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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