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1-14: "Objects In Space" 2002.12.13 (recap)


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#1

JerseyGirl291

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Posted Mar 10, 2006 @ 5:48 PM

God, how I love "Objects in Space." It is definitely my favorite episode of the series, and it is one of my favorite episodes of television ever. Sarcastic Simon is so much fun to watch, with comments like:

I can't keep track of her when she's not incorporeally possessing a spaceship.


Were you able to figure out that River was actually on Early's ship? I had no idea where she could possibly be, and when they revealed that, it shocked me.

I thought it was the perfect ending that the show could have given us, when considering how many (or how few) episodes it had.

(Numbered by order on the DVD.)

#2

Fiona77

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Posted Mar 10, 2006 @ 8:52 PM

I love her interactions with Mal in that episode. I think that's also why I loved the movie so much was because River and Mal play off each other in a great way.

When she says, "Don't make faces" when he rolls his eyes at what she's saying, I laugh every time. And I can't help but smile when he tells her, "You ain't quite right."

And this makes me sound like a huge River/Mal shipper and I'm not. I just like their relationship.

Also love all of Simon's scenes with Early. He's so snarktastic.

#3

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Posted Mar 11, 2006 @ 7:22 PM

OiS is also interesting in relation to the BDM, since in the former River could conceivably have used brute force against Early, but instead thwarted him using smarts and misdirection.

#4

Kris_AB

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Posted Mar 12, 2006 @ 2:36 AM

I'm not sure she could've used brute force. She definitely took a leap forward in gaining control and confidence in her mental capabilities in this ep, but the activation password hadn't been fed into her mind the way it was in the movie by the Alliance. So she wasn't in full ass-kicking mode yet and who knows whether she would've ever unlocked all that fighting finesse if she simply lived on Serenity and recovered for years.

The only hitch in what I said above is the example of River's gun-slinging in "War Stories". Call it a rare glitch of her rising to the occasion? Or simply that survival instincts kicked in and, defensively, those abilities will come into play. But to be more proactive with the Early situation...I don't think she was up to it yet and personally I don't see it as an inconsistency with how capable she was in the film.

#5

merrymisfit

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Posted Mar 15, 2006 @ 10:24 PM

One of the reasons that I'm enamoured with OiS is the initial interactions between Early and Simon. Nearly everything that Simon says, Early either disagrees with, or finds some way to contradict. In trying to put an intellectual at a disadvantage, this is a brilliant manuver.
A few of my favorite examples:

EARLY: Doctor Tam, why don't you sit yourself down?
SIMON: Rather die standing.
EARLY: The intention is not for you to die...


EARLY: This is her room.
SIMON: Yes.
EARLY: It's empty.
SIMON: I know.
EARLY: So is it still her room when it's empty? Does the room, the thing have purpose? Or are we... what's the word...


SIMON: So you're a bounty hunter.
EARLY: That ain't it at all.
SIMON: Then what are you?
EARLY: I'm a bounty hunter.
SIMON: That's what I said.
EARLY: Yeah, but you didn't say it well....


SIMON: And which part of your plan dictated the necessity of beating up a Shepherd?
EARLY: That ain't a Shepherd.

I know that the last example is something that most of us already believe anyway, but it just matches the rest of the pattern so well.

Edited by merrymisfit, Mar 15, 2006 @ 10:25 PM.


#6

petpluto22

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Posted Mar 15, 2006 @ 10:59 PM

I have to say, I think "Objects in Space" is my favorite episode. It is surreal, and the visual representation of walking around in River's mind is just awesome to me. I love the mix of humor and sadness, and Jubal Early is creepifying in a way that I didn't really realize was possible. I love how Jayne at one point looks like he is going to wake up and potentially save the day- and instead rolls back over and goes back to sleep. And, I must admit, until I saw River in Early's ship, I honestly believed she had faded into Serenity. Because it is a Whedon show, and it didn't really seem out of the realm of possibilities. At the end, when it was apparent that was not what had happened, I was a little embarrassed. But River made me cry because of how she described how the others saw her, as something dangerous that couldn't be controlled. And it had great Book-Jayne moments, and Wash moments... It was just a perfect hour (or 42 minutes on DVD) of television for me.

#7

Isabelle31

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Posted Mar 16, 2006 @ 12:10 AM

I love her interactions with Mal in that episode. I think that's also why I loved the movie so much was because River and Mal play off each other in a great way.


Me too. I like how they show River as a more complete character in this episode, where she's not just 'Simon's crazy sister,' and I think her scenes with Mal really show that. (I am also not a Mal/River shipper, I think they have more of a big brother/little sister, or even a father/daughter relationship).

