Jul 19, 2020
A ruthless bounty hunter boards Serenity to retrieve River. But he's feeling a bit unwelcome onboard and find a very unique way of escaping. What are objects made of? What is real? What is right? We have a great time exploring the themes in the final episode Firefly for 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 FOURTEEN 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 no 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 support us in this and other creative endeavors by supporting him at http://patreon.com/mikeymason/
MIKEY: And by supporting Marc at http://patreon.com/celtfather
MARC: As Serenity flies by a planet, River lies in bed listening to not-quite-audible voices. She arises and takes a walk through the ship's rooms and corridors, in her bare feet, encountering her shipmates in varied conversations with each other. Simon is relaxing with Kaylee in the common room, telling her an amusing anecdote about medical school. River suddenly "sees" them looking at her, with Simon telling her that he'd "be there right now", implying she is responsible for taking him away from his successful medical career.
MIKEY: She then finds Jayne and Shepherd Book in the kitchen, where she "hears" Jayne repeat his confession to Mal about selling out the Tams on Ariel, and Book mutter an angry but cryptic statement hinting at his less wholesome past. River continues to wander the ship and is moved by the sound of ocean waves as Zoe and Wash passionately kiss on the nearby bridge. Above the cargo bay, as Mal and Inara discuss her impending departure, River sees their unspoken frustrations over their unrealized relationship. None of the people she encounters are aware of her presence - except when speaking directly to her - making it clear that this is River's mind "walking" telepathically through the ship.
MARC: Fleeing the intense emotions, River runs down to the unoccupied cargo bay, where she spots a tree branch. She sees herself on leaf-strewn ground and picks up the branch, telling herself "It's just an object. Doesn't mean what you think." Suddenly, the real world returns, and she finds that she is holding one of Jayne's pistols while the crew surrounds her in a panic, trying to get her to give up the weapon. Mal takes the gun from her and discovers it is loaded and ready to fire. When Mal admonishes her for handling loaded weapons, River runs off, crying.
MIKEY: As Mal comments on how alone they are, a small vessel closes with Serenity, aboard which is a man reviewing wanted bulletins for Simon and River. Meanwhile, the crew discuss the dangers of River's presence on the ship. When Zoe muses whether River has ever handled a gun, Kaylee reluctantly tells everyone about her experience during their assault on Adelei Niska's SkyPlex, when River killed three attackers with single shots with her eyes closed. The crew begin to speculate that River may be a "reader", having psychic powers, and though Simon objects, they begin to question whether she is a danger to them. While talking, the crew are being listened to: outside the hull of Serenity, the bounty hunter has left his ship and has tapped into the hull, and below the room, in the cargo bay, River is listening through the floor plating.
MARC: Once the crew goes to sleep, the bounty hunter boards Serenity. He first encounters Mal, quickly knocks him unconscious, drops him into his cabin, and then locks the rest of the sleeping crew in their cabins. He surprises Kaylee in the engine room, ties her up, and threatens to rape her if she does not cooperate. Next, he disables Book with a surprise attack. Simon hears a noise and rises to check on his sister, only to be attacked by the stranger, who addresses him by name. The bounty hunter, Jubal Early, waxes philosophically on the nature of things while he demands to know where River is. Though Simon refuses to help Early, the bounty hunter threatens to kill him and rape Kaylee if he refuses, and the doctor reluctantly agrees.
MIKEY: With Simon accompanying him, Early checks out the cargo bay and shuttles. When Inara tries to appeal to Early's emotional side, he smacks her across the face, and then locks her in her shuttle. The two men finally arrive on the bridge, where Early settles on a direct threat, announcing loudly to the ship that he will kill Simon if River doesn't reveal herself. River then responds over the ship's intercom, telling Early about how she was unwanted on the ship but could not bring herself to leave, so she simply "melted away", becoming part of Serenity.
MARC: In the engine room, River's voice comes over the intercom, reassuring Kaylee and asking her for help. On the bridge, Early is skeptical about River's claim, but she reveals uncanny knowledge of the bounty hunter's own weaknesses. Early gradually starts to accept the possibility that River has joined with the vessel. Meanwhile, River sends Kaylee, who has freed herself, to unlock the cabins. Zoe begins to prepare an assault, but River insists that they do not use guns, and instead tells Mal of an alternate plan.
MIKEY: On the bridge, River continues her conversation with Early, needling him about his violent tendencies and his past. Early realizes that River is not part of Serenity, but she has managed to sneak onto his ship, which puts him on the defensive. River reassures him that she will go with him as his bounty, as she is a burden on her shipmates, and her departure will allow them to get on with their lives. As Early starts to leave, Simon tries to stop him, but in the process is shot in the leg. Jayne wakes up and pulls the curtain off of his weapons compartment, but just uses it as a blanket and returns to sleep. Leaving Simon in the cockpit, the bounty hunter starts his EVA back to his ship, but finds Mal outside, waiting in ambush. Mal shoves Early off into space, before welcoming River back aboard Serenity.
MARC: Later, in the infirmary, Simon instructs Zoe as she removes the bullet from his leg. Inara walks away from Mal as he tries to examine her cut lip. In the cargo bay, Jayne mocks Book's failure to defeat Early, despite "all them years of priest trainin'", and Book implies that he fought Early and only succumbed after a prolonged fight. Their friendship apparently restored after being damaged by the events of War Stories, Kaylee and River play jacks while Kaylee relates a racy anecdote from her past. River picks up and examines the bouncing ball, with its swirling, multicolored surface.
MIKEY: Meanwhile, Jubal Early tumbles helplessly through space and says, "Well... Here I am."
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, Troy Rodgers, Cary Whitney, Lilith Marek, Les Howard, James Regan, Marie Alm, Eric Ray, Alexis , Scott & Melanie Wienhusen, LauraMay Sorkin, Kurt Goodyear, Carol Baril, William McKissack, Sarah Crockett, Melinda & Jeremiah Westly, A. Murphy, Not Higgins
Mikey: Thank you so so much to the amazing Patreon patrons who help keep the music being made, especially Robin Abess, Brian Jackey, John Haight, Michael Khandelwhal, Les Howard, Jeremy Jackson and Jennifer Lewis, Josh Logan, Scott Mealy, Scott & Melanie Weinhusen, John R Woolard.
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/