As the episode opens, River seems to be telepathically
hearing the voices of her shipmates on Serenity while she
sleeps. Then the voice of Jubal Early is heard ("We're all
just floating.") and she suddenly awakens. Was her mind
subconsciously tipping her off to Early's approach?
In the lounge area, Simon sounds like he's telling Kaylee
about some kind of initiation he went through after
graduating from medical school and having had to sit naked
on top of a statue of Hippocrates. Hippocrates was an
ancient Greek physician, who is believed to have written
what has become known as the Hippocratic Oath, the seminal
creed on the ethics of the medical practice.
I like how River appears so pleased to see her brother and
Kaylee enjoying each other's company at 1:11 on the DVD.
We miss hearing what song Simon was singing, naked on top of
the statue of Hippocrates, due to the interruption of
River's vision of what she fears Simon really thinks of her.
After the interruption, we hear only him saying, "It was
either that or the National Anthem, I...reports vary."
At 1:55 on the DVD, Jayne appears to be cooking up some
The Han Solo trilogy comes to a close at 2:02 on the DVD.
As River wanders the ship and overhears the conversations,
feelings, and hidden thoughts of the crew, I get the
impression she was never really in those spaces physically.
It was sort of an invisible astral form of herself that was
witnessing the interactions; none of the crew seem to
actually notice her there except for their "inner selves"
which revealed to her a buried thought or emotion they had.
This would also allow her "sleep-walking" real body to have
gone to Jayne's quarters and picked up his gun, which she is
soon found holding in the cargo bay and putting a scare into
At 4:41 on the DVD, notice that the branch River picks up is
vaguely in the shape of a gun, which we soon see is what it
Jayne remarks on the time River came at him with a butcher
knife. This occurred in
Early's ship is reminiscent of the Slave 1, the ship used by
Boba Fett in the Star Wars franchise. In fact, in
the audio commentary of this episode by Joss Whedon, he says
the character of Early was inspired by Boba Fett.
At 9:48 on the DVD, Early is climbing along the hull of
Serenity and his hand passes in front of one of the
windows above the galley. Even though he's supposed to be in
space and is wearing a spacesuit, his hand is bare!
At 11:23 on the DVD, a crewmember can be seen on the left
side of the screen, leaning over the kitchen counter.
Jayne mangles an old English proverb by saying, "If wishes
were horses, we'd all be eating steak." The actual proverb
(which originated in the 16th Century) is "If wishes were
horses, beggars would ride."
At 15:19 on the DVD, Simon says, "I would be there right
now..." which is the same thing River heard him saying in
her earlier vision, possibly implying some precognitive
ability on her part besides just telepathic. Further
evidence of this was presented in
At 17:01 on the DVD, it can be seen that the visor of
Early's helmet is starting to fog up from his breath.
At 17:24 on the DVD, we can see that Early wears an earring
on his left ear. I believe this is an affectation of actor
Richard Brooks, as I've found photos of him online in which
he is sporting the earring.
At 21:20 on the DVD, Shepherd Book is seen emerging from a
door in the common area of the ship just outside the
infirmary. A look at a
schematic of Serenity confirms that this is the
communal bathroom of the ship. (Image from
Early seems to mishear Simon a couple of times during their
discussion. What is the significance of this? Does Early
have a hearing problem? Was River messing with his head
(maybe unknowingly) because he was a threat to her brother?
(The mishearings are when Simon asks him if he is Alliance
and Early says, "Am I a lion?", and when Simon says, "So
you're a bounty hunter," and he says, "Oh, no. That ain't it
at all [...] I'm a bounty hunter.")
Early tells Simon he's been tracking them since the Feds
were tipped off on Ariel. This is a reference to Jayne's
actions in "Ariel".
At 23:30 on the DVD, a flap on the chest of Early's
spacesuit has come loose, but it is magically back in place
Early says that Shepherd Book "ain't no shepherd." Does he
have first-hand information about Book's past or does he
just sense that Book is much more than he presents himself
to be? The Shepherd's
Tale reveals Book's true origins.