I especially love the scene between the two of them out in space, after they get rid of Early.

River: Permission to come aboard?
Mal: You know, you ain't quite right.
River: That's a popular theory.
Mal: Make sure to give Simon a good thrashing for ruining your plan.
River: He takes so much looking after.

I love the eye roll at Mal when she says that Simon takes a lot of 'looking after' it's a really great moment between the two of them.

I actually kind of disliked River until this episode because all she was, to me, was Simon's crazy sister. She was more of a foil to Simon's prissiness than a full character in her own right. Now River's my favorite character thanks to OiS and the BDM.

#8

Vercingetorix

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Posted Mar 16, 2006 @ 9:29 AM

Were you able to figure out that River was actually on Early's ship?

Nope - I figured she was holding some nearly impossible yoga/ninja position inside whatever passes for a Jeffries tube on the Serenity, and that after the climax, somebody would take a panel off a wall and River would fold herself out of it.

#9

whizbang

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Posted Mar 20, 2006 @ 2:34 PM

Jubal Early is creepifying in a way that I didn't really realize was possible.


The only time I find him really creepy is in the scene with Kaylee. I actually think her reactions were part of the effect, because she looked genuinely terrified. That scene disturbs me.

I love how Jayne at one point looks like he is going to wake up and potentially save the day- and instead rolls back over and goes back to sleep.



That, on the other hand, causes me great joy! I love Jayne so much, I had this moment of thinking, "Yay, it's the last episode and Jayne will save the day!", and then instantly realised that he was going back to sleep. It doesn't make me love him any less, of course.

River made me cry because of how she described how the others saw her, as something dangerous that couldn't be controlled.


I genuinely thought she was going to go with Early at the end, it was such a sad little speech. She sounded so defeated. I should have known she had a plan all along.

#10

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Posted Mar 20, 2006 @ 2:49 PM

The first time I watched this episode, I totally had no idea River was on Early's ship. I had no clue what to think, but by the way they cut it to look like she was having conversations with the entire crew in their seperate locked rooms at the same time, I was more than ready to believe that she was incorporeally possessing the ship and had become Andromeda. This episode was just so well done, when I see it I honestly can't understand why this show got cancelled. Which is saying a lot because, as much as I love this show, I was not at all surprised that it was cancelled. I know I wouldn't have watched past the first episode if it was Train Job, I'd have been uber-confused. And the whole cowboys/fronteir planets in space 500 years from now where even the clothing styles have regressed to the wild west never cut it for me (or for anyone I got hooked on this). But this episode? Pure genius. And paradoxically the only commentary in the box set I didn't like and almost turned off. Joss rambling about existentialism bored the hell out of me.

#11

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Posted Mar 20, 2006 @ 5:34 PM

Looking at the recap for this episode, it really reminds me that TWoP really hated Firefly. Shack gave it a C+ and the voters, who are usually more forgiving than the recapper gave it a C. It's funny, because, like, what aired on all of TV that year that was better than this episode? Anyone got anything?

#12

antelogi

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Posted Mar 20, 2006 @ 5:54 PM

I love how Jayne at one point looks like he is going to wake up and potentially save the day- and instead rolls back over and goes back to sleep.


And the best part of this? The drool stain on his pillow. Little details like that make me happy.

Loves Bitch, I think the show is really polarizing in a way that those who love it really really love it (hence the amazing DVD sales) but those who don't...just really don't. Which is how I explain it's cancellation and its poor reception at TWoP.

#13

DMike

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Posted Mar 20, 2006 @ 10:10 PM

It might've had to do with the fact that it was on at the time that Buffy was in it's big decline. I can't remember if Shack even watched Buffy or not, but I could see people blaming Firefly for that.

Topic? I loved Jayne confusing River having congress with the beast to being in Congress.

Edited by DMike, Mar 20, 2006 @ 10:12 PM.


#14

chunkyrice13

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Posted Mar 20, 2006 @ 10:18 PM

Unpopular opinion time: I think this is a weak episode. It's not bad, but I think compared to the episodes that precede it it's much less compelling. Jubal is scary and all, but he takes up alot of time that could be spent on the characters I know I'm about to have to say goodbye to.

Not that I would give it a C! But not an A+, in my book.

#15

antelogi

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Posted Mar 21, 2006 @ 1:12 PM

Topic? I loved Jayne confusing River having congress with the beast to being in Congress.


