FIREFLY EPISODE DISCUSSIONS

The Savant Crew

POSTED BY: JEWELSTAITEFAN
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 15, 2019 13:47
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Saturday, September 29, 2007 4:26 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


This is an observation which I'm not sure has been made, and I haven't found a mention, and I sense a lack of awareness about it.
This was triggered by a comment in another thread suggesting that Jayne is not much of a tracker or hunter.
I'm new here and I fully understand you all have a 5 year head start on me, and I am likely not proficient with your archives or search function. If this has already been brought up, I do apologize.

As I understand, this body of work could have easily been called The Savant Crew, as things were laid out in Out of Gas.
In most or all episodes Wash is repeatedly alluded to being an incredibly gifted pilot, and apparently Joss intended for him to be an even greater savant of a pilot - being cool, calm, collected under extreme flying challenge (the more difficult and crucial, the more calm Wash would become. Seems Alan decided on the "wild and crazy" gifted version of Wash, but still a tremendously gifted pilot even so.
KayLee has little or no formal training, but just understands mechanical works. Without ever being on a Firefly, she intuitively knew what was wrong with it to keep it grounded, what it needed, and how to fix it more than anybody aboard, including the "genius mechanic" Bester. She is a savant mechanic, a gifted natural.
Mal and Zoe are no chopped liver when it comes to hunting, tracking, and correllaritively evading and eluding, until they were surprised to have gotten caught by the gang that Jayne was with. They conjured who it was that was so much more gifted than them and tracked them down, and it was Jayne, so they convinced him to join them. This was their interest in him - as a superb tracker/hunter, better than they. As the best tracker they had ever been caught by, this shows him to be a savant in this talent - his talent with guns was just extra gravy. He wasn't trained by or in the military, nor with formal schooling - just savant "street smarts" as it were.
This is the crew, all savants.

Book and Inara are passengers, both with extensive training and education.

Mal and Zoe were in their military. Most great military legends are not referred to as savants, partly because so much of a well-rounded training and awareness is needed, that one specific isolated talent is not held in esteem if the rest of the package is left wanting. Training also is practiced in the military, and individualism is not often a prized characteristic.
However, in this body of work, it is often stressed that they were "volunteers". This does not make them Tennessee natives. I get the impression that this is a reference or term used to imply what we would call "National Guard", or the Reservists before the Cold War end, commonly denegrated as "Weekend Warriors" - always less trained, with outdated equipment, and statistically less effective in combat. In this context, Zoe is the only surviving member of her unit. Zoe and Mal are only 2 of a dozen dozen survivors of their entire fighting force of 330,000+ in Serenity Valley, after the entire Officer Corps was KIA after the first few days of the battle.
It is arguable that Zoe and Mal are effectively gifted in military work, and the ways that those skills serve them in their current endeavors.
Mal knows fully well that the crew are all extremely gifted in the skills they are aboard for.

Simon becomes crew, and he's not much different in this way. Incredibly gifted, he's a savant doctor if such a thing exists, practically a trauma surgeon in his teens. This is assuming his explanation in the pilot is accurate, and I have no reason to doubt it.

Not all of the crew fully appreciate the incredible giftedness and talents of their fellow crew, I think Wash and KayLee being the best exception.

Now consider River. The Mother-of=All-Savants. Makes Simon look like a moronic idiot by comparison. At the end of BDM Mal tries to introduce her to the intricacies of piloting a spacecraft when she performs takeoff practically better than Wash. How ironic that this band of savants, gifted and talented, fear her so much. This is probably the safest place in the verse for her, and Simon realizes it, a group where she would have the best chance of fitting in.

I find that shiny and cuddly, kinda turtle-like.
Have you guys already covered this?


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Saturday, September 29, 2007 4:43 PM

ANESOURDMUET


Why would anyone suggest that Jayne was not much of a tracker or hunter?


