GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Mal's word no good?

POSTED BY: JEWELSTAITEFAN
UPDATED: Saturday, October 13, 2007 17:26
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Thursday, September 27, 2007 9:53 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


I'm new to this Verse. First saw Serenity and knew I'd enjoy it when credits rolled Jewel's name. Recently watched all the Firefly episodes after catching a few on a SciFi marathon. Got the Serenity CE and Firefly DVDs.
Here's what sticks in my craw. In Safe, Mal tells Simon to go off, DON'T WORRY, WE WON'T LEAVE WITHOUT YOU.
Then, when Book needs Simon's help, they all take off without Simon and River, even after Mal is reminded they are left behind.
Mal is held up as a fairly honorable man, tho he claims not. Supposedly a man of his word. He claims he's loyal to his crew, and although his crew is who "he conjures it to be", he has already stated by this time that Simon is a member of his crew.
Additionally, later on all cast seems to completely ignore this exchange, Mal, Simon, everybody, as if it never happened.

So, is this am inconsistency with different versions of the script?
Is this an error?
Or is this the exposure of Mal really not bieng a trustworthy man, fully capable and willing to betray the trust of those he says can trust him?

Apologies if this has already been discussed.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007 10:09 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN



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Friday, September 28, 2007 1:30 AM

IZZOW


I believe it may be related to Mal's experiences in Serenity Valley when everyone was left to die of wounds. The Med ships didn't come until there was hardly anyone left. Because of that experience Mal may have been blinded by Book's situation and only focused on not letting another person under his leadership die of wounds that could be taken care of.

Also, Mal left them temporarily. He came back, found and rescued them. That Mal went back for River and Simon leads me to believe his main focus was on not letting Book die. His decision was one of a commander. River and Simon were kidnapped, but not in any life threatening harm, while Book was shot and bleeding to death.

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Friday, September 28, 2007 1:39 AM

MRBEN


OK - let's break this down into bits:

In Safe Mal needs to make a decision - save Book, or find Simon. He can't do both at that time. In fact, he ends up doing the thing that grates the most - he goes to the Alliance for help. This should give an indication of how desperate he was. They do go back to get Simon - they haven't left him stranded. He kept his word, although at the time it didn't seem like it. (This makes for good drama on TV too ;) )

Mal always plays his cards very close to his chest. This is reflected again in 'The Message' when he doesn't explain his plan to Tracey, and things get messy.

The "unless I conjure it to be" line comes (IIRC) from the BDM, rather than the series. I believe that the idea is that Mal's character is significantly changed by Book (his "conscience") and Inara (his "emotions") leaving. Perhaps, in part, he blames Simon for them leaving. Who knows?

The opening sequence in Serenity also establishes that Simon's character has changed since we last saw him in the series.


One of the great things about Mal is the internal struggle that he constantly has between the "dishonourable rogue" he wishes he was, and the honourable man we know him to be.

mrben

"Carpe Aptenodytes"
http://www.jedimoose.org

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Friday, September 28, 2007 2:05 AM

BROWNCOAT1

May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.


Welcome to the site JewelStaitefan! Glad to have you here posting with us. And good for you getting all the dvds. We can sure use the sales.

As to your question, I think it is safe to say that Mal did not want to leave River and Simon. He was put into one of those situations all leaders hate, where you have two different people or groups of people that need your help and you have to decide which to help and hope the other can last until you can get to them. Mal made the right choice in that Book was right there in front of him, shot and bleeding out. If they did not leave to get Book medical attention A.S.A.P. he would have died. Mal knew they had no time to waste, so he had to trust that Simon and River could take care of themselves until he could make it back.

The fact that he came back and rescued them in fact shows that his word is good. Mal came in armed and no doubt was willing to die or to kill to secure their safety.

I would say Mal's word is as good as any man's and better than most.

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Friday, September 28, 2007 3:29 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


I have read your replies. I'm afraid I find them akin to rationalizations, perhaps the episode is less fresh in your minds.
I wish I could check and quote, but all my copies are loaned out now. I will try recollection.
I thouight it quite clear that Mal had absolutely no intention or interest in returning for the Tams. While assessing their options, the Alliance resulted after all others were too far, too much time, and even the Alliance was of borderline acceptable distance/time. Meanwhile, Simon was right there downplanet.
The decision/discussion to return for the Tams (who were both being murdered) came only after Book was OK, and Mal had learned some lesson from the episode (I forget what, but maybe from a recovered Book), and only just before the rescue.
The danger that Book was in should have increased the urgency for finding Simon, not discounted it.

I'm still not convinced. I hope it was merely a discontinuity of script versions. If not, the script really should have been changed to not say "don't worry, we won't leave without you".
I enjoy the whole of this body of work, but this one big irk substantially degrades my opinion of Mal.

"My turn"
"That is the last time you call me whore"
"Everybody dies alone"

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Friday, September 28, 2007 4:06 AM

IMPERATODD


Reading the above responses they are what first came to my mind and they are rationalizations which isn't bad we all rationalize things.

The characters in FF are unlike character in many other series's they are life-like three dimensional people who say one thing and do another. How often have any of us said anything then had to do the opposite? Its not that our word isn't good its that life has this fantastic habit of not abiding by our proclamations no matter how casual or determined they may be. We have been trained to expect ABOSLUTE consistency from TV characters, this many times is the tool of a lazy writer, it is easy to write and easy to add to a story. Mal is a person, we screw up, go back on our word, can be simply wrong and those choices have consequences. Mal isn't Capt. Archer, Capt. Picard, Luke Skywalker, or Dr. McKay he is a person not a cliched archetype who's life shattering problems are resolved by deus ex machina.

I love ST and Stargate but they have their flaws. So take no offense the above statements are my opinions.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Were I an Alliance citizen during the War of Unification I would have been an Alliance Patriot, but I would have run guns for the Browncoats. No I am not a greedy baby eating monster! Gunrunning would have been the patriotic thing to do.

Governments have a way of warping ideals.

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Friday, September 28, 2007 4:06 AM

AURAPTOR

America loves a winner!


