FIREFLY UNIVERSE

PTSD and Mal. Really?

POSTED BY: BYTEMITE
UPDATED: Monday, January 27, 2020 10:08
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Sunday, March 15, 2009 9:22 AM

BYTEMITE


There's my question, right up front. Does Mal really have post traumatic stress disorder?

The general consensus seems to be yes, he does.

Looking back on what we know about some of the major events in his life, they definitely would seem to qualify as traumatic experiences.

Those of us who write fanfic absolutely love the PTSD angle, because it's such a gold mine for really good Mal angst and characterization. "He's a good guy, maybe not a nice guy, but you have to sympathize with him because, look, PTSD." Heck, a fanfic I've got in mind is the reason I'm wondering in the first place.

But as I try to think back and recall examples of him having PTSD in the comics, tv series, or movie, there's nothing clear-cut at all.

Classic symptoms of PTSD are flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, phobias, avoidance behaviours, paranoia/hypervigilance, anxiety, feelings of apathy or numbness, over-protectiveness, strained personal relationships, inhibited self-expression, and aggression.

And while, okay, Mal does exhibit quite a number of these symptoms, what he exhibits is really hard to separate from depression.

Don't get me wrong, depression isn't anything to sniff at either. There just aren't any "Oh, he SO has PTSD" moments that I can remember. There's a couple of times where someone manages to sneak up and startle him when he's engrossed in something, but that seems within the limits of normal behaviour. And in the cold opening in the pilot episode, he has what is unequivocally a system crash/ blue screen of death moment when the Alliance start carpet bombing the valley. But he is never shown to freeze in response to gun-fire, artillery fire, or bombardment, and has an impressive resistance to torture. He becomes agitated and aggressive when faced with the possibility of imprisonment, but that also seems within a realm of normalcy. The night with Nandi and that almost time with Saffron don't suggest he's had any trauma in that sense, either.

He doesn't seem to have any PTSD triggers derived from any events we could possibly attribute to his past. So, does he have PTSD?

Also, people seem to commonly agree that after Serenity Valley, Mal and Zoe spent time in an Alliance POW camp. I like the idea, but is there a canonical reference to that?






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Sunday, March 15, 2009 9:27 AM

AGENTROUKA


Who ever said he has PTSD?

I never noticed this being a commonly used idea, actually.

That's a nice list of symptoms, though, and indeed, Mal exhibits a large number of them. I vote depression. He's definitely not 100%.


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Sunday, March 15, 2009 9:41 AM

BYTEMITE


That's odd, I see it all the time. Especially in a lot of hurt/comfort fanfiction. And apparently at one point on wikipedia, he was listed under "Fictional characters who suffer from PTSD."

A common theme in Mal/River fanfics seems to be that Mal and River's experiences with trauma and emotional/psychological problems are a good basis for a relationship. I don't necessarily agree on the relationship part, but my feelings on that don't rule out the possibility that PTSD could actually be something the two of them share in common.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009 9:50 AM

BYTEMITE


I don't think the PTSD idea is necessarily wrong, because he does show signs of paranoia/hypervigilance and over-protectiveness, and those aren't a symptoms you commonly attribute to depression.

But those symptoms could be just personality traits; he wouldn't have ever made Sergeant if he didn't take care of his troops. And the more obvious PTSD symptoms of flashbacks, avoidance behaviour, and trigger behaviours aren't there.

Mal has a tendency to hide his problems, makes his diagnosis really hard to pin down. It could be there's a lot we aren't seeing.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009 10:15 AM

AGENTROUKA


Or it could just be that he doesn't need to have flashbacks to still qualify for PTSD.. and it might be a mix of PTSD and depression symptoms.

He's not unstable or suicidal or what we sometimes poculturally associate with the word "traumatized". Mal is fairly stable. But I really think the level of aggression and defensiveness are not character traits he took into the war, though his overt condemnation of every single thing that may have ever touched the Alliance might speak of a natural sort of paranoid/judgmental streak that was heightened by the war.

Some of it may be war trauma, some of it the massive and sudden shock of disappointment of the disastrous, prolonged surrender at Serenity Valley, some of it the loss of his family and home. He's got plenty of reasons to be messed up.

It's nothing like River's issues, though!

This being a common theme in Mal/River fics would explain why I haven't seen it. Mal/River goes against everything I believe about either character and I avoid reading it on principle. :)

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Sunday, March 15, 2009 10:32 AM

RALLEM


I am seeing a doctor at the V.A. Hospital in White River Jct, Vermont, which is the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and was talking to him about the series Firefly. The Doctor said Firefly was pure genius, and said that it covered PTSD so very well, and he wanted the other Doctors who work with PTSD in the VA to view Firefly as a training aid. I am not really sure what he meant whether he was talking about Serenity the pilot, or the whole series, and whether or not it was Mal or others who were victims.



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Sunday, March 15, 2009 11:06 AM

KATESFRIEND


I'm not sure you can get more canon than Joss Whedon himself, but he stated many times in interviews during 2002-03 that the character of Mal suffered from severe PTSD. It is also in the Firefly Visual Companion. Briefly, he based Mal on characters that survived the Civil War battle of Gettysburgh, where the amount of pure carnage on the battlefield still can hardly be believed. Joss was reading I believe it was "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara while on vacation in England when he got the concept for Firefly. He wanted a survivor from a massive battle with the PTSD symptoms to struggle against the backdrop of an unforgiving world, much like Civil War survivors were treated.

The original Mal in the first pilot was much more classic PTSD, kind of like Mal was in Serenity. But Fox made Joss make Mal nicer, so he would be more likable to the audience, who really didn't have a clue back then what war did to people. After so many more years of war, we're getting a better idea now what PTSD does to soldiers.

But there are many clues in Firefly about PTSD: Wash's comment to Mal about Mal's intimacy issues, Mal only going for wobbly headed Geisha dolls after being caught by Niska, the comment by the twins Fanty and Mingo in Serenity that Mal was unpredictable, fought when he should have talked, etc. And of course he could never voice feelings for Inara. The earliest fanfic makes a great deal about PTSD and has some pure gems from some authors drawn to the show because of their own PTSD, and those people wrote some of the best Mal characters I have ever read.