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Saturday, September 29, 2007 4:53 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


try this thread:
b=2&t=30770

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Saturday, September 29, 2007 11:37 PM

WYTCHCROFT


couldn't get the thread link to work but - i'm astonished. I'm not a JAYNE cultist by any stretch of the imagination - but his tracking skills?
he's a 'natural' surely?

as for a 'savant' crew - interesting and cogently argued - i don't think many have explored it quite that way but certainly the talents and flaws of the individuals - and as a bunch of Heroes... keeps the board ticking over.

Mal seems a gifted shot, definitely.
There's a tiny scene of Zoe in Warstories - that the commentary picks up - she's just walking - but she takes in every angle of possible attack and retreat etc... knows EXACTLY what she's doing.

i suppose any adventure drama thrives on the friction involved in derailing gifted heroes...

As for Simon - i don't think we see fully - but i would probably say - yes, of course!

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Sunday, September 30, 2007 4:52 AM

THEQUICKBROWNFOX


Wash, Kaylee, Jayne, Simon and River are unquestionably savants at what they do. Mal is talented but not a savant. The thing that makes or breaks this crew is not their individual skill but their cohesion. That is what Mal supplies. You cannot give what you do not have. Mals loyalty to his crew is palpable to all and begets loyalty in return. The execution of this loyalty then elevates Zoe to the level of Savant. :)

From one thing, learn ten thousand things.

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Sunday, September 30, 2007 9:08 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


I was tired, forgot to mention Mal was the best quickdraw in the verse, as far as we know.
I still meant to say that Mal and Zoe are effectively a different category than the rest - they are essentially the "partners" that run/command Serenity, the rest serve at their pleasure.

Sudden thought - how many times, and to whom does Mal entrust command (other than Zoe)? Wash is the normal getaway pilot hiding with KayLee and whoever, but otherwise who?

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Sunday, September 30, 2007 9:10 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Sorry didn't make a link.
In your browser's web address block, after ".asp?" change the "b=" stuff to what I said.

If you are questioning Jayne's tracking skills, please review the Out of Gas scene where Mal and Zoe meet him.

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Sunday, September 30, 2007 9:43 AM

WYTCHCROFT


yeh - i did the link maually - it's an interesting thread - but the questioning of jayne's tracking skills still surprises me.

as for the crew's overall 'gifts' - i'm sure there are probably slight shifts and subtle discontinuites given the varied writers and the need to service a plot...* in that one respect only are we lucky to have but a single season to view - if we'd had 7 by now - the arguments would run and run!

There may be straight forward clarification of the characters in the supplementary books editted by Espenson and co - but i don't own them.. plenty hereabouts will post and say...

as for 'street smarts' there are good comments by mal4prez and nbz on this in regards to mal having 'street smarts' (try: http://fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=12&t=30227&m=544169#544169) not just in general but in his recognising River as 'reader' (and other examples in other posts).

*river of course has proved a controversial figure in fics set post Serenity movie. Just what ARE her abilties etc a sometimes enthralling, sometimes tedious debate...

i just had fun pre-supposing that before she got frozen in the box for the pilot, she was a much more aware and ready weapon - but hell, i just MADE IT UP! - that's probably what the show writers would do - within reason.
sorry if that all sounds Off Topic, it aint really. Jayne's abilities ebb and flow equally but less obviously. check out the BSR here - or http://www.stillflying.net

i'm pretty wiped - hope that all made sense:)


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Sunday, September 30, 2007 4:21 PM

SHINYSEVEN2


Actually I think that the crew are much less perfect than the usual, less textured, space opera heroes. If Mal were better at his chosen vocation of petty crime, he wouldn't be broke all the time and perpetually shot at by the people who are supposed to be on his side.

In many ways, Inara is a model Companion, but she fails in the critical job skill of not falling in love with completely unsuitable men.

And, while any geek (a substantial part of the Firefly audience, I'm sure) can sympathize, Simon obviously failed every part of high school not actually involving classrooms.

However, Jayne has already gotten much older than mercenaries generally get to be, so he must be pretty good at it...and let's not forget his Miracle of the Bent Scope.