Dunno if there's anything that can convince you, once your mind is made up, but I'll post anyway. As pointed out, Mal knows as well as anyone that a bullet wound to the gut is a race against time. As one who held a command position in the war, Mal knew a choice had to be made. Risk going to an Alliance ship to get Book some medical aid, or spend time down on the planet planning a S&R of Simon and River. On the one hand,option A, you have definate knowns. The location of Alliance ship that is certain to have the best care at that moment in order to save Book. On the other,option B, Simon and River have been taken 'somewhere' up in the hills, by an unknown number of likely armed villagers. To take time to find the village, plan a rescue and then bring Simon back and prep him for surgery (alone ) would surely have lead to the early demise of Book. No matter how good a surgeon Simon is,he's just one person. He can't compete with a fully staffed and equipped Alliance med facility. There are simply too many variables, unknowns with option B for Mal. He chose wisely.

Also, the very fact that they DID come back for Simon and River shows Mal's true intent all along. Why not just fly off and leave them be? Think about it...and obscure commune, a tightly knit community which keeps mostly to itself and only rarely comes in contact w/ the outside world. Simon and River could have been as safe there as anywhere, never having to use their names, no need to get on the coretex, they would be effectively " off the grid ". That thought had to have crossed Mal's mind a time or two. He'd be rid of a couple of trouble makers and clear of most of his Alliance trouble.

People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don't like people. And then Mal will shoot someone. Someone we like. And their puppy. - Joss

" They don't like it when you shoot at 'em. I worked that out myself. "

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Friday, September 28, 2007 4:21 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by AURaptor:
As one who held a command position in the war, Mal knew a choice had to be made.

I've got to jump on the chance to agree with Auraptor, it may never come again LOL!

jewelstaitefan, you're kind of missing the beauty of Mal's character, and it makes me sad! What he does in Safe is take the responsibility of maybe being wrong onto himself. He might have lost Simon and River and been blamed for it, as you blame him, and as surely he'd have blamed himself. He accepted the responsibility and possible guilt, as a great leader should.

A lesser man may have been paralyzed by this choice, or felt so bound by his words to Simon that he wasn't able to act quickly. As Aurapter explains, what Mal did was the better solution. Just as Zoe made the better choice in War Stories when she left Mal to be tortured. Note that he didn't hold that against her - it's all about tactics.

These two make the hard choices, not to win anyone's approval but to do their best to get everyone through impossible situations. That's truly honorable.

Oh, and welcome to the site and thanks for bringing up the topic! I loves me a chance to defend my Mal. (Just be careful about saying folks may not be remembering the episode - some people here have watched the series a gazillion times in the past five years LOL!)

Edit to add: on further reflection, I must admit that there is some merit to not trusting Mal's word. The fact that he'll go with the larger situation means that he will sacrifice individuals if he has no choice. And he certainly has his dark side - doesn't mind kicking an unarmed, bound man through an engine!

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

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Friday, September 28, 2007 4:34 AM

MRBEN


The Safe shooting script is here:

http://firefly.girven.org/scripts/firefly-107.htm

Now, I admit that they probably differ from the what's on the DVD, but there's no mention of a promise in it.

However, working on the assumption that you're correct, I still think you are missing the point of the dramatic tension here. _Simon_ thinks he's been left behind, _we_ think he's left them behind, _Jayne_ certainly thinks they've been left behind. Joss goes even further, by including the conversation between Zoe and Mal where Zoe tells him that things would be easier without fugitives on board. (This conversation doesn't appear to be in the shooting script either, now that I check) All this is done not to say that Mal _isn't_ trustworthy, but in fact to lead us to the conclusion that he _is_, but that we'd been fooled into believing he wasn't (shame on us).

mrben

"Carpe Aptenodytes"
http://www.jedimoose.org

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Friday, September 28, 2007 4:36 AM

JONGSSTRAW

We carry in our hearts the true country, and that cannot be stolen.


Mal did the right thing....case closed.

Wash's "report" that the sheriff told him that the hill folk sometimes "take people" was met with Mal's response..."now they got themselves a doctor." He knew right then that Simon & River would be safe...while he attended to emergency needs of Book.....First rule of triage ( or leadership)...make sure the victim will live, then move on to the next dying victim.

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Friday, September 28, 2007 4:37 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


I understand you guys trying to compare this to the War Stories decision, or the Message exchange between Mal and Book, as well as when Zoe confronted Mal about the Lilac reaver victim, and others. But I don't think they compare - at no time does Mal give any indication he's going back - I feel he was certain that he would not return.
If you want to try, give me some quote or indication that he was exen considering going back for either Tam BEFORE Book was recovering.

I find all of Mal's decisions to be reasonable, without others explaimng for him (or for the script). This is the one exception, and it's at crosscurrents with the Mal of the rest of this body of work.
It doesn't seem like a "character flaw" or "study" or anything - fter the rescue, they all seem unaware the statement was even made!

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Friday, September 28, 2007 5:08 AM

SHINYSEVEN2


I think that Mal's moral status is absolutely the through-line of the series, and at any given moment, he could do something unequivocally good, unequivocally bad or (usually) equivocally...a bit of both.

I think that in "Safe" he pretty much told Simon to run off and play in traffic, and he was relieved when, as Mal saw it, the hillfolk solved Mal's fugitive problem for him. It would be too much, even for Mal, to actually sell out the Tams and collect the reward (he was so angry at Jayne in Ariel precisely because Jayne gave in to the temptation Mal felt), but if the decision were taken out of Mal's hands...

Things sure blew up fast when Mal did something he knew he shouldn't have. Compare it to the Buffy episode where Buffy says, "I told one lie! I had one drink!" and Giles says "And you were very nearly devoured by a serpent. In that situation, 'I told you so' seems beside the point."

Then, unpredictably, Mal had to give first priority to taking care of Book, which re-directed Mal's attention so he didn't have time to re-think leaving Simon and River behind. When the immediate crisis was over, then everybody else guilted him into going back (and, as Mal says, Jayne welcomed the chance to hang out of a shuttle and shoot people).

If I didn't love Simon anyway, I would after Mal's version of "Hey, I'm sorry I almost got you and your sister killed" ("Your talent for alienatin' people is near miraculous") and Simon's impeccably civilized version of ripping off Mal's leg and beating him to death with it: ("Yes. I'm very proud.")


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Friday, September 28, 2007 5:12 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
But I don't think they compare - at no time does Mal give any indication he's going back - I feel he was certain that he would not return.
If you want to try, give me some quote or indication that he was exen considering going back for either Tam BEFORE Book was recovering.

Can you give some quote or indication that he definitly did NOT intend to return?

Quote:

It doesn't seem like a "character flaw" or "study" or anything - fter the rescue, they all seem unaware the statement was even made!
Again, proof? Keep in mind - these aren't the kind of people to sit around discussing their feelings and motives... not bringing up the "we won't leave" line doesn't mean that Simon can't figure out that they had to leave to save Book. Simon's not dumb.

