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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

"Those Left Behind" Part 2
Serenity: Those Left Behind #2 (Dark Horse)
by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews
Script by Brett Matthews
Art by Will Conrad


An old foe reappears to aid the Blue Hands in setting a trap for Serenity.


Read a summary of the full 3-issue series at the Firefly and Serenity Database


Didja Know?


The Chinese characters in the Serenity logo on the cover of all three issues of the mini-series spell out "Ninjing", which means "Serenity".


Didja Notice?


On page 2, Agent Dobson reappears. He was last seen in "Government Goods", where he was seemingly killed on Whitefall when Mal shot him in the head. Here, we see that he lost his right eye but survived. Dobson now has an ocular device over his right eye socket.


On page 5, panel 2, the thug has a tattoo on his left arm of a skull with a bar code above it. Below the skull are a couple of designs that may be Chinese characters.


The presence of Badger and his operation tells us that Serenity has landed at the Eavesdown Docks on Persephone.


Page 6 indicates that Serenity has some nozzles built around the door of the loading ramp that are capable of emitting a knockout gas to stop intruders.


On page 7, panel 2, we see the depth of Dobson's obsessive hatred for Mal since the shooting. Mal's name is written and scratched into furniture and paper throughout Dobson's shack, along with such words as "kill", "die", "dead", "pain", "hate", and "bastard". Schematics of a Firefly-class ship are seen hanging on a wall and on a bulletin board. A photo of Mal has darts imbedded in it. A practice dummy dressed like Mal has an axe buried in its chest. Another dummy is shot full of holes. There is even a voodoo doll dressed like Mal with a knife stabbed through it.


On page 8, panel 2, there is a poster of the worlds of the Verse in the background.


On page 9, Badger refers to the characters Fanty and Mingo as "backbirths". In the Verse, "backbirth" is a reference to someone dumb or born on one of the backwater worlds. Fanty and Mingo are only mentioned, not seen, in this issue but they do appear as twin fences in "Triggered".


On page 10, Badger refers to the Battle of Sturges as the bloodiest battle of the war, but Mal disagrees, without elaborating. Mal is likely thinking of the Battle of Serenity Valley, which essentially finished the Independents' chances in the war and in which Mal participated as a Browncoat sergeant. The splash page on page 11 appears to depict a scene from this battle with Mal in the middle of it. Mal previously visited Sturges as sheriff in "New Sheriff in the 'Verse" Part 1.


On page 15, Mal makes a reference to Shepherd Book about stealing a vehicle. This is a reference to Book's actions in "Those Left Behind" Part 1, in which he stole a hovermobile to pull Mal's group's fat out of the fire.


In the lettercol of Serenity: Better Days #1, a letter writer says that Wash's statement that he took the job flying Serenity to be with Zoe doesn't make sense because he only met her on board in the first place. Joss replies, "He met her as he checked out the ship. So he could have taken the job 'cause of her."


As the rest of the crew join Wash and Zoe on the bridge to view the spaceship graveyard on page 19, River indiscreetly says, "It stinks like sex in here." It's a funny line and she's right, as it's strongly implied just a couple panels earlier that Wash and Zoe have just made love. (Notice also that Zoe is buttoning up the top of her shirt as the crew arrives.) But how is River familiar with the smell of sex? We don't get the impression from her and her past that she is experienced in that aspect of life.


One of the ships in the space graveyard on page 21 appears to be an Alliance Tohoku-class cruiser. 


The spacesuits worn by Mal, Zoe, and Jayne at the end of this issue do not appear to be the same ones seen occasionally in TV episodes of Firefly. But, at the beginning of "Those Left Behind" Part 3, the suits have magically transformed into the TV versions!


Chinese translations
(Thanks to the Firefly-Serenity Chinese Pinyinary for the translations)
Page/Panel Chinese English
4/1 Chinese characters are visible on signs at the Eavesdown Docks on Persephone. Unknown
14/4 Mal says "shenme gongzuo dou meiyou" "without any work"
15/6 Mal says "kao" "goddamn"
19/6 Wash says, "Guaiguai long de dong!" "What the hell!"


Unanswered Questions


Did Badger know he was setting up Mal and the crew for Dobson's trap when he gave him the tip about the cash treasure at the site of the Battle of Sturges?


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