My name is Luke Duffy, I am an aspiring media journalist from Ireland and this is my website, Media Pancake. Media Pancake is a site devoted to my reviews and thoughts on the latest in film, television, and video games. If you enjoy my articles then please share them with your friends and stick around for my upcoming posts. Thanks.
Monday, 30 July 2012
TV Review: Firefly Season 1 Episode 2 'The Train Job'
episode of 'Firefly' is where the show first finds its niche in television;
it's also where FOX began to condemn it. When the series was commissioned and
produced FOX decided not to air the pilot first for unknown reasons, so this
episode was instead the audience's first introduction to the universe of the
show. The script was astonishingly written in just 2 days by Joss Whedon and
Tim Minear, its quality proves that despite the networks attempts to weaken the
show it would always impress.
Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds and his crew accept a smuggling job from a
very dangerous crime lord named Adelei Niska. The crew are to infiltrate a
train and steal two crates of unnamed Alliance cargo, once they have the cargo
they are deliver it to the rendezvous point where Niska's men will collect it.
Whilst on the job Mal and Zoe run into some unexpected trouble which sends
their plan into disarray, the captain has to save his crew from detection and
attack as he begins to wonder just what exactly they are smuggling.
this episode is a little weaker than some others in the series but not by much,
its story does build a good amount of momentum as it goes on but fails to
deliver towards the end of the episode where events seem to simply wind down.
The usual witty quips and distinct humour of Whedon's writing are a saving grace
to this episode which without its smart scripting (and phenomenal acting) would
have easily ended up as dull. Nathan Fillion impresses again as Mal, he's often
said that he did his best work on 'Firefly' and upon watching it's impossible
to disagree with him, he plays the role with such casual intensity and affable
humour that Mal becomes endeared to the audience more with each passing minute,
in the hands of a lesser actor the character could easily have become a
pre-packaged stereotype of the genre, not on Fillion's watch.
The Serenity swoops in receive the cargo.
episode builds well on the characters introduced in the pilot, the situations
they face in this episode display their motivations in a clearer way than the
pilot simply because the script doesn't have to contend with introductions and
so can focus on total character development. This episode gives greater
emphasis to the morality and principles of the characters, Mal who seems at
first to be an unsympathetic captain performing a heist is shown to be
compassionate and fair when it is revealed to him the nature of the cargo,
Shepherd book even notes that he gives refuge to his passengers out of a code
of honour rather than selfish greed. The motivations of Book himself seem
sketchy at this point in the show, he is a holy man but his knowledge of
illicit activities and his mysterious past cast a shadow on his saintly devotion.
matter how good this episode is however there was no way it was going to best
the pilot in its introduction of the characters and the universe. Much more can
be accomplished in the 90 minute runtime given to the pilot in terms of giving
the show a fitting beginning akin to a feature film, in a 42 minute episode
such as this one it is completely unfair to expect a writer to deliver an
introduction to the show as well as a story that will thrill the audience.
Nevertheless Whedon delivers.
revisited it is clear there is quite a bit of foreshadowing contained in this
episode. A casual reference from Kaylee becomes a major plot point in a future
episode of the series, Whedon crafts his scripts so they interconnect so well
and form not only great episodes but fantastic overall seasons. The events of
the episode are proved to cascade as Mal and his crew face the repercussions
for their actions involving the cargo later in the series. Towards the end of
the episode a final piece of foreshadowing deals with the men searching for
River who are set to cause trouble for the crew sometime in the near future.
A drugged Jayne Cobb attempts to stop the crew from defying him.
of the greatest aspects of this episode is its depiction of the wider universe
of 'Firefly' it shows the problems people face within this universe which gives
an authentic feel to the show. The fact that life goes on around the crew as
they go on their adventures is key to the vibrant and expansive universe this
show lives in, people such as the sheriff are trying their hardest to fight
against the stacked odds prevalent in their city for their own survival and
that of their fellow citizens. The diversity of worlds such as the poor mining
town Paradiso from metropolis' such as Skyplex also gives the viewer a feel for
the difference in equality based on wealth in this universe, the rich living in
Skyplex such as Niska have every luxury available to them whilst people are
dying from "Bowden's Malady" in Paradiso.
episode may not display the greatest action this show is capable of nor does it
display its best humour. It does however demonstrate the extremely solid and
great entertainment this show can deliver, especially with a script written
in just 2 days.