Anyway, even if Mal did think about leaving the Tams behind and changed his mind after Book recovered (I see no evidence for this, but if you insist...) that's still a character study, and well within Mal's personality. He threatened to throw Simon out an airlock in the pilot, but didn't.

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

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Friday, September 28, 2007 5:17 AM

CLEMENTINE


From the Official Companion Vol.1. Just 'cause I love this scene.
Mal: Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir.
Mal: Ain't we just. Sorry to interrupt, people, but you all got something of ours, and we'll be needing it back.
Patron: This is a holy cleansing. You cannot think to thwart God's will.
Mal: Do you see the man hanging from the spaceship with the really big gun? Now I'm not saying you weren't easy to find, but it was kinda out of our way and he didn't wanna come in the first place. Man's looking to kill some folk, so it's really his will y'all should worry 'bout thwarting. Gotta say, Doctor, your talent for alienating folks is near miraculous.
Simon: Yes, I'm very proud.
Mal: Cut her down.
Patron: The girl is a witch!
Mal: Yeah, but she's our witch. So cut her the hell down.

I agree that Mal thought River and Simon were safe with the hill people momentarily since they would value the doctor's skills. He was taken aback to find them arriving just in the nick of time.

JSF, I think you'd find all the evidence of Mal defending his promise and statements that Simon is part of the crew if we could see the scene where he has to argue with Jayne about going back.

Watched all the vid's? Stuff out on loan? You are our kind of people, JSF.
_______________________________________


Holding 'till the Captain gets back.

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Friday, September 28, 2007 5:29 AM

MRBEN


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
If you want to try, give me some quote or indication that he was exen considering going back for either Tam BEFORE Book was recovering.



I agree with you there - he doesn't. But I that's not Mal - that's Joss. The whole point of the episode is that, while the Tam's real family deserted them, their "new" family didn't. The fact that Mal gives no indication one way or the other is, IMO, merely a dramatic invention used by Joss to underline the the point.

mrben

"Carpe Aptenodytes"
http://www.jedimoose.org

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Friday, September 28, 2007 5:36 AM

COZEN


Malcolm Reynolds is clearly wired to do the honourable thing, regardless of the risks involved. As stated above, he made his choice to try and first save Book's life, calculating that Book's danger was the greater immediate peril. Think about it: Reynolds knew, to a great degree of confidence, that the Tams were kidnapped, but he didn't necessarily have any reason to believe that the Tams' lives were necessarily forfeit. After all, if the Tams were kidnapped, ergo, not killed on the spot, then there was no reason to assume their lives were in immediate danger. On the other hand, Book needed immediate medical assistance, or he would surely die. So, I think it's obvious that Reynolds made the correct decision to first attend to Book, and defer taking his chances saving the Tams.

A truly worthy leader is able to quickly ascertain the meaningful variables in stressful situations, and Reynolds did indeed, in this instance, swiftly and correctly calculate priorities, even including the risk of taking Book to an Alliance facility, based on Inara's input that clearly weighed against his own prejudices. If such actions are not the hallmark of a great leader, then I candidly admit that I don't know what makes for the stuff of a great leader. That Reynolds can make the right choice in the face of having to contend with a situation (an Alliance facility, no less) that is personally humbling to his own self, speaks to me of strong leadership. And, redundantly, Reynolds does indeed go back to rescue the Tams.

And, note, please refer to the movie Serenity, where Malcolm Reynolds takes River back to his ship after the 'altercation' in the Maidenhead. Why does he not leave River asleep in the bar and get on with his life? The answer is not explicitly given later in the movie when Jayne asks him about it, point blank, but we all know about the honour of Mal's intentions, right?

Belief in those intentions is what the second seas... er, movie, Serenity, was all about.


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Friday, September 28, 2007 5:51 AM

TPAGE


I haven't read all the posts but has anyone mentioned that Mal specifically states that they don't know where Simon is, only that he is kidnapped. To go for Simon and River could take minutes or hours or days... Book did not have time to wait that long for medical treatment.

Sure, Mal could have gone looking for Simon but there was no guarantee he'd find him in time. If however he went to the Alliance they were guaranted to find them and I assume they felt even the Alliance wouldn't be so cold-hearted as to refuse medical treatment.

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And if someday on some little piss-ant moon/My hand is a little too slow, or my aim a little bit off/At least I’ll go down fighting, not lying abed surrounded by quacks - "Sir Warrick" by Geezer

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Friday, September 28, 2007 7:38 AM

SCHOOLBOYSWINK


This has been a great thread, but a couple things that haven't been mentioned yet I'd like to bring up:

When Mal tells Simon "We won't leave without you," I think the point of this, both in-character for Mal and as a literary element from Joss, is to indicate that Mal understands Simon's reluctance to leave the vicinity of the ship is in self-defense, so to speak, and to explain to Simon that Mal's request that he go into town is not an INTENTIONAL effort to trick him into being left behind. I don't necessarily take it as a promise that "no matter what happens, we won't leave you." It is something of a throwback to the Pilot: "You don't know me very well son, so I'll explain this once. If I ever shoot you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing me, and you'll be armed." Simon and Mal almost never agree, and they don't like each other, but from the first there was always candor between them. (Except for when Mal tells Simon that Kaylee is dead, but practical jokes, no matter how warped, don't count as deception, per se. And it was hi-larious.)

Furthermore, while Simon was CREW (with River's status being more akin to Simon's pet than anything else, in those early episodes; i.e. "you keep her out of trouble and clean up after her and she can stay, you she's YOUR responsibility, not MINE"), Book was a PASSENGER. The captain of a ship has an even higher responsibility to his passengers than he does to his crew; their safety is paramount. There is a thread throughout later episodes that Mal worries about Book and Inara's safety before that of crew members; there is that "feel" to his comments when he sends everyone away in OoG, and also during the Reaver attack in the Pilot.

All in all, I think Mal's honorable nature is one of the critical parts of the show. Let us remember that, though we may not like to admit it, usually our adversaries and enemies know us in many ways better than anyone, and in the Pilot, Badger pegs Mal perfectly: "Man of honor in a den of thieves." (Contrast this to Jayne's always assuming that Mal was playing an angle with the Tam's, and it's an interesting commentary on who knows him better. But I digress...) There aren't a lot of absolutes in FF, but this is one of them, so in the absence of hard evidence to the contrary, I think Mal should get the benefit of the doubt that he planned to go back for the Tam's, at least to TRY.

