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Firefly - Season 1 - Episode 10

Firefly - 1x10 - Ariel - Originally Aired: 2002-11-15

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 6.45

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The Serenity's latest job comes from an unlikely source: Dr. Simon Tam. He needs to break into a hospital on Ariel so he can scan the ever-deteriorating brain of his sister, River, and try to figure out what the Alliance did to her.

For Mal and his crew, the rewards will be a stash of incredibly valuable, central-planet medical supplies that are hard to acquire on the rim, and which can be resold for a hefty profit.

However, Jayne has his eye on an even greater reward: A bounty from the Alliance, which still wants River back. Jayne turns over River and Simon only to find himself a prisoner, as well, with no hope of collecting his reward and every expectation of a very long and miserable incarceration.

Jayne contrives a narrow escape for himself and the Tam siblings, and the crew is reunited on Serenity. Mal, however, has figured out why the job went bad, and he makes clear to Jayne what happens to those who betray him or his crew... [Blu-ray] [DVD]


- This episode establishes that River's amygdala in her brain was tampered with, preventing it from working properly. She can't push feelings into the back of her mind. She experiences everything at full intensity.

Remarkable Scenes
- River slashing Jayne with a knife for no reason and Jayne smacking her halfway across the room.
- River: "He looks better in red."
- Simon's proposal for a job.
- Wash's description of the job: "stealing from the rich, selling to the poor."
- Mal, Zoe and Jayne practicing their paramedic lingo.
- Mal, Zoe and Jayne all ready to say their paramedic lingo on the job, but only given the chance to utter a line and a half of it.
- Jayne double-crossing Simon and River.
- Simon's saving a life ad hoc.
- Mal and Zoe looting while Simon uses the holoimager to examine River.
- Jayne being double-crossed by the police officers when he helped them capture River and Simon.
- The blue gloved guys killing the police officers because they spoke to the prisoners.
- Jayne: "This has got to be our best take ever." Mal: "Doc had a good notion. Boy's got a decent criminal mind."
- Mal confronting Jayne about his betrayal.
- Mal: "The next time you decide to stab me in the back, have the guts to do it to my face."

My Review
Continuity comes together in quite a nice way in this episode which puts the River arc and Jayne's fragile loyalties at the forefront of the story. We finally learn something concrete about what was done to River now that Simon has done a proper diagnostic of her and this episode creates hope that he will one day cure her of her issues. Aside from that it's always nice to see the Alliance; the stark contrast between how they live and how the border planets live is quite striking.

Also striking is the lengths to which the Alliance will go to get River back. Those blue-gloved guys are creepy to the extreme and that little bleed-someone-to-death device is certainly a chilling piece of technology. It makes you wonder if they had that kind of technology at their disposal, what could they possibly find so interesting about River?

But the most interesting part of this episode for me is the character development for Jayne. Throughout the episode he's easily the most annoying character. Impeding the progress of our heroes for his own selfish gain. But the last scenes of this episode not only redeem Jayne's character in my eyes, they grow him beyond the simpleton we knew him to be previously. Now we know that Jayne values what the rest of the crew thinks of him, despite his cavalier attitude. This makes him far more likable.

All in all, Ariel is a fine episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pemmer Harge on 2010-08-01 at 9:36pm:
    Hey, another really good episode. Based on early episodes, I felt this series was severely overrated. However, with Out of Gas and now Ariel, it looks like the show may be "growing the beard". Watching the earlier episodes, I felt that the series was trying to get by on quirkiness and witty banter, which really wasn't enough. Now, however, we have good plots and character work and it's turned into a show I really want to watch.
  • From Nick on 2010-09-01 at 3:34am:
    This is the episode this show was made for, basically.

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