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Out of Gas


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Adventure/Drama/Sci-Fi, USA, 2002, 44 min.

Synopsis This episode is a retrospective which shows how each member of the crew joined Serenity (before episode 1). It explains Mal's passion for 'Serenity', his reason for adopting this life on the outskirts of society and in a clever twist at the end, how he first came to buy the ship.The episode of "Firefly" is split into present-time, recent flashback and distant flashback sequences. In the present day, Serenity, the ship captained by Mal Reynolds, has experienced life support system failure. After Mal orders his crew to leave the ship -- due to lack of oxygen -- the Serenity's background story is told via flashback, as is the tale of how the crew came together. Present : Serenity floats by. There's no sign of life inside the ship -- no crew, no activity. Then, Capt. Mal Reynolds appears on-screen, looking ill, and subsequently falls to the floor. He hears voices coming from outside the cargo bay doors: A salesman is saying: "You buy this ship, treat her proper, she'll be with you the rest of your life"... Light falls across Mal's face as the bay doors open and we realise we're being taken to that moment in Mal's memory when he first enters the ship with Zoe..Flashback: Zoe Washburne accompanies Mal, who shows his fellow scavenger the ship he has just purchased. Zoe expresses her reservations about the beaten-up vessel, even after Mal explains his intentions: Get the ship space-ready, hire some crew members, and fly from planet to planet, taking jobs as they find them. Then he reveals the name he has picked out for the new lady in his life. Mal also reveals the importance of this ship. Having just lost a war with the Alliance, Serenity now represents freedom & escape from their rule. No matter how far the arm of the Alliance gets, they'll just go a little further out. Present : Back to Mal on the deck of Serenity, looking worse and now it's shown that he is also bleeding from the stomach.Credits. Present : Mal manages to pull himself up on his knees. Gasping for air, he gets up on his feet, and slowly makes his way across the cargo bay - an object of some sort in his hand.Recent Flashback: The Serenity crew is having dinner. It's Dr. Simon Tam's birthday, though Simon is unaware that the crew knows this, and is about to surprise him. This important scene show's what a family the crew have become. Sitting around a large dining table, eating, talking and laughing. It sets up the rest of the episode for the revelations of how they all met.Pilot Wash lets it be known that he has set a course for their next mission (a visit to Greenleaf) - one in which they will now not encounter any Alliance ships.Kaylee, (Kaywinnit Lee Frye), presents Simon with a cake, and as he goes to blow out the candles, the lights dim and a grinding sound emanates from Serenity. Kaylee goes to open the door to the engine room, though she is pushed out of the way by Zoe, who is hit with the force of the approaching ball of fire and knocked unconscious.Panic ensues. Wash reluctantly heads to the helm to check on things there, as Mal and Jayne Cobb work to seal corridors in an attempt to contain the fire. Present : A brief scene of Mal tumbling down a flight of stairs, still clutching the object in his hands. He opens a door to a corridor.Recent Flashback: Now in the medical station, Zoe's situation is worsening. Wash has returned and, after a brief physical encounter with Mal, he again returns to the helm.Flashback: It is shown how Wash was hired as the pilot of Serenity. Wash, heavier and mustached, tinkers on the ship, as Zoe privately tells Mal there's something funny about their candidate. (The mechanic they hired before Kaylee is briefly glimpsed here, too.) Since she can't put her finger on it, Zoe announces that Wash simply "bothers" her.Recent Flashback: Zoe's heart stops, prompting Simon to inject adrenaline into her heart. Present : Mal has made it to the medical bay, where he bandages his wound, and then injects himself with adrenaline.Recent Flashback: Mal and Kaylee conference about the state of Serenity, and Kaylee explains what caused her to stop moving. This is where it's announced that the life support system is out. Also, secondary life support was taken offline in the explosion ...Back in the medical bay, Zoe is unconscious but doing better. Simon, taking a moment to gather himself, is comforted by Inara Serra. Meanwhile, River Tam and Shepherd Book have a bizarre, discomforting encounter. And back on the bridge, Mal and Wash have it out again after Wash mutters that sending out a beacon (which he did do) is "pointless" at this stage (thanks to the aforementioned evasive flight plan Wash enacted). Finally, the two men seem to bury their differences as Mal suggests an adjustment to the beacon that eventually makes sense to Wash. Present : Serenity's computer voice announces the life support failure as Mal continues his mission.Flashback: Upon hearing of some sort of delay, an angry Mal goes to confront Bester, his original mechanic. He finds his crew member in a compromising position with a young woman. Mal and Bester quarrel, Bester announces that Serenity's "secondary grav boot" is offline. His sexual partner then announces this isn't true, and her identity is revealed. Kaylee then tinkers under Serenity's engine, which revs up again seconds later. Mal offers her a job as the ship's lone mechanic.Recent Flashback: Matching on the preceding scene, Kaylee, who looks defeated, gets a typically brisk pep talk from Mal. She tells him they need a replacement catalyzer, which they don't have, and shows Mal where that part fits in with the engine. Present : In the engine room, Mal fumbles with and then drops what we now know is a new catalyzer through a hole in the floor. He looks nearly at the end of his rope.Recent Flashback: It's now freezing on Serenity, and Mal gathers the crew to tell them of his plan: They are to split up into two shuttles and fly in opposite directions in an attempt to find aid. Mal will stay behind.Flashback: It is shown how Inara was brought aboard Serenity as a sort of ... independent contractor (wink). Sexual tension bubbles over the edges.Recent Flashback: After some last-minute scrambling, the shuttle piloted by Inara is near ready to fly off. On the bridge, Wash shows Mal how to hail the two shuttles if he is rescued by another ship. Meanwhile, Jayne does some adjustments to the air vents for Mal's benefit. Finally the shuttles are set to depart, and afterward Mal seals off the entire ship and wraps himself up in a blanket on the bridge. More Recent Flashback : It has become even colder on the ship. Mal, asleep, misses a ship hailing Serenity. Moments later, Mal awakens, realizes that a message has come in, believes he missed it entirely, and then a ship flies by Serenity's nose.A hesitant exchange between the two ship captains follows. Both captains are leery of being ambushed. Mal explains his situation and the other ship happens to have the part Serenity needs. A trade is arranged, but as Mal opens Serenity's doors for the other captain and his people, he finds himself at gunpoint.The invading captain tells his crew to search Serenity and to kill anyone else they find aboard.Flashback: Mal and Zoe are being held at gunpoint by three men; one of them is Jayne. Mal sizes up Jayne as a formidable opponent, surveys his part in a small-time crew, and decides -- still at gunpoint -- to offer Jayne a position aboard Serenity. To prove his new loyalty, Jayne shoots his boss and point his gun at the last man in his old crew. More Recent Flashback: Turns out no one else is aboard Serenity. The invading captain shoots Mal and declares the ship as his new piece of property. Mal manages to turn a hidden gun on the captain and successfully gets them off his ship. Then he falls to the floor again. Present : The episode has looped back on itself, and we see Mal stumble and fall as we saw in the opening "present" scenes.Now covered in blood, Mal retrieves the catalyzer, installs it, and the engine roars to life. Back to the bridge to hail the shuttles to return, but collapses before he can do so.Mal opens his eyes to find himself next to Zoe in Serenity's medical bay. The rest of the crew is nearby; Zoe had awakened and ordered the shuttle to turn back. Wash is giving blood for Mal's benefit. After some joking around, Simon dismisses the crew so Mal and Zoe can rest.As Mal falls back asleep, he travels back to that first flashback, this time viewed from outside the cargo bay. We see the salesman repeating those words to Mal: "Yes sir, right smart purchase this vessel. Tell you what. You buy this ship, treat her proper, she'll be with you the rest of your life"... The irony being he's looking up at a huge (ugly) rocket like ship. The salesman realises Mal is no longer by his side and calls across to him saying "Son, hey son, you hear a word I been saying?"Mal has his back to the salesman and the rocket ship. He is instead staring across all the other ships at a broken down firefly class transport, abandoned at the edge of the lot. He looks young, fresh faced & obviously completely captivated.End credits.


Directed by David Solomon  

Starring Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, more...

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