"When you can't do somethin' smart, do somethin' right!" -Jayne Cobb quotes Shepherd Book

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Friday, September 28, 2007 8:15 AM

CAPTAINJOSH06


This is going off topic, but its to do with Safe.... We never get to find anything else out about Book's ident card.


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Friday, September 28, 2007 10:48 AM

RUGBUG


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
I have read your replies. I'm afraid I find them akin to rationalizations, perhaps the episode is less fresh in your minds.



Having just watched 'Safe' last week for the 10th or so time in as many months, I would say it's pretty fresh...and pretty well-known to me. (I also find it a little rude that you woud brush people's opinions off, those that you asked for, saying that the ep must not be as fresh in their minds.)

IMO, I think you're trying to see something that isn't there. Mal was acting as a captain...evaluating need and acting upon who needed help most from what knowledge he had. They could've stayed and let Book die while they looked for Simon and River some more, or they could go, take care of the most pressing issue and then return on the less pressing, more unknown issue.

Mal made an adult, mature decision the made it look like he wasn't keeping his word. But any adult nows that it is a child's notion that life won't interefere and make things go wonky, no matter what you promised. Mal actually made good on his word...even if it wasn't immediate.

***************
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

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Friday, September 28, 2007 11:14 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by SchoolboysWink:
This has been a great thread, but a couple things that haven't been mentioned yet I'd like to bring up:

When Mal tells Simon "We won't leave without you," I think the point of this, both in-character for Mal and as a literary element from Joss, is to indicate that Mal understands Simon's reluctance to leave the vicinity of the ship is in self-defense, so to speak, and to explain to Simon that Mal's request that he go into town is not an INTENTIONAL effort to trick him into being left behind. I don't necessarily take it as a promise that "no matter what happens, we won't leave you." It is something of a throwback to the Pilot: "You don't know me very well son, so I'll explain this once. If I ever shoot you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing me, and you'll be armed." Simon and Mal almost never agree, and they don't like each other, but from the first there was always candor between them. (Except for when Mal tells Simon that Kaylee is dead, but practical jokes, no matter how warped, don't count as deception, per se. And it was hi-larious.)

Furthermore, while Simon was CREW (with River's status being more akin to Simon's pet than anything else, in those early episodes; i.e. "you keep her out of trouble and clean up after her and she can stay, you she's YOUR responsibility, not MINE"), Book was a PASSENGER. The captain of a ship has an even higher responsibility to his passengers than he does to his crew; their safety is paramount. There is a thread throughout later episodes that Mal worries about Book and Inara's safety before that of crew members; there is that "feel" to his comments when he sends everyone away in OoG, and also during the Reaver attack in the Pilot.

All in all, I think Mal's honorable nature is one of the critical parts of the show. Let us remember that, though we may not like to admit it, usually our adversaries and enemies know us in many ways better than anyone, and in the Pilot, Badger pegs Mal perfectly: "Man of honor in a den of thieves." (Contrast this to Jayne's always assuming that Mal was playing an angle with the Tam's, and it's an interesting commentary on who knows him better. But I digress...) There aren't a lot of absolutes in FF, but this is one of them, so in the absence of hard evidence to the contrary, I think Mal should get the benefit of the doubt that he planned to go back for the Tam's, at least to TRY.

"When you can't do somethin' smart, do somethin' right!" -Jayne Cobb quotes Shepherd Book



Maybe I need to wait until my copies are returned - that shooting script doesn't seem accurate to onscreen.
They misjudged going to the Alliance, and completely lucked out with Book's Ident.
Perhaps I should emphasize another facet. Mal is put up as somebody loyal to those who are loyal to him. In the military, he and Zoe avoided leaving one of their commrades behind. In BDM after the Lilac raid, Zoe incorrectly calls Mal on the "can't run with 5" decision to throw off guy who got ett by reavers (although the mule had 5 seats) - incorrect because that guy was not "one of them", he was an unknown, and Mal was not beholden to him other than all he had done with the vault guard to save everybody. Zoe was still uneasy about "leaving somebody behind" and (I think) particularly because they are the only 2 veterans aboard - also note that Zoe did not discuss this in presence of anybody else.
In Safe, Mal leaves the Tams behind. That there stinks. No subplot like in Message. No knowledge that the Tams are safe - those kidnapped are never returned to freedom. Jayne could sniff down... err track down the Tams in little time, while the poor choice Alliance was at the outer fringes of their time/distance parameters.
Simon is a GENIUS truama surgeon, and they know that.

Make no mistake, I understand the plot devices and all, but the apparent ABANDONMENT of the Tams after stating "We will not leave without you" just makes his word worth spit.
What does the Companion say about the dialog before the corral shooting, when Mal tells Simon to go for a walk?

"My turn"

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Friday, September 28, 2007 11:28 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by RugBug:
Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
I have read your replies. I'm afraid I find them akin to rationalizations, perhaps the episode is less fresh in your minds.



Having just watched 'Safe' last week for the 10th or so time in as many months, I would say it's pretty fresh...and pretty well-known to me. (I also find it a little rude that you woud brush people's opinions off, those that you asked for, saying that the ep must not be as fresh in their minds.)


Sorry to sound rude, not my intent. I know about trying to defend/sugarcoat my favorite performances. I was trying to say that my points weren't being taken on, debated, but instead a shift in perspective was attempted.
Quote:


IMO, I think you're trying to see something that isn't there. Mal was acting as a captain...evaluating need and acting upon who needed help most from what knowledge he had. They could've stayed and let Book die while they looked for Simon and River some more, or they could go, take care of the most pressing issue and then return on the less pressing, more unknown issue.

Mal made an adult, mature decision the made it look like he wasn't keeping his word. But any adult nows that it is a child's notion that life won't interefere and make things go wonky, no matter what you promised. Mal actually made good on his word...even if it wasn't immediate.

***************
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



Mal made the wrong decision. The Alliance would not accept Book, until blind luck made Mal's decision look good in hindsight. Without that, Mal's decision kills Book, versus letting Simon save Book.

I should also mention that I do appreciate all thoughtful discussion and responses. I'm hoping you'll show me the light.

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Friday, September 28, 2007 11:40 AM

RUGBUG


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
They misjudged going to the Alliance, and completely lucked out with Book's Ident.



You're right...Inara did misjudge the Alliance's willingness to help someone in need. Mal didn't necessarily, but knew there wasn't really another option. While Simon is a genius trauma surgeon, Mal has no idea what condition they would find him in, IF they found him in time. He doesn't know if Simon will be in any state to perform a surgery. Inara made an assumption that the Alliance would treat Book. You're making an assumption that Simon would be able to treat Book.

