Those of you who thought that Mal might be getting a bit soft with his “you’re a member of my crew” speech a little while ago can rest assured that he’s still a captain.

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 Jose Molina.
Directed by Allen Kroeker.
The complete IMDB listings can be found here.
The official website can be found here.

Original Airdate


Ariel
originally aired on Friday,
November 15, 2003.

Premise

Simon has a plan to get information about his sister’s condition on a
core planet.

High Point

Remember the Malcolm Reynolds that kicked a man into Serenity’s
engine? He’s back this week.

Low Point

Why do the extremely powerful bad guys never run to catch up with
people?

The Review

The basic plot is unoriginal, but the implementation, and
River’s condition both felt fresh. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects were impressive, and very new. It’s the first
good look we’ve had at the high-tech planets, and it was a very nice
one. There was a lot of variety required, and not a lot of time to
put it together. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story was tightly plotted, and very interesting. We had
parallel revelations for Simon, River, and Jayne; we didn’t have the
stock “people who don’t get along make up and like each other;” we
learned a lot more about how the captain treats his crew. If the blue
hand people seemed as concerned about catching them as they did about
eliminating witnesses, this would have been perfect. I give it 5 out
of 6.

The acting was, again, a little one-dimensional (but still
convincing) from Sean Maher (due primarily to his script) and great
from the others. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was excellent. This is a Joss Whedon
show, so I was positive we’d be short at least one crew member in the
next episode. The only question was who wouldn’t make it. Joss never
fails to surprise. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production was very different from previous weeks, but
just as high-quality. There were a number of expensive sets they had
to put together that had to be at a completely different technological
level than the previous sets, and yet the crew still had to fit. The
wardrobe, production design, and lighting all came together to pull
this off, and they did it very well. The editing, particularly toward
the end, helped keep the viewer as off-balance as the characters
were. I give it 6 out of 6.

The overall impression of this episode was that it belongs in
Sweeps. So far, I’d say this episode is second only to Out Of
Gas
. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Ariel recieves 38 out of 42.

Additional Notes

The list of upcoming
episodes
has nothing listed for November 22 or November 29. I
don’t know if we’ll have reruns or pre-emptions, but I’m guessing
pre-emptions, since we’re in Sweeps. December has three new episodes,
including one with no production number titled Serenity that
was written and directed by Joss Whedon. I think it’s a safe bet that
this will be the pilot they haven’t aired yet. Set your VCRs for
December 20. (That’s two days after the release of The Two
Towers
.)