Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Firefly: Bushwhacked

Mal: "Looks like civilization finally caught up with us."

Moody and scary. And it started out so well.

The sideways basketball "hoops" game was not only fun, it also served as social commentary. The players were the five crew members, plus Shepherd Book. This suggested that Book was already being treated as a member of the crew. Simon, River, and Inara watched from above, suggesting that they still considered themselves outsiders.

The flickering lights and flashlights made the atmosphere on the abandoned ship creepy even before they found all the bodies. I don't know about you, but I spent the rest of the episode waiting uncomfortably for the reavers to show up. And they sort of did. It was good misdirection to have the survivor turn himself into one. Mal was right that the boy would have been better off dead -- and yes, the way he mutilated his own face was scary -- but I don't think the average human being would react this way. Wouldn't most go into shock and withdrawal, and/or commit suicide?

The interrogation sequence was a hoot, and my favorite part of this episode. Zoe refused to discuss her marriage, while Wash waxed poetic about Zoe's physical attributes and raved about being with a "warrior woman." Kaylee nattered on about engineering and junk. Book talked, but avoided lying. And Jayne didn't say a word.

River is clearly psychic or empathic in some way. ("I can't sleep. There's too much screaming.") She knew where the guy was; Simon needs to listen to his sister. The whole hide-in-plain-sight plot bit was clever, especially putting Simon and River outside. (Interesting that River loved being outside in a space suit, and Simon hated it.) Also, a fun tidbit: Jayne talked about space trash sticking to the underbelly of Serenity and about Simon and River being space trash early in the episode, before Simon and River actually did the sticking. And I still didn't see it coming.

I do have one question. Since the Serenity crew is hyper-aware of reavers, why didn't the condition of the abandoned ship sound alarms for them? Probably because if they had just kept going, there would have been no story.

Bits and pieces:

-- Jayne was showing a lot of animosity toward Simon. Maybe it was because Kaylee made her interest in Simon pretty obvious.

-- The Alliance guys talked about there being 40,000 old wrecks "in the air." Are there that many Fireflys? That's a lot of Fireflys.

-- Inara has been with Serenity for a year.

-- Jayne was wearing a "Blue Sun" tee shirt.

-- Kaylee called the Alliance captain a "purple belly."

-- This week's planets: The settlers were going from Bernadette to Newhall. The battle of Serenity Valley took place on Hara.

Quotable quotes:

Wash: "We're all doomed! Who's flying this thing? Oh, right. That would be me." Because a space ship doesn't need someone at the helm at every moment, despite what Star Trek has led us to believe.

Zoe: "Captain was looking for a pilot. I found a husband. Seemed to work out." Explaining how Zoe and Wash met.

Inara: "Just when I think I've got you figured out."
Mal: "It's a real burden, being right so often."

Two out of four stars,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Loved the title of this episode. To bushwhack someone is to more or less beat them in a devious manner, or to beat them at their own game. Which is why I thought the game at the beginning of the episode was so apt. I, too, thought of it as a social commentary -- especially when Kaylee was inviting Simon to play. He's still unsure of both Mal's motives and his role on the ship, but I feel he does want to be 'part of the team'.

    Once again, Mal showed us why he is in charge. He figured out what had hit the ship, he knew what the consequences were going to be and he stood up to the Alliance. He also knew that he had to get Simon and Sheoherd off the ship if some hard choices had to be made. His heart keeps coming through in spite of what he does to hide it.

  2. I really enjoyed this episode, but I think that's because of the interrogation scene. The distinctions between each person's reaction to the questioning and between the level of respect they received from the questioner were spot on. I hope I get to learn more about Inara before the 13 episodes are up because there's definitely something going on there.

    It's amazing how close to and invested in the characters I feel after only spending 3 hours with them so far. No wonder everyone's always talking about Firefly! I resisted getting into it because of its unfortunate early demise but I guess it's better to watch what's there than to have not watched at all...I guess I will be buying a brown coat soon.

  3. a.m.

    It happens to me often : falling in love with a show after it aired. Firefly of course, Lost and Buffy (yay !) are just a few examples. At first I was annoying by the concept of Firefly. At the second look, I changed my mind. At the 3rd one, madly in love.

  4. celticmarc, I saw this list over the weekend and thought it pretty accurately described my path to tv addiction:


    Your comment made me think you might agree with me :)

  5. oh that link was great a.m. (and hilarious too)

    Fortunately, I don't go THAT far...

  6. This was a very spooky episode. I kept thinking that, in space, no one would hear them scream as the Reavers ate their livers.


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.