If you don't have a basis in PTSD, you would probably just think Mal is a jerk. But since Joss is a genius, nothing is ever as it seems, and Joss gave us all an opportunity at looking at life through a different lens, thanks to Mal. Do some more homework, but I think you can see that Joss had a little PTSD himself after losing Firefly.

One day the people of the world will want peace so much that the governments will have to get out of their way and give it to them.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Sunday, March 15, 2009 12:25 PM

MAL4PREZ


I go for the Mal=PTSD theory (which is pretty obvious in my fics) but I think there are many levels of PTSD. The image of an ex-soldier going deep flashback and ducking for cover every time the garbage truck makes a boom is, I think, a Hollywood stereotype. It may happen to some very unfortunate souls, but the more common experience of PTSD is more like Mal: an inability to do basic life stuff, and a complete lack of attachment to or control of his own emotions and motivations.

I guess that throwing the term "PTSD" out there references some things that may not apply. Mal went through an extremely shitty time that messed up his ability to enjoy life. That much is quite clear from just about everything we know of him. Call it PTSD if you want, or not. The term works for me.

As for the POW camp - it may have been mentioned in the Visual Companion. There's a paragraph about Mal and Zoe's history, something about how a year or so after the war Mal found himself homeless and adrift (I'm totally paraphrasing my memory of something I read years ago - someone with the book handy please correct me!) This passage was the basis of my theories of the Alliance POW camp and the destruction of Shadow. But I think it's open to many interpretations, so have at it!

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

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Sunday, March 15, 2009 12:38 PM

CELLARDOOR


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
I go for the Mal=PTSD theory (which is pretty obvious in my fics) but I think there are many levels of PTSD. The image of an ex-soldier going deep flashback and ducking for cover every time the garbage truck makes a boom is, I think, a Hollywood stereotype. It may happen to some very unfortunate souls, but the more common experience of PTSD is more like Mal: an inability to do basic life stuff, and a complete lack of attachment to or control of his own emotions and motivations.



That's *exactly* how I would characterize it. While there may be clinical cases that exemplify PTSD with the utmost clarity, I don't think all cases are that clear cut and Mal seems to be one of the latter. I've known some vets from more recent wars and they can still function fairly normally, but they DO have nightmares sometimes, and they DO have trouble relating to people sometimes. That doesn't mean they jump at every slammed door or all have to sit with their backs to the wall looking out into the room to avoid a perceived ambush.

Which ep is it... War Stories...(?) in which we see Mal and Zoe still eating apples with a knife to be sure they're not filled with grenades even if they KNOW it's not possible? That sounds like clear-cut habit resulting from PTSD if you ask me. However, in the Alliance-friendly bar in Train Job, Mal has his back to the room, leaving himself open to a possible ambush, but he doesn't seem concerned (or maybe he trusts Zoe enough that he feels she can cover him... OR it was just the best stage positioning for the cameramen :P)

We do know Mal has intimacy issues though as well, it's just that he manages to get along reasonably well in spite of the residual trauma he may experience. Even with the limited canon, I think we can identify at least a mild to moderate case of PTSD.


Edit: I also refrain from reading M/R fanfic on purpose. Just doesn't compute with my 'verse.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009 12:59 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


I went and looked up complex post traumatic stress disorder in Wikipidia and the one symptom that jumped out at me was:

'changes in, one's system of meanings, which may include a loss of sustaining faith or a sense of hopelessness and despair'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_post-traumatic_stress_disorder#Ad
ult_symptom_cluster


All of Mal's "personality quirks", except one could be explained as a normal reaction to combat and the stress of living on the run.

In fact, growing up on a ranch likely helped him cope in way. It provided early lessons in leadership and also dealing with loss. He grew up without a father (or so most think in that he only mentions his mother). He likely grew up with animals that hurt themselves or were slaughtered for food, the weather could make or break a season in an instant etc.

He's with in the range of "normal"(but who is normal any way?) except in one area, his faith. Mal isn't hopeless or despairing, but he did lose his faith, one of the symptoms of complex post traumatic disorder.

Usually faith sustains someone in a traumatic situation. A pastor or chaplain can provide enormous help in a traumatic situtation and in our military function as first line counselors on the battlefield and in the hospital.

It makes me wonder if Mal was such a believer that he expected his faith to fix every thing and when it didn't, that was his main trauma or did some trusted pastor/chaplain betray him in some way? I digress into the unknowable but very good fodder for fan fics.

http://fireflyfaninnc.livejournal.com/








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Sunday, March 15, 2009 1:01 PM

STINKINGROSE


I'd add Zoe and River to the list.

(Yes, River's a no-brainer in this regard, I understand.)

I feel a little silly doing a psych eval on fictitious characters, but it's really no worse than a theoretical case study.

I'd even venture to say that Zoe hits the bar on more behavioral symptoms than Mal.

However she's got Wash to help her work through the intimacy issues. You could argue that she's even overly attached to Mal, and he can be viewed as her touchstone to the past traumatic event(s).

Ack! I need to go get some sleep.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009 2:17 PM

BYTEMITE


Rallem: Yeah, I think I might have heard you talk about that before, and that story might have been the reason I originally started researching this.

Rouka: Possible, he sure didn't have a high opinion of the Alliance even back then. I get the impression all his reasons were initially tax related (most Rim world economies were thought by the Independents to be unable to support an off-planet tax) as well as the issues of self-government we're all more familiar with. I don't think his dislike of the Alliance was an irrational one.

But the overprotectiveness, I think that may be kind of telling. The extremes he's willing to go to in order to keep the people he cares about safe, while admirable at times, are definitely irrational. He may have had a streak of that before the war, but I think he has a genuine fear of loss now that's kind of suggested at in Better Days. Did anyone else interpret Inara as accusing Mal of telling about the money just so his crew wouldn't leave the ship to start new lives? I don't know if I like that, because I'd always liked to think that Mal always put his crew first, but that seemed to be implied.

I agree about River's problems being on an entirely different level. And I don't really know much about Mal/River myself; now and then I try to broaden my horizons and read unusual pairings, but usually I don't get very far before I run into some personal mental hangups over some aspect or another. I was just using it as an example of a group that would probably consider Mal to have PTSD.

Katesfriend: Nice insight on the wobbly-headed dolls post Niska! That could definitely be construed as avoidance behaviour. Here I am trying to recall evidence for PTSD, and it turns out my magnifying glass just wasn't powerful enough. Might have to look more closely for clues next time I'm watching.

