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Firefly: Heart of Gold

Mal: "Well, any friend of Inara's is a strictly businesslike relationship of mine."

And now for the crew's impression of the Magnificent Seven.

This episode felt a bit like "Trash," a fun caper in an unusual setting. The most interesting thing about it was the development in the Mal/Inara relationship. Or non-relationship, as it were.

The meaning of the episode title is obvious, as in "hooker with a," as in Nandi. (Yes, I know it was also the name of the whorehouse.) But the important heart in question was Inara's. Does she have a heart of gold, or a heart of any other kind? Mal went to bed with Inara's friend Nandi, someone very like Inara. Of course, Inara found out. (And I couldn't help but think, now she knows how Mal feels when she's with a client.) I didn't think she would cry, but she did.

It's been a long time since anyone took ahold of his plow. Inara certainly can't expect Mal to remain celibate his entire life while she keeps him at arm's length. Why won't she tell him how she feels about him? Is she that dedicated to her profession? But we were pointedly told that Inara left the House Madrassa, even though she was in line for "house priestess," so I don't think that's it. What don't we know about Inara? There must be something.

Inara told Mal that they had a strictly business arrangement while hiding her face. This was very characteristic of their entire relationship. Companions can read people, so Inara must know how Mal feels about her. But Mal doesn't know that Inara loves him. It would never occur to him, and it's not because he lacks subtlety. He just doesn't think that a beautiful, intelligent, classy woman could love him.

Again, I have to give points to Nathan Fillion as an actor. His face as Inara was leaving was so expressive. Will she be back? Gee, I think so.

Jayne's total delight in taking it out in trade was wonderful comic relief. He was literally like a kid in a candy store. As usual, Jayne has to be touching something in nearly every scene; I particularly enjoyed him brushing the prostitute's hair as if she were a doll he was playing with. I also really loved the scene where he was instructing her on how to hand him his guns during battle. Very Jayne.

One of the most interesting pieces of this episode was Zoe and Wash talking about having children. It was Wash who was saying no. Why did this surprise me? Zoe was right, though. If they wait until their life is safe and quiet, it will never happen.

I was doing character math during the early scenes in the Heart of Gold, and realized that they had left the ship unattended. This seemed very out of character for Mal in particular. Plus I sort of had a problem with the logic of the siege. Rance Burgess wanted his newborn baby, and he was filling the house the baby was in with bullets?

Bits and pieces:

-- I thought at first that the house was made of tin foil. My second thought was that it was needed to reflect heat. But no. Primitive solar sheeting.

-- The existence of Companions in this 'verse made me wonder about regular, old-fashioned prostitution. That question has now been answered: freelance, not registered with the Guild.

-- Another fun bit in this fun episode was Wash and Kaylee taking Serenity back themselves, and not quite pulling it off. I like their relationship. They work together well.

-- Nandi was a good character. Very much like Mal, what with making a good family out of what little she had, and defending it to her last breath. "Well, lady, I must say you're my kind of stupid."

-- Rance's fancy laser pistol ran on batteries. "Check battery." So Joss Whedon.

-- Mal wore the same outfit to the theater that he wore to the dance in "Shindig."

-- Inara's hair was wavy again. Yes, I know that "The Message" was filmed last; I'm just saying.

-- Note that Mal told everyone not to shoot the horses, something he did himself in the pilot episode.

-- Rance borrowed Luke Skywalker's land speeder. It even sounded the same.

-- Jayne had a woman's picture on his tee shirt. Couldn't tell who or what it was.

-- "Sly" appears to be slang for gay.

Quotable quotes:

Mal: "This distress wouldn't happen to be taking place in someone's pants, would it?"

Nandi: "If they've got guns and brains at all..."
Inara: "They've got guns."

Inara: "I suppose you heard most of that."
Mal: "Only because I was eavesdropping."

Jayne: "Don't know these folks. Don't much care to."
Mal: "They're whores."
Jayne: "I'm in."

Jayne: "That's the whorehouse?"
Inara: "Yes."
Jayne: "How come it looks like a frozen dinner pack?"

Kaylee: "Look. They got boy whores. Isn't that thoughtful?"

Jayne: "My John Thomas is about to pop off and fly around the room, there's so much tasty in here."
Wash: "Would be you'd get your most poetical about your pecker."

Kaylee: "Wash, tell me I'm pretty."
Wash: "Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion."

Mal: "Think you can stoop to being on my arm?"
Inara: "Will you wash it first?"

River: (looking at Petaline giving birth) "Who do you think is in there?"

Nandi: "Malcolm, I've been waiting for you to kiss me since I showed you my guns."

Kaylee: "Captain seem a little funny to you at breakfast this morning?"
Wash: "Come on, Kaylee. We all know I'm the funny one."

A solid three out of four stars,

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


  1. One thing that really stood out to me, towards the end of the episode - so, they're all at the house, and no one's at the ship. So, that ship doesn't have locks? They use it to carry cargo, and there's no way to lock the doors? So all the bad guys just waltzed right in? Would it have changed the story any to have shown a lock or something on the door, then shown it obviously broken open or ripped off or something? Just seemed like a kinda stupid thing. And as Billie mentioned - the guy's only purpose is to get his newborn, so he rounds up 50 guys with guns to ventilate it. Not a lot of sense there either. Still, even with that said, it was a really good episode.

  2. This is a fun episode, although it's an odd experience to watch "The Message," this, then "Objects in Space." One of those is not like the other ones...

    Anyway, the bad baby daddy was played by the guy who was later the Marshal on Lost.


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