Firefly Review – “Out Of Gas”

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.

Cast

Nathan Fillion
as Malcolm Reynolds
Gina Torres as Zoe
Alan Tudyk as Wash
Morena
Baccarin
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

Crew

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.

Premise

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

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.

15 replies on “Firefly Review – “Out Of Gas””

  1. mbourgon says:

    Out of order?
    Where was this one supposed to go? Anyhow, yes, the best one so far. Wow.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Out of order?

      Where was this one supposed to go? Anyhow, yes, the best one so far. Wow.

      Sorry, my memory was faulty. As you can see by the production numbers in this list, this episode was shown in order, but the episodes we’ll see over the next two weeks are episodes 3 and 4.

  2. NSA says:

    Kaylee :-)
    I thought the origin of Kaylee’s career on Serenity was hilarious! I sort of had her pegged as “shy geek girl” in the first eps, but they’ve shown a whole new side of her recently. Between this and “Have good sex!” (“Jaynestown”), she’s turning out to be quite… naughty. Albeit still geeky – who notices engine parts while they’re shagging?!

    • Daemonik says:

      Re: Kaylee :-)

      who notices engine parts while they’re shagging?!

      Not only did she notice the part, she diagnosed that it was the whole problem! What a gal :)

      The surprise in her introduction was hysterical. I never thought for a minute that the girl getting shagged was Kaylee until she said what was wrong with the ship.

      • rickyjames says:

        Re: Kaylee :-)
        This ep brings legitimacy to this week’s burning question – Kaylee or Inara? I vote Kaylee, hands down.

  3. pythor says:

    Definitely worth it…
    If this was supposed to be part of the pilot, and the pilot was just a longer version of this ep, than Fox is full of idiots. I was hooked from the begining. And, frankly, that just wasn’t true for the real pilot. I was interested in that one, but more curious, not really hooked. Maybe it’s because I already knew these people, so it was easier to care. But the only part I think that would make any difference was in the resolution of the mechanic.

    • Alexius says:

      Re: Definitely worth it…

      If this was supposed to be part of the pilot, and the pilot was just a longer version of this ep, than Fox is full of idiots.

      I Have the Pilot. I Downloaded It. It Was Obviously The One Designed As The Pilot Since It Had All The Parts That They Were Showing In The Original Trailers And Commercials (The Girl In the Box, The “I’m standing Right Here” Scene, &c).

      This Wasn’t It. It Was Great, Though, And This Was A Good Companion To It. The Pilot Tells Of Simon and Book Signing On. (I Don’t Want To give Anything Away).

      If Anyone Wants It, Ask Me When You See Me Availible:
      AOL: AlexiusPendragon
      ICQ: 116477633

      Or Join Me In My MOO:
      telnet://Keep.QuarteredCircle.net:2305

  4. Daemonik says:

    It’s a wild world
    I can’t see anyone watching this episode and not being drawn into the series. I know many people were thrown by the literal cowboy western clothes and weapons in the first few episodes but I hope they’ve seen by this episode that there are lots of surprises waiting in the Firefly Universe. Perhaps a few nagging problems have been put to rest for some people.

    Lots of automatic weapons being waved about this time. Goes to show that everyone is not limited to six shooters, but they’re more of a style/economy issue.

    Also Wash was wearing a pretty loud Hawaiian shirt when he first boarded Serenity, so not everyone makes a habit of wearing Western style clothing. Also seems like a lot of military surplus style jackets about too.

  5. TechnoGirl says:

    Really liked this episode!
    Great episode…IMHO FOX made a MAJOR mistake by not airing it as the pilot. I would have liked the show a lot earlier on if I had seen this one first. I doubt the rest of their audience stuck around so long :(

    • Daemonik says:

      Re: Really liked this episode!

      Great episode…IMHO FOX made a MAJOR mistake by not airing it as the pilot. I would have liked the show a lot earlier on if I had seen this one first. I doubt the rest of their audience stuck around so long :(

      I’m glad you’re getting to like the series more TechnoGirl, you had some mighty persistent issues with the concept at first. :)

      I have a feeling that Firefly is going to get most of it’s viewer base from a small core audience spreading word of mouth praise, kinda like Farscape. Whether or not Fox will support the show while it takes a season or two to build up a loyal following is another issue.