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Sunday, September 30, 2007 5:12 PM

WYTCHCROFT


Quote:

Originally posted by shinyseven2:
Actually I think that the crew are much less perfect than the usual, less textured, space opera heroes.



i don't you'll find many here as disgree with that!
...but being 'perfect' aint the same as 'gifted' or being a 'savant' to use the phrase of the thread.

flaws make characters make drama:)

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Thursday, October 4, 2007 8:15 AM

WYTCHCROFT


bump

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Monday, October 15, 2007 3:55 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


I think a reply of mine is missing.
I intended and agree that savants are not perfect - they are only gifted in a focused application. Perfection is not the point here - just that they are gifted. In the Pilot, River is effecti8vely the primary catalyst for the problems/tensions which the show is based on - the 8 months from Pilot to BDM. And River is the Mother-of-all-Savants - and Serenity is likely the safest place in the verse for her, although Simon didn't know this when he tried to sneak her as cargo for a short trip - just that they didn't ask too many questions.

Simon would not have been in any "high school" as we conjure. By the end of his teens he already completed college, med school, internship, and was a trauma surgeon. If high schoool is for learning, he aced it. If high school is for making the dumb feel like they have some contibution to make in their community, Simon probably didn't have those courses, activities, or experiences.


Another thing. Other than BDM where the teacher is narrator at the beginning, and Book provides foreshadowing - even of his own death, the only foreshadowing and narration we get are from River.
So, does River ever speak an untruth? Other than the Book's hair thing in Jaynestown, I can't recall any.
Sort of fetching that, since she is providing the most accurate and valuable information in the show, the crew ignores her input.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007 11:17 PM

WYTCHCROFT


stilll coming back to this interesting thread - and bumping (hoping for additional posts!)

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Saturday, October 27, 2007 4:22 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by shinyseven2:
Actually I think that the crew are much less perfect than the usual, less textured, space opera heroes. If Mal were better at his chosen vocation of petty crime, he wouldn't be broke all the time and perpetually shot at by the people who are supposed to be on his side.

In many ways, Inara is a model Companion, but she fails in the critical job skill of not falling in love with completely unsuitable men.

And, while any geek (a substantial part of the Firefly audience, I'm sure) can sympathize, Simon obviously failed every part of high school not actually involving classrooms.

However, Jayne has already gotten much older than mercenaries generally get to be, so he must be pretty good at it...and let's not forget his Miracle of the Bent Scope.



I think this post minimizes the caliber of talent the crew has, and the most obvious example is Kaylee. We're not talking about a lawnmower here, but an interstellar spacecraft propulsion system. She's 19 and Mal's been captain for years. As a teen without training she just knows how to fix the ship, and kludge many other things. Heroes in other shows of this genre are academy trained, and are heroes because they excelled in their classes. Here on earth there are gobs of folk who can't even repair an auto engine - in America they can be found working as mechanics at car dealerships.
Even though they are 500 years in the future, the exchanges with River show they have not expanded upon mind-reading or knowledge transfer, so training is still the same way we learn now - so Kaylee's talents are really far beyond our comprehension. Savant is the only way to encompass the idea.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007 10:04 AM

WALTZING


There are a lot of good points made about the 'savant-ness' (is that a word?) of the crew. However, I feel like Inara's not getting enough play, so I'll step up and point stuff out. Being a Companion is more than just the sex. They're not whores but more like geishas, trained in the arts of entertainment and emotional manipulation (not necessarily in bad way). It is pointed out by Nandy in Heart of Gold that Inara is 'exceptional' and could have been 'house priestess', obviously a high position in the Companion hierarchy. Thus, this puts her above other Companions, granting her 'savant' status. At least in my book.