Mal4Prez: Yeah, I think your story was actually the first time I'd ever encountered the post-war internment camp idea, and I also really like jetflair's. The two of them and others I've seen made me wonder if that was made official somewhere. I've REALLY got to pick up the Visual Companion. Thanks.

And yeah, I agree, the definition of a disorder is when a person experiences a loss of function in everyday life. Mal? He's physically healthy, but he's not really functioning in any social or life capacity, is he? I think Nathan Fillion once described Mal's only goal as just to continue. I wonder if Mal thinks he's capable of handling anything more than that.

Cellardoor: Can any of us honestly imagine Mal being a sound sleeper? The man has got to have nightmares that would make John Wayne curl up in a fetal position.

NCBrowncoat: My interpretation on Mal's loss of faith isn't that he expected God's protection, intervention, or tolerance, but that he was sure that he was on the right side and couldn't believe God would let the right side lose. That God wouldn't let all the men and women he'd fought alongside die for nothing. He wasn't expecting a miracle, he expected men to do the fighting, call in air support, and win the war. It was only retrospectively, after the Independents lost, that he wondered why God didn't do anything to help them, and felt God had betrayed them. He'd be kind of a fair-weather believer if he expected God's helping hand all along.

Doesn't really surprise me to hear that loss of faith is commonly associated with PTSD, though.

Stinking Rose: Ah, Zoe and Mal. There's an interesting look at the issue. Zoe's definitely progressed to a more functional level than Mal has, but every indication is that after the War, she was the worse off. She was the one who joined up the Dust Devils, she was the one raging in the post-war mugshot included in the Serenity movie extras. It's strange, as strongly as Mal believed, and as angry as he is now compared to Zoe, you would have expected him to be worse, but I don't think that's how it was.

They definitely protect and look after each other though, no question. They know there are times the other is weak and needs help. Little bit of that overprotectiveness in both of them.

Sorry about the long post, everyone.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009 3:21 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Rallem: Yeah, I think I might have heard you talk about that before, and that story might have been the reason I originally started researching this.

Rouka: ...

But the overprotectiveness, I think that may be kind of telling. The extremes he's willing to go to in order to keep the people he cares about safe, while admirable at times, are definitely irrational. He may have had a streak of that before the war, but I think he has a genuine fear of loss now that's kind of suggested at in Better Days. Did anyone else interpret Inara as accusing Mal of telling about the money just so his crew wouldn't leave the ship to start new lives? I don't know if I like that, because I'd always liked to think that Mal always put his crew first, but that seemed to be implied.

I agree about River's problems being on an
Katesfriend: Nice insight on the wobbly-headed dolls post Niska! That could definitely be construed as avoidance behaviour. Here I am trying to recall evidence for PTSD, and it turns out my magnifying glass just wasn't powerful enough. Might have to look more closely for clues next time I'm watching...

Mal4Prez: Yeah, I think your story was actually the first time I'd ever encountered the post-war internment camp idea, and I also really like jetflair's. The two of them and others I've seen made me wonder if that was made official somewhere. I've REALLY got to pick up the Visual Companion. Thanks.

And yeah, I agree, the definition of a disorder is when a person experiences a loss of function in everyday life. Mal? He's physically healthy, but he's not really functioning in any social or life capacity, is he? I think Nathan Fillion once described Mal's only goal as just to continue. I wonder if Mal thinks he's capable of handling anything more than that...



NCBrowncoat: My interpretation on Mal's loss of faith isn't that he expected God's protection, intervention, or tolerance, but that he was sure that he was on the right side and couldn't believe God would let the right side lose. That God wouldn't let all the men and women he'd fought alongside die for nothing. He wasn't expecting a miracle, he expected men to do the fighting, call in air support, and win the war. It was only retrospectively, after the Independents lost, that he wondered why God didn't do anything to help them, and felt God had betrayed them. He'd be kind of a fair-weather believer if he expected God's helping hand all along.

Doesn't really surprise me to hear that loss of faith is commonly associated with PTSD, though...


Sorry about the long post, everyone.



I was thinking along your lines but my mind wandered off on a bit of a tangent, wondering if there was a more more personal component to Mal's loss of faith.

And I totally forgot about the protectiveness issue. A good Sargeant always takes care of his troops (crew) but it's magnified in Mal.

And that leads to the intimacy issues...volumes has been written on that.

http://fireflyfaninnc.livejournal.com/








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Sunday, March 15, 2009 5:12 PM

RALLEM


I was originally thinking about the soldier whom Zoe tasked to cover them while Mal went duck hunting and the soldier just froze. Even though it happened while the traumatic encounter was still occuring couldn't that have been PTSD too? They were there for quite a while.





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Sunday, March 15, 2009 5:47 PM

BYTEMITE


Yeah, that's a symptom of PTSD as well. Soldiers freezing up like that in battle was actually initially how PTSD was discovered. Back then, it was called "shell shock" (as in artillery shells) or the "1000 yard stare."

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Sunday, March 15, 2009 9:32 PM

ANOTHERSKY


Commander whats-his-face (the one they're "not gonna tell on" for losing it, screamin about how he'd lost his limbs)-- is the stage just before extreme shock, I believe, and we are shown him in extreme shock; fixed stare, frozen etc. Although shock can occur in PTSD it is different from PTSD as a syndrome.


Mal: I think he qualifies, definately. But as we don't see inside anybody's head (excepting River's on several occasions), we can't tell if he's Hollywood Flashbacking. But the startling, the continuity "gaps", the emotionally blocked tangle, and his "off" moments are there, as portrayed by Nathan Fillion, intentional or not. Mal is not flying with all sails, clearly. Joss said it was Mal's story through River's eyes, which I think says a lot about intent.

For the obvious, there is Serenity Valley, and Zoe's quote on that concerning her difference from Mal: "All I ever lost there was a war."

This implies a big loss for mal.

And one of River's plot functions seems to be to tell the audience (and other characters) what makes people (eg Jayne, Book, the boss in Safe, Badger, Saffron, Mal...) tick. So:

I'm not sure if it remains in the movie, but in the start of the shooting script there's a very lucid and candid moment between them where she looks straight at him, says "everyone leaves you", then goes back to the usual thematic word salad.

She's just summed up what I believe is Mal's greatest fear. Where everyone and everything he fights so hard to keep and protect is just...gone.

