FIREFLY EPISODE DISCUSSIONS

Out of Gas 'Everybody dies alone.' (SPOILERS)

POSTED BY: AGENTROUKA
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 12:41
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Monday, July 12, 2010 12:07 AM

AGENTROUKA


It just occured to me how much, much, much more poignant this line of Mal's is made by the spoilerly information that Inara is dying.

It always, very gently bothered me that Inara let that line slide, that they faded away after he said it and that she left him there so calmly after that.

But in the light of her dying of some illness and having obviously chosen to leave her home for strange and dangerou pastures, this line must have really, really resonated with her. What a wonderful, layered moment!

I wonder how Mal would feel about this moment if he did have that information on Inara...



What do you all think?


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Monday, July 12, 2010 3:24 AM

ZEEK


I think I get too distracted watching that scene. Everyone is acting all cold even mal. Yet he doesn't put on his big brown coat. Drives me nuts.


I don't know if I fully believe Inara is dying yet. I know that's the spoilery answer, but until I see it in a comic or on screen I'm just not sure I buy it.


Working on the assumption that she is dying then I'd expect Inara to start crying at that line. I mean it should already be an emotional time. Then he'd say a line like that which should hit her right to the core. Still she keeps her calm. I don't know if she's that good at keeping her emotions in check.

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Monday, July 12, 2010 3:28 AM

AGENTROUKA


I think you may underestimate her. She is remarkably calm during the entire death threat of dying on Serenity, and urging Mal not to die alone would be pretty emotional, too. Inara's pretty good at keeping calm, and I think dying alone would actually be something she has considered for herself and accepted as dignified, which might be why she accepts it from Mal.


Totally agree about the coat, though. Makes NO sense. Unless Mal wants to be cold.

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Monday, July 12, 2010 4:36 AM

KATESFRIEND


I always saw his coat as a shield whenever he is off Serenity. He only wears it when he is off the ship. Not putting it on while even freezing to death makes perfect sense from a symbolic point of view because his ship is his second skin.

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Monday, July 12, 2010 5:01 AM

AGENTROUKA


Good point... that actually makes a lot of sense.




I'm going to insert my Bold Opinion here and say that Mal would severely disagree with his own statement if he knew Inara was dying. Somehow, I don't see him calmly espousing the inevitability of a lonely death in the face of someone he cares greatly about and feels protective of. Same with, say, Kaylee.

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Monday, July 12, 2010 5:06 AM

KATESFRIEND


I think the whole point of Serenity Valley is that response would have been burned out of Mal watching everything he loved die in the war. Yes, if he were normal and non-traumatized, he would act that way. And during the healing he was doing during Firefly maybe that response would come back to him. But as soon as it was a life and death situation, his guard slips back in place and the soldier returns.

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Monday, July 12, 2010 5:12 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

I think I get too distracted watching that scene. Everyone is acting all cold even mal. Yet he doesn't put on his big brown coat. Drives me nuts.


I think that's supposed to be symbolic. Mal puts on his coat when he's going off to war (leaving the ship to go out into the harsh 'verse). I don't ever recall him just wearing it around the ship, which represents safety and home. Plus it could be some "tough soldier guy" thing, or Mal being stubborn.

EDIT: I see Katesfriend got to this idea already. But yeah, that's always been my take too.

Quote:

Working on the assumption that she is dying then I'd expect Inara to start crying at that line. I mean it should already be an emotional time. Then he'd say a line like that which should hit her right to the core. Still she keeps her calm. I don't know if she's that good at keeping her emotions in check.


She doesn't cry when they're facing down the Reavers, so I think despite the Heart of Gold scene people always hold against her, she's made of stronger stuff than people give her credit for. She doesn't want to die, but she doesn't strike me as particularly afraid to. If she's accepted she's going to die anyway, she might be sad about it sometimes, but she may not have any tears left for it.

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Monday, July 12, 2010 5:35 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

I'm going to insert my Bold Opinion here and say that Mal would severely disagree with his own statement if he knew Inara was dying. Somehow, I don't see him calmly espousing the inevitability of a lonely death in the face of someone he cares greatly about and feels protective of. Same with, say, Kaylee.


Yet he does, and he certainly cares for Inara and is protective of her by that point.

Inara's the only character in the entire episode to whom he acknowledges the likelyhood of their dying. I may not be sure why, wouldn't be a trust thing, maybe it's him selfishly wanting to speak plainly to someone about reality as he sees it, in a situation where they both know comfort would be a lie, and unwanted.

I see it as just a truthful moment in general. Even if he knew she was dying, I don't imagine him making some false reassurance to spare Inara about it here. Some situations warrant being truthful.