Also I'd like to point out that there are also a few, let's call them, villain-savants. Namely, Yo-Saff-Bridg and Jubal Early. YSB is an expert at being all 'articulate', as well as obviously knowledgeable about mechanics and ships, and, I'd bet, many other things relating to crime. Jubal Early is intuitive to nearly psychic levels, and a master in combat. He very nearly beats our hero-savants, until being outwitted by River.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007 10:16 AM

WYTCHCROFT


Quote:

Originally posted by Waltzing:


Also I'd like to point out that there are also a few, let's call them, villain-savants. Namely, Yo-Saff-Bridg and Jubal Early. YSB is an expert at being all 'articulate', as well as obviously knowledgeable about mechanics and ships, and, I'd bet, many other things relating to crime. Jubal Early is intuitive to nearly psychic levels, and a master in combat. He very nearly beats our hero-savants, until being outwitted by River.



what's interesting is Early as a sort of Anti-River
Yo/Saff as anti-mal - nandi as anti-inara etc... they (nearly) all have shadows - even jayne in jayne's town meets an 'opposite'...
Simon* and Zoe - not so much (but hell we only got one season gorramit!)

Book loses out by virtue of being the only crew member with no significant storyline. But the shadow to his Faith is not Mals lack of faith so much as it is the blind faith (and i do mean blind - even in the novelisiation he's still got the specs joss gave him originally) in the Alliance of the Operative**.

*it's possible to see Gabriel as a potential shadow - maybe if he had come back..

** also gifted - a savant??? i'm beginning to think savant just means superhero...

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Saturday, November 10, 2007 11:02 AM

WALTZING


Quote:

what's interesting is Early as a sort of Anti-River
Yo/Saff as anti-mal - nandi as anti-inara etc... they (nearly) all have shadows - even jayne in jayne's town meets an 'opposite'...
Simon* and Zoe - not so much (but hell we only got one season gorramit!)

Book loses out by virtue of being the only crew member with no significant storyline. But the shadow to his Faith is not Mals lack of faith so much as it is the blind faith (and i do mean blind - even in the novelisiation he's still got the specs joss gave him originally) in the Alliance of the Operative**.

*it's possible to see Gabriel as a potential shadow - maybe if he had come back..



You're right- there is a lot of hero/villain echoing. I especially like the idea that Saffron is the anti-Mal.
Along the echoing line, as far as Simon goes, I heard someone's idea (I believe it was on the fireflytalk podcast) that Simon is basically Mal raised in a wealthy family. I had to stop and think but it does make sense, both being strong characters who had been let down by those they trusted (the independent movement for Mal, his parents for Simon). This isn't really an echo so much as a different version. So, yeah.


Quote:


** also gifted - a savant??? i'm beginning to think savant just means superhero...



The Operative is gifted, yes, but I don't think he's a savant. A savant is someone who is extremely gifted, beyond just, well, gifted. The Operative is good, and definitely scary, but I can't think of anything he did that's particularly savant-like. He didn't track Serenity, wasn't as fast a draw as Mal, and in the end he becomes a shadow, and it seems hinted at that he almost won't be able to go on living. Anyway that's my take on it. Any contradicting views/thoughts will be duly noted and considered.


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Saturday, November 10, 2007 11:10 AM

WYTCHCROFT


Quote:

Originally posted by Waltzing:



Quote:


** also gifted - a savant??? i'm beginning to think savant just means superhero...



The Operative is gifted, yes, but I don't think he's a savant. A savant is someone who is extremely gifted, beyond just, well, gifted. The Operative is good, and definitely scary, but I can't think of anything he did that's particularly savant-like. He didn't track Serenity, wasn't as fast a draw as Mal, and in the end he becomes a shadow, and it seems hinted at that he almost won't be able to go on living. Anyway that's my take on it. Any contradicting views/thoughts will be duly noted and considered.




nah i kinda knew even as i typed it -LOL! -
The Op is just his training, but the very maximum. All the crew are creative with their talent (as indeed are their villain-echoes) but the Op is NOT creative - he is a steam hammer to crack a nut. "When your quarry goes to ground, leave no ground to go to" is the same degree of (lack of) imagination as collective punishment to weed out a lone culprit - plus Mal's ingenuity with the reaver onslaught didn't even occur to the Op as a possible happening - till it came out of the sky right at him.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007 11:37 AM

WALTZING


Quote:

Originally posted by wytchcroft:


All the crew are creative with their talent (as indeed are their villain-echoes) but the Op is NOT creative - he is a steam hammer to crack a nut. "When your quarry goes to ground, leave no ground to go to" is the same degree of (lack of) imagination as collective punishment to weed out a lone culprit - plus Mal's ingenuity with the reaver onslaught didn't even occur to the Op as a possible happening - till it came out of the sky right at him.