At 28:06 on the DVD, Early seems to taste one of the support
struts of the catwalk above the cargo bay by licking it.
It's not clear what he gleans from this action, but he is
possibly "tasting" an essence of River left behind by her
In her discussion with Early, Inara remarks that she's been
with Serenity for a year.
River reveals that the bounty hunter's full name is Jubal
Early. Whedon named the character this because Nathan
Fillion (the actor who portrays Mal) had told him that he is
a descendant of the Confederate general Jubal Early of the
U.S. Civil War. General Early became a proponent of the Lost
Cause literary movement which claimed the Confederacy only
lost the war due to the superior numbers of Union forces,
not through any superior skills of the Union cause; this
somewhat feeds into Mal's own feelings about the loss of the
Independents in the war with the Alliance.
Early has a habit of verbally comparing two similar things
and pointing out a major difference between them and then
asking whoever is listening, "Does that seem right to you?"
River tells Zoe, "No touching guns!" This is part of her
plan to trick Early, but also a paraphrasing of what Mal
told her earlier in the episode, not to touch guns.
At 39:34 on the DVD, the cloth that covers Jayne's stash of
weapons has what may be Brahmic script on it, known through
much of Asia and originating in India. The symbol above the
writing is the Om symbol of the Hindu religion. What is the
significance to Jayne? Was he raised in a Hindu family?
Why did Jayne not wake up like the others when River was
broadcasting her voice through the ship? Did she
intentionally leave him out of the conversation? Was she
afraid he would sell her and Simon out again? Or did he just
sleep through it?
At 40:30 on the DVD, as River drifts back to Serenity from
Early's ship, the latter ship wheels around and seems to
head straight in the opposite direction from the one Early
was cast off in by Mal. Did River program the ship's
autopilot to head away from him to prevent a rendezvous?
The super-ball that River holds up
at the end of the episode is similar
in look to the planet seen in the
very first shot of the story, a pair
of bookends to "Objects in Space".
(Thanks to the
Firefly-Serenity Chinese Pinyinary for the translations)
Chinese writing on the display of Early's ship showing Serenity.
Chinese writing on the wanted sheet for River and Simon Tam.
Alert; Arrest Warrant; Alliance
Jayne says, "feifei de piyan"
"A baboon's ass-crack"
Inara says, "Bizui, nin hen butitie de nansheng!"
"Shut up, you inconsiderate schoolboys!"
Chinese writing appears on the readout of the door lock panel
outside of Mal's quarters.
Inara says, "xiongmeng de kuangren"
Notes from Firefly Role-Playing
Game Core Book
Early carries a whisper firearm, with a built-in silencer.
Early's ship is the Coronis I, a Wakinyan-class
surveyor. This may be a play on the Slave I of Boba
Fett in Star Wars.
Did Early survive his tumble through space? Might he have
some circuitry in his suit that allows him to recall his
ship to pick him up? Joss Whedon has said in an
interview that Early is one of his favorite characters
and "he survived". Still, until his return in an official
story, we don't really know.
a morality tale.wav
I just direct my energy elsewhere.wav
St. Jayne--its got a ring to it.wav
I'm glad we made that distinction.wav
it's getting very, very crowded.wav
if I want a lot of medical jargon, I'll talk to a doctor.wav
didn't make much account of myself.wav
so River's not a person?.wav
explain to me how that's a comfort.wav
she's in Congress?.wav
that sounds like something out of science-fiction.wav
I don't like the idea of someone hearing what I'm
if wishes were horses.wav
don't let the space bugs bite.wav
I like this ship.wav
a bounty hunter.wav
she will die weeping if you cross me.wav
between me and my mind.wav
that ain't a shepherd.wav
nice man wants to kidnap you.wav
objects in space.wav
Serenity is very unhappy.wav
possessing a spaceship.wav
that's somewhat unsettling.wav
you folks are all insane.wav
you know me real well.wav
permission to come aboard?.wav
it's the popular theory.wav
he takes so much looking after.wav
all them years of priest trainin'.wav
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