Out of Gas is literally that episode, right up through "You all gonna be here when I wake up?" Funny as all get out that Book's the one who comforts him, considering Mal's MO. Irony.

All these completely aside, there are what I see as tons of PTSD moments and reactions for Mal; in fact River is the only one who outdoes him. Mal is the high-functioning version. Besides having a brain in one piece. I'll see if I can make a list later, but the biggest example is Mal's "double personality"--even ever-tactful Inara mentions in the Movie that she doesn't know who he's going to be next when the stress gets piled on. Mal tries to be stable, but I don't think he is--that's his character weakness, which combined with his "honest streak" gets him in a lot of scrapes.

Nathan mentions that Mal is "hollowed-out inside"
and that hollow is filled with an anger that is distilled fear. Mal has major rage issues, that you can definitely see when spark touches gunpowder--he's easy-going, quiet, doesn't want a fuss and then wham--there's a bullet in your brainpan, and not in cold blood neither. Considering this fact that Mal is not a happy killing machine under normal circumstances (read: Jayne), something else must make him do this.
I wrote elsewhere that he seems to make the change when a crisis situation escalates to a temporary apocalypse.

List later. Always need proof.


"I think we lost our fuzzy dice back there."
"Going for a ride"

Another Sky

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Sunday, March 15, 2009 11:32 PM

RALLEM


Perhaps Nathan had some experience acting the PTSD symptoms from his role in "Saving Private Ryan," even though his role was not that big in the movie. I know the main characters except for Matt Damon had to go through a form of Basic Training together, and Matt Damon had to go through his form of Basic Training alone so the other actors wouldn't have a sense of familiarity with him. I wonder if the extras like Nathan had to go through a form of Basic Training too.



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Monday, March 16, 2009 3:59 AM

CELLARDOOR


I just saw this on the FFF.net quotation marquee, for what it's worth:

"He lost more than the war. He lost a sense of compassion and forgiveness. He lost his faith in God." - Nathan Fillion on Mal

Aside: isn't it phenomenal that we can have discussions like this about a show that lasted only one season and a movie? I continue to be astounded by the quality and complexity that Joss Whedon created in Firefly.

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Monday, March 16, 2009 5:04 AM

RALLEM


I wanted to say something to the affect that Mal lost his belief in God, but I think due to the evidence of the series that he hadn't lost his ability for compassion and forgiveness.



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Monday, March 16, 2009 6:12 AM

BYTEMITE


Another Sky: You're right, emotional shock is different from PTSD. A person has to suffer symptoms of PTSD for longer than six months for it to be considered such. Although, while Lieutenant No-arms-no-legs might be just freezing up in shock for an uncertain amount of time during the battle and after, we don't know how long poor Private Bendis (pilot episode) has been in his state. Serenity Valley was a campaign that lasted several weeks, and didn't exactly end when combat was (mostly) over.

Good points on the unpredictability and instability. He has very abnormal responses to stress. So far, his reactions seem scaled to the magnitude of the stressor, if surprisingly violent, but that could only be a matter of time.

You mention that he has continuity gaps and off-moments, could you elaborate on those?

A side comment: Jayne may be a crude brute, but I don't think he's a killing machine. I don't think it's the blood, explosions, or people dying that motivate him, but rather survival and the thrill of the hunt or fight. He's been shown to be bothered by death (Jaynestown, Serenity movie), and while it's not always a consistent reaction, I don't think that would be the case if he was JUST a killer.

Rallem: Hmm. Well, sometimes yes, and sometimes no. He definitely still has a conscience and even a bit of a noble streak, but compassion and forgiveness seem to be on a strictly case by case basis. He's not a soft-hearted man by any stretch of the imagination. He won't like it, but if he has to, puppies WILL be shot.

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Monday, March 16, 2009 10:34 AM

LESSISMORE


Yeah, I think so, pretty much. When he is really ticked the years fall away and he is again back to his former self. He was, at the outset of the war, a true believer. By the end all he believes in has been pretty much striped away. He is left with a modified personal code, a very modified family unit, and his survival instinct, until the events of Firefly and Serenity. Written damn well with a "been there and done that" for real feel I find a lot of nuance and depth in his performance. For example, the way he got off is bunk in Serenity when Inara called. That was pitch perfect. All asleep, then, all awake on his feet. Oh, not an actual emergency, ok, I'll be a bit sleepy again. The whole crew (except Simon, and at times, River, are hyper-vigilant, and, time would have cured that)A change in engine pitch and they all know it and the most attuned respond the fastest. Etc. I think when Mal said "Wars over we're all just folks now" he acknowledged that all of them were damaged in their own ways. The least damaged among them were Wash, Simon, and Kaylee. Wash was essentially what was the best in them all. He, ah hem, died for their sins. Kaylee and Simon had the most in common in regard to being less damaged (?) and could heal their hurts and renew themselves in each other. Zoe has been able to compartmentalize her thoughts and put her losses away for private times. Book went through hell somewhere, sometime, and found essential belief once again. This was both his end and his salvation. Jayne has a very young spirit. He is a child in many ways and looks to Book and Mal for real guidance. On their own, they are a mess. Together, they are a formidable crew, an unconventional warfare unit extraordinaire, and a surrogate family. These are things that help deal with PTSD. Friends, Family, Understanding, a flexible approach, and acceptance. Mal accepts who and what he has become because, perhaps, way down deep, he feels he should be the way he was at the start. But, it was all too much, for too long, and the way he now process everything has changed and he may never recover fully. Additionally, however, if he were he would be less effective at what he does a be more vulnerable and open to more emotional damage.

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Monday, March 16, 2009 11:54 AM

BYTEMITE


Group and relationship therapies are apparently commonly recommended treatments for PTSD; familiarity, tolerance, and acceptance help lessen current stresses as a patient copes with the old trauma. Seeking out some form of support and building his crew definitely would have been a beneficial activity for him.

Off hand, I'm more than willing to just label Mal's behaviour pattern as PTSD, but I'm still finding it ambiguous if he has PTSD in a technical, medical diagnosis sense.

On wikipedia, it says "PTSD sufferers re-experience the traumatic event or events in some way. As a result, they tend to avoid places, people, or other things that remind them of the event, and are exquisitely sensitive to normal life experiences."