Exactly! And I love it because it's so, well, Alliance, isn't it? Your hammer analogy is perfect, he's just wielding his power bluntly and it doesn't work, as the crew's creativity is what ultimately trips him up and saves them. Well, that and River's sweet moves.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007 9:59 PM

MERRYK


I think Gabriel would have been brought back as anti-Simon later on. They barely covered his significance in Safe, but there he was more of an anti-Mal...I've always seen Simon as following mostly in his father's footsteps, just that his father didn't follow his heart/conscience anymore. Tracey, also, was the anti-Simon. I think we would have eventually seen a major villain to shadow each of the main characters.

--
"My way of being polite, or however...well, it's the only way I have of showing you that I like you. Of showing respect." Simon Tam, Jaynestown

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Monday, November 12, 2007 7:38 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


I felt savant was descriptive of a mostly isolated gift or talent. KayLee has that gift with mechanics, nobody else has, and she's not gifted in most other areas. Wash would have the flying talent. Jayne is clearly not "well rounded", but an excellent tracker (among other things of similar use).

Zoe and Mal have some training in military arts and skills, but have risen beyond the sub-par training levels of "volunteers". I feel their gifts lie in the areas of leadership, cunning, seeing the overall picture. Mal has some deficiencies, and thus is not really well-rounded, but more so than the crew he's hired. Zoe seems the most well-rounded.
The crew is savant, not as much Mal & Zoe, I think.

River has gifts which are incisive and focused in precise applications, but not everything is connected. Pluss few in the verse seem to be readers. Thus her savant description.

That's how I was conjuring things. I understand this may all be because Joss is just not interested in detailing the "sciency" things needed in SPACE, but it results in these characters having unusually focused gifts. How many parallels to KayLee can one find?

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Monday, November 12, 2007 7:41 PM

MERRYK


I understand your point of view...I didn't meant to hijack the thread, just was responding to someone else's post. I do think Serenity's crew is just a bit too talented for reality. But hey, it's fiction, and I guess their flaws make up for it.

--
"My way of being polite, or however...well, it's the only way I have of showing you that I like you. Of showing respect." Simon Tam, Jaynestown

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Monday, November 12, 2007 8:23 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


I didn't see any hijack. Just part of the discussion. I was just trying to contribute more.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007 1:38 PM

WHITESILENCE


Oops, double post. My bad.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007 1:38 PM

WHITESILENCE


I agree that Kaylee is a gifted mechanic but I don't think that she's as unschooled as people think she is. She says herself that she worked for her dad, thus implying some level of instruction, she also knows what all the parts in Serenity are called and if she hadn't had any learnin' she wouldn't have been able to name them. So I think she had to at least have had some schooling. Either that or space ship engines are really similar to farm equipment or whatever they had on her planet.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007 11:12 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


KayLee said she learned from what her dad told her, but she never been on a Firefly before, never been in space before, never worked on the engine in Firefly before.
Bit of a jump from general wires and fuses to understanding intricate unique workings. Plus to know more than the ship's mechanic Bester, even more of a gift.


On another matter, I just rewatched the Serenity CE bonus "SciFi Inside: Serenity" where Joss and Nathan discuss the Savant Crew. So I guess I picked it up from there, not an original thought in my head.

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Friday, January 9, 2009 7:09 PM

SEATTLESUNSHINE


Savant doesn't mean what I think you guys seem to think it means. Savant implies scholar, as in study.

Quote:

Originally posted by MerryK:
I understand your point of view...I didn't meant to hijack the thread, just was responding to someone else's post. I do think Serenity's crew is just a bit too talented for reality. But hey, it's fiction, and I guess their flaws make up for it.



I understand where people might think it is unrealistic but not as much as one might think. Not to say that there isn't any television dramatization. However, the way I see it, besides River, who is a psychic prodigy, no one else has unrealistic talent. Kaylee, Wash, and Jayne might not be typically gifted in the academic sense, they are gifted though. Mal, Zoe, Simon, and Inara all show varying levels of standard giftedness.

