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Encyclopedia > Serenity (Firefly episode)
Firefly episode
Episode No. Season 1
Episode 01
Guest star(s) Carlos Jacott
Mark A. Sheppard
Andy Umberger
Philip Sternberg
Eddie Adams
Colin Patrick Lynch
Bonnie Bartlett
Writer(s) Joss Whedon
Director Joss Whedon
Production No. 1AGE79
Airdate December 20, 2002 (Fox)
Episode chronology
Previous "--"
Next "The Train Job"

"Serenity" is the two-hour series pilot for the Firefly science-fiction television series created by Joss Whedon. It wasn't shown until the end of the series's run. The episode introduces the viewers to the universe the show takes place in (a future of humanity after Earth became uninhabitable/overcrowded) and all of the main characters. Firefly is a science fiction television series that premiered in the United States and Canada on 2002-09-20. ... Carlos Jacott is a film and television actor. ... Dirk Diggler (born approx. ... Bonnie Bartlett (born June 20, 1929 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, but raised in Moline, Illinois) is an American television and film actress. ... Joss Whedon at the premiere of Serenity. ... Joss Whedon at the premiere of Serenity. ... December 20 is the 354th day of the year (355th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... The Fox Broadcasting Company, usually referred to as just Fox (the company itself prefers the capitalized version FOX), but rarely as FBC, is a television network in the United States. ... The Train Job is the second episode of science-fiction television series Firefly created by Joss Whedon, although it was actually the first to be shown. ... A television pilot is the first episode of an intended television series. ... Firefly is a science fiction television series that premiered in the United States and Canada on 2002-09-20. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... This article or section is missing needed references or citation of sources. ... Joss Whedon at the premiere of Serenity. ... Trinomial name Homo sapiens sapiens Linnaeus, 1758 Humans, or human beings, are biologically classified as bipedal primates belonging to the mammalian species Homo sapiens (Latin for wise man or thinking man) under the family Hominidae (the great apes). ... Earth (often referred to as The Earth) is the third planet in the solar system in terms of distance from the Sun, and the fifth in order of size. ...



Back story scene

Sgt. Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, Zoë, and several fellow soldiers are part of an attempt to hold off the Alliance from taking Serenity Valley. Mal sends a squadron up to high ground while he, Zoë, and another soldier, Bendis, are to capture an Alliance artillery in order to take out a skiff. Despite Bendis's incompetence, Zoë is able to provide the cover fire Mal needs, and he succeeds in commandeering the weapon and shooting down the skiff. However, the air support that they need to get out of the valley does not arrive. Instead, the Alliance has taken the valley, and the rebels are ordered by their command to surrender. Malcolm Mal Reynolds is a character in the science fiction television series Firefly, played by actor Nathan Fillion. ... Zoë Alleyne Washburne is a character in the television series Firefly, played by Gina Torres. ... Alliance Flag Alternate Alliance Flag In the Firefly television series, the Alliance is a powerful government and law-enforcement organization that controls a large sector of colonized core planets. ...

Six years later

Mal is captain of his own transport ship, the Firefly-class Serenity, and Zoë is his second-in-command. He, Zoë, and Jayne are attempting to melt open the hatch of an abandoned wreck of a carrier in space. Wash is on Serenity in the pilot's station keeping watch when he detects an Alliance cruiser, the I.A.V. Dortmunder, approaching them and the wreck. He contacts Mal, who tells him to cut all power on Serenity to escape detection. Wash tells the ship's engineer, Kaylee, to shut everything down. The cruiser detects some residual heat from Serenity, and they actively begin scanning. Caught in the act, the Serenity crew double-times loading the cargo while the cruiser deploys gunships to stop them. Mal has Wash engage the "crybaby", a decoy distress beacon whose transmission is mistaken by the Dortmunder to be another ship in trouble. Mal gets his team and cargo on board and signals Wash, who turns Serenity away from the cruiser and speeds away. The cruiser halts deployment of the gunships so that it can go help the "other ship", but does put out a bulletin that a Firefly-class ship is carrying stolen Alliance goods. Serenity during a VTOL maneuver on the surface of a planet. ... Zoë Alleyne Washburne is a character in the television series Firefly, played by Gina Torres. ... Jayne Cobb is a fictional character in the science fiction television series Firefly. ... Hoban Wash Washburne is a character in the science fiction television series Firefly and in the movie Serenity, played by Alan Tudyk. ... Kaywinnit Lee Frye (better known as Kaylee) is a character from the short-lived television series Firefly, and the movie Serenity. ...