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Monday, March 16, 2009 12:23 PM

CELLARDOOR


For a slightly more specialized source, here's the WebMD link:

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder

And a key few paragraphs: "Although the disorder must be diagnosed by a mental health professional, symptoms of PTSD are clearly defined. To be diagnosed with PTSD, you must have been in a situation in which you were afraid for your safety or your life, or you must have experienced something that made you feel fear, helplessness, or horror. [I think all those emotions could have played out on Mal's face at Serenity Valley.]

The worse the trauma, the more likely a person will develop PTSD, and the worse the symptoms. The most severely affected are unable to work, have trouble with relationships, and have great difficulty parenting their children.

Research has shown that PTSD changes the biology of the brain. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and PET (positron emission tomography) scans show changes in the way memories are stored in the brain. PTSD is an environmental shock that changes your brain, and scientists do not know if it is reversible."

It almost sounds like the cause is as important to the diagnosis than the symptoms (the effects themselves, if not more so.

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Monday, March 16, 2009 12:49 PM

BYTEMITE


Sounds like sensitization.

Normally the term applies to things like allergies, which cause an immune response that escalates with repeated exposure. Initial contact with the allergen changes the body's physiology, so that thereafter the body always has a certain, sometimes worsening physical response to the stimulus.

Could be PTSD is a chemical sensitization to an unusual quantity of adrenaline or other fear/fight-or-fight response related chemical. The dose makes the poison, you know. Changes the body's physiological reaction to the pathway permanently.

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Monday, March 16, 2009 4:48 PM

RALLEM


It has been mentioned that the Original Malcolm Reynolds was a darker brooding character and the network insisted that Mal be made a more likeable person, so I wonder if the original would have been more convincing even though I am told by a psychiatrist fan of the series that the series was a masterful display of PTSD.



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Monday, March 16, 2009 5:51 PM

ANOTHERSKY


Jayne: when I said "happy killing machine", I was a little on the caffeine, pardon. What I meant by that apparently flippant phrase is that when Mal kills, it's from a totally different motive than when Jayne kills. Jayne kills for reasons, whether he's happy about it or not. Mal, according to his nature, tries to resolve without killing first. But push his buttons in a particular way and we skip that step real fast---go on emotional fast-forward. And while Jayne certainly sees his killing as simultaneously a.) part of his job and b.) kind of a problem, Mal gives the impression that he is deeply disturbed about it, though he wouldn't and can't take it back.

In other words, deep down Jayne has accepted(or possibly never questioned) the inevitability of killing people in his job, and in those very specific circumstances, Mal has not.
Not in the mechanics of the thing(that's obvious), it's a very fine difference: like so many other things he's accepted the *possibility* of killing people, and has killed people. It's the *certainty* that eludes him.

Feel free to contest. :D

Whoever said that Jayne is a young soul and several of the others are old souls, I think hit it dead on(pun unintended) for the quality they emanate.

I'll get around to posting that Mal list sometime this week.

"I think we lost our fuzzy dice back there."
"Going for a ride."


Another Sky

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Monday, March 16, 2009 5:59 PM

BYTEMITE


Ah, yes, then I do agree with that. The motivations and emotions between even Mal/Zoe survival killing and Jayne survival killing are two very different sorts of mentalities, no contest here. And Jayne has a simplicity that's almost childlike that somehow makes him in a spiritual sense seem not as guilty.

I wonder. If Joss Whedon HAD gotten Fox to let Mal be darker all through the series, would THAT have been a Hollywoodized version of PTSD? People with Mal's sort of PTSD can't always be gloom and glower, can they? Maybe it's more realistic that he has multiple layers and sides to his personality.

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Monday, March 16, 2009 8:01 PM

ANOTHERSKY


Oh, yeah, definitely about the different sides. It's what makes Mal's character.

Sometimes during the series and the movie I hurt because he's smiling, but it's the smile that shows he knows he's not happy. He just wants to truly laugh for a minute without the anchor around his neck--obviously the humor's in him, and it's just wrong. Again, that same quick intensity for humor seems to oddly be part of the fuel for explosive anger...whatever that means. Examples again elude me, and I am procrastinating doing real work by fantasizing about the character motivations of a show that was canceled...oh lets see HOW many years ago? Yes, this is the most complicated show I've ever come across.

Jayne: My acquaintance adores him. Asked why: "He's just so crude and stupid and mercenary...and he can't help himself." I got a good laugh on that one.

Do you think there's a difference between Mal's "PTSD" and Zoe's?

"I think we lost our fuzzy dice back there."
"Going for a ride."

Another Sky

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Monday, March 16, 2009 11:45 PM

RALLEM


I don’t think Zoe is suffering from PTSD, and that she was able to reconcile any losses she may have experienced during the war. Wasn’t it posted above somewhere that Zoe said all she ever lost was the war?

I think Jayne is anything but stupid. Sure he is crude and mercenary, and he acts stupid at times, but through out the series Jayne did hints of his true intelligence, I think. I believe Jayne is using his act as a sort of tool to disarm any possible adversaries by leading them to believe he is stupid, slow witted, or to under estimate his abilities. I think a hint to this is in “Out of Gas,” when Jayne tells Mal he was smart enough to find them, and Mal responds by looking at Jayne shocked and replying that he was.




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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 1:12 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
I don’t think Zoe is suffering from PTSD, and that she was able to reconcile any losses she may have experienced during the war. Wasn’t it posted above somewhere that Zoe said all she ever lost was the war?



Well.. unlike Mal, Zoe is probably really in denial about her PTSD.

In no way is she completely fine. She seems fairly unable to truly open up to Wash. She has completely unnecessary conflicts with im, like in War Stories, denial of th reality around her (Babies on Serenity? Hello?), the same compulsive apple cutting that Mal does. her entire life revolves around the job she had in the war. Mal made his own path, Zoe just follows him.


I don't blamne her, but she is definitely damaged.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 3:58 AM

BYTEMITE


Agreed, and also, in Better Days, it says that it was Zoe who became a terrorist for a little while after the war. Not Mal. Maybe Mal had just become defeatist and too depressed to fight by then, but it seems to me like Zoe had more trouble letting go of the war than Mal did.

