FIREFLY EPISODE DISCUSSIONS

Pity the Reavers?

POSTED BY: MANIACNUMBERONE
UPDATED: Friday, March 5, 2004 13:21
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Wednesday, February 18, 2004 11:39 PM

MANIACNUMBERONE


I can't find the thread I like that talked about Reavers, so I'm starting this new one.

In Bushwacked, when Mal is being questioned by the Alliance officer, the officer mentions that he hasn't seen torture like that (referring to the Reavers splitting of the tongue down the middle) since the war.

This made me think that Reavers are possibly a by-product of torture during the war. Now the Alliance guy in Bushwacked was pretty disgusted with that whole notion (of course he was new), so that makes me think that he prolly thought that such torture was done by the other side.

Now, I don't believe that Browncoats tortured anybody. It's very likely though that since the winners write history, all stories of Alliance doings during the war would have been retold to their advantage. My point being, the Alliance prolly did torture Browncoats, and then lied about doing it. No wonder Mal knows so much about them.

We don't know for how long the war went on either, do we? ...so that Alliance guy could have been referring to a very early part of the war. Anyway, it seems the result was that the people that they tortured eventually went mad and finally escaped. And we have Reavers... with notions of cutting on themselves in their madness because it had been done to them in torture. A common way for a victim to cope with abuse, is to take control of the abuse by abusing themselves.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2004 11:46 PM

SUCCATASH


Quote:

Originally posted by ManiacNumberOne:
My point being, the Alliance prolly did torture Browncoats, and then lied about doing it.

Great thoughts. I wonder if Book was tortured, and that's why he's "more or less intact?" He probably just has one ball. It makes perfect sense, great ideas you have.

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Thursday, February 19, 2004 3:56 AM

ASTRIANA


Quote:

Originally posted by Succatash:
I wonder if Book was tortured, and that's why he's "more or less intact?" He probably just has one ball. It makes perfect sense, great ideas you have.


And we're back to One-Ball Book, eh, Tash? LOL

~A~

...I'm still free,
You can't take the sky from me.

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Thursday, February 19, 2004 10:42 AM

MANIACNUMBERONE


How did I know you'd be able to bring that into it, Tash?

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Thursday, February 19, 2004 10:47 AM

SUCCATASH



I'm half-joking about one ball Book. But in all seriousness, Maniac, you've made some interesting observations and speculations. Thanks for posting this thread.

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Monday, February 23, 2004 10:08 AM

SHAMBLEAU


As far as Maniacnumberone's opinion that the Browncoats didn't torture, I don't share it. We've seen a lot of the outer worlds and they're a varied lot. I'm assuming that most of those worlds fought with the Independents. Since the frontier worlds we've seen have been run by petty tyrants, religious zealots and aligarchies trying to reconstitute the nobility (Persephone), It's safe to say that not all of them would view torture in the same way. Nice as it would be to think that the Independent High Command kept them all in line, I don't think so.

shambleau

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Monday, February 23, 2004 10:27 AM

MANIACNUMBERONE


Your opinion is valid, Shambleau. I agree that the outer worlds are varied, but I don't see any evidence that most of them joined the Independents in the War, nor do I see any evidence of the Independents torturing anyone. I believe lots of the worlds that we've seen shown so far in Firefly have supported the Alliance in the War, or at the least were split amongst themsleves on each planet. It is safe to say though that "not all of them would view torture in the same way."

I'd like to think that Browncoats motives were a little more honorable than Alliance ones though. Look at what each side was fighting for... their names say it all, browncoats wanted to remain free and to let others be free too, alliance wanted everyone under their rule. It seems like their goals tell the tale as to which side is the likelier to do any torture. Wouldn't you agree?

Like you say, some of the outer worlds are run by petty tyrants or the like. But are the Independents somehow responsible for the outer worlds present state? Shouldn't taking care of outer rim worlds (theoretically) be the job of the winning side... the Alliance? Any problems on those outer worlds like tyrants, bands of thieves and the like are the duty of the alliance to quash are they not?

