Mal, Zoe, and Jayne appear to be playing a game of Chinese checkers
in the bar. Despite the name, the game is actually German in origin.
According to the Firefly Role-Playing Game Core Book, the
bar in the opening scene is called the Watering Hole. The planet is
At 1:52 on the DVD, Mal orders another glass of Ng-Ka-Pei at
the bar. Ng-Ka-Pei is an herb rice wine.
The "glasses" from which the bar patrons are drinking appear
to be nothing more than the bottom half of a plastic water
At the beginning of this
episode, Jayne is wearing
a German police jacket with a badge on
the right sleeve that has the word "Polizei" (German for police)
on the top and the emblem of Rhineland-Palatinate
(one of the 16 German states) underneath. (From
When Mal walks out of Serenity's infirmary,
River watches him go and says, "Mal. Bad. In the
Latin." She is referring to the fact that the word "mal"
means "bad" in Latin.
Inara's remark that she already told Mal not to barge onto
her shuttle is a reference back to a conversation they had in
Kaylee's remark to Mal about a compression coil that he
doesn't want to replace in the engine is a reference to a
discussion between them in "Serenity".
According to the Firefly Role-Playing Game Core Book,
Niska's space station is called a Hong Kong-class
At 13:30 on the DVD, as Serenity approaches Niska's
skyplex, notice that what appears to be a U.S. space
shuttle is docked there!
|Here are two closer
looks at the digital schematic on
Niska's desk of the train robbed by
the Serenity crew.
Jayne tells Simon to just figure out what's wrong with his
"moon-brained" sister. Possibly he's using the term
"moon-brained" as a way of saying her mind is full of holes,
like the fairy tale description of the moon being made of
Swiss cheese. (As pointed out by
PopApostle adherent "Dodger", it may be a reference
to "lunatic", a word which is derived from the Latin "luna"
which means "moon". Early beliefs suggested that the moon
could induce insanity in susceptible individuals.)
The train car at 24:33 on the DVD looks like it may say
Altrans on the side. (PopApostle
adherent "Dodger" suggests this may be an abbreviation of
Alliance Transportation department. I might amend that a bit
and suggest it was inspired by Amtrak, the passenger
railroad corporation owned by the American government.)
The cargo stolen from the train by the crew is Pescaline D,
used in the treatment of the muscular disorder called
Bowden's malady. Both the malady and the drug are fictional.
River keeps repeating the phrase, "Two by two. Hands of
blue." At the end of the episode it's obvious she is
referring (in her enigmatic way) to the mysterious
blue-handed agents who work for the Alliance (or possibly
for Blue Sun). The line may have been inspired by a song
lyric, "five foot two, eyes of blue," from a popular song of
the 1920s, "Has Anybody Seen My Girl?"
At 23:20 on the DVD, as Serenity hovers over the
train and Jayne is about to be lowered down to it, the top
of the train car has "A: 1138" painted on it. The 1138 may
be a reference to George Lucas' 1971 film THX-1138.
Two digital placards on the wall behind River in the
infirmary at 27:44 on the DVD have the
name on them. The cabinets in the galley also appear to have
an Oakton logo on them.
Mal and Zoe use the aliases of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond when
they're held by the Sheriff's investigation in Paradiso.
Possibly Mal is using the name "Raymond" since it is
slightly similar to his own last name of Reynolds.
Mal tells the Sheriff they are in Paradiso looking for work
and that his uncle said that a Joey Bloggs there might have
some openings. Possibly the name Joey Bloggs is a reference
to the placeholder name Joe Bloggs often used in the U.K.,
Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand in much the same way
John Doe is used in the United States.
Notice that at 29:51 on the DVD, during the Sheriff's
conversation with Mal and Zoe, the prisoner in the jail
cell is motioning to him for something and then the Sheriff
lights a cigarette and gives it to the prisoner at 30:39.
At 37:39 on the DVD, we finally get
a semi-decent look at the design of
the Alliance flag, a combination of
the U.S. and China flags, on the
side of the Pescaline crates.
However, at 38:38, the flag is seen
with two large stars on it
instead of just one! Note that the
design seen in this episode (a flag with 13 stripes, like the U.S.
flag) is replaced in later episodes with one of just 5 stripes (see
examples below from
Alliance flag seen in "The Train Job"
Alliance flag seen in later episodes
At the end of the episode, it's
clear that the two agents' blue
hands are due to their wearing blue
rubber gloves and not a skin
coloration (note the rubber wrinkles
on the fingertips).
(Thanks to the
Firefly-Serenity Chinese Pinyinary for the translations)
Mal orders another drink, saying, "Ching zie lie ee bay Ng-Ka-Pei?"
"Can I have one more glass of Ng-Ka-Pei, please?"
Mal says, "Oh, juh jen sh guh kwai luh duh jean jan..."
"Oh, this is a happy development..."
Chinese symbol on the bar's holographic window
Kaylee says, in reference to Mal, "Kuh-ooh duh lao bao jurn..."
"Horrible old tyrant..."
||Kaylee says, "jen
duh sh tyen tsai"
Jayne says, "Dong ma?"
Chinese characters on the train compartment door
Storage Only! Passengers Prohibited!
"go tsao de"
symbol "yong" is seen on Jayne's t-shirt
is visible in reverse on the glass of the Sheriff's
Notes from Firefly Role-Playing
Game Core Book
The Alliance cruiser seen in this episode is the I.A.V.
nice work, dumbass.wav
some crime to be done.wav
you're welcome on my boat, God aint.wav
feel the energy.wav
manly and impulsive.wav
your lonely pathetic dreams.wav
I don't think the captain would much like me praying for
I think you have a problem with your brain.wav
can I have your share?.wav
two by two, hands of blue.wav
that sounds like the Alliance.wav
would his job be open?.wav
chain of command.wav
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