like they landed in a port or something. It’s just a field. Surely there are other fields. And why does Mal think that he has to arrange some Jayne Day celebration the following day to distract that oh so alert foreman? The town already seems plenty distracted by Jayne’s presence when Mal makes that suggestion. Plus, it’s nighttime. Which means it’s dark. Which provides cover for criminal activities. Mal is the WORST. THIEF. EVER. The thieving is obviously not important to the plot of this episode. We don’t even know what the cargo is. So stop pretending like we should care, writers.

OK, and how did the mudders know who Jayne was and that he dropped the money on the town? I mean, not only did they know his name, which is a stretch if he just came to the moon to rob the magistrate, but they were able to make a statue that’s a pretty good likeness of him. Was Jayne, like, passing out his school picture at lunchtime before he stole the money?

Book and River have an utterly inconsequential subplot that involves Book explaining that the Bible:

It’s not about making sense. It’s about believing in something and letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It’s about faith. You don’t fix faith, River. It fixes you.

What? Faith is believing in something that you don’t think can actually be true? Wow. Book is the WORST. PREACHER. EVER. River screaming and running away from Book’s hair is too ridiculous for me to find it anything but silly. However, I do like when River says that even if Book puts his hair away, “It’ll still be there…waiting.” I understand, honey. I feel the same way whenever I know that Book is going to be in an episode. It makes me want to hide in the cargo bay too.

Inara has the sex in this episode, which means that she can be helpful. She uses her feminine wiles, which I think means she asked, to get Fess to release the landlock on Serenity. I don’t understand how that landlock works, but I’ll just leave it alone at this point. Inara also gets to deliver some nonsensical words of wisdom when she tells Fess that, “A man is just a boy who’s old enough to ask [if he is a man].” Um, OK. WORST. SPACE HOOKER. EVER. No, I’m kidding. I’m sure she’s a fantastic space hooker.

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