The Firefly Episode We're Really Glad Joss Whedon Didn't Get to Make

Last night's Firefly reunion special on the Science Channel contained the requisite amount of love for the spaceship that Joss Whedon and friends built. And for the fans — the greatest moment is this brief snippet where Gina Torres says, "There's nothing like a scifi fan. Like warm honey, poured all over you." I want to watch that clip over and over.

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But there were also a few fascinating insights into the show, and a few truly surprising discoveries. Chief among them: a few story ideas for episodes that never got made. Including one that we're really, really glad never happened.

Last night, we heard more about the crazy "fighting dogs" episode that Alan Tudyk had wanted to make. And Adam Baldwin explained his idea for season two: Jayne goes off and becomes captain of his own ship, and he and Mal are rivals — until Jayne fails so dreadfully, he has to come crawling back to Mal.

But also, we learned part of Inara's huge secret: she's dying of some terminal disease, which is only vaguely hinted at in one episode. And executive producer Tim Minear explained about one episode that Joss Whedon pitched early on:

She had this magic syringe. She would take this drug. And if she were, for instance, raped, the rapist would die a horrible death. The story was that she gets kidnapped by Reavers and when Mal finally got to the ship to save her from the Reavers, he gets on the Reaver ship and all the Reavers are dead. Which would suggest a kind of really bad assault. At the end of the episode, he comes in after she's been horribly brutalized, and he comes in and he gets down on his knee, and he takes her hand. And he treats her like a lady. And that's the kind of stuff that we wanted to do. It was very dark. And this was actually the first story that Joss pitched to me when he asked me to come work on the show. He said, 'These are the kind of stories we're going to do.'

So, to sum up: Inara gets gang-raped by Reavers, who all die due to her drug use. And this finally convinces Mal to stop slut-shaming her, at least for a while. Kind of glad that episode never got made, to be honest.

Luckily, Nathan Fillion shared another story idea that actually sounded like it would have been cool:

There was a show that Joss was talking about where we get to a planet and these people are really kind to us and really sweet, it's kind of a wintry planet. And I catch them starting to steal our ship. Like, "You sons of — Wha?" And they go, "Okay look. Here's the deal. Our planet is dying. We're all going to die here unless you get us off here." But the idea is, we're so far out that if we take them back we're going to run out of air, we're going to run out of food, we're all going to die. Unless we meet up with another ship. So there's that chance: We could meet up with another ship, and everything would be okay. And I say, "Look, let's all sleep on it, and tomorrow we'll decide." And I lock myself in the bridge and I take off while y'all are sleeping. And you all wake up, and go, "What have you done?" It's too late to go back, we can't go back. And on our way back out, we never meet any ships — so we would have all died. We were all going to vote, and Captain Mal takes the decision away from everybody, so it's nobody's decision to kill all those people but his.

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Other stuff we learned last night: the actors tried to create a brother-sister relationship between Jayne and Kaylee that wasn't really fleshed out in the scripts, mostly through body language. And the way that Jayne watches while Kaylee is being operated on in the pilot. Also, Fillion explained that Mal keeps all of these people around because they represent parts of himself that he's lost, like his faith (Book), his sense of humor (Wash), his capacity for love (Zoe).

Also, we got a few tantalizing hints about where these characters (the ones who are still alive) would be today — Wash and Zoe would have a kid, and so would Simon and Kaylee. And Jayne would be doing a lot of babysitting.

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DISCUSSION

DangerousDac175
DangerousDac175

Ummm...why the outright revulsion at this idea? A) It's fiction. B) It's a drama. C) IT'S FICTION.

The idea of that syringe she had doing this? Totally unexpected. EVERYONE thought it was a suicide injection when we saw it in the pilot, the fact that it does this? It's horrific but on a level that makes sense for companions as a business model (which considering they have to have yearly check ups etc I'd say there is some kind of master pimp companion who is making the big bucks) - a pretty young girl who's entire business model is to have sex is going to be a big target for rapists and having a drug which limits "statistical losses" while removing the threat (albeit in a roundabout way) is a sick genius way that no doubt some criminal mastermind on a level with Niska would invent. Hell, maybe the companions are an alliance front? Maybe Inara was specifically sent to Serenity because the Alliance knew a criminal like Reynolds would stick to the black, making encounters with Reavers more likely and having someone who could gather first hand intel to report back too, plus specimens of the "species" in a non bullet riddled condition would be a good thing to have.

Of course rape is bad. No one is on the other side of that issue. But this is an idea for a TV show which wanted to go places others would not. Battlestar touched this issue but in a "shes only a cylon" way which makes the audience swallow it a little better.

Looking at Serenity and the eventual reaver "war" that happened at the end, this seems like a part of a larger buildup turning Mal into war mode again using the woman he loves as opposed to his friends he shelters with like in Serenity. After this, Mal would likely do all he can to stop the Reavers, and in doing so would no doubt reveal Rivers secret that the Alliance created them, sending Mal into a bigger frenzy.

In all honesty, this could have been an amazingly powerful episode of the show if done right - which considering all we have to go on is second hand testimony and not from the man himself/AN ACTUAL EPISODE I think it's an idea worth merit. It's not a nice idea, I'm not saying everyone should get raped, I'm not saying I condone rape, I'm not saying women's bodies shut down in cases of 'legitimate" rape, but I am saying it could have been a powerful work of fiction.