25 Nearest and Dearest 25/25
The Serenity Crew (Firefly)
I was very late to the Firefly brigade — a good 13 years to be exact. I know, friends. I know. I’m kicking myself too. But somehow I just knew the list we’d prepared for this next portion of #100DaysofFanFavorites felt incomplete. It didn’t feel right. So I figured, well, what perfect time to see what the hype is all about. I’d be lying if I said I understood it right away, but when I finally got into it, it was because of the strong, profound bond shared between the Serenity crew members. If there’s one thing I look for in friendships or families in the world of media, it’s loyalty — loyalty even when there are uncertainties and loyalty even when people screw up. A captain isn’t deserving of the respect he gets unless he cares for his crew as though they’re family, and though there’s a clear distinction of authority, each and every member feels significant. Serenity wouldn’t be what it is without the uniqueness each crew member brings and Firefly wouldn’t have been such a memorable series without the exceptional partnerships.
Firefly was most enjoyable when the crew was taking part in ridiculous games or having discussions at dinner. And though they weren’t always positive, they were always intriguing to watch. The best part of Firefly is that it was full of interesting and unique relationships. My personal favorites will always be Mal/Zoe, River/Simon, Mal/ Kaylee, Simon/Kaylee, Mal/Inara, Kaylee/Inara, and Zoe/Wash (I’m still weeping over this, by the way). And in a strange way, though Jayne did a fantastic job of getting on everyone’s nerves, he interestingly fit in a wonderful, irreplaceable way.
After Suits, it’s strange to see Gina Torres in a role where she isn’t calling all the shots. However, the keen respect between her and Mal is the first friendship that gripped me on this series. She didn’t call him “sir” because she felt obligated, but because she truly respected him. And if there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I love solid male/female friendships where there’s zero romantic chemistry. It was always sweet how Wash would get jealous, but the fact of the matter is, these two would never ever and that’s fabulous to me. If he was wrong, he’d admit to and she’d take it with such effortless grace. Plus, their friendship was ridiculously hilarious to me and if something’s easy to watch, you know it’s good.
Next up is the incredible brother/sister relationship between River and Simon. Without a single doubt, the best part of this dynamic is the fact that there’s zero jealousy and resentment. Simon doesn’t ever appear as though he’s envious of the fact that River’s always gotten attention for being so special. He fights for his sister, loves her, and is fervently loyal to her even when it appears she may be entirely compromised. That level of steadfastness never fails to astound me. Yes, family members are supposed to love unconditionally, but this is a special case. In the beginning especially, River wasn’t River and not knowing what was going on with her couldn’t have been easy. And in the most admirable way, Simon stood by her side and believed in her. River may not have always been her best self, but Simon’s presence played a crucial role in her conquering the battle within. And perhaps the worst part of Firefly ending is that we weren’t able to see more of this relationship develop. I would’ve loved to see River giving back to Simon for all he’s done. I would’ve loved to see her tease him about Kaylee. And I would’ve loved to watch them grow together.
Next up — the friendship that felt more like a sibling relationship. Mal and Kaylee’s dynamic quickly warmed its way into my heart, and I’m certain it’ll never leave. The ridiculous honesty in their friendship was the best part. Mal cared for Kaylee like an older brother would and she called him just like a little sister would. And at the end of the day, their respect for one another was through the roof. This may not be a solo character post but can we take a second to acknowledge the fact that Kaylee was a mechanic? And the best. As mentioned in the introduction, a captain is only deserving of the respect he gets if he gives it back, and the fact that Mal often praised Kaylee’s expertise was sublime. Mal took special care of Kaylee not because she needed it, but because she deserved it. Where praise was due, it was given, and when worry was needed, it was delivered with such evocative sincerity; it had an effortless way of breaking hearts. And in countlessly beautiful ways, you always felt the heartfelt significance of their friendship on both ends.
Technically, Simon and Kaylee are one of the couples on Firefly, but long before they got together, she was his friend. She was the one person who helped make Serenity a home for him. Her kindness and welcoming spirit towards him allowed him to feel less like a burden and more as a valued member. Not to mention the fact she was treated with just as much kindness and adoration. The equally mutual appreciation made their dynamic so wonderful that even if they didn’t get together in the end, their friendship would’ve remained just as satisfying.
Mal and Inara were mostly wonderful because of how often she’d call him out on his crap. They may not have understood the other’s career choice, but they respected each other on profound levels, and because of that, their dynamic was always a special one. It became clear very early on that both of them would always have the other’s back and for that alone, I got the sense that watching their interactions would bring me great joy, and I wasn’t wrong. There are some love/hate relationships that often feel too forced and thereby, after a while become unbearable, but Firefly did such an incredible job with this banter you were never irritated by the two of them. You knew that though they didn’t agree on much, it would never change the fact that they’re loyal to one another.
Strong female/female friendships will always take the crown for the best in my book, and I loved the way the ladies on this series would interact with one another. And yet, here’s another reason why Firefly shouldn’t have been cancelled for I’m certain we could’ve gotten such great material in this area if the series had continued. Inara and Kaylee were wonderful examples of friends who took care of each other. And for me personally, it always felt as though they were like sisters — Inara being the one Kaylee didn’t understand completely, but loved unconditionally and was always willing to learn from her. Inara was always so kind to Kaylee and vice versa and that kindness has an incredible way of naturally bringing out the best in people.
Best for last — Wash and Zoe will never leave my heart and I will cry over the events in Serenity forever. I know this is technically cheating because they’re a couple, but in my defense, I didn’t get to talk about them for the #25LoveStories portion, so I’ll be doing it a bit now. If there’s one thing I love about couples, it’s when they work in the same field together. When they’re partners. And it was always entertaining to watch these two go off into their little world. Most importantly, for Wash and Zoe, it was always clear that the other’s presence made everything worthwhile. They were the first two people I got attached to on the series and that especially made the ending that much more difficult, but being able to watch them in the little time they had together was a gift. You felt their love. You felt every bit of their respect for one another. And you knew in your heart that their loyalty to one another could never be altered. They’d choose each other — time and time again.
And then there was Jayne, and well, he’s not an easy character to deal with, but he was theirs. The crew loved him unconditionally even when he screwed up. The familial bond they all shared is the very reason they took his improper jokes.
Lastly, the Shepherd’s presence always provided the crew with peace — despite the fact that they didn’t agree with him. He was a character who brought a great deal into the series leaving a mark to the very end.
Firefly won me over with its dynamics and even the friendships not mentioned above were memorable. Most importantly the entire series focuses on respect and loyalty — the importance of not letting anything in the way of the solid partnerships they’ve built, the beliefs they have, and their morals. Their goal may have been to make a living, but beyond that, this series gave viewers the opportunity to see what a family is really like. Sometimes you get to choose your family and it’s not always about rainbows and butterflies. It gets messy and dark — deception may be involved, but the thing with family is that there’s also forgiveness and love despite the heartaches that may have been endured. It’s about giving people chances and learning to adapt to each person’s unique personalities and needs. It’s about giving and respecting, but most importantly remaining loyal and that’s what the entire crew of Serenity have in common with one another. They’re steadfast to the family they’ve built and if there’s one reason everyone should watch this series, this is it.
What friendship/family is #25 on your list!? Remember, it’s never too late to start doing your own variation of #100DaysofFanFavorites.