And Mary Alice got to see Jayne with his shirt off :)
I forgot that this is the episode that has River "fixing" the Bible. (Eric totally cracked up at the hair thing, which was a pleasant surprise to me as I had expected he would find it a lame joke.)
It's not about making sense. It's about believing in something, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It's about "faith." You don't fix faith, River. It fixes you.
This comes two episodes after "Safe," which is a bit heavy-handed as an expression of Joss's issues with fundamentalist Christianity, so it's interesting (especially knowing the movie as well -- yes, this is me being oblique and preferring to keep movie spoilers out of episode discussion posts). This line particular ties in to Mal's line to Jayne at the end: It's my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of sumbitch or another. Ain't about you, Jayne. 'Bout what they need.
In writing this, I was thinking about how Joss is an atheist and how Mal has lost his faith in God but how he is almost religiously devoted to his his ship/crew and how surely there must be at least one essay on this and I should really get around to reading my Firefly essay books one of these days, and I feel like some of it is faith in the known (versus faith in the unknown/unknowable) but Mal is making leaps of faith all the time so it can't be just that, and then I thought about the issue of trusted: God can't be trusted because God abandoned Mal at Serenity Valley, for example, but various people can be trusted (and it's surprising in some ways just how trusting Mal is). I'm also thinking about how Mal is used to being in command and as part of that how he demands (expects) loyalty (including demanding/expecting that people will follow his commands without needing to know/understand the full plan -- which turns out very badly sometimes, but that's another episode) and how for someone for whom loyalty is so important, betrayal would be huge (cf. God and Serenity Valley).
Wow that had a lot of slashes and parentheticals. Moving on to another theme....
KAYLEE: What's so damn important about bein' proper? Don't mean nothin' out here in the black.
SIMON: It means more out here. It's all I have. My way of being, polite or however - it's the only way I have of showing you that I like you. Of showing respect.
This really resonated with my recent thoughts about how sarcastic Simon is so often. He never gets away from his Core upbringing about how things should be, and he's uncomfortable/out-of-place in a lot of settings, (so it's easy for Kaylee to read him as always being "proper" -- and why it was so jarring to me to notice how often he was being so sarcastic), but it is very much not true that he's always polite (and we see this in the "Safe" flashbacks as well). And that was another highly parenthetical paragraph and I'm not sure where exactly I was going with that. Oh yeah. That contrary to perception, Simon is not in fact always polite, and further, that his statement that being polite is a way for him to show respect and that he likes someone affirmed helped me make sense of my recent awareness of how (contrary to my conception of him) he is often not polite to people.
I'm so long-winded; don't you miss my pithier writeups from earlier in this marathon? ;)
This was kind of Alyssa's introductory episode, and with the beating up of Simon (and then Jayne's beating up of Stitch. We swore it isn't usually this violent, though looking ahead I was thinking she may want to avoid "War Stories," and "Out of Gas" is disturbing in some similar ways.
Mary Alice thought the ending got resolved too easily -- commented that it takes them more time to get into trouble than it takes to get out.
I want to tie Fess Higgins in to one of the themes of the episode but just can't quite manage it.