Firefly - Season 1 - Episode 08
Firefly - 1x08 - Jaynestown - Originally Aired: 2002-10-18
A job on Canton, where the local mud is harvested as construction material, has Jayne rather nervous, because on his last trip to this moon he stole the magistrate's money, only to be forced to dump the cargo in order to break free of the atmosphere.
However, to everyone's surprise, and everyone save Jayne's amusement, there's a statue of Jayne in the town square. Later, the crew is regaled with an immensely popular local song, "The Ballad of Jayne," which praises him as the hero of Canton. His loot was dropped right on the "mudders," the common folk of Canton, who assume Jayne did it on purpose, Robin Hood-like.
Mal uses Jayne's newfound status as a distraction to allow them to complete the new job. Unfortunately, the magistrate that Jayne robbed is less amused, and he frees Jayne's partner from captivity in order to get revenge, leading to a brutal and tragic confrontation in the town square. [Blu-ray] [DVD]
- Simon's nice clothing getting all muddy.
- The mudder boss: "We have over two thousand workers. Mostly indentured. We pay them next to nothing. That way we can pass the savings directly onto you, the customer!"
- Jayne's statue.
- River: "Bible's broken. Contradictions. False logistics. Doesn't make sense."
- River: "Noah's Ark is a problem." Book: "Really." River: "We'll have to call it 'early quantum state phenomenon.' Only way to fit five thousand species of mammal on the same boat!"
- Simon referencing ancient Egypt with regards to the mudders' milk.
- The Jayne song.
- Jayne explaining why the song misinterpreted the events into making him a hero.
- Book's hair.
- A crowd forming around Jayne.
- Inara kicking Mr. Higgins out of her shuttle.
- Drunk Simon and Kaylee.
- Zoe: "River, honey, he's putting the hair away now." River: "It doesn't matter. It'll still be there. Waiting."
- Simon making another faux pas with Kaylee.
- Inara assuming the story Mr. Higgins' son told her was about Mal rather than Jayne.
- Jayne's half-assed speech.
- Stitch confronting Jayne.
- A young man taking a bullet for Jayne.
- Jayne killing Stitch.
- Jayne coming clean to the crowd.
- Mr. Higgins' son letting Serenity go.
- Mal: "It's my estimation that every man who ever got a statue made of him was one kind of a son of a bitch or another."
Another humor episode which contributes little to the larger arcs (with the exception of the Kaylee / Simon romance), but perhaps the most effective humor episode yet. Jayne's song is irritatingly catchy, to the point where it gets in your head and stays there for uncomfortable periods of time. Or at least it does for me. What strikes me most about this episode though is how effective all the various plot threads weave together to make a strong, central point.
What we have here is a story about faith. Each plot thread reinforces this theme; Inara teaches Mr. Higgins' son to have faith in himself, Book explains to River why his faith in god is important to him, and the mudder town very clearly needs to have faith in their hero Jayne in order to press on in their hard lives. What happens in town and the resultant discussion Mal and Jayne have about it is also quite touching, elevating the episode a bit above simple, fun humor.
Overall, a fine piece of storytelling.
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