Inspecting the cargo, Mal seems troubled by the fact that the cargo, which consists of hundreds of unidentified bars, are stamped by the Alliance. The crew starts hiding the cargo as Mal has Zoë contact Badger, their fence on Persephone, that the job is done. Zoë and Wash leave for the bridge. Mal announces that they will be taking on passengers on Persephone before heading to Boros. Mal asks if Inara has checked in, and when he is told she hasn't, he asks them to let her know that a speedy departure from Persephone might be needed. This article is about minor characters in the television series Firefly (defined as any characters appearing in the show or the follow-up movie Serenity, who arent core cast members — the crew of the spaceship Serenity). ... In law enforcement, a fence is an individual who knowingly buys stolen property for later resale in a (usually) legitimate market. ... Inara Serra is a character from the science-fiction television series Firefly, created by Joss Whedon. ...

Inara, apparently a prostitute (though the official title is "Companion"), finishes up her session with an unworldly young Alliance officer. Inara contacts Serenity and is instructed to meet at the Eavesdown Docks.

Serenity lands on Persephone and the various crew members split up; Kaylee stays around to find passengers, Wash takes Serenity's utility vehicle to get supplies, and Mal, Zoë, and Jayne go to speak with Badger. Badger is not happy that Mal's team got caught in the salvage operation, even though they weren't identified, because the cargo is "molecularly stamped" and can be traced. He refuses to take the cargo or pay for it, much to the anger of Serenity's crew.

A pious religious man named Shepherd Book encounters Kaylee, who notices that he's looking at the ships and not their destinations. He tells her that he's a "shepherd" from the Southdown Abbey, has been there for a while, and has decided it's time for him to be "in the world". He's got a little bit of money, but he also has something in a small box which he shows her. Shepherd Book Derrial Book is a fictional character played by Ron Glass in the science-fiction/Western television series Firefly and its sequel movie, Serenity. ...

Mal and company discuss how to unload their cargo while returning to Serenity. Despite being shot by her in the past, Mal decides to try selling it to a woman named Patience on a planet called Whitefall, despite Zoe's objections. As the crew all arrive at Serenity new passengers are coming on board, including a man named Dobson, and a wealthy doctor named Simon. Zoë is not happy about having a bunch of passengers sitting on top of their stolen cargo, but Mal quietly laughs it off. Inara arrives in her shuttle, and the crew and passengers prepare to take off. This article is about minor characters in the television series Firefly (defined as any characters appearing in the show or the follow-up movie Serenity, who arent core cast members — the crew of the spaceship Serenity). ... Dr. Simon Tam is a fictional medic, played by Sean Maher, from Joss Whedon’s short-lived cult-hit television series Firefly and, more recently, the film Serenity (2005) based on the show. ...

In flight, Mal, Kaylee, and Zoë lay out the ground rules. Mal, who appears to be antireligious, learns that Book is a shepherd, but Kaylee assures everyone that it's not a problem. Wash arrives and Mal covers up the illicit nature of their impending transaction by telling the passengers that the ship's been ordered by the Alliance to take some medical supplies to Whitefall, the fourth moon of Athens, so they'll be going there before heading off to Boros.

In the cargo bay, Inara exits her shuttle and Mal introduces her to Book, referring to her somewhat half-seriously as an "ambassador". Book takes this literally, which Mal finds amusing. When Mal explains that she is a "whore", Kaylee corrects him that the term is "Companion". Mal goes on to explain that in some ways a Companion is an ambassador, since her respectable and high-class presence causes doors to open that would otherwise be closed; Companions, it seems, have more in common with geisha or courtesans than street hookers. Mal baits Book a little more before Inara politely returns to her shuttle (although she does have a few stinging words for Mal). Women dressed as maiko (apprentice geisha) in Kyoto, Japan Characters for Geisha, lit. ... A courtesan is a person paid and/or supported for the giving of social companionship and intimate liaisons to one or more partners. ...

Kaylee starts making dinner and we see that Book's box contains ripe strawberries, one of which Kaylee eats lovingly. Later, the passengers and most of the crew settle down to dinner, Zoë taking a plate to Wash on the bridge. Book asks if he can say Grace, and Mal replies only if it's not out loud. After grace, Simon asks if the Alliance often commandeers Serenity, and the passengers and crew talk about the political climate and physical difficulties of the border worlds. Kaylee seems to be taken by Simon, which amuses Jayne, who makes a couple of rude comments on it. Mal reacts by ordering him out of the dining area, though not without protestation from Jayne.

Inara is in her shuttle giving herself a sponge bath when Book arrives with some supper. He's a little embarrassed and Inara covers up, expecting a sermon on her wickedness. He puts her at ease with slightly self-deprecating humor, and they move on to discussing the mystery that is Malcolm Reynolds. Meanwhile, Wash summons Mal to the bridge. Arriving on the bridge, Wash tells Mal that someone on board sent a message to an Alliance cruiser. He scrambled it as best he could, but still, there's a mole on the ship.