What was up with all the River-is-having-sex references in this episode anyway? Between Jubal insinuating that she slept with the crew, to Wash saying she had congress with the beast to River and her psychobabble about how the ship was in her, or she was in it, and then that deleted scene where she tries to marry Simon, little River was not so innocent this go around. Which, obviously, was exactly the opposite of the truth because this episode has River at her most innocent, most coherent, most peace-like.

...I just answered my own question there, didn't I?

#16

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Posted Mar 21, 2006 @ 1:32 PM

chunkyrice13, I agree with you. I loved certain beautiful moments, but overall, this isn't one of my favorite eps. Listening to the commentary helped me understand why Joss made it, but in the end, for me, it didn't accomplish what he wanted it to.

I don't think Jubal quite gels. He's just weird and deluded and evil. And not nearly as interesting to me as he's supposed to be.

#17

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Posted Mar 21, 2006 @ 1:55 PM

Looking at the recap for this episode, it really reminds me that TWoP really hated Firefly. Shack gave it a C+ and the voters, who are usually more forgiving than the recapper gave it a C. It's funny, because, like, what aired on all of TV that year that was better than this episode? Anyone got anything?


I don't want to speak for everyone, but I think a lot of people were put off by the weirdness of the episode because we knew it was going to be the last one to air save the original pilot. Even I, who absolutely loved it when it first aired, was all, "What the hell was that?" It felt like a rather perplexing note on which to end the series.

Edited by mollyann, Mar 21, 2006 @ 1:56 PM.


#18

petpluto22

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Posted Mar 21, 2006 @ 2:01 PM

It felt like a rather perplexing note on which to end the series.

Actually, I loved how "Objects in Space" ended. For me, the episode was about how River and Simon became part of the Serenity family, and not just hangers-on, or crew. At the end, where Kaylee and River are playing jacks and acting like sisters hits home for me, especially when Kaylee tells River to show her what she's got. It feels like River is finally secure, and loved, and not just seen as some crazy person who may blow them all up.

#19

mollyann

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Posted Mar 21, 2006 @ 2:11 PM

Oh, I agree. I wasn't referring to the last scene so much as the tone of the episode in general, which is, let's face it, pretty strange. But I think the episode fits in better as a finale when the show is viewed in its "proper," holistic context, rather than the way it felt at the time--something that was yanked out from under us and was essentially incomplete.

I fear I'm not making sense. Move along. :)

Edited by mollyann, Mar 21, 2006 @ 2:12 PM.


#20

petpluto22

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Posted Mar 21, 2006 @ 3:39 PM

Mollyann, you make perfect sense. The episode is very strange, and my perceptions of it are probably very biased, since one of my favorite Buffy episodes is Restless. I just love the idea of walking around in River's head and seeing what she sees.

#21

JerseyGirl291

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Posted Mar 21, 2006 @ 3:47 PM

What was up with all the River-is-having-sex references in this episode anyway? Between Jubal insinuating that she slept with the crew, ...and then that deleted scene where she tries to marry Simon,


The deleted scene was actually a deleted scene from "Our Mrs. Reynolds," and I'm pretty sure it was a response to the fact that the captain took a wife. Simon was the one she loved.

I just love the weirdness of it, seeing the ship from a different point of view, considering as we get a lot of the series from Mal's perspective. It was the first time we were actually see things from River's eyes.

#22

Ulkis

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Posted Mar 21, 2006 @ 5:59 PM

nevermind.

Edited by Ulkis, Mar 21, 2006 @ 6:00 PM.


#23

greennogo

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Posted Mar 22, 2006 @ 11:04 AM

I think Jubal refers to River potentially sleeping with the rest of the crew because it's consistent with the whole "sexual violence" metaphor that pervades most of the EP, from Jubal's threat to rape Kaylee, to his more explicit violation of Serenity herself. It's how the Early character identifies with these "objects in space" through sexual violation due to the whole warped Oedipal wackiness thing he had with his mother. Just like that core adolescent mother/son (my inner black turtleneck is telling me to type child/madonna/whore) relationship has been inverted, therefore none of these symbols of purity are as they seem, from the priest who's not, to the twig that's a gun, to the spaceship that's some kind of gaia analogy, and therefore they are given definition to Early through sexual violation.

God, I feel like I'm back in college right now...

#24

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Posted Mar 22, 2006 @ 11:15 AM

No, greennogo, I think you've got it right. Judging by what Joss said in the commentary, or at least what I paid attention to (I was never good with existentialism and stuff) the whole episode is about how objects are just that- objects. They are defined by the person's point of view, and how we define said objects is what makes us who we are.