Mal doesn't even know if Simon will return. Simon could've found his new situation favorable...in fact, there is a glimmer of that when they talk about the house that is waiting for them and when he sees how happy River seems to be. They COULD'VE been happy there...until River is accused of being a witch. Where would that leave Book?

Again, I say, it's a childish notion that every single word uttered is a promise that must be held to by the strictest definition. Circumstances arise, choices need to be made that may delay "promises". That's the real world. It would've been foolish to search for the Tams while Book lay dieing.

Mal DID uphold his word. He came back. As Mal4Prez asks, show us indication that Mal DIDN'T intend to come back.



***************
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

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Friday, September 28, 2007 11:48 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Also, what does the Companion say about the discussion after bringing aboard injured Book and evaluating options? Is there any indication or inkling that Mal has any thought regarding the Tams other than leaving them stranded and fly away?

I am not saying that he is infallible. I just expected more from Mal. Simon was following Mal's DIRECTIVE - "you might not take that as a suggestion".

"My turn"

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Friday, September 28, 2007 11:53 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


It now appears that some are justifying that "oh, Simon will be fine", but then others admit "we don't know what state, how incapacitated Simon might be after only a few minutes elapsed since our shootout".

These contradict.

Mal hasn't left a lot of wiggle room to think that when he makes a demand or directive that it would be a "childish notion" that he didn't mean what he said, and expects to be obeyed, in the strictest sense.


I do still appreciate your input.

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Friday, September 28, 2007 12:06 PM

WYTCHCROFT


shiny thread!:)

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Friday, September 28, 2007 12:13 PM

RUGBUG


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
It now appears that some are justifying that "oh, Simon will be fine", but then others admit "we don't know what state, how incapacitated Simon might be after only a few minutes elapsed since our shootout".

These contradict.



Eesh. It's called the unknown. We don't know what Mal thought. We aren't given that information. We are given the info:

1. Mal tells Simon to go into town
2. Book gets shot
3. They leave to get help for Book
4. They get help
5. They come back to get the Tams

Because the rest is unknown, there are many options to what actually could've happened.


And more than just a few minutes elapsed. Simon/River in store, River running off, River dancing (heh), Simon getting nabbed, River following through the woods, etc. More than just a few minutes.

Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
Mal hasn't left a lot of wiggle room to think that when he makes a demand or directive that it would be a "childish notion" that he didn't mean what he said, and expects to be obeyed, in the strictest sense.


I do still appreciate your input.



"We won't leave without you" isn't a demand or a directive. Nathan Fillion didn't deliver it that way. It's a placation. To get Simon comfortable with leaving the ship.

What's really interesting is I think you're missing the whole point. Mal is being contrasted to Simon's real father, who does in fact abandon both him and River...for nothing more than ruining his social standing. Mal leaves the Tams for true emergency, and then comes back...never abandoning, though it may have seemed so.

***************
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

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Friday, September 28, 2007 12:22 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by wytchcroft:
shiny thread!:)



More than I expected. But this one irk WAS the primary reason I've registered on this, yet another message board. This doesn't even relate to cars.

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Friday, September 28, 2007 12:32 PM

FILLIANGIRL4136


First off, welcome to the site. You started you stay with quite a debate of our hero, Mel. Though I can see the point on both sides, you have to put leaving the Tams in context of Mel is a whole. He makes bad decisions; he makes good decisions, but he always takes responsibility for them.

Also, I have to say you are not giving Mr. Nathan Fillion enough credit for his performance by just looking at the script. Look at Nathan's eyes when he is fighting with the crew about leaving them. He is fighting with himself about leaving members of his crew behind, but that was the decision that was made.

I think what you are looking for is some kind of regrete for the decisions in the dialouge. I believe that Joss really believes in the actors that he casts in his shows to be able to say things without him putting them into they're mouths. (Don't shoot me! I love Joss's writing as much, not more then the rest of you, but you have to give the actors they're do. Remember the strawberry!!) Before you go and condemn Joss on an inconsistency, watch Nathan's eyes during the scenes where he is fighting for Booth's life. You can see the conflict.

That's just my opinion.

Mel is my hero.

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Friday, September 28, 2007 12:33 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Clementine:


Watched all the vid's? Stuff out on loan? You are our kind of people, JSF.
_______________________________________


Holding 'till the Captain gets back.



I'm new to DVDs, so if there are "easter eggs" or whatever, I've missed them and will have to review.
However, the guy currently borrowing was already hooked on Galaxy Quest, but I've gotten him hooked on the Due South series, and Elizabeth Moon's Serrano/Suiza set of stories. After this, I'm siccing Dark Angel upon him.
I bought the DVDs Sat, opened and connected the 7 year old player Sun, and polished them off by Wed night to loan to him.
Now, where can I find the episodes of Six Million Dollar Man? The kidclerk at BestBuy had never heard of it.

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Friday, September 28, 2007 12:42 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Filliangirl4136:
First off, welcome to the site. You started you stay with quite a debate of our hero, Mel. Though I can see the point on both sides, you have to put leaving the Tams in context of Mel is a whole. He makes bad decisions; he makes good decisions, but he always takes responsibility for them.

Also, I have to say you are not giving Mr. Nathan Fillion enough credit for his performance by just looking at the script. Look at Nathan's eyes when he is fighting with the crew about leaving them. He is fighting with himself about leaving members of his crew behind, but that was the decision that was made.

I think what you are looking for is some kind of regrete for the decisions in the dialouge. I believe that Joss really believes in the actors that he casts in his shows to be able to say things without him putting them into they're mouths. (Don't shoot me! I love Joss's writing as much, not more then the rest of you, but you have to give the actors they're do. Remember the strawberry!!) Before you go and condemn Joss on an inconsistency, watch Nathan's eyes during the scenes where he is fighting for Booth's life. You can see the conflict.

That's just my opinion.

Mel is my hero.



I don't recall other inherently bad decisions by Mal, just some that seemed bad in hindsight. Except this one, which is why I brought it up. I sincerely hope nobody gets upset by this thread, and I am quite certain that the posters here are higthly fond of the characters, scripts, and wonderful performances. Just like me.
Do you think this really was a cohesive script, or perhaps some discontinuity was overlooked?

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Friday, September 28, 2007 1:04 PM

FILLIANGIRL4136


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
Do you think this really was a cohesive script, or perhaps some discontinuity was overlooked?



