May 2, 2020
The crew of Serenity helps a Companion-trained friend of Inara when a local leader announces his plan to take the baby from a woman he impregnated. We talk about toxic masculinity, relationship complications, and strong women in this episode of In the 'Verse: Song Crafting for the Firefly Universe.
MARC: My name is Marc Gunn, the creator of the Firefly Drinking Songs show.
MIKEY: And I’m Mikey Mason, creator of the Beer Powered Time Machine Podcast and currently the MIKEYtalks podcast.
MARC: This is part THIRTEEN of our 14 part series. We are rewatching episodes of Firefly. Our goal is to find themes and stories that we can write songs about.
Mikey: The first six episodes were funded by Marc’s fans in his Gunn Runners Club. He hit a milestone which made this show happen.
MARC: There are still more episodes of Firefly, and these last eight episodes were funded by Mikey’s fans helping him hit a Patreon milestone as well. But you can still help us in this creative endeavor by supporting him at http://patreon.com/mikeymason/
MIKEY: And by supporting Marc at http://patreon.com/celtfather
It is the third of three episodes (Trash, The Message and Heart of Gold) that were not broadcast in the original 2002 Fox run.
MIKEY: At a brothel in the middle of a barren land, a powerful man named Rance Burgess , accompanied by thugs, approaches the madam, Nandi , demanding to see a woman named Petaline. When Nandi denies the presence of Petaline, Burgess' thugs drag out Petaline, who is visibly several months pregnant, before Burgess, who extracts a DNA sample. He tells her he will return for his child if his test on the DNA proves the child to be his, threatening to cut it out of her if need be.
MARC: Aboard the Serenity, Inara receives a distress call from Nandi, who it is revealed is a good friend of hers. After Nandi requests Inara's help, Inara goes to Mal. She explains that Nandi and the prostitutes who work in Nandi's brothel are not Companions, and are not protected by the Guild. After she relates their plight, Reynolds agrees to assist Nandi, but declines Inara's offer of payment for the deed. After Serenity lands near Nandi's ranch, Jayne takes advantage of the hospitality of the women there, while Shepherd Book joins some of the women in prayer, and Simon goes to examine Petaline, who will give birth soon. Reynolds gets to know Nandi, who explains the poverty that Burgess enforces on the locals.
MIKEY: Seeking to size up his opponent, Reynolds, along with Inara, attends a public event attended by Burgess, not informing him of his alliance with Nandi. Reynolds speaks with Burgess, and even examines the high-tech laser gun that Burgess carries with him. Reynolds ultimately confirms Nandi's assessment of Burgess. After Reynolds and Inara depart, Burgess receives confirmation that he is the father of Petaline's baby. Returning to Nandi's ranch, Reynolds offers to evacuate the area with Nandi and her people, rather than face "a monster who thinks he's right with God" and who won't back down after only a single thrashing from some temporary help, but Nandi refuses to leave her hard-earned property and way of life. Reynolds, who admires her stubborn streak, reluctantly decides to stay and accept the challenge of defending the ranch.
MARC: As the Serenity prepare for an attack by Burgess and his forces, Zoe has a tense conversation with Wash, in which she insists that they will have a child in the near future. Petaline goes into labour, with Inara, Simon and River at Petaline's bedside. Nandi and Reynolds also spend time together, during which Nandi inquires about Reynolds' relationship with Inara, and relates her own past, which includes the Companion training she shared with Inara on the latter's home world, Sihnon. She says that Inara was in the running to become house priestess of House Madrassa when she suddenly left, without explanation, to travel among the Alliance worlds. Nandi had left before then, however, straining at the restrictions of Companion life.
MIKEY: She moved to this border world and assumed control of the whorehouse from its previous owner, who kept the employees there addicted to drugs, and in so doing, she improved life for the girls. Mal and Nandi gradually move toward sex, pausing only when Nandi says "I ain't her", which Mal deflects without directly acknowledging her implication of his feelings for Inara.
MARC: Back in town, one of Nandi's girls, Chari, reports to Burgess on Mal's preparations, after which Burgess rallies his men, proclaiming women's ordained place as submissive servants to men, which he demonstrates by ordering Chari to kneel in front of him to do "a few more chores" in front of the crowd.
MIKEY: The next morning, Reynolds tries to explain his night with Nandi to Inara, but Inara calmly tells him that there is no reason to be embarrassed about his sex life, and also thanks him for comforting her friend. Nonetheless, Inara subsequently sobs deeply in private, and Nandi realizes that there was more to Inara's feelings than she let on.
MARC: Burgess's men attack the ranch, and a battle ensues, with the Serenity crew joining forces with the ranch's residents to fend off Burgess's forces. On board the Serenity, Wash and Kaylee trap some of Burgess' men, who invaded the ship, though Wash realizes that in so doing, he himself has been cut off from the bridge, preventing him from responding to Reynolds' call to join the battle. As Petaline gives birth, Chari lets Burgess inside. He quickly storms into Petaline's room, taking her newborn son. When Nandi tries to foil the kidnapping, Burgess fatally shoots her in the abdomen. He is pursued, however, by Reynolds, who captures him and drags him back to the ranch, where Petaline, holding her son, whom she has named Jonah, executes him.
MIKEY: Petaline tells the remaining thugs to leave, and orders the traitorous Chari to go with them, as she no longer has a place there. Following a funeral for Nandi, Serenity departs. Back on the ship, Inara reiterates her gratitude that Reynolds was able to comfort Nandi on what turned out to be her last night, but Reynolds can only regret his failure to save her. As Reynolds tries to broach the subject of his and Inara's unacknowledged feelings toward each other, Inara muses about how Nandi created a family, and how that kind of shared strength and love makes people never want to break away. She then informs him that she will be leaving Serenity.
"By Amazing Grace" by Marc Gunn
Marc: I am ever so grateful for the kindness and generosity of Gunn Runners over on Patreon. Thanks to all of these patreons: Angela Hughes, Carol Baril, Eric Ray, Sarah Crockett, William McKissack, Alexis , Brian M, James O, Jan C, Josh B, Kate D, Kurt G, LauraMay S, Lisa D, Miranda Nelson, Tim O
"Ties That Bind" by Mikey Mason
Mikey: Thank you , as always, to my amazing Patreon patrons for helping keep the music being made, especially Robin Abess, Brian Jackey, John Haight, John Lach, John R Woolard, Les Howard, Jeremy Jackson and Jennifer Lewis, Scott Mealy, Scott & Melanie Weinhusen.
Mikey: We would love your comments, songs and lyrics or links to videos to share in the next show. Use the hashtag #InTheVerse. You can post them on the Blue Sun Tour Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Marc: In the ‘Verse was produced by Marc Gunn and Mikey Mason. Sign up on our website and find out more about the Blue Sun Tour at http://fireflydrinkingsongs.com/intheverse/