On Firefly/Serenity

Mal Contents

By Alex Bledsoe

See how I’m not punching him? I think I’ve grown.

—Mal, “Shindig”

In the first scene of “Serenity,” the pilot episode of the series Firefly, Malcolm Reynolds was introduced as a loser. His cause had been lost, the specific battle he was fighting had been lost, and his personal command was lost. He stared up in despair and wonder at the victors as they descended in all their might and glory, an overpowering visual image of just how badly he’d lost.

Flash forward to the climactic moments of the film Serenity. By exposing the treachery behind the Alliance government’s benevolent front, Mal finally wins the battle he’d lost so long before. As with all worthy victories the cost has been high, and there is no sense of righteous triumph, only the hope that this victory will be the first of many. But it is a true victory.

The path from one “Serenity” to the other is marked by Mal’s gradual maturing from the inherently adolescent impulse that led to his rebellion to the adult sense of responsibility that causes him to fight to send the transmission from Miranda. He has finally learned (and fully accepted) that he owes as much to the people who don’t follow him as to those that do, and that their lack of appreciation for him does not absolve him of this obligation. Mal has, at last, grown up.

May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.

—Mal, “Bushwhacked”

To start with  …

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