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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
"Ariel"
TV episode

Written by Jose Molina
Directed by Allan Kroeker

 

Simon hires the crew to pull a heist—one that will help him diagnose and treat River.

 

Read the full episode summary at the Firefly and Serenity Database

 

Didja Notice?

 

We get a better look than we have in the past at Jayne's tattoo at 0:07 on the DVD. The yin-yang symbol appears to have the letters M and A in it; Ma? As in Mom?

 

In the lounge area just off the kitchen, notice that behind Wash at 2:11 on the DVD, there is a netting bag of old reading material like magazines and newspapers.

 

Inara and Kaylee may be playing a variation of the Chinese game mahjong, though it is normally played with four players.

 

Notice that River inconspicuously grabs a sharp knife from the kitchen at 2:14 on the DVD, before Jayne has even made his insulting remark towards Simon; possibly an indication of precognition from River.

 

When River slashes Jayne with the knife, notice that the slash is directly across the Blue Sun logo on his t-shirt. Possibly, River was attacking Blue Sun as her past tormentors rather than Jayne himself. Jayne has worn this shirt in previous episodes, but he's not seen wearing it in future ones since it was damaged here.

 

As Serenity comes in for a landing on Ariel at 4:09 on the DVD, we see several holographic billboards.

 

Simon tells the others about the street value of medicinals such as isoprobyline, propoxyn, and hydrozopan as part of his heist plan. These all appear to be fictional drugs.

 

The hospital our anti-heroes break into is St. Lucy's on Ariel. Presumably, the name is from the Roman Catholic saint of the blind, who lived 283-304 AD. There are also several St. Lucy's Hospitals in existence in the real world.

 

At 8:55 on the DVD, at the junkyard, Wash holds and discards what may be a catalyzer for a compression coil, the same device that blew out in Serenity's engine in "Out of Gas".

 

At 9:19 on the DVD, Jayne uses a Telofonix public phone on Ariel. This is a fictional company.

 

At 9:56 on the DVD, it can be made out that the charms on Kaylee's necklace spell out her name.

 

The air ambulance put together by Mal's crew is made from the modified shell of a real world Russian MI-24 Hind attack helicopter.
Ariel air ambulance Russian MI-24 attack helicopter (photo by victorrocha on Wikipedia)

 

The landing gear of the air ambulance looks rather different between the CGI shot of the craft landing and what is seen in ground shots.

 

The body-carriers used to carry the "dead" Simon and River into the hospital are actually modern-day automobile rooftop cargo boxes made by Thule.
Body-carrier Thule 1600 automobile rooftop cargo box

 

The reception desk at St. Lucy's, as Mal's crew brings in their "patients" at 15:12 on the DVD, appears to have wheels on it. It's probably just a common set piece that is wheeled around for use in different locations.

 

When Jayne uses the video phone in the hospital, his menu options presented on the phone are Social Services, Emergency, Police, Information, Planetside, and Ship Registry. Notice he selects "Police" in order to call Agent McGiniss to turn in the fugitive Simon and River. The left-hand bar of vertical writing appears to say "VidLine Conxin" (possibly "conxin" is meant to be a sort of pidgin English for "connection"). The right-hand bar says "Alliance Login".

 

It's hard to make out what River says when she wakes up in Jayne's presence at the hospital at 17:30 on the DVD. According to the original script for this episode, it's "A copper for a kiss." This may be a play on the phrase "a penny for your thoughts". It may also be an allusion to Jayne's betrayal of her and Simon for payment from the Alliance.

 

At 18:39 on the DVD, Jayne walks past what appears to be a medical waste receptacle. The plastic trash bag has a Maxxim logo on it. Maxxim is now part of Medline Industries, a real world company which markets various types of medical products.

 

At 18:47 on the DVD, the man whose life Simon is about to save is lying on a Stryker medical bed. Stryker is a real world company which markets various types of medical products.

 

When the patient on the Stryker bed begins to have a serious complication, the doctor shouts, "Code blue!"  "Code blue" is the hospital emergency code for a patient requiring immediate resuscitation.