It might seem unrealistic to find so many gifted people in one place seeing as to even qualify as moderately gifted you must be in the top 98% (going by the IQ definition). That said, being gifted isn't all it is cracked up to be. It comes with a different way of learning, a different way of looking at the world, and often a full docket of mental issue sidekicks. Gifted people tend to band together just by chance. It is also fairly common for gifted people to rebel against or not fit in the established system. Think - Einstein's clash with the school system.

"I'm the brains of the operation." -River (BDM Screenplay)

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Sunday, January 11, 2009 8:45 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by SeattleSunshine:
Savant doesn't mean what I think you guys seem to think it means. Savant implies scholar, as in study.

Quote:

Originally posted by MerryK:
I understand your point of view...I didn't meant to hijack the thread, just was responding to someone else's post. I do think Serenity's crew is just a bit too talented for reality. But hey, it's fiction, and I guess their flaws make up for it.



I understand where people might think it is unrealistic but not as much as one might think. Not to say that there isn't any television dramatization. However, the way I see it, besides River, who is a psychic prodigy, no one else has unrealistic talent. Kaylee, Wash, and Jayne might not be typically gifted in the academic sense, they are gifted though. Mal, Zoe, Simon, and Inara all show varying levels of standard giftedness.

It might seem unrealistic to find so many gifted people in one place seeing as to even qualify as moderately gifted you must be in the top 98% (going by the IQ definition). That said, being gifted isn't all it is cracked up to be. It comes with a different way of learning, a different way of looking at the world, and often a full docket of mental issue sidekicks. Gifted people tend to band together just by chance. It is also fairly common for gifted people to rebel against or not fit in the established system. Think - Einstein's clash with the school system.

"I'm the brains of the operation." -River (BDM Screenplay)



You may wish savant to mean scholar, or imply scholar, but it was used in this thread for it's common usage and meaning, it's definition and meaning as referenced by "idiot savant". Most people do not learn much via scholarly routes.
From Random House Webster's: savant: a person of profound learning.
From Merriam Webster's OnLine: savant - 1: a person of learning; ESPECIALLY: one with detailed knowledge in some specialized field (as of science or literature).
- 2: idiot savant.
also MWOL: idiot savant - 2: a person who is highly knowledgeable about one subject but knows little about anything else.

None of those make any mention of scholarly, and the lack of mention clearly implies an ambiguous source or route of learning or knowledge.

Since most "scholarly" learning includes more "well rounded" subject matter, the high level of understanding of these characters talents, while not being formally taught to be that highly proficient, implies a level of savant.

Regarding the part about highly gifted or talented peoples meeting via coincidence, this is actually a real life phenomena. Highly gifted people actually gravitate towards each other, and when passing by actually attract the attention of each other. I would find it more surprising if some of our characters were actually working with or near less capable individuals. I would have expected Bester to become an annoyance to most of the crew had he stayed. Jayne is an annoyance, but most of the crew can put up with him due to his unique talents, which he was brought in for.

It has been agreed that Wash has not shown the giftedness which was written into the script, and Joss commented about it to Alan and Tim Minnear during The Message.
Don't know why Inara's talents are downplayed here - she was supposed to be one of the youngest Madams at Madrassa House, so that can't be just pure chance, or standardization.

A technical point about the gifted/borderline genius definition. It is not the top 98% (which would be almost everybody, 49 out of 50 people would be "gifted" or "genius". It is actually the top 2% of the population, or those above the 98th percentile.

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Monday, January 12, 2009 8:15 AM

AGENTROUKA


If there is an idiot savant on Serenity, it may be Kaylee, since it is implied she has an abnormal and intuitive talent when it comes to machines.

The others are just above average intelligence and active in a field of their particular strength - or Jayne. Be that through talent or training or both.

And the real reason why so many above average talents are on Serenity? Mal and Zoe.

