Firefly: Jaynestown

Simon: "This must be what going mad feels like."

I found it hard to write about this episode. How many ways can you say, My god, this episode was funny? It's safe to say that, for me at least, "Jaynestown" is the funniest episode in the series. Some of it was outright hilarious. The mud, the "eerie-assed" statue, the "Ballad of Jayne Cobb," it was classic.

But it was more than just funny. It was also about the nature of heroism. Everyone is the hero in their own life. Jayne knows he's not a good guy, but he sure liked being a hero, didn't he? He wanted to be what they thought he was. Mal astutely observed that it wasn't about Jayne, it was about what the mudders needed. Maybe none of our heroes truly deserve the adulation. And even a jerk like Jayne has some hero inside of him. He protected Simon for no reason; he was upset about the boy who sacrificed himself. That little glimmer of possible goodness makes Jayne appealing. If he were totally shallow and amoral, he wouldn't be nearly so much fun.

(Jayne is such a great character. I love him to bits. Wouldn't want to date him, though.)

This one also strongly featured Simon, whom I like more and more with every episode. His lines were the funniest, and he delivered them so well. I started getting upset when Stitch was hurting him, too. Despite his differences, Simon is slowly becoming part of the crew. Kaylee even started to make some progress with him while he was drunk and bemused. He blew it, though.

The other exceptionally funny part of an exceptionally funny episode was Shepherd Book "babysitting" River. The way she analyzed the Bible, and the tug of war they had over the ripped out pages made me enjoy her character more than I ever have before. And then there was the hair. I thought I was going to pass out laughing.

Bits and pieces:

-- This was the first time we actually saw Inara with a client. Note that the virginal Fess Higgins made Inara's profession seem almost charitable. Almost Robin Hood like. And Inara certainly had a beneficial effect on Fess.

-- Mal is much more of a Robin Hood type than Jayne; note that Inara thought the man they were describing was Mal.

-- Adam Baldwin was very impressive with his shirt off.

-- We got a little history lesson, with the ancient Egyptians and the liquid bread.

-- And yet more music. This time, the ballad of Jayne Cobb. "The hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne..."

-- This week's planet/moon was, of course, Canton.

Quotable quotes:

Simon: "My God, you're like a trained ape. Without the training."

Mal: "I mean, the pretty fits. Soft hands, definitely a moneyed individual, all rich and lily white, pasty all over..."
Simon: "All right! Fine. I'll go. Just stop describing me."

Simon: "Yes, I-I'm looking to buy some mud."

Kaylee: "Everywhere I go, his eyes keep following me."

Book: "River, you don't fix the Bible."
River: "It's broken. Doesn't make sense."

Simon (as they're playing the ballad of Jayne Cobb): "No, this must be what going mad feels like."

Wash: "We gotta go to the crappy town where I'm a hero."

Simon: "You know, I've saved lives. Dozens. Maybe hundreds. I reattached a girl's leg. Her whole leg. She named her hamster after me. I got a hamster. He drops a box of money, he gets a town."

River: "They say the snow on the roof is too heavy. They say the ceiling will cave in. His brains are in terrible danger."

Book: "River? Please. Why don't you come on out?"
River: "No! I can't. Too much hair."

Zoe: "River, honey, he's putting the hair away now."
River: "Doesn't matter. It'll still be there. Waiting."

Jayne: "You guys had a riot? On account of me? My very own riot?"

Four out of four stars,

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

5 comments:

ChrisB said...

Completely agree with your review. Laugh out loud funny. The best bits were the reactions of the others -- especially during the song. Priceless.

Did anyone else think that Book with his hair down looked like Einstein?

Scott Riggan said...

I love that, with Joss at the wheel, we have an show that's laugh-out-loud funny while simultaneously exploring heavier concepts like faith (the legend that had grown up around Jayne, River and Book with his Bible).

And yes, ChrisB. Definitely Einstein.

LaureMack said...

Einstein 100%

Also, everyone reacting to the statue and song was very well acted.

Josie Kafka said...

I love the scene with River, Book, and The Hair.

This is a lovely episode, and it shows just how complex this show is: only a few episodes in to the first (okay, only) season, and already we have character development and interactions that wouldn't have their full impact without having seen the previous episodes. That's why Firefly is great, and probably also why it was canceled. Sigh.

"The hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne" is very much stuck in my head.

Anonymous said...

This show is hilarious! Already two episodes (previous one and this) in which I LOLed a lot! Joss Whedon's writing's off the hook. This is becoming a favorite.