 

Racing to save the dying stranger, Simon calls for .4 of atropine. The patient's actual doctor had given him an apresaline push. Simon also mentions dilaftin. Atropine and apresaline are real world drugs for treating the beating of the heart. Dilaftin appears to be a fictional drug.

 

At 22:22 on the DVD, Mal is seen to have written the names of valuable drugs on his forearm. These all appear to be fictional drugs. The last drug listed is fillioxalyn, possibly a reference to the actor portraying Mal, Nathan Fillion. Some other drug names appear to have been wiped off after having been written...maybe they were less valuable drugs they decided they wouldn't have room for?

 

At 23:02 on the DVD, we see that the holoimager at St. Lucy's Hospital is made by Blue Sun.

 

Simon uses something called a memory tab on which to download the data of River's medical holoimage.

 

While examining River's brain scan, Simon remarks upon surgical damage to her amygdala, telling Jayne the amygdala is what allows one to filter one's emotions and hold them back enough to prevent adverse responses to emotional stimuli. This is roughly true of current knowledge of the amygdala in humans and explains some of River's outbursts here and in past episodes.

 

The hospital sign past which Simon, Jayne, and River race at 25:31 on the DVD reads:

EAST WING - CENTER CORE

Bio-Medicine

Transreceiving

Out Patient Services

Post-Op Receiving

Nuclear Medicine

 

The federal marshals who take Simon, River, and Jayne into custody refer to the Alliance as the Union of Allied Planets.

 

The two blue hand agents seen here appear to be the same ones seen at the end of "The Train Job".

 

Sensing the presence of the agents, River repeats her refrain first heard in "The Train Job", "Two by two. Hands of blue."

 

When Kaylee asks Inara how her check-up went, she answers, "Same as last year." Note she does not say "fine" or something else positive along those lines but, rather, neutral. Might her check-up have had something to do with her mysterious back-story as discussed in the studies of "Government Goods" and "Out of Gas"?

 

When Simon is praising Jayne's efforts in getting the three of them out of their predicament with the feds, notice that River is watching Jayne's reaction slyly. This and her earlier "cryptic" comments indicate she senses what he did to betray them in the first place. 

 

At 41:11 on the DVD, River is drawing a picture of what appears to be a series of Russian nesting dolls, a set of ovoid wooden dolls of decreasing size, each nested within the one previous. This may be a metaphor for the various aspects of River's personality within her damaged mind.
River's drawing Russian matryoshka (nesting) dolls (from Wikipedia)

 

Chinese translations
(Thanks to the Firefly-Serenity Chinese Pinyinary for the translations)
Time on DVD Chinese English
4:59 A crate in the cargo bay has the Chinese symbol wei. danger
10:41 Mal says, "Ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng." "Frog-humping sonofabitch."
14:59 Chinese characters on the back of Mal's paramedic jacket Paramedic
15:43 Chinese characters on wall behind admitting doctor Mailroom
16:52 Agent McGiniss says, "Ni hao?" "Hello?"
19:45 Chinese characters on the medical readout Alert
20:02 Chinese characters on the medical readout Cycle
35:26 Jayne says, "shee-niou" cow-sucking
41:46 Simon says, "mei-mei" "little sister"

 

Notes from Firefly Role-Playing Game Core Book

 

The fake identities assumed by Wash, Jayne, Zoe, and Mal for the hospital heist are Beauma Sclevages, Kiki LaRue, Q. Kumamota, and Miles Arixoen, respectively.

 

St. Lucy's Medical Center is in Ariel City.

 

The weapons used by the Hands of Blue agents are referred to as a high-frequency sonic neutralizer and a sonic rifle.

 

The fake medevac cobbled together by the crew is meant to be a Grasshopper-class short range shuttle.

 

The ship used by the Hands of Blue agents is the Forged Crescent, a Wraith-class black ops ship.

 

Memorable Dialog

 

smells like crotch.wav

the fun she's missing out on.wav

don't you just hate doctors?.wav

he looks better in red.wav

if I didn't know better.wav

I'm starting to like this plan.wav

a naked beach?.wav

didn't mean to enjoy the moment.wav

I think I might cry.wav

don't tell 'em what I did.wav

can I come in?.wav

it's time to wake up.wav 

 

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