Firefly - Season 1 - Episode 14
Firefly - 1x14 - Heart of Gold - Originally Aired: 2003-8-19
Inara gets a call from an old friend, Nandi, who has left the Companion Guild and opened a whorehouse. Nandi's place is being threatened by Ranse Burgess, who impregnated Petaline, one of Nandi's whores, and is claiming the child. Nandi offers to pay the Serenity crew to help protect them.
Mal's instinct, after meeting Burgess, is to skip out and avoid this mess, but Nandi refuses to give in. So the Serenity crew helps fortify the whorehouse, save for Simon, who is busy delivering Petaline's baby.
Nandi and Mal share a night together; in the morning Burgess attacks. Nandi is killed in the melee, but the Serenity crew and the whores emerge victorious. Petaline kills Burgess herself, right in front of his newborn child. [Blu-ray] [DVD]
- This episode was never aired in the original 2002 Fox run and was not seen until after the series was canceled.
- This episode was nominated for the 2004 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.
- Inara: "They're not companions, they're whores."
- Jayne enthusiastically volunteering once he learned the clients were whores.
- Kaylee: "Wash, tell me I'm pretty." Wash: "Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion." Kaylee: "'Cause I'm pretty?" Wash: "'Cause you're pretty."
- Mal meeting with Ranse Burgess and his wife.
- Mal: "There's nothin' worse than a monster that thinks that he's right with god."
- Nandi, after kissing Mal: "You okay with this?" Mal: "I'm just waitin' to see if I pass out. Long story."
- Ranse: "Let us all remember, right here and now, what a woman is to a man." He then turns to the traitor whore and says: "Get on your knees."
- Mal: "Remember, shoot the man, not the horse. A dead horse is cover; a live horse: great pile of panic."
- The battle beginning.
- Burgess lasering Nandi.
- Burgess running out of battery on his laser gun.
- Pedaline killing Burgess while holding the baby.
- Inara announcing that she's leaving Serenity.
Heart of Gold is an episode with lots of wasted potential. Once again failed romance is the central theme which by this point is a tired plot. So tired in fact that the ultimate result of yet another failure is the departure of a great character from both the ship and the show, all because the two romantic combatants can't speak plainly about their desires for each other.
Also once again paralleling Mal and Inara's troubles is Kaylee and Simon, who still haven't gotten over Simon's most recent faux pas in The Message. A second parallel is also present with Zoe and Wash quibbling over whether or not to have a child, though I must admit that I find that particular dilemma far more compelling than any of the other romantic failures present in this episode.
Aside from this, another missed opportunity was not seeing Serenity strut her stuff during the battle, something which I wonder may have been done for budgetary reasons. The graphics on the laser weapon were also somewhat cheesy compared to similar, better looking renditions on Star Trek, but it was nice to finally see one in action here up close.
In all, aside from serving as a plot device to write Inara out of the show and delivering a less than moving rendition of Amazing Grace, this episode has little to offer. Bonus points for some great humor scenes though, as usual.
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