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Firefly Episode 6: We Meet a Stagecoach — and a Vixen!
In this enjoyable episode, there is only one plot hole and it isn’t really significant.
Episode 6 is much better than Episode 5. First of all, the “gun problem” is fixed. We’re back to shooting bullets instead of lasers (?) out of the guns. Some of the rifles do sound a bit different from what we might expect, but at least, the weaponry is consistent with the ammunition used.
The story opens with a stagecoach driving down the riverbank. A group of robbers attempt to take the coach, but the drivers turn out to be Captain Mal and mercenary crew member Jayne Cobb in disguise. After a brief firefight, the bad guys are apprehended, and all is well.
The next scene is a congratulatory party for the crew put on by the settlers. The next day, the ship takes off but there is an unexpected passenger. During the party, it turns out, Mal got himself hitched to a local woman without realizing it. Mal is bewildered, but after some jeering and judgmental glares from the rest of the crew, they decide to drop the girl off on one of the neighboring planets.
Everything seems settled but the girl is not what she appears.
She baits Mal with a kiss which knocks him out and then attempts to seduce Wash, the ship’s pilot. He doesn’t fall for it because he is happily married to Zoë But the vixen is also a ninja, so she kicks him in the back of the head. She sabotages the ship and takes off on the Ambassador’s shuttle.
Usually, these types of plotlines are easy to guess… but this episode fooled me! I thought the writers were going for the classic western trope where the bumbling cowboy finds himself wed to a Native American without realizing it. Think The Shakiest Gun in the West starring Don Knotts.
After repairing the ship, the crew realizes that they are heading for a kind of electrical “space net” which will fry their ship and burn them alive. That young girl, it turns out, was working for a band of roaming thieves and has set them on a course for destruction. Fortunately, Jayne loves his guns (he even has a high-powered rifle he’s named Vera). Wrapping Vera in a spacesuit for oxygen, he shoots one of circuits leading into the net — and the energy field collapses.
Having escaped the immediate peril, the crew sets out to find the vixen, who has landed the stolen shuttle on a nearby planet. Mal confronts her, takes back the shuttle, and our crew lives to fight another day.
I enjoyed this episode. There’s only one plot issue that wasn’t addressed. The “vixen” was said to be given to Malcolm by the head of the town as a form of payment because the town couldn’t afford to pay the entire bounty for all the bandits. This story is confirmed when the Shepherd reads from a local book of customs. So, if the head of the town had given the girl to Malcolm, then was he in on the plot to steal the shuttle?
A plot hole? Sure. But other than that, it was an enjoyable episode.