Firefly – The Train Job / War Stories

by Alan Rapp on August 14, 2018

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Firefly – The Train Job / War Stories
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  • wiki: link

Firefly - The Train Job / War Stories TV review

This week’s Throwback Tuesday post takes us into the black for more of Joss Whedon‘s Firefly. Although separated by several episodes, “The Train Job” and “War Stories” are connected by the team’s involvement with the sadistic criminal Adelai Niska (Michael Fairman) who hires Serenity and her crew to perform a job for him in “The Train Job” and proceeds to take his pound of flesh in “War Stories” for their failure to see the job through. Both episodes are character-driven and delve into the people who keep Serenity flying. In the first we discover that, despite being smugglers and outlaws, there is a limit to how far Mal (Nathan Fillion) and his crew will go. And in the second we see the complex dynamic in the Mal/Zoe (Gina Torres)/Wash (Alan Tudyk) relationship along with how far the rest of those aboard the ship will go when one of them is put in danger by a sadistic madman like Niska.

Produced as a second, shorter, pilot episode for Fox, “The Train Job” offers a big heist for the crew of Serenity under the nose of Alliance troops who just happen to be aboard the train during the robbery. Although the getaway is screwed up, leaving Mal and Zoe temporarily stranded at the mining town, some quick thinking by Simon (Sean Maher) and some help from Inara (Morena Baccarin) get their missing crew members returned. Mal’s decision to return the medicine earns some good will with the locals but raises the ire of Niska (despite Mal returning all his money).

In “War Stories” Wash’s jealousy of the connection between his wife and Mal from their war days leads to him being on a trade run when the two are picked up. Mal is able to keep Wash together in the midst of torture by focusing his pilot’s anger on an imaginary attraction between the captain and his first mate. After getting freed, Wash and company work quickly to save Mal in a sequence that offers us more clues about what River (Summer Glau) can do, a better understand of Book‘s (Ron Glass) military background, and more jokes at the doctor’s expense. There’s also an appearance of another of Inara’s clients (Katherine Kendall) which makes Jayne (Adam Baldwin) very, very happy.

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