Sunday, September 10, 2006

Firefly: Captain and Crew

Two days ago I mentioned the show Firefly in passing. As part of my relaxing before dinner I'll share one thing I found interesting about its first three episodes.

The captain, Malcolm, has lived through a lot and now a complex and many-faceted personality. Each of his crew members reflects one part of his own character.

As a former soldier he understands that endurance is paramount (Zoe) and sometimes aggression is necessary (Jayne). These are the crew members whom he empathizes with and and relies on the most, but does not always want to be around.

Now the war is over and he is trying to find a new identity. But he is held back by his wartime record. He has noble ideals but is as a societal outcast (Inara, in his view). He wants to be happy (Kaylee) but the only thing he really wants is to fly his ship (Wash). These are the crew members he is fond of but has trouble relating to.

As he recovers from wartime emotional baggage two issues frighten him. To counter his soldier's past he desires, in some sense, to be a healer (Simon). To deal with all the death he has seen and caused he vaguely desires more spirituality (Book). These crew members are new. Malcolm is forced to deal with and even need them. But he keeps emotionally distant and is uncharacteristically rude to them.

Since I have only seen three episodes I have no idea if Firefly continues this theme, in which the crew are not only individuals but also reflections of the captain's troubled personality. If so then the series will have much more rewatchability.

I cannot think of another story with this theme. I doubt Joss Whedon invented it, but he may be the first to introduce it to prime-time television. (Not being a big television watcher, I expect someone will correct me.)

It makes me wonder what characters would represent my own personality issues.