Thinking Simon is the mole, Mal finds him in the cargo bay inspecting a large high-tech crate and confronts him at gunpoint, accusing him of being a "Fed", or member of the Alliance. Book appears, and points out to Mal that Dobson is on a catwalk, pointing a gun at Mal and Simon. Dobson informs Simon that he is bound by law, the customary statement made when Alliance authorities arrest someone. Apparently Simon is wanted by the Alliance for something. Mal urges Simon to stand down while Book tries to calm everyone down. Kaylee and Jayne suddenly enter, and Dobson reacts by shooting Kaylee in the stomach. Mal and Book overpower Dobson, and Simon goes to Kaylee's side to look at her wound. Jayne makes to shoot Dobson, but Book refuses to let him do so. Zoe appears and orders Jayne to tie up Dobson. Mal intends to hand Simon over to an Alliance cruiser, but Simon threatens to not treat Kaylee if he does so and tells Mal to flee. Mal reluctantly agrees.

Simon works on Kaylee in the infirmary, removing the bullet, but tells Mal that only time will tell if she will heal fully. Curious as to why the Alliance wanted Simon, Mal goes to the cargo bay, opens Simon's crate, and finds a young nude woman inside. Mal assumes that she is a slave, but after the woman gains consciousness and starts screaming, Simon goes to her to calm her down, explaining to the others that the woman is River Tam, his sister. Later, he further explains that she was born with a gifted intellect in diverse fields such as physics and dance, dwarfing his own talents, and that she was sent to an Alliance-funded academy where she was subject to some unspecified experiments. Simon rescued her from the Alliance's clutches and is on the run trying to protect her from them. Inara tells Mal that if he expels Simon and River from the ship, that she'll leave too. Mal decides to proceed with the stolen goods sale to Patience on Whitefall. Summer Glau as River Tam in Serenity (2005). ...

Jayne interrogates Dobson to find out how much he was able to tell the Alliance about them and their destination before his transmission was cut. Dobson offers a bribe to Jayne, telling him that the Alliance will give him enough money for him to buy his own ship if he releases him.

Wash tells Mal that a Reaver ship is approaching. Zoe explains to Simon that if the Reavers (whom Simon has only heard about in apocryphal stories) board the ship, everyone on Serenity will be raped to death, cannibalized, and have their skin sewn into the insides of the Reavers' clothing, and if they're lucky, in that order. Luckily, the Reaver ship passes by. The Reavers are a group of humans in the television series Firefly and the movie Serenity who live on the fringes of civilized space and have become animalistic. ...

In her shuttle, Inara gives Simon some of her immunization packs. Simon apologizes for his part in the current situation. Inara explains that he fits in with the rest of the crew. Mal arrives, and when Inara tells him that he's on her shuttle, Mal points out that she is merely renting the shuttle from him. She replies that he can enter it at will when she falls behind on rent.

On the bridge, Mal and Patience exchange some pleasantries as their exchange looms, but Mal thinks she's planning to shoot him again. Meanwhile, Dobson is cutting through his bindings.

Serenity lands on Whitefall. Mal and Zoe walk out into a valley to meet Patience and her henchmen. A sniper working for Patience keeps Mal in his crosshairs, but is ambushed by Jayne, who takes up the sniper's position himself. Mal gives Patience a sample of the cargo, which turns out to be nutritional/immunization bars, each one of which can feed an entire family for a month. Patience attempts to renege on the deal, but Jayne, Mal and Zoe dispatch Patience and her gang, taking the money they were promised.

When Book goes to see Dobson, Dobson attacks Book, knocking him out. He goes to the infirmary and grabs River, but is decovered by Simon, who jumps from the catwalk over the cargo bay. Meanwhile, Jayne informs Mal and Zoe that the Reavers have followed them. After a brief struggle, Dobson gets hold of a gun and points it at Simon, but Mal arrives and shoots Dobson. They dump him off the ship as they prepare to leave, the Reavers on their tail. Mal orders the passengers to Inara's shuttle as Jayne carries the still-convalescing Kaylee to the engine room. With Book carrying out Kaylee's instructions and Wash's superb flying, Serenity pulls a "Crazy Ivan" maneuver, enveloping the Reaver ship in a fireball ingnited by their exhaust, allowing them to escape. Crazy Ivan is a U.S. Navy term for a Soviet submarine maneuver, characterized by any number of sudden and sharp turns, used by submarine crews to look behind them. ...

Book goes to Inara and, in essence, confesses that he's terribly lost and might be on the wrong ship. Inara thinks he just might be exactly where he ought to be.