Inara clearly expresses to him that she knows the situation is hopeless without blaming him or being upset, which I think allows him to make his own honest assessment.

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Monday, July 12, 2010 6:55 AM

TWO

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
She doesn't cry when they're facing down the Reavers, so I think despite the Heart of Gold scene people always hold against her, she's made of stronger stuff than people give her credit for. She doesn't want to die, but she doesn't strike me as particularly afraid to. If she's accepted she's going to die anyway, she might be sad about it sometimes, but she may not have any tears left for it.

If Firefly takes Inara's Buddhism seriously and she really is a strong believer, not some religious poseur, Inara should be feeling pretty calm about death, her own or others. Well, at least more so than if Inara was a Christian or an agnostic.

Belief in multiple, unending reincarnations is a very powerful emotional defense against the cold fear of death, more powerful than a (only-for-good-people) resurrection to heaven. It's too bad that agnostics have only got the weak tea of philosophy to keep them feeling warm & cozy about mortality.
And speaking for atheists like Mal, I say we are fearless Knights of Badassdom. We eat death for breakfast and shit it out!

The Joss Whedon script for "Serenity", where Wash lives, is
Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/two

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Monday, July 12, 2010 10:00 AM

LAUREN779


I must admit that I hadn't really given this much thought, but now after I read all your theories/insights, I'll have to re watch the episode again.

But to answer the question, I had always thought Mal meant exactly what he said-because in a way, it is true. Dying is a singular process. Even if they were all together on the ship-or in the shuttle, each one of them would have died alone.

I think even if Mal knew Inara was dying, and, hypothetically, had been with her in her "final" stages, I still think he would have held onto the belief that in a way, she died alone.



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Monday, July 12, 2010 5:13 PM

FEARTHEBUNNYMAN


I sort of got the impression that it was Inara's intention to die alone - that's why she was always pulling back from intimacy with Mal, leaving the ship, etc. Maybe even part of the reason she left the Core? So if anything, I would imagine when Mal said that to her, she knew exactly what he meant, b/c she thought that way too (for herself anyway, maybe she wouldn't want it for others).

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 5:11 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by fearthebunnyman:
I sort of got the impression that it was Inara's intention to die alone - that's why she was always pulling back from intimacy with Mal, leaving the ship, etc. Maybe even part of the reason she left the Core? So if anything, I would imagine when Mal said that to her, she knew exactly what he meant, b/c she thought that way too (for herself anyway, maybe she wouldn't want it for others).



That's what I'm thinking, too. I think it's why she accepts it from Mal.


Quote:

Originally posted by LAUREN779:
But to answer the question, I had always thought Mal meant exactly what he said-because in a way, it is true. Dying is a singular process. Even if they were all together on the ship-or in the shuttle, each one of them would have died alone.

I think even if Mal knew Inara was dying, and, hypothetically, had been with her in her "final" stages, I still think he would have held onto the belief that in a way, she died alone.



But there's the moment of crossing over and there's the facing the moments of anticipation alone. Death itself is really a short moment compared to the process of dying.

Somehow I don't see Mal just letting Inara leave (without an argument, anyway) if she told him "Everybody dies alone" as a reason.


I'm very certain that this line would have made a comeback if she series had continued. Dying alone may be a concept Mal has internalized for himself, out of necessity, but letting someone else die alone, someone he really cares for, is still something else. At that point in the series, he's still somewhat in denial. At the end of the episode he's very afraid of waking up and finding them all gone. That suggests that what Mal intellectually agrees with and what he emotionally agrees with are two different things.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 5:31 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

At the end of the episode he's very afraid of waking up and finding them all gone. That suggests that what Mal intellectually agrees with and what he emotionally agrees with are two different things.


That's true. I guess I misunderstood your original point. Mal wouldn't lie to Inara about death, hers or his, but wanting to be there as she passes would be a big thing for Mal, I think you're right about that.

Which does make him a hypocrite for pushing her away at that time, but maybe that was more of a sacrifice, just in case, last ditch desperation thing.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 6:57 AM

LAUREN779


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
But there's the moment of crossing over and there's the facing the moments of anticipation alone. Death itself is really a short moment compared to the process of dying.

Somehow I don't see Mal just letting Inara leave (without an argument, anyway) if she told him "Everybody dies alone" as a reason.


I'm very certain that this line would have made a comeback if she series had continued. Dying alone may be a concept Mal has internalized for himself, out of necessity, but letting someone else die alone, someone he really cares for, is still something else. At that point in the series, he's still somewhat in denial. At the end of the episode he's very afraid of waking up and finding them all gone. That suggests that what Mal intellectually agrees with and what he emotionally agrees with are two different things.