Honestly, I think that you are not looking at the crew of Serenity as a family. People make statements to eachother that at the time that they mean and fall back on. I honestly believe that Joss showed that forgiveness is the most important part of making family work. Mel doesn't flat out have to say that he was wrong and that he is sorry, it's not his way.

I believe that Mel believed what he said when he said it. He doesn't have to explain that to Simon directly by saying he is sorry for leaving him, but the fact that he came back is important. In contrast, Simon's father said he would not help Simon after getting him out of jail if he got in trouble again, and he never helped him again regarding River.

Yes, Mel went back on his word, like all father-figures do, but he made an effort to make it right. You have to put Mel in a context of a father to Simon and River to see why there is no direct response necessary.

By the way, you are completely not hurting anyone's feeling by putting your thoughts up. You have a lot of nerve for standing your ground, and I give you props.

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Friday, September 28, 2007 1:45 PM

WYTCHCROFT


just some scattered additions -

Mal - planning is not his strong point...

SAFE is the first step into Simon and River being accepted as family - Objects in space being the last (and most significant for River)... see Joss's commentary...

so there is an internal arc from Mal 'turning away' - to 'coming back' - which is actually the hinge for the episode.

all the interanal conflicts, niggles and possible discontinuity frictions are part and parcel of what keep firefly fascinating viewing after viewing...

the question about SAFE for me is : If Mal hadn't been pursuaded to get Alliance help then what???

and would he really have gone elsewhere if the crew hadn't pressured him?

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Friday, September 28, 2007 1:53 PM

SLUMMING


In the pilot episode "Serenity", when Mal is confronted by several problems at one time (having fugitives on board, having a Fed onboard, and having marked Alliance goods on board), when everyone else is arguing about what to do, Mal indicates his general way of thinking. He says, "Way it is is the way it is. We got to deal with what's in front of us." That being said, he dealt in a very consistent way with the situation in "Safe". What was in front of him then was a dying Book. As soon as that problem was solved, then he could progress to the next thing in front of him, which was retrieving the Tams. When Zoe says that it would be simpler without them, please take note of the way Mal responds. "Yeah, simpler", he says, but in a way to indicate that he is not planning to follow the simpler course. This fits in with the rest of the episode with the juxtaposition of Gabriel Tam's abandonment versus Mal's coming to their aid. It also fits in with the overall pattern of Mal's actions throughout the series, and is, (I think), the most reasonable way to look at this moment in the show. And by the way, welcome to the site! :)

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Friday, September 28, 2007 2:06 PM

WYTCHCROFT


very nicely put:)

i think Mal lives on his instincts...

... but a conflicted man has contrary instincts...

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Friday, September 28, 2007 3:24 PM

THEREALME


Hi, JSFan! Welcome to the site!

Here are my own thoughts on this topic:

In a crisis, there is often no time to carefully explain one's ideas or reasons. In a crisis, Mal issues orders that he expects to be obeyed without question. Most of the time, Mal's orders end up being the correct thing to do. That is one of the things that makes Mal a good leader.

He did so when Serenity was about to be boarded in Bushwacked. He told Simon to get River. Simon thought that he and his sister would be handed over to the Alliance. Book said to go along with Mal. It turns out that the Tams hid outside Serenity in vac suits.

He did so in Message, when the lawmen were after Tracey. Tracey thought that he was about to be handed over. But no, Mal had another plan.

He did so in Safe when he ordered Serenity off planet to try to save Book. This was one more example of him not explaining himself on camera.




Your assumption, JSF, seems to be that "of course" Jayne could quickly track down the Tams (I never saw him as a great hunter, myself), the Tams could "of course" be removed from their situation with little fuss and in near zero time, "of course" Simon would be able to get cleaned up and ready for surgery, and "of course" Simon would be skilled enough and in time to save Book.

No. Not necessarily. Serenity's crew already wasted valuable time with Wash searching the town for the Tams and finding nothing. What next? Seek out each and every settlement in that area of the planet, land there, and search each house door by door? How long would it take to do one settlement? How many settlements are in the local area within walking distance of that town? Two? Five? Twenty? What if the Tams were not in any settlement, but were being held in some cave or shack in the woods?



Too many variables for a quick solution, and Mal needed a quick solution.





Here are the thoughts that I see running through Mal's head:

"Could Simon be found quickly enough to save Book? Perhaps, but not if it took much longer. Could Simon save Book with the equipment and supplies on Serenity and with no medical assistants? Maybe. Was Simon unhurt and conscious, or might Simon himself be incapacitated? Unknown."

Then:

"Could Serenity get to the Alliance ship before Book died? Yes, they knew where that ship was, the Magellan, I think. Did the Alliance ship have the facilities to help Book? Yes, they probably had a complete hospital on board. Would they be willing to help Book like Inara thinks? Unknown."

I think that Mal weighed these thoughts in his head and decided that the most likely way to save Book was to go after the Alliance ship, but he would have to leave the Tams behind. Mal was faced with no easy solution. Star Trek often has quick AND easy solutions to complex problems that fall in the lap of whatever captain the story is about. This was a complex problem that did not have an easy solution. This is like real life.

You are right that Mal broke his promise. He was forced by circumstances to leave the Tams behind. But when he made that promise, Mal could not have foreseen the events as they were about to unfold.

With the number of times that Mal risked everything to save the Tams during the series and movie, why would do you think he would suddenly abandon them in Safe? If you can't really provide a good reason, then please consider the possibility that he NEVER intended to abandon them, that he ALWAYS intended to return for them.

Like he eventually did.



TheRealMe, Captain of the Sereni-Tree

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Friday, September 28, 2007 3:55 PM

RIVERFLAN


Like it has been said before:

Mal did keep his word. He came back. He had to leave the Tams for a while, but it was only temporary.

Also, Simon would understand. He's a doctor, for crying out loud. Simon would doubtless know Book's chances for survival if the crew had gone to look for him.

Beies, Mal would have expeced to find them safe. "Now they've got themselves a doctor.", he says. Normally, people don't burn their doctors at the stake. That's kind of stupid on their part.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My favorite quotes:



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Friday, September 28, 2007 9:24 PM

FREEBROWNCOAT


J Fan:

Specious and narrow. Try being in command sometime. You make the best decisions among AVAILABLE choices put inm front of you at the time. After action some monor point may come out but if you did not have that information when it was pertinent, the choice you make is still the best possible.

