Firefly in Five Lines

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Paul's Choice

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First aired: The Signal: Season 7, Episode 2
Written by Paul Korswagen
Read by Paul Korswagen
Edited by Paul Korswagen

If you hear a friend joking "I can kill you with my fists", you'll probably be thinking of River and her brain. The fact is that there are many lines that scream Firefly, and many others that can capture its meaning. My goal is to select just five lines, which every time I hear them, make me remember why I like Firefly so much.

We're not thieves…but we are thieves. Point is, we're not taking what's his. Mal, The Train Job.

The world of the crew of Serenity is a complex and contradictory one. They have their moral code and their way of life. If one had to make a summary of Firefly, one would probably have to include that the crew are thieves…but are not thieves. This defines the setting of the series: getting jobs, legal or illegal, so they can keep flying. Furthermore, this line always makes me think of an annoyed Mal pushing a defiant Crow into one of Serenity's engines, again demonstrating how on the one hand, he wants to do right, but also needs to "misbehave".

Hold this position, we lose this ground, we lose it all. You're going to hold this ground. Understand me? Zoe, War Stories.

We hear Zoe being brought back to fighting in a war where they're outnumbered and have everything to lose: a captain, their liberty, their home and their lives. So, she is firm in saying that they have to protect the entrance to Serenity. This time, they win the war. The line sums up the fantastic scenes that follow, with Shepherd Book and River joining in the fight. And again, this is what Firefly is all about, a second chance at freedom, at flying.

I swallowed a bug.River, The BDM.

This line by River contains a mere a four words, still it is capable of transmitting a wast amount of information. For instance, we know then that she is ok, and that maybe because she was scared or because the mule was hovering very fast she managed to eat a bug, nonetheless this was the worst thing that happened to her during the chase. Perhaps eating a bug was something that had never happened to her and so made the strongest impression. We can infer that she has not enjoyed being outside often… or many other things. It is also reinforced to us that she is not a normal girl. And, every time I watch this scene I chuckle: the line by itself is comical and puts an end to the tension of the run. Extrapolate all these characteristics and they apply to the whole series, few episodes, lots of information, lots to infer and many scenes to appreciate.

Usually she let's me know when something's wrong. Maybe she did, I just wasn't paying attention. Kaylee, Out of Gas.

The warmth and love there is towards Serenity is shown throughout the series, and if there's any doubt Serenity is the tenth character, Kaylee should have cleared it up. In "Out of Gas" Serenity is sick and like a person on the brink of death seeing their life flashing before their eyes; through Serenity's flashbacks, we get to know her history since the time Mal saw her on the shipyard. Mal almost dies bringing her back, but in the end all goes well and everyone is happy to be on board.

You and I would make one beautiful baby. I want to meet that child one day. Period. Zoe, Heart of Gold

This line is full of emotion, it shows Zoe in all her character: determined, sweet, tough, caring… it reveals as much of her past and what she has become as of the future she seeks. Having seen the movie, it is sad to watch this scene, and in that respect, it reflects much of what I feel about Firefly, waiting and wanting to meet what's to come, knowing that it will possibly never come. It's a mixed feeling.

So, there you have it, from elaborate, to comical, from illusion to challenge, from laughter to heartbreak, what Firefly means to me, all in five lines…

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