Zoe's military soldier, not volunteer. She was born and raised vesselside, according to various canon sources. When her side lost and she was no longer a soldier, I suspect she had no idea how to function outside military life. I'd even go as far as to say she thought her life was over, because what else did she have? So she looked to join back up with some version of her old life, and ran with the Dust Devils for a little while.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 5:21 AM

RALLEM


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
I don’t think Zoe is suffering from PTSD, and that she was able to reconcile any losses she may have experienced during the war. Wasn’t it posted above somewhere that Zoe said all she ever lost was the war?



Well.. unlike Mal, Zoe is probably really in denial about her PTSD.

In no way is she completely fine. She seems fairly unable to truly open up to Wash. She has completely unnecessary conflicts with im, like in War Stories, denial of th reality around her (Babies on Serenity? Hello?), the same compulsive apple cutting that Mal does. her entire life revolves around the job she had in the war. Mal made his own path, Zoe just follows him.


I don't blamne her, but she is definitely damaged.



I think Zoe is less damaged than you think. She wanted to have a baby with Wash even if it were going to be difficult and with the possiblity of losing it.



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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 5:58 AM

BYTEMITE


Zoe's definitely improved. It's hard to tell how much.

As of just before Miranda, I think she was more stable than Mal in a PTSD sense. After, with Wash gone, who knows?

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 6:12 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:


I think Zoe is less damaged than you think. She wanted to have a baby with Wash even if it were going to be difficult and with the possiblity of losing it.




Well, that's the choice all prospective parents make, but there's having a baby under whatever are the "normal" circumstances of your time, and then there's having a baby in decidedly more dangerous circumstances. It's not like Zoe doesn't have a choice here, she just values sticking with Mal is their unstable, violent rebel life over a safer life, the way Wash would prefer - which would be the much more responsible choice.

I think she's trying to stick to her military roots at all cost, as has been said here. Not the mark of an undamaged person.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 7:03 AM

MAL4PREZ


My take on Zoe is that her upbringing prepared her for the end of the war. When you grow up a soldier, you know that you might die in an ugly way, or you might lose in a uglier way. I'm not saying she didn't get hurt - it would appear that she lost her family along the way, and that must have sucked quite a lot - but she would have always known that a life of peaceful retirement wasn't in the cards for her. She was prepared for loss, even trained for it.

Mal, on the other hand, grew up loving a certain kind of life, then volunteered for the military because his way of life was in danger (one assumes). He had a cause he believed in and he thought God was on his side. He probably believed his side would win, even if he didn't make it through, because the Independents were *right*. Losing, and losing the way he did, was a complete betrayal by God and all that should have been structured and orderly in the `verse. He was in no way prepared for that.

So while losing damaged them both, I think it was much more profound for Mal. Zoe knew how to take a beating and move on in her usual soldierly way, but Mal was completely destroyed.

ETA: I also don't see Zoe's hard-assed attitude as purely a consequence of losing the war. I think she was always was a tough soldier, and she'd be the same no matter what. Really, I see no PTSD-type symptoms in her, other than the apple thing, which I don't find unreasonable.

The only real oddness I see in Zoe is the strength of her attachment to Mal, that her partnership with him overrides even her marriage. But I wouldn't call that war damage. Not sure what I would call it.

-----------------------------------------------
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 7:45 AM

BYTEMITE


Hmm. I could see that. Zoe joining up with the Dust Devils and continuing to follow Mal could have been just that, trying to hold on to her "usual soldiery way." Just because the Dust Devils were terrorists doesn't mean she was an angry terrorist trying to keep the fight going at any cost. Could be it's just all she knows.

Their relationship is definitely more than JUST a war buddy thing, even though I hear war buddies can be really close too, best friends. Mal and Zoe are beyond best friends. I think of them as brother and sister in arms, blood mixed by battle, and for a good while they were the only family they each had left. There's no one they can rely on more, and therefore no one they're more loyal to. Their roles as sergeant and corporal are force of habit and surface only, underneath, they're pretty equal, and Zoe questions Mal's orders and actions more than Wash gives her credit for. Like about leaving that man behind in the movie, or whenever his plans veer slightly too close to reckless.

In fact, even back during the war, I suspect Mal wasn't a hardass about people bringing up practical objections to his orders. His style back then seems to have been very fluid, taking ideas from his men as needed and applying them to whatever crazy greater goal he had in mind.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 8:00 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
ETA: I also don't see Zoe's hard-assed attitude as purely a consequence of losing the war. I think she was always was a tough soldier, and she'd be the same no matter what. Really, I see no PTSD-type symptoms in her, other than the apple thing, which I don't find unreasonable.

The only real oddness I see in Zoe is the strength of her attachment to Mal, that her partnership with him overrides even her marriage. But I wouldn't call that war damage. Not sure what I would call it.




I agree that Zoe isn't damaged in the same way Mal is, partly through her upbringing. But at the same time she has a much easier time hiding her "damage" behind Mal. She doesn't bear the responsibility of making choices, she follows Mal. She doesn't have to justify anything, she just points at Mal's often-expressed anger. She doesn't have to become friends with anyone because she has to be there for Mal 24/7. She doesn't have to confront herself because she has Wash to focus on, this baby-containing future to fantasize about. Marrying Wash, in that regard, isn't THE step toward healing or all that brave, because it provided her with a great distraction from herself.

In a way, Zoe has moved on even less than Mal has. Mal is the one who made himself a home, Mal is the one with close bonds within the crew, Mal is the one making all the choices (only rarely questioned by Zoe). In her own way, Zoe is incredibly passive, as if afraid to take a step on her own.

Hell, I think when Mal and Inara get together, their relationship will be healthier than Wash and Zoe's because I think Mal would actually want to open up to Inara, or at least be able to communicate why and when he doesn't. Which Zoe is really really bad at with Wash.

I find it fascinating that this doesn't jump out at others like it does at me, because it occured to me fairly early on about Zoe. :)

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 8:11 AM

BYTEMITE


I guess I just have a different perspective of Zoe, although mine's kind of fuzzy around the edges. I see her questioning Mal a lot, and I don't see her hiding behind his command. If he does something she doesn't like, she confronts him about it.

I agree with you that she was damaged and probably still is, and that getting onboard Serenity helped her a lot, but just how much is hard for me to tell.

For me it comes back to the Dust Devils. Did Zoe join them out of habit, out of a desire to maintain her habits, or because she was affected by the war? I could see it all three ways, and two of those suggest PTSD.