#25

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Posted Mar 22, 2006 @ 12:16 PM

Which is why I think that even though a lot of people were turned off by the literalism of the "SpaceWestern" genre wanking, it was never anything less than totally appropriate for what Whedon was going for: If the whole synthesis of "existential shock" meets a kind of John Donne twist of the catagorical imperative thing is at the core of all our Great American Myths, and a failure of that synthesis is at the source of our great failings, it's formally built into the whole Western genre--or at least the really good Boetticher and Mann westerns.

#26

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Posted Mar 22, 2006 @ 2:31 PM

Wow, OK, you totally lost me. The only response I can think of, since that went way over my head, is fire bad, tree pretty. And that I was also turned off by the "SpaceWestern" thing he was going for.

#27

greennogo

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Posted Mar 22, 2006 @ 3:19 PM

I guess I'm saying that although the show got alot of flack for it's more literal Western elements, the whole reason that including them was both logical and necessary (if a bit cheesy in "Heart of Gold") is that the genre is conducive to giving voice and structure to the themes at the core of the series--especially episodes like "Objects in Space".

#28

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Posted Mar 22, 2006 @ 11:41 PM

I remember when the ep first aired and my reaction was around B- level: interesting but ultimately confusing end to the show. But like "Restless", repeated viewings are necessary to get the full effect of the episode, and right now, it's easily my favorite episode of the series. "Out of Gas" is a lovely piece of work, but it's finite. You watch it once, you pretty much all you're gonna get out of it, while "Objects" is many-faceted and layered, which makes my analysis-loving heart beat happily.

What made the episode click for me was not Joss's commentary, even though it's one of my favorites of his and very informative, but the realization that Jubal is an evil double of River. Forget the Reaver = River duality (which only works at a level of violence), Jubal mirrors her much better. He's a low-level psychic who is the perfect weapon, and better yet, likes his job. He uses logic to disarm Simon, knowing that Simon will play along and wait for his "perfect chance". He threatens Kaylee with rape not because he's naturally inclined that way -- he's into pain, not specifically sexual violence -- but because it's the worst thing he can threaten her with, to turn her sunshiney open sexuality to something dark and disgusting. He knocks out Book and Mal immediately b/c he won't be able to play or threaten them with anything in his arsenal -- he senses this. He deals with Inara reasonably (and offers her no lewd threat even though she's in a low cut nightgown in bed and looking lovely and vulnerable, why? Because she doesn't fear rape a tenth as much as Kaylee) until she tries to use her Companion tricks to negotiate & sympathize with him, and then he slaps her. Jubals moves smoothly through his mission, encountering and defeating everybody on the ship until, of course, River. She plays with him as he played with Simon, anticipating his moves, using mind games, revealing little bits of truth to him, etc. She has the same abilities as him, the same fractured personality, the same way of looking at things, the same dark past -- the only thing is, she will never be a weapon.

I've posted much of this analysis before in the old thread, but ultimately what makes me love this episode is that it's River's day to shine, the ep that takes her from damaged little victim and reshapes her not just into valueable crew member (extending the family circle beyond her and Simon) but into something mysterious and surreally deep. Her speech on how she has no place on Serenity and her willingness to go with Jubal -- it's one of those emotional gut punches that Joss does so fucking well, and which no one else quite matches: like Buffy sword-fighting with Angel and "close your eyes", or her telling the First Slayer how she doesn't sleep on a bed of bones anymore, or Anya's speech in "The Body", River's moment ranks up there. Just as she had the same sort of heart-stopping sadness in Serenity, when she stands up over Simon's prone body and tells him it's "her turn". Joss can do cheesy emotional stuff, and sometimes it doesn't hit quite right (for some reason, a lot of his AtS work never quite fit), but when his stuff works, it's magical.

And the brilliance of that speech: it makes explicit what fans have been saying about her and what Simon could never ever say even in his heart of hearts and what Mal and co. obviously feel and coming out of her mouth in that beautiful line reading by Summer, full of unembarrassed emotion, makes me want to cry and fall in love with her.

OiS is beautiful in ways that TV or movies rarely are.

#29

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Posted Mar 23, 2006 @ 2:35 AM

I agree with a lot of your analysis, Lady Agnew, excpet for the Early being psychic part. I think he knew how to deal with everyone individually because he was spying on them for an indetermined period of time before he acted. We saw him doing it.

#30

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Posted Mar 23, 2006 @ 12:57 PM

I'm pretty sure Joss mentioned somewhere (it could be the commentary, but I'm not positive) that Early is indeed psychic.