The fact that this episode aired out of production order wasn’t the problem I thought it would be last week. We were very, very lucky.


Nathan Fillion
as Malcolm Reynolds
Gina Torres as Zoe
Alan Tudyk as Wash
as Inara
Jewel Staite as Kaylee
Adam Baldwin as Jayne
Sean Maher as
Dr. Simon Tam
Summer Glau as
River Tam
Ron Glass as Shepherd


Written by Tim Minear.
Directed by David Solomon.
The complete IMDB listings can be found here.
The official website can be found here.

Original Airdate

Out Of Gas
originally aired on Friday,
October 25, 2002.


Malcolm has a series of flashbacks revealing how most of the crew got

High Point

River’s “don’t worry about suffocating” speech was good, but no
individual scene can compare to the editing.

Low Point

Editing together the hiring sequences made for some entertaining
scenes, but I’d have really preferred to see that as a more complete
story. It’s my understanding that those scenes were originally meant
for the two-hour pilot, but I don’t know what that was originally
like, so I’m not sure if the original form was any better.

The Review

The originality of this episode was excellent. I don’t
remember any T.V. show or movie that combined three different
chronologies into a single show this effectively. (Star Trek: TNG’s
All Good Things… tried, but it wasn’t this effective, or
this consistent.) The content itself wasn’t all that new, but that’s
forgivable. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects were sparse in this episode. Apart from a couple
of exterior shots (that were well done) and the fire (which was not
well done) it was mainly “what you see is what you get.” The fire was
the important, new effect, and it just looked odd. The science
they’ve used so far is pretty good, so it may just be that my
intuition for fluid dynamics is completely off, in which case I’ll
ignore the odd, cyclonic shape. It didn’t blend into
the scene or leave any scorch marks, though, so I only give the
effects 4 out of 6.

The story put non-linear storytelling to excellent use. Not
one, not two, but three seperate chronologies were incorporated at the
outset, with two of them eventually meeting up. This will be hard to
top when they re-tell the stories of Zoe, Simon, River, and Preacher
joining up. I give it 5 out of 6, losing one point only for the lack
of coherence in one chronology.

The acting was only particularly challenging for Alan Tudyk
and Nathan Fillion, both of whom did excellent work. The rest of the
cast was comfortably settled into their roles. I give it 5 out of 6.

This pulled me in with a significant emotional response right
from the outset. There was no way I was going to miss any of this
after the shot from below the grating. 6 out of 6.

The production was incredible. The directing meshed
perfectly with the excellent editing. Non-linear storytelling
requires a great deal of support on the production end, and that
support was there. The lighting made it easy to place each scene in
the appropriate time frame, which was extremely useful with the three
different timeframes being used. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this may have been the best episode yet. I give it
6 out of 6, and I’ll wait (somewhat impatiently) for this season on
DVD to watch it again.

In total, Out Of Gas receives 37 out of 42.