And if she has PTSD, just how much is she healed? How much of Zoe's stoic behaviour is her military upbringing, and how much is a defensive mechanism?

Something I do agree with you is that she really latched on to Wash, to the point where she didn't really interact with the rest of the crew apart from Wash and Mal.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 8:27 AM

RALLEM


I have no doubt that Mal was an eclectic leader in combat, and I think Zoe might have been his heavy hand when it came to doling out punishment, unless it was a situation which required the Sarge's touch. I think to Zoe and Mal Serenity is their idea of home and heaven, where they can get a good crew and take jobs as they need them. That probably was the reason Zoe mellowed out on the idea of Serenity not being operational, when Mal brought up the subject of them being able to stay out of the ALliance's reach.



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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 9:37 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
I agree that Zoe isn't damaged in the same way Mal is, partly through her upbringing. But at the same time she has a much easier time hiding her "damage" behind Mal. She doesn't bear the responsibility of making choices, she follows Mal.

I just don't agree - she decided to follow Mal, didn't she? OK, maybe that's my own fanon, but a career military Amazon woman ended up second in command to a volunteer, and that seems odd to me. You think a person like Zoe let herself get into that situation unwillingly?

She does have an easier time hiding her damage than Mal, but I don't think it's "hiding behind" Mal. I guess it's a difference in how we see what she truly is. You seem to be saying she is not truly her self when she's with Mal. I think she is, and she's chosen her place intentionally.

She does have a tendency to go along with Mal when he's walking a fine edge, I think that's because he earned her respect in the war, and she has chosen to make him lead dog. Face it - Zoe is not a natural leader. She's not a people person (witness the interview in Bushwhacked.) She has no ambition to run things herself, but feels more comfortable with some semblance of military rank-and-file to guide her along. Now, I'd hate that with a passion, but I'm not of the military mentality. It makes sense to me that someone with her upbringing would be comfortable living in the shadow of a leader she respects. Doesn't mean something's wrong with her.


Quote:

In a way, Zoe has moved on even less than Mal has. Mal is the one who made himself a home, Mal is the one with close bonds within the crew, Mal is the one making all the choices (only rarely questioned by Zoe). In her own way, Zoe is incredibly passive, as if afraid to take a step on her own.
Or maybe she simply chooses not to. Because she did at least once take a step on her own - the Dust Devil thing. She must not have liked it out there on her own, because she didn't stay with it.

Another point where we see different: I don't have the problem with a child on the ship. (Other than that I find baby-rearing fics boring as hell LOL!) These characters are not living in our world. No where is 100% safe. They have to take what they can get.

In the Killer Angels analogy, Zoe lost the Civil War and now she's out in the Wild West, trying to eke out a living. Sure, a lot of folks would say: "if you're gonna have a baby, leave this crew of miscreants and go back East to raise it proper!" But she simply can't live in the East (return to the Bushwhacked interview). She knows what she wants in life, what's important to her, and she's not giving it up. She wants to have her thing with Mal and her thing with Wash too. She's demanding that she have both, on her own terms.

I think it's brave of her, and I admire it. But then, I've never believed that child rearing must take place under rigidly defined conditions. I think "safe" can be more dangerous for a child than letting him or her experience life as it is. Personally, I would never raise my kid in suburbia. But that's me.

Not to say something that everyone knows: aren't these characters the shit? So many different interesting ways to see them, and so many relatable issues.

Bytemite: I see it more like you do. Mal and Zoe have a strange and deep relationship, certainly something outside the norm. But that doesn't automatically make it unhealthy. After what they lived through, I think they should live life on their own terms.

As for the Dust Devils: I wonder if we'll ever learn of the circumstances of that? Maybe another comic series years down the road? It takes so long!

-----------------------------------------------
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 9:58 AM

BYTEMITE


I heard someone say that somewhere canon, maybe one of the visual companions, it's written that Zoe was transferred into Mal's command about 2.5 years before Serenity Valley.

Never seen it myself, so I don't know for sure. Kinda makes you wonder what both of them were doing those 7.5 years before then if it's true.

I like your fanon though. :)

As for their relationship, there could possibly be an element of trauma touchstone there. But I think their relationship is far, far more positive and forward focused for both of them than it is negative or constricting.

Rallem: Kinda like it is on the ship, except for those "out-the-airlock" moments, eh? :)

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 12:23 PM

AGENTROUKA


I guess we disagree on many points, then.

It's not that I see Zoe as a frail skeleton of her true self, waiting to break as soon as Mal is out of her sight, but I think that not all of what she does is healthy and it is not the normal "not a leader" kind of reluctance, but a fairly extreme reluctance to truly confront herself or step outside the chain of command-life she knows.

It's not all there is to Zoe, but I see it clearly.

Children on Serenity.. I guess it's the difference between living in a lonely cabin on a hostile, violent prairie in 1850 - and living in those conditions in 2009. The former was a wide-spread way of life, the latter is a real choice with vastly unnecessary dangers.

I get that "wanting it all" is a brave thing for women to do but there is a line to draw between brave and selfish. She's selfish with regards to Wash and she's selfish with regards to a child. Marriage is a partnership and so far the only one making concessions has been Wash. It's the reason I see their marriage failing (before being reconciled) in my personal canon. It'd be one thing if they both wanted it that way (Crazy, but less selfish) but Zoe completely disregards Wash's reasonable protest, as if his opinion doesn't count. With this serene "I want to meet our children one day", as if his worries hadn't even registered. I find the whole scene supremely creepy, actually. It's not like they'd have to move to the Core. There's a big range of places I'm sure some even Zoe could tolerate for a while, and I doubt everywhere is as frequently in mortal danger as Serenity is.

This inability to compromise with Wash, even truly communicate, aknowledge his right to have a say in their lifestyle choice.. it really struck me. I can't see anything but bad in this scene and it's pretty key to me.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 12:59 PM

BYTEMITE


It's too bad they didn't get to keep the money in Better Days.

In that comic book, Zoe expresses that she would be willing to leave Serenity with Wash and start a family in a safe environment provided they had the money.

And, I assume, if Zoe felt that Mal would be okay if she left.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009 7:08 PM

PLATONIST


Good points everyone, enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts. I'm not wanting to take sides here, but from my viewpoint it seems by the time Zoe was ready to leave Mal to start a family with Wash, it was too late, time wouldn't let her, Wash dies.