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Monday, February 23, 2004 11:06 AM

CARDIE


When there is prolonged civil conflict, you're going to run into atrocities committed by both sides. The situations and the emotions they bring out will push those with tendencies to be torturers to act on those tendencies, and I don't think that has anything to do with whether you believe in a Federal system with centralized control or in each world being its own little fiefdom. We've seen good and bad in the Firefly 'verse from both sides of the Alliance-Independent divide.

While I agree that the Alliance seems to have totalitarian tendencies, there's nothing in the name itself to suggest that. An alliance is an entity formed when various powers freely consent to combine forces for their own mutual benefits.

Cardie

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Monday, February 23, 2004 11:20 AM

MANIACNUMBERONE


You make good points too. And while I believe both sides were capable of torture, I still believe the Alliance to be much more capable. The Blue Sun Corp. should be some evidence of their ideals after the war.

But I didn't want to keep arguing that anyway.
I bet we won't convince each other.

My main point in this thread was that the Reavers are very possibly the result of that torture, regardless of who did it to them. We should pity the Reavers.

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Monday, February 23, 2004 11:41 AM

SUCCATASH





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Monday, February 23, 2004 11:43 AM

MANIACNUMBERONE


Yeah!
That's what I'm talking about. Thanks Tash!

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Sunday, February 29, 2004 8:47 AM

LJOSALF


We know the war lasted at least 4 1/2 years due to the Simon/River flashback in Safe. Serenity opens six years after Serenity Valley and the end of the war. The flashback occurs 11 years in the past from the time of Safe. Simon and River haven't been on Serenity a year at that point, but during Train Job, Inara tells Book she has known Mal 8 months. During Bushwacked, Inara tells the Alliance interogator, that she has been on Serenity for almost a year. So, assuming the 12 month calendar was retained from Earth that was, Simon and River are likely to have been on Serenity about half a year or more. So, 11 - 6 1/2 = 4 1/2. (edited for timeline reconsideration).

Interestingly, young River in her play acting refers to Alliance forces being cut off from their supplies and being forced to resort to cannibalism a la the Reavers.

I would like to point out that Serenity Valley in and of itself was more than adequate to qualify as torture. I wouldn't be too surprised if numerous Reaver recruits came out of veterans that didn't adjust well or at all to the return to civil rule following the war. With that thought in mind, Mal and Zoe could be pretty to close to that edge given their war records as so far known to us.

And while we are in Serenity Valley, prolonged horrific experience (adequate to produce Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is supposed to impact on the amygdala. Did something wild, uncontrollable and powerful come out of the war that suggested the Academy experiments to Blue Sun? Strikes me that a bunch of nerdy, er, gifted, teenagers might be more controllable than a passell of mentally unstable, militarily trained and likely heavily armed veterans.

Ljosalf

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922)

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Tuesday, March 2, 2004 8:55 AM

HONORBOUND


There are many interesting points here. One thing this has made me think of is that everyone is always questioning why Mal knows so much about Reavers. Could it be that he witnessed or even experienced for himself some of this military torture. That would give him the opportunity to witness Reaver development as well as the ability to withstand torture like he experienced with Niska. That fact that he kept Wash talking and was able to continually joke and not succume to Niska's torture led me to believe that it wasn't the first time for him.

A kind word turneth away wrath, but not as well as superior firepower

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Tuesday, March 2, 2004 9:08 PM

BENSHAHN


Quote:

Originally posted by Honorbound:
There are many interesting points here. One thing this has made me think of is that everyone is always questioning why Mal knows so much about Reavers.