ALl the arguments have been made but if I may put forth one analogy. During the battle of Guadalcanal, the Navy had to make a hard decision to leave troops without support, abandon them to destroy a fleet heading their way with hostile intent and superior positioning. The decision was made to leave, hoping to destroy the opposing fleet then come back for the troops.

This was the same decision put forth by Whedon et al for Mal's character. He made the only decision having any probability of success available to him at the time. Period.



"You're on my crew. Why we still talking about this?"

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Friday, September 28, 2007 11:04 PM

WYTCHCROFT


period.

except -- remembering we are examining Mal's CHARACTER - he had to be PURSUADED to get Alliance help for Book.

Ofcourse - in a military situation (obviously depending on time allowed), opinions are sought, information gathered, advice offered and then the command decides - at which point argument ends.

However, although Mal loosely uses this system, he is fickle with it over the course of FF and BDM as a whole. And using the SAFE example, we still gain some character insight don't you agree?

- please note, i don't disagree with the main body of your post AT ALL, Freebrowncoat. -

keep flyin:)

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Saturday, September 29, 2007 9:49 AM

FREEBROWNCOAT


Also some very good points. One does what one can when faced with adversity. THat;s waht it boils down to.

Another analogy, this time portrayed by fictioanl characters. Star Trek, when two equally powerful teams fight for supremacy and one, in this case our heroic character, the judge of the game asked the difference between good and evil.

The 'evil' side fought for power and wealth. The 'good' side fought for the lives of their crew. It was one of the quintessential episodes, simplistic but you gotta say that last line explains all.

Mal's character fights for the lives of his crew by any means available. Loyalty is a high priority. Higher than money (War Stories), higher than personal desires (Inara). Is there a more moral tone that can be struck?

That is what Firefly and Whedon offers - honor, morality and loyalty. That is Mal's character.

J fan: IF you were personally put in the position of choosing to find Simon to tend to a critically injured Book or go to the Alliance begging for help, what would your choice be? That is the question Whedon poses in Safe, that is what attracts us to the characters. What would you do?



"I don't disagree on any particular point."

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Saturday, September 29, 2007 9:53 AM

BIGMAN


Hi
Just a few thoughts on this issue.
First the episode is called "Safe" thats important so keep it in mind! We are treated to a load of info regarding Simon & Rivers background. Their family are clearly rich and probaly influential so Simon and river should be safe with them. But because of the lack of moral courage of his parents we learn that they abandon both Simon and River. This is a recurring theme in Firefly (lack of moral courage that is)
Then later after The Tams are kidnapped the nurse tells Simon that he can make a home with them, when he objects she says "If not here then where?" at which point we are all shouting SERENITY!
Then Mal comes back and recues them. Why?
"Your on my crew. Why are we still talking about this?"
The point of theis entire episode is that simon and River are "safe" on a broken down spaceship with a crew of petty (petty?) thieves being pursued by the alliance various law enforcement agencies and several criminal elements. Why? Watch Our MRs Reynolds and OOG among others you will find that the crew do not desert each oyher.
Mal was always going to come back for them its his way after all he is a big damn hero!


He's lookin to kill some folk

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Saturday, September 29, 2007 2:49 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
Quote:

Originally posted by Clementine:


Watched all the vid's? Stuff out on loan? You are our kind of people, JSF.
_______________________________________


Holding 'till the Captain gets back.




However, the guy currently borrowing was already hooked on Galaxy Quest, but I've gotten him hooked on the Due South series, and Elizabeth Moon's Serrano/Suiza set of stories. After this, I'm siccing Dark Angel upon him.



He's hooked.
Plus his wife and son.
Often, this means he'll go get his own set of DVDs, so I might get mine back sooner than planned.
Gotta love it when a plan comes together.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007 4:00 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by TheRealMe:

Your assumption, JSF, seems to be that "of course" Jayne could quickly track down the Tams (I never saw him as a great hunter, myself), the Tams could "of course" be removed from their situation with little fuss and in near zero time,

TheRealMe, Captain of the Sereni-Tree



When I first saw this and considered responding, I decided it would be too focused off-topic and further distracting from what I was looking for in this thread.
After thinking about it for a day, along with noticing something of a theme - or more of a lack of theme, around here, I will start a seperate thread.
Now that I've poked around here more, I conjure this thread should have been posted under that "episodes" forum. Althought my new thread might be better placed here, I will start it over in "episodes".

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Sunday, September 30, 2007 9:15 AM

FREEBROWNCOAT


I think it belonged here because it has brought out the reason we all are Browncoats. The values expressed in SAFE and elsewhere, like OUT OF GAS, are at the core of Whedon's writing. It touches on basic morals we learned as children pressed into us as adults.

Good place to bring it up, really.

I do wonder what your thoughts are on your original question, Mal as not trustworthy, after reading the replies. Is there any change in your mind on the subject? Just curious to know.

"There is no mind changing."

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Sunday, September 30, 2007 9:29 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
I'm new to this Verse. First saw Serenity and knew I'd enjoy it when credits rolled Jewel's name. Recently watched all the Firefly episodes after catching a few on a SciFi marathon. Got the Serenity CE and Firefly DVDs.
Here's what sticks in my craw. In Safe, Mal tells Simon to go off, DON'T WORRY, WE WON'T LEAVE WITHOUT YOU.
Then, when Book needs Simon's help, they all take off without Simon and River, even after Mal is reminded they are left behind.
Mal is held up as a fairly honorable man, tho he claims not. Supposedly a man of his word. He claims he's loyal to his crew, and although his crew is who "he conjures it to be", he has already stated by this time that Simon is a member of his crew.
Additionally, later on all cast seems to completely ignore this exchange, Mal, Simon, everybody, as if it never happened.

So, is this am inconsistency with different versions of the script?
Is this an error?
Or is this the exposure of Mal really not being a trustworthy man, fully capable and willing to betray the trust of those he says can trust him?

Apologies if this has already been discussed.



Sorry if this has been brought up, but I don't have the time to read 45 posts...