The BDM has always left me with the impression that Zoe realizes that Mal and Serenity are no longer offering her what Wash can, maybe sometime after Lilac, but then all hell breaks loose and her and Wash are committed to see Mal through one more time, metaphorically, help him out of the Valley, too. Unfortunately it’s Wash that dies. Ironically it’s Zoe that stays and Mal is victorious this time and rejuvanated to take on another challenge...see Inara for that:)

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009 3:58 AM

BYTEMITE


Rejuvenated? I can't imagine any of the crew being exactly rejuvenated after that. Even Mal.

Despite his very inspirational speech, I don't think it was a fountain of spirit that he was operating on after Book's death. Sure, there were some noble reasons to do what he did, but I think he was motivated by first survival, and after Haven, and finding Miranda, vengeance.

Even IF Book's death boosted him up in some way(unlikely, because in the end it's ANOTHER person Mal's lost and failed), he then would've gotten kicked in the face by whatever newfound spirit he had when Wash died. It'd be a belated response, because they were pretty busy, but the emotions would have to be there and I think the whole business would hit Mal very hard. He takes the responsibility he has for his crew very seriously. And, Wash and Book were friends (or as close as Mal gets to having friends).

Inara staying (or being ambiguous about leaving, at least), is kind of a consolation prize. All in all, the crew lost, even if they succeeded.

But I agree with you on Zoe. I think she was ready to go away with Wash, just the opportunity got stolen from her.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009 4:36 AM

PLATONIST


Hmmm, doesn't Joss say something to the effect (on the CE comments) that Zoe looses something in the BDM and Mal gains something? I was just going by that, no judgment on what Mal may or may not internalize about Wash's death, in general terms it's a big win for Mal, even though he lost crew. He's kind of used to that being in command. Its part of the responsibility you need to shoulder.

And you’re right, it will be a delayed reaction, because Mal, I think, started to recognize what Zoe and Wash wanted, a life shared in love and without violence i.e., creating a child, together. It wasn’t happening on Serenity. And I hate to bring this up, but does Mal look all that depressed at the end of the movie? He at least looks like he’s ready to move forward.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009 5:12 AM

BYTEMITE


That's what Mal does... Doesn't mean he's necessarily happy or feeling good about events.

Compare him at the end of the movie with him at the end of Trash. THERE is a content, victorious Mal. Bit of bravado to cover the embarrassment, true, but I do think that Mal considers the heist a big success, and is satisfied by how things turned out.

I picture Mal as having never really taken the death of his men well, or having been able to get over it easily. He goes on, but each time he gets a little more damaged. Look at when Tracey dies. Tracey turned on them! Mal was the one who had to shoot Tracey! But once again, I'm sure Mal sees it as he failed Tracey. And he doesn't seem to even have to know someone very long for the same response (Nandi).

It kind of goes along with the whole over-protectiveness and fear of loss aspect of his possible PTSD. He might not show it, he might shoulder it and still manage to be the leader, but in the case of him having PTSD I think death is going to hit him hard in general because he's sensitized to it.

EDIT: I think Joss was talking about Zoe losing Wash and Mal getting a chance with Inara in that comment. Not that Mal's better off from an emotional standpoint than when he started the movie. Although, with Inara around, he might be able to get better... At least until she drops her bombshell on him.

The guy really can't catch a break.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009 6:26 AM

RALLEM


I am wondering if Zoe had struggled through the four degrees of separation during the battle with the Reavers, or if maybe that was a temporary emotional journey and the real four degrees of separation began after Serenity was rebuilt. I in the past have dealt with grief and figured my emotional struggles were over only to find later on they weren’t, so I wonder if Zoe will face similar delayed struggles.

I wanted to discuss Mal’s possible ptsd reactions if he were to get acquainted with Inara in a romantically, but I don’t want to reveal Inara’s secret because it is a spoiler.




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Wednesday, March 18, 2009 6:33 AM

BYTEMITE


People can only grieve when they have the time to devote to it. Poor Zoe's obviously trying to keep herself busy, but eventually the repairs will be done, and they'll be sailing through the black again, all alone, not much to do between planets, and she'll be STUCK.

You could try skirting around what her secret might be, I probably know what you're talking about and can follow along. >_> I understand not wanting to say it out right, and a lot of people would appreciate it since this thread isn't marked for Inara spoilers.

Or there's a thread that I started a while back to discuss Inara's secret that 2x2 revived recently, I think it's still hanging around the front page. We're pretty easy about discussing Mal/Inara in there, since their relationship would have to be a big part of dealing with Inara's secret.

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Friday, March 20, 2009 6:51 AM

ANOTHERSKY


Good point, Bytemite. That's true--what people don't realize is that you can't grieve when you don't have time or situation to--the body and the mind remains in a kind of self-imposed stasis, gets stuck. You save it, push it down, because stopping to process it right now could get you severely injured or killed(or at least it feels like it if not literal). So remains the status quo. (I agree with the point about them dealing with the stress differently anyway, but I would say it's Mal that compartmentalizes, Zoe denies--it's just that Zoe has a good layer of denial laid down to walk on and Mal gets his ugly little compartments mixed up sometimes. Tracy gets his innards scooped. Whatever floats your firefly class.)

Both of them have grieved a little, obviously, by degrees, but not enough, because neither of them have been in a situation where they can do this.
It's always "keep moving, keep continuing".

War(ahem) is a great example of this. So is smuggling, constantly keeping your head above the surface and just below the radar, essentially treading water.

In fact, it's one of the best jobs Mal/Zoe could have to replicate the emotional experience of the Unification War.

Moving on to PTSD Gender differences: thought this was interesting...

"Gender Differences in the Presentation of PTSD:

There are also differences between men and women in the presentation of PTSD. Women are more likely to have symptoms of numbing and avoidance and men are more likely to have the associated features of irritability and impulsiveness. Men are more likely to have comorbid substance use disorders and women are more likely to have comorbid mood and anxiety disorders, although many disorders comorbid with PTSD are commonly seen in both men and women."

this site for the non-captain-dummy-talk about amygdalas and such: http://www.dangerousbehaviour.com/Disturbing_News/Gender%20Differences
%20in%20PTSD.htm


"I think we lost our fuzzy dice back there."
"Going for a ride."

Another Sky

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