      • TechnoGirl says:

        Re: Really liked this episode!
        <BLOCKQUOTE TYPE="cite">
        I’m glad you’re getting to like the series more TechnoGirl, you had some mighty persistent issues with the concept at first. :)
        </BLOCKQUOTE>

        Yes I know…I’m still uncomfortable with the concept but if the writing/episode is enjoyabe enough then the willing suspension of disbelief thing kicks in <g>

        Hopefully subsequent episodes will continue to be of good caliber but…. time will tell…

      • fiziko says:

        Re: Really liked this episode!

        I have a feeling that Firefly is going to get most of it’s viewer base from a small core audience spreading word of mouth praise, kinda like Farscape. Whether or not Fox will support the show while it takes a season or two to build up a loyal following is another issue.

        I hope they do. All it’s going to take for this to really take off is for people to give it a chance, I think. I came to this conclusion based on the fact that Firefly and John Doe are the only genre shows my parents will voluntarily watch, even though they’ve sampled every show I’ve watched for the last ten years. Firefly is the only genre show they look forward to.

  6. rickyjames says:

    Ratings Continue To Slip…

    I agree totally with the concensus here, best Firefly ep yet and masterful job juggling three separate storylines! Most impressive to me are the actions Mal takes to show he’s not just first among equals but in fact the CAP’N when the chips are down – last week, asking Jayne to why argue about taping a gun to his belly when it’s already been decided; this week, MAL does the Capt. Kirk style voiceover – much better; slamming the pilot to the bulkhead to get his attention and ordering him to work on the radio later, all the while projecting respect and not contempt; cajoling Kalee to dig deeper to figure out a machine fix, and the line “I’ve proved I’m not like you”…absolutely outstanding. Fox is even using the phrase “starship capatin” in its promos now, which is dead-on where the emphasis should be. I am so impressed with this show.

    Unfortunately, ratings continue to dwindle. Neilsons for first 4 eps have been in order: 4.0, 3.6, 3.3 and 2.7 for Jaynestown after a two-week gap. Folks, this is bad. USA Today ran an article on droopy shows on Wed Oct 23 which had a Firefly photo and wrote it up pretty good; also Robert Bianco who writes up the USA TV stuff has given Firefly two recommendations this week, one in an article about which shows to watch at what time during the week and also on last Fri’s “Best Picks” box over the TV schedule. If this press didn’t help “Out of Gas” when the ratings come out next Wed, then that title may be prophetic….(sniff)

    • mccoud says:

      Re: Ratings Continue To Slip…
      I am not sure how many fans here watched the show “crusade” but this seems like a very similar situation. The “higher ups” screw with a show and then surprise surprise! Its ratings stink. I think the premise is a little shaky to expect stellar ratings out of the gate, but the show has the potential to gain momentum and become something great.(space western, Joss?!? come on man!) I will continue to tune in as long as new episodes are in production.

      I agree totally with the concensus here, best Firefly ep yet and masterful job juggling three separate storylines! Most impressive to me are the actions Mal takes to show he’s not just first among equals but in fact the CAP’N when the chips are down – last week, asking Jayne to why argue about taping a gun to his belly when it’s already been decided; this week, MAL does the Capt. Kirk style voiceover – much better; slamming the pilot to the bulkhead to get his attention and ordering him to work on the radio later, all the while projecting respect and not contempt; cajoling Kalee to dig deeper to figure out a machine fix, and the line “I’ve proved I’m not like you”…absolutely outstanding. Fox is even using the phrase “starship capatin” in its promos now, which is dead-on where the emphasis should be. I am so impressed with this show.

      Unfortunately, ratings continue to dwindle. Neilsons for first 4 eps have been in order: 4.0, 3.6, 3.3 and 2.7 for Jaynestown after a two-week gap. Folks, this is bad. USA Today ran an article on droopy shows on Wed Oct 23 which had a Firefly photo and wrote it up pretty good; also Robert Bianco who writes up the USA TV stuff has given Firefly two recommendations this week, one in an article about which shows to watch at what time during the week and also on last Fri’s “Best Picks” box over the TV schedule. If this press didn’t help “Out of Gas” when the ratings come out next Wed, then that title may be prophetic….(sniff)

  7. redshadow says:

    The new intro
    I don’t remember if anyone posted something about this last
    week or not, but I think it helps, that they redid the intro. Now it is a
    “galexy” of earths rather that a “solar system or hundreds of
    earths”. Also it does a better job of explaing the technological
    disparity of the frontier. Also as far as this episode was one of my
    favorites. This is the one of the best “mulit-thread” episodes I have
    seen on TV. It did as well as West Wing at being able to move the
    story along with flashbacks.

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