Seriously, Mal was supposed to let Book die because he'd made a promise to Simon not to leave? Honestly, I think that Mal would be more blameworthy had he stayed and let Book bleed out. I mean seriously--do you really think that Mal isn't "a man of his word" because he left Simon behind to find life-saving medical assistance to a dying man? That the only "honorable" thing to do would have been to sit there and watch Book die? That's an awfully rigid standard for morality. Suppose I agreed to meet my wife for lunch at noon. But as I was driving to the restaurant, there's a car accident right in front of me. I jump out of my car and drag a man out of his burning car and render first aid until the ambulance arrives. Of course, in the process of doing so, I miss my lunch date with my wife. Does that mean I'm not a man of my word? Of course not! My duty to save a life trumped my duty to keep my appointment; so there's no blameworthiness attached to my missing lunch. Same deal with Mal: his duty of life-saving trumped his duty of promise keeping--so we can't say that Mal was somehow morally blameworthy. There's no betrayal happening here: it's just that his responsibility toward Book outwieghed his responsibility to Simon. And the fact that he is an honorable man is amply demonstrated by the fact that he comes back for Simon and River as soon as he possibly can (even though doing so puts him and his crew in danger).

Again, apologies if we've already been here; just thought I toss a little Ethical Intuitionism into the discussion.

________________________________________________________________________

- Grand High Poobah of the Mythical Land of Iowa, and Keeper of State Secrets
- Captain, FFF.net Grammar Police
- Vote JonnyQuest/Causal, for Benevolent Co-Dictator of Earth; together, toward a brighter tomorrow!

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007 11:57 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Freebrowncoat:

I do wonder what your thoughts are on your original question, Mal as not trustworthy, after reading the replies. Is there any change in your mind on the subject? Just curious to know.

"There is no mind changing."



I am entertaining the replies. I am witholding conclusion until I get my loaned out copies back and review a few things.
As plot devices, I do understand that to force the crew to go to the Alliance there must first be a removal of Simon from the ship. And although Mal made the fatal decision to go to the Alliance who refused them aid (until Book's Ident saved Mal's rep), many replies have confused these 2 factors as being the causative rather than resultant issues from telling Simon to go for a walk. The unfortunate terminology used is what makes Mal seem unworthy.

I will check several points in the episode to compare my recollection as contrasted to other recollections expressed here.


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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 9:58 AM

IZZOW


I don't usually check back on my posts on FFF.net much after finding the OB, so sorry if this is a bit late.

My understanding is Mal left Simon and River on the planet believing they would be okay until Book was taken care of. As time was an issue, Book needed to be taken care of first. Mal originally was looking for med facilities on other settlements, but couldn't find any that weren't "too far". Finding Simon on the planet might take longer than getting to the med facility, in which case Book would die. And if Simon was injured when they found him then he wouldn't be any help to Book. Thus, leaving the the Alliance as the best option for getting Book help in time. Even if the Alliance didn't help, there were people who could help on the Alliance ship.

Now for coming back to get Simon and River, Mal never said he wouldn't return. In fact Mal says he can't look for them now, implying he'll look for them later. It may sound like he plans to leave them there entirely, but I think some of it is frustration at people questioning his command decisions. As Mal says to the villages, it was out of their way to look for Simon and River, and Jayne didn't want to come. To me this shows that Mal always intended to come back for Simon and River, no matter how long it took or who was against it.

Relevant quotes:
WASH: Well, there's Greenleaf. They'd have med help there.

MAL: Too far -- more than ten hours. Man's worse off than that.


Mal: Don't have time to be beatin' the trees looking for him now. No assurance we'd find him, or he wouldn't need a doctor himself.

MAL: Y'all see the man hanging out of the spaceship with the really big gun? Now I'm not saying you weren't easy to find. It was kinda out of our way, and he didn't want to come in the first place.

SIMON: Captain... why did you come back for us?

MAL: You're on my crew.

SIMON: Yeah, but you don't even like me. (beat)
Why'd you come back?

MAL: You're on my crew. Why we still talking about this?



As for the differences between tv Mal and movie Mal, a lot happened in between. Book left, Inara left, and from Mal's comment about having a desire to eat sometime this month, business isn't going as well as it use to, and remember, business never ran smooth to begin with. Mal is facing the very real possiblity that they won't keep flying.


Your question demonstrates why Firefly and Serenity are good shows. The characters have enough depth to them that fans can discuss the characters motives and actions. We have insight into what the characters are thinking, why they made the choices they made, etc. I'll watch the scenes again and see if maybe I change my mind.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 1:48 PM

PLATONIST


MaL DOES go back on his word, but not in this instance.

Check out "Those Left Behind", the comic series.
He uses a job offer as an excuse for not respecting Inara's wishes to be delivered to her gig at the Training House.


Ironically, it is Book that calls him on it, Mal admits it and makes an analogy between Book's earlier transgression (acquiring a mule for their getaway) and what someone's word is worth, when the going gets tough. Book decks Mal. He can't abide by Mal's fuzzy and self-serving version of morality any longer. Book has moved beyond the "me and mine" level of moral development. He doesn't want to become like Mal, so he leaves the ship.

I think it is an injustice to interpretate Mal as a strong and infallible leader at this point. He really doesn't take effective command of his ship and his crew until he takes action based on again, ironically, on Book's message of "belief" that there are choices that are right and wrong, beyond service to the survival of yourself, and a universal truth that all of us have free will to make them. Mal delivers the Miranda genocide to the verse, because he can, partly by his strong leadership.










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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 3:00 PM

SHINY


Quote:

Originally posted by mrben:
Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
If you want to try, give me some quote or indication that he was exen considering going back for either Tam BEFORE Book was recovering.



I agree with you there - he doesn't. But I that's not Mal - that's Joss.



Mr. Ben hit the nail on the head. Joss constantly tries to make Mal more morally ambiguous, perhaps reacting against the 'network notes' that wanted Mal to be lighter, funnier, and more obviously 'the good guy' so viewers would identify with him better (see Joss' commentary to the pilot episode). As an earlier post mentioned, they did the same in "The Message" -- an earlier draft of the script actually had Book start to explain their plan to Tracy but Tracy didn't believe him, but it was even more tense and exciting to wonder whether Book and Mal were really going to turn Tracy in.

The same thing happens in "Bushwhacked" where Simon asks Mal if he's planning to put River "in plain sight". Again, it's Book who knows what kind of person Mal is and doesn't think for a second he's going to hand them over to the Alliance, but to increase tension for the viewers' -- and Simon -- he tries to introduce more uncertainty about Mal's motives: is he the mercenary or the honorable soldier?

(it should also be noted that, as a former Sergeant and current Captain, Mal simply doesn't like to explain himself, for example, in "Out of Gas" Mal doesn't explain to Wash that the best he can do for Zoe is help get the ship back on its feet, he just expects his orders to be followed without question and expects everyone to trust he's going to make decisions based on what's best for everyone.




---

I don't need a gorram back-spaceship driver!!!

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