They have a GREAT working relationship, which colors their expectations toward other crew members. They are used to excelence from each other, especially Mal from Zoe, and since Serenity is Mal's shot at a new life, he'll be choosy, where he can afford it.

Wash has the reputation to impress Mal, and he stays because he impresses Zoe somewhat more meaningfully. His talent, though obvious, is never really compared to other pilots who shared his training. Is he THAT much better?

Bester - very tellingly - is OFF the boat as soon as someone brighter and more talented (and motivated) comes along.

Inara's clever guts get her the shuttle at a lower price than Mal wanted - and because she offers a unique advantage directly related to her talents.

Jayne's talent gets him hired, otherwise he would have been dead or off the boat as soon as they were safe from his ex-boss.

Simon's skill as a doctor allows him to survive the pilot eppy and be hired by Mal.

Book is an exception in that his passenger fare likely allows him to stay while he chooses to do so because he is fascinated by Mal's unique personality, a large part of which is his talent for leadership.

River is an exception in that she is more of an object for the longest time. Her victim status allows her to stay as Simon's ward. But as soon as she displays a talent, Mal tries to take advantage of it, too.

So it's indeed that they gravitate toward each other because they are talented/smart/highly trained. Either because Mal selects the best for Serenity or because they select Mal. Someone without an advantage to offer wouldn't get to stay on the ship.


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Sunday, May 3, 2009 10:29 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Regarding Book, I don't see his payment of fare as reason he's staying aboard.
Once the events of the Pilot come to pass, he's "in" because he knows the Tam secret, which is now a Serenity secret, and our BDH shouldn't distance them from him unduly. They even let him take off for a week during Ariel. He does show some usefulness in War Stories, but there is an underlying question before that if he's merely a religiosity spreader, or maybe there's more to him. Why else would Jayne accept him? Even during Safe, he does not seem to let his code get in the way of some criminal activity. His reaction, or lack of, to Dobson's killing tells a lot to Mal & Zoe.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009 1:51 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
Regarding Book, I don't see his payment of fare as reason he's staying aboard.
Once the events of the Pilot come to pass, he's "in" because he knows the Tam secret, which is now a Serenity secret, and our BDH shouldn't distance them from him unduly. They even let him take off for a week during Ariel. He does show some usefulness in War Stories, but there is an underlying question before that if he's merely a religiosity spreader, or maybe there's more to him. Why else would Jayne accept him? Even during Safe, he does not seem to let his code get in the way of some criminal activity. His reaction, or lack of, to Dobson's killing tells a lot to Mal & Zoe.



I'm not saying that Book isn't part of their family, or that he doesn't have advantages to offer, but he is not hired crew in theway everyone else beside Inara is (or River per Simon). I have no doubt that he keeps paying fare, which is the official advantage he offers Mal, aside from the many surprising and unexplained ones.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019 1:47 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by jewelstaitefan:
I think a reply of mine is missing.
I intended and agree that savants are not perfect - they are only gifted in a focused application. Perfection is not the point here - just that they are gifted. In the Pilot, River is effecti8vely the primary catalyst for the problems/tensions which the show is based on - the 8 months from Pilot to BDM. And River is the Mother-of-all-Savants - and Serenity is likely the safest place in the verse for her, although Simon didn't know this when he tried to sneak her as cargo for a short trip - just that they didn't ask too many questions.

Simon would not have been in any "high school" as we conjure. By the end of his teens he already completed college, med school, internship, and was a trauma surgeon. If high schoool is for learning, he aced it. If high school is for making the dumb feel like they have some contibution to make in their community, Simon probably didn't have those courses, activities, or experiences.


Another thing. Other than BDM where the teacher is narrator at the beginning, and Book provides foreshadowing - even of his own death, the only foreshadowing and narration we get are from River.
So, does River ever speak an untruth? Other than the Book's hair thing in Jaynestown, I can't recall any.
Sort of fetching that, since she is providing the most accurate and valuable information in the show, the crew ignores her input.

Upon reviewing this thread, I note that Joss had said the entire show was about River. So this was a particularly poignant point of her being Mother-of-all-Savants, without knowing the intention Joss had.

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