They’ve got a witch and a doctor, but I don’t see any witch doctors…


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 Drew
Z. Greenberg
Directed by Michael Grossman.
The complete IMDB listings can be found here.
The official website can be found here.

Original Airdate

originally aired on Friday,
November 8, 2002


The crew tries to sell the cattle they picked up last week, but things
don’t go smoothly. Things never go smoothly.

High Point

Jayne reading the diary.

Low Point

Seeing clips of episodes they haven’t yet shown in the “previously on”
bit. If I didn’t know they hadn’t aired the original pilot, I’d have
been seriously confused. I’m sure there are a few viewers who didn’t
know that who now think they’ve missed something big.

The Review

This was a moderately original story. We’ve all seen the
kidnapped doctor bit before, but I think this is the first time the
kidnapped person’s teammates didn’t risk it all to save that person,
no matter what. Had this been shown in the original production order,
I wouldn’t have been sure they were going back for him this week. (It
is a Joss Whedon show, after all. Remember Jesse? How about Doyle?)
We also didn’t get the standard “yeah, I bug you, but I really like
you” reconciliation between Jayne and Simon. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects were, once again, primarily well-done stock
footage and minor changes to old CGI shots. The effects are not the
focus of the show, but rather a means that is used minimally to tell
the stories they want to tell in the settings they want to use. This
is the way visual effects should be used. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story was pretty light on plot, once again favouring
character development. Still, the plot was nice and coherent. I give
it 4 out of 6.

The acting was convincing, but not astounding. Sean Maher is
doing a decent job of the doctor, but he hasn’t really had a chance
for a lot of range before. This week we were able to see him in an
assortment of situations, driven completely by his sister’s
well-being. Summer Glau did a great job, as usual. I give the acting
5 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was very good. I didn’t
doubt Shepherd’s recovery, but I was intruigued by how they got the
Alliance to help. Similarly, if I didn’t already know I’d seen the
next episode, I would have thought that Simon and River were being
abandoned for a time, and might not have been rescued for another few
episodes. When dealing with Joss Whedon, no character is safe. There
were some incredibly funny moments, as well. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production was great. The editing and blocking
throughout the episode were all excellent, and the use of the
steadicam in the “frontier” areas compared to the stationary cameras
in the technologically advanced areas is a great way to subtley remind
the viewer about the technological desparity across this galaxy. I
give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, I’d have to say that this is a great episode, and
well worth a repeated viewing. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Safe receives 33 out of 42.