Late to the Party Recap: Firefly Series Finale “Objects in Space”
Plus a look back at the series as a whole and the possibility of a second season.
If you don’t already know, there’s a reason I’ve been recapping Firefly 11 years after it aired. Months ago I wrote a list of shows that I thought Netflix should not revive for another season the way they did with Arrested Development, and Firefly was on it. Fans of Firefly went bananas, so I decided to watch the entire series. I’m on the last episode.
I think a lot of people misunderstood why I included Firefly on the list of shows that didn’t need another season. It wasn’t about my opinion on the show. I had seen some episodes and thought it was fine. 11 years is a long time to simply throw on a second season. Expectations would be too high. Actors have moved on, not to mention both Joss Whedon and Netflix have said it’s not going to happen.
It was never about the quality of the show. I’ve enjoyed doing these recaps, because Firefly is enjoyable. Now that I’ve watched all fourteen episodes, has my opinion on Season Two changed? First, let’s talk about the episode itself.
The pre-episode flashbacks remind us that there’s supposed to be this backstory with River and Simon running from the Alliance. Is it all going to get wrapped up in this one episode? Did they think they’d have more time?
The episode starts with River waking to find out that this thing between Simon and Kaylee just won’t die no matter how much I want it to. He’s telling her some story about being naked and singing, because he’s just like people! River seems as weirded out as I am. She leaves to find a less gross conversation and walks in on Book and Jayne talking about masturbation, so that didn’t go as well as planned.
We’re hearing River reading people’s minds or thinking she is. She leaves Book and Jayne being weird and walks in on Zoe and Wash having sex. Leaving that she finds Inara and Mal talking about Inara leaving, because oh that’s right Inara’s leaving. River’s kind of wobbly, and then steps on a stick. Then there are more sticks, and leaves, and no it’s a gun?
Being in River’s head is a confusing mess.
Mal gets the gun away from her, and yells at Simon, because you’re supposed to watching River and not hitting on Kaylee, Simon, and why are you wearing sweaters all the time now!? Sorry. Just. Seriously. Simon is the worst. Mal makes the expository point that they are deep in space and are very much alone and very far away from anyone, so obviously…
…no they aren’t. Since Firefly is Joss Whedon’s thinly veiled Han Solo TV show, I’m assuming this is his answer to Boba Fett?
Kaylee finally gets around to telling everyone about that time River shot all those guys. Everyone’s talking about River being dangerous. She’s listening from beneath the room, and Boba Fett is listening in from above. Inara chimes in with some harsh tones for someone’s who’s about to ditch this crew because she can’t deal with her Mal feelings.
Simon and Kaylee are about to kiss after he leaves to check on River, but Book interrupts them. Good.
Mal goes down into his bunk and Boba Fett casually climbs on board the ship, which I’m having a hard time believing goes completely unnoticed by anyone. You know, because of air locks and such. Oh, wait. Mal’s onto him — or maybe just coincidentally still in the hallway. Either way, they fight, and it doesn’t go great for Mal. He gets knocked on his ass and locked in his quarters with everyone else. Everyone except Kaylee. She’s working on the engine.
Boba Fett approaches her and compares himself to Santa Claus and then asks Kaylee if she’s ever been raped and no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no.
Book isn’t in his quarters either, so please quickly explain his weird badass backstory so he can go save Kaylee and everyone and everything can be fine. Nope. He gets knocked out by Boba Claus. Simon goes to check on River, but gets jumped by Santa Fett. Normally I’d be fine with this, bus somebody better go save Kaylee like — immediately.
Now the bounty hunter is talking about being a lion and having a mighty roar. He tells Simon his name is Early, which is a lot less threatening than Boba Fett, but somewhat more threatening than Santa Claus.
Early talks Simon into helping him find River by pointing out that it affords him the opportunity to stop him, and that if he doesn’t, Early will just kill him and then go rape Kaylee. I know there’s a movie, but I haven’t seen it, and kind of only remember River and Mal from the trailer. Whedon has a reputation for killing characters, so as I write this I really don’t know who’s getting out of this episode alive, and what the hell just happened here?
They get to Inara’s shuttle, and Early pistol whips her before announcing the entire ship that he’s there. He demands that River show herself or he’ll kill Simon. She comes on the intercom to spout some crazy talk about melting and how River’s not really on the ship anymore. She’s claiming that she’s melted into the ship and that she is Serenity.
Kaylee’s still tied up, and River is talking to her through the intercom. River/Serenity tells Kaylee to be brave, because she needs her to do something.
River’s messing with Early through the intercom and then she starts talking to Mal who’s finally gotten around to waking up. She’s putting some kind of plan into action. She has Early all but convinced that she’s reading his mind and that she’s become the ship before finally piecing together that she is actually communicating from his own ship.
River tells Early she’s going to go with him because she doesn’t fit in on Serenity and everyone thinks she’s dangerous. Simon jumps Early, and then gets shot. It’s just in the leg, and he’s well enough to get up and keep fighting for a while before Early knocks him out. Outside Serenity, Early is getting ready to jump back up to his ship and turn River over for a bounty. That plan’s interrupted when Mal hurls him into space.
Everyone’s back safe on Serenity, and Early seems to be taking the whole thing pretty well.
So that’s it. That’s the show. I’ll be watching Serenity too, but since this started with me saying the show shouldn’t get another season, I wanted to deal with these 14 episodes of television as a separate thing.
Now, having spent the last few months with this show, has my opinion that it shouldn’t get an additional season on Netflix changed? There are unanswered questions, character relationships that could progress much further, and obviously many more stories that could be told in this universe, but no. I don’t think Netflix should make another season of the show. It wouldn’t work.
Continuing the story in other media is another thing entirely. The Firefly Online game is coming, and maybe some more comics, but to simply try to pick up where the show leaves off 11 years later is unrealistic and wouldn’t live up to fan expectations. Whedon has grown as a writer and director in that time, and it simply wouldn’t be the same show.
Part of why the Star Wars prequels are so hated is that fans had decades to build up what another movie would be like. The bigger part of why the prequels are so hated is that they’re truly, deeply, tragically flawed.
Now, if Netflix wanted to produce a new show set in this universe, I’d be all for it. I’d even take a Girl Meets World type spinoff about somebody’s kid having space adventures. There are a lot of ways the Firefly universe can continue on in ways that work, but no, I still don’t think Netflix should give it a second season.
But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t watch it if they did.
(Images via Firefly)