Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the premiere of Joss Whedon’s Firefly.
Telling the story of the crew of the Firefly class spaceship Serenity, Firefly was supposed to be Whedon’s big follow-up to his hit shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Unfortunately, the Fox network execs barely gave Firefly a fair chance, choosing to air the second episode first and then continuing to air episodes out of order, making the storyline hard to follow. And so the show was cancelled before it even had a chance to begin.
However, since then, Firefly has become a cult favorite over the last decade. In fact, the DVD sales were good enough to earn the show a revival in the form of the movie Serenity. Now, ten years later, there is still talk of a revival and rumors that we may not have seen Serenity’s last flight.
To celebrate this wonderful show, I have picked out the 10 most memorable quotes from the series.
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10. ”He thinks he’s doing well, doesn’t he?” – Harrow, “Shindig”
The “he” in the quote is, of course, Captain Malcolm Reynolds, and probably encapsulates his entire life story. The eternal underdog, it is usually when his back’s against the wall or he’s about to get shot, stabbed, or beat on that Mal thinks he’s actually doing well. Mostly it’s because he simply doesn’t realize the full extent of the danger he’s in, but even when he does, he simply ignores the risk and acts like he’s still just about to win.
This scene is the perfect example of this. Mal gets in over his head in a duel to the death with a master swordsman, and despite his best efforts, never gets the upper hand. Well, that is until Inara provides enough of a distraction for Mal to pull off the one dirty trick he still had up his sleeve: cheating. And so it goes in many an episode.
9. ”We will rule over all this land, and we will call it… This Land.” - Wash, “Serenity”
This line serves as a brilliant introduction to Serenity’s wacky pilot, Wash. The image of a space pilot playing with toy dinosaurs certainly set up the tone for the whole series. This isn’t your typical sci-fi space cowboy show, folks. Welcome to a whole new ball game.
Wash’s knack for humor, even under torture, brought a much needed light to a show that admittedly took place mainly in the black of space. And don’t think that the dinosaurs are a one time thing; they can be seen in several other shots of Serenity’s bridge.
8.”The hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne!” – Chorus of “The Hero of Canton”, “Janyestown”
Easily one of the most memorable moments of the series is when this song begins. The crew lands on a little backwater moon, with Jayne more than a little nervous about his history there. However, instead of an angry mob, Jayne finds himself face to face with a giant statue of himself in the town square.
It is not until the song begins that Jayne finally gets some answers, and he has no idea what to do about it. It turns out his criminal enterprise years earlier, which ended with him dumping the loot, turned him into a folk hero. His reaction to the song is so priceless it’s a wonder that we didn’t hear the crew taunting him with the chorus in later episodes.
7. “Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?” “Big damn heroes, sir.” “Ain’t we just.” – Mal, Zoe, “Safe”
This line seems to have attained a life of its own, and even has a TV Tropes page dedicated to it.
After being separated from the rest of the crew, the Tams are kidnapped, with Simon being forced to use his medical skills. But when River makes some unique insights, she is taken for a witch and set to be burned at the stake. It seems that all may be lost, until Mal, Zoe, and Jayne show up like, you guessed it, big damn heroes.
While the crew of Serenity could hardly be called heroic by any stretch of the word, that never stops them from playing heroes when they get the chance. And on those occasions when they do come in to save the day, they are going to milk it for all it’s worth.
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6. “Sergeant, it’s a difficult mission, but you and I have to get it on.” “I understand. We have no choice. Take me, sir. Take me hard.” - Mal, Zoe, “War Stories”
Most of this episode centers around Wash feeling like the woman in his relationship with Zoe and his attempts to be more manly, as well as dealing with his jealousy for Zoe’s relationship with Mal. However, after being tortured by the sadistic criminal Niska, Wash thinks twice about joining in the crew’s many fights.
Clearly it was the torture talking when Wash suggested Mal sleep with his wife Zoe, but that doesn’t make this exchange any less amusing. It also helps to shed light on the true nature of Mal and Zoe’s relationship: they are friends and comrades in arms, nothing more.
5. “No power in the ‘verse can stop me.”- River, “War Stories”
What starts off as an offhand quip during a game at the beginning of the episode takes on a whole new meaning when it’s repeated at the end. With River and Kaylee pinned down by three gunman as they defend Serenity, River takes the gun from the trembling Kaylee and reassures her. River takes one look, closes her eyes, and kills the three attackers cleanly and efficiently.
While the answer to what happened to River wasn’t revealed until the film Serenity, this scene gave us our first glimpse into River’s neuroprogamming. The fact that she says that line in the same tone both times makes it even more chilling.
4. “…if your hand touches metal, I swear by my pretty floral bonnet I will end you.” – Mal, “Our Mrs. Reynolds”
This scene is probably the only time Mal actually pulls off a plan to completion without a hitch in the entirety of Firefly. Capping it off with this hilarious quip only makes the victory that much sweeter. The exchange just before this line where Mal acts offended that Jayne thinks him an ugly bride is almost equally funny.
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3. “You know the old saying…” “When you can’t run anymore, you crawl… and when you can’t do that…” “You find someone to carry you.” - Mal, Tracey, Zoe, “The Message”
This line always brings a tear to my eye. Tracey’s death was unfortunate, but he brought it on himself. A former soldier who fought alongside Mal and Zoe, Tracey mails his seemingly dead body to Zoe and Mal to be taken back to his home, only to awaken from his death-like sleep. Trouble follows Tracey wherever he goes, this time in the form of a crooked Alliance cop.
Desperate not to let Mal hand him over to the cop, Tracey pulls a gun on the crew and takes Kaylee hostage, leaving Mal with no choice but to shoot the boy himself. The sad irony of it is that if he had just remembered “the old saying” the whole time, Tracey would have known that despite his stupidity, Mal and Zoe would always be there to carry him.
2. ” Also, I can kill you with my brain.” – River, “Trash”
Following up one of Simon’s most badass moments, River finally gets one up on Jayne. It’s entirely possible that Jayne actually believed River’s threat, and after some of the things she does in Serenity, I’m sure some of the fanbase does too.
This is also one of the few moments where we actually get to see inside Simon’s mind a bit as well. He doesn’t hold a grudge against Jayne for nearly turning him and River over to the Alliance. Instead, he finally seems to get what it means to be part of a crew, and to have accepted his place on Serenity.
1. ”It strains the mind a bit, don’t it? You think you’re all alone… Maybe I come down the chimney, Kaylee, bring presents to all the good girls and boys. Maybe not though. Maybe I’ve always been here.” - Early , “Objects in Space”
Outside of the crew of the Serenity, bounty hunter Jubel Early is probably the most memorable character of the show. He dominates the final episode “Objects in Space” and picking out just one of his fabulous quotes to include on this list was extremely difficult.
The line: “Am I a lion? I don’t think of myself as a lion. You may as well though: I have a mighty roar,” was a close second, but I think this one captures a bit more of his essence and the mystery that surrounds him. Maybe he has always been with Serenity all along and no one knew it. I guess we’ll never know.
What’s your favorite Firefly quote? Let us know in the comments below.Previous