Yes,Mal knows more than most about the Reavers.
When the survivor in Bushwacked mutilates himself, the Alliance officer says he hasn't seen that kind of torture since the war and he says it with disgust. He is accusing Mal, who he knows to be a former Independent,of doing it.
Now keep in mind that this is a story and information from the writer will sometimes be in unusual places. In Safe, young River talks about a pretend Alliance group that is cut off by the Independents. The Alliance members resort to cannibalism (there is some significance to the rest of her comments also, but that's really probably best for another post).
Now remember that Firefly is the American West during Reconstruction(similar to early TV shows like The Rebel or The Loner). Joss said he was inspired to write Firefly after reading a book about the Civil War. Now think Andersonville prison.
Chances are the Independents are not saints.
Chances are the Reavers are former Alliance.
This would explain why new Alliance officers know little or nothing about them(It's not something the Alliance wants known) and a reason that they attack only Border(former Independence) planets(they do suicidal things like run without core shielding but they do not attack core planets.So never having attacked the Core worlds isn't from fear).
There's more, but I'm tired.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2004 11:24 PM

MANIACNUMBERONE


I agree, benshahn.
Please see my posts 1 and 3, on this thread, to that effect. I love this topic. I am convinced of the likelihood that the Reavers are former Alliance torturee's.

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Thursday, March 4, 2004 7:43 AM

KUGELBLITZ


Why Alliance? There were Federal prisons in the Civil War too, like Piney Point in Maryland that had egregious casualties. In fact, after the Civil War there were a few nasty people (out west) who kept on fighting for a bit. It could be that the Reaver's evolved somewhere wherein the already extant conflicts (over whatever) nourished their hatreds-like in Kansas where pro-abolitionists fought pro-slavery groups before the war started, and gruesome atrocities were numerous there-one whole town was massacred at one point, or nearly so.

The Reavers could also be some Independent commandos who were exposed to significant drugs or beyond-the-pale military tech (mind control, bio tech etc). The surgical mil-bot route would leave scars and strangely configured humanoids behind (NOT BORGS!) that eventually becomes a wound fetish culture amongst their descendents, especially if strength rules.

What do Reavers worship? Resistance to pain? Are their gorey predations (after the necessary looting) a ritual that separates victims from potential recruits? Could our left behind victim have been such a, ahem, winner?

The Independents could very well be a looser confederation of entities than the Alliance, with looser controls on their own tech and folk (it is implied in many places). Hence the Independent's version of Quantrell's Raiders evolved into the fringe entity known as The Reavers, and some outlaws trade on that rep still so they can achieve a certain amount of fear in their victims. So there are real Reavers (or were) and faux Reavers in the world too. The difference for the victims would be a small one, but I could see some tin pot dictator using false Reavers to keep everone scared and in line.

Food for thought.

MAL Which one you figure tracked us?

ZOE The ugly one, sir.

MAL (beat) Could you be more specific?

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Friday, March 5, 2004 4:34 AM

DTT


I really like the theory, but has anybody considered that some of the evil in the FF Verse would predate the war? Could be the Reavers had nothing to do with the war other than raiding both sides. Not tryin to discount what's been said, just throwing another idea out. After all, Joss has recognized before that not all evil is created -- some of it just is.

"You didn't have to wound that man."
"Yeah, I know. It was just funny."

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Friday, March 5, 2004 1:21 PM

BENSHAHN


Quote:

Originally posted by dtt:
I really like the theory, but has anybody considered that some of the evil in the FF Verse would predate the war? Could be the Reavers had nothing to do with the war other than raiding both sides. Not tryin to discount what's been said, just throwing another idea out. After all, Joss has recognized before that not all evil is created -- some of it just is.



It's a very valid idea. There are a number of possiblities here, but I think, so far, there are only two that are based on what is in the series.
1. The Reavers are exactly what we've been told they are and were probably based on The Reivers, the raiders of the Scottish-English border(my understanding is that Joss was schooled in England so this seems probable)
2. The Reavers are former Alliance. This idea of the Reavers fits nicely with Whedon's writing style; wanting to surprise the viewer with the unexpected, main characters with dark backgrounds, and the theme of redemption. When Mal says," Nothing worse than a monster thinks he's right with god", what if he knows this because he's also talking about himself?
You might be interested in my post under "Theory on Book"

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