On the bridge, Jayne tells Mal that River's in danger and that Dobson had told him the Alliance will keep after her. Mal asks if Dobson tried to bribe him, to which Jayne let him know it wasn't enough of a bribe, and that it'll be an interesting day if the bribe is ever big enough. Jayne leaves as Simon enters. Mal suggests to Simon that he and River might be safer on the move than hiding in one place, and points out that Serenity is always moving, and in need of a medic. Simon accepts his offer. This article is about the title or occupation. ...


  • Kaylee fruitlessly asks Mal for a new compression coil for the engine, warning that they'll be adrift in space if it breaks. This foreshadows the failure of the "catalyzer on the port compression coil" that cripples the ship in "Out of Gas". In the original rough-cut of the episode (known in Browncoat circles as "The Tube") Mal actually orders Wash to attempt to locate a compression coil.
  • Mal and Jayne talk about Dobson's attempt to bribe Jayne into betraying his employer. In "Out of Gas", we see that this is exactly how Jayne first joined the Serenity crew. It also foreshadows "Ariel" when Jayne betrays Mal by turning in the Tams to the feds for the large reward.
  • Book's feelings that his experiences on Serenity has corrupted him foreshadows his later decision to leave the ship for this very reason in the comic book series Serenity: Those Left Behind.

Out of Gas is the eighth episode of science-fiction television series Firefly created by Joss Whedon. ... Browncoat is a term from the science fiction Western TV series Firefly (and its big-screen sequel, Serenity). ... Out of Gas is the eighth episode of science-fiction television series Firefly created by Joss Whedon. ... Ariel is the ninth episode of science-fiction television series Firefly created by Joss Whedon. ...


  • Dobson survives being shot by Mal and later returns for revenge in Serenity: Those Left Behind, a 2005 comic book miniseries.
  • The "Trans-U" Reaver ship returns in the movie Serenity as a part of the Reavers fleet
  • Bendis, the soldier that fought in Serenity Valley was named after comic book writer and artist, Brian Michael Bendis.
  • The logo of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation from the Alien series can be seen at the top of the interface screen on the anti-aircraft gun during the battle sequence at the beginning of the episode.
  • When Inara is with her client during the characters introduction, the Chinese character for "Short Interval" is visible on an hourglass.

A comic book is a magazine or book containing the art form of comics. ... A miniseries (sometimes mini-series), in a serial storytelling medium, is a production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. ... Brian Michael Bendis. ... Weyland-Yutani is a fictional corporation that forms an essential part of the setting of the Alien movie, and its sequels. ... The science fiction/horror film Alien (1979), directed by Ridley Scott, has become quite influential and has spawned several sequels and imitators. ... The Beatles were a pop and rock music group from Liverpool, England, who continue to be held in the very highest regard for their artistic achievements, their huge commercial success, and their ground-breaking role in the history of popular music. ... Cry Baby Cry is a song by the Beatles that was released on the White Album. ...

References and external links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
The Firefly series
Episodes Serenity | The Train Job | Bushwhacked | Shindig | Safe | Our Mrs. Reynolds | Jaynestown
Out of Gas | Ariel | War Stories | Trash | The Message | Heart of Gold | Objects in Space
Articles Minor characters | Moons and planets | Unification War | The Alliance | Blue Sun | Serenity
Terminology Reaver | Browncoat | Curse words in Firefly | Companion
Spin-offs R. Tam sessions | Serenity: Those Left Behind | Serenity film | Serenity RPG
Music Firefly soundtrack | Serenity soundtrack
Main characters Derrial Book | Jayne Cobb | Kaylee Frye | Malcolm Reynolds | Inara Serra
River Tam | Simon Tam | Hoban Washburne | Zoë Washburne

  Results from FactBites:
FireflyWiki.org | Firefly / Episode Guide (527 words)
Mal has second thoughts after discovering that two boxes of Alliance goods the crew has been hired to steal are full of badly needed medical supplies headed for the mining town of Paradiso.
In order to secure a job transporting cargo off-planet for a client, Mal attends a social event where a dance with Inara ends with him challenged to a swordfight to defend her honor.
As Serenity's air slowly but surely leaks away, we're treated to a series of flashbacks, from Mal's point of view, that fills in some missing background for the original crew members, including Mal's early interactions with each of them.
Serenity (Firefly episode) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2319 words)
The episode introduces the viewers to the universe the show takes place in (a future of humanity after Earth became uninhabitable/overcrowded) and all of the main characters.
He, Zoë, and Jayne are attempting to melt open the hatch of an abandoned wreck of a carrier in space.
Wash is on Serenity in the pilot's station keeping watch when he detects an Alliance cruiser, the I.A.V. Dortmunder, approaching them and the wreck.
  More results at FactBites »



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