Come to think about it, you are absolutely right. Mal is a pretty complex character, and in a way, so is Inara.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 6:58 AM

ZEEK


Quote:

Originally posted by fearthebunnyman:
I sort of got the impression that it was Inara's intention to die alone - that's why she was always pulling back from intimacy with Mal, leaving the ship, etc. Maybe even part of the reason she left the Core? So if anything, I would imagine when Mal said that to her, she knew exactly what he meant, b/c she thought that way too (for herself anyway, maybe she wouldn't want it for others).


I don't get that impression at all. I think she's afraid of death. She doesn't want to die at all. She's running from it and trying to bottle up her emotions as best as possible. She's trying to follow Buddhism because she wants an excuse not to fear death.

I also don't think she's pulling away because she wants to die alone. She's the one telling Mal he doesn't have to die alone. I think she's pulling away because she doesn't want anyone to get close enough to her to find out that she's dying. Then it's real. Then she has to face it and talk about it and it would be all the more difficult to wall off her emotions.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 8:36 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

I think she's pulling away because she doesn't want anyone to get close enough to her to find out that she's dying. Then it's real. Then she has to face it and talk about it and it would be all the more difficult to wall off her emotions.


Yes on this.

...Afraid of dying, I have to think about this. She's nervous when the Reavers pass by, or when fighting them in the movie, but not paralyzed by the fear or particularly trying to avoid dying.

I don't think the above constitutes fear of dying, I think the above constitutes consideration, not wanting other people to worry about her.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 10:20 AM

PLATONIST


Oh, goody, a discussion;)

Somewhere I read or heard, I’m too lazy to find it now, Joss said that Mal and Inara were mirror images of each other, beyond the love thingy or maybe in spite of it, so it would make sense that what Mal says to her and about her, is not only a reflection of his own personal philosophy, which is fairly nihilistic, but, also, a reflection of her personal experience. Mal has seen a lot of death and Inara is, huh…dying, and it is a singular process, she can’t argue with that.

I never got the impression Inara has a fear of dying, though, more likely she's come to terms with it more than most because she is dying and she's been living with it for a while. She doesn’t want to die, like she says, but who does? And she’s wise and old enough to know, that you can’t run from death, not even out to the stars, it’s inevitable, she can’t control it, just as she can’t control Mal staying behind to die alone in OoG.

The reason she rents and then leaves, IMHO, Inara is intrigued with what Serenity and its Captain can offer in terms of mobility, in seeing the verse before she dies, like she says, and then things become complicated, the crew starts to care for her and her for them, especially Mal, and she can’t burden them with her secret because she recognizes Mal’s situation, which is, him just getting to the point where he can live on Serenity happily, unburdened by the pain of the past. She doesn’t want to add to that, what she doesn’t know is the effect of him not knowing why she really leaves, has on him, and the importance her being on Serenity had for him, a chance for a more hopeful future. Why did you leave?

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 10:53 AM

TWO

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by PLATONIST:
Oh, goody, a discussion;)

Somewhere I read or heard, I’m too lazy to find it now, Joss said that Mal and Inara were mirror images of each other, beyond the love thingy or maybe in spite of it, so it would make sense that what Mal says to her and about her, is not only a reflection of his own personal philosophy, which is fairly nihilistic, but, also, a reflection of her personal experience. Mal has seen a lot of death and Inara is, huh…dying, and it is a singular process, she can’t argue with that.

I never got the impression Inara has a fear of dying, though, more likely she's come to terms with it more than most because she is dying and she's been living with it for a while. She doesn’t want to die, like she says, but who does? And she’s wise and old enough to know, that you can’t run from death, not even out to the stars, it’s inevitable, she can’t control it, just as she can’t control Mal staying behind to die alone in OoG.

The reason she rents and then leaves, IMHO, Inara is intrigued with what Serenity and its Captain can offer in terms of mobility, in seeing the verse before she dies, like she says, and then things become complicated, the crew starts to care for her and her for them, especially Mal, and she can’t burden them with her secret because she recognizes Mal’s situation, which is, him just getting to the point where he can live on Serenity happily, unburdened by the pain of the past. She doesn’t want to add to that, what she doesn’t know is the effect of him not knowing why she really leaves, has on him, and the importance her being on Serenity had for him, a chance for a more hopeful future. Why did you leave?

We should get specific about what is wrong with Inara. If I were writing Firefly, I would give her Huntington's disease. Young people, like Inara, who develop the disease can have symptoms that mimic Parkinson's: Muscle rigidity, Tremors, Slow movements. This is perfect for TV actresses. And it is fatal.

To add to the drama of Inara's situation, Huntington's is hereditary. Her conception was a gamble. She might have angry resentment toward her parents for what happened. “Why was I born, Mother!” That is also good for dramatic TV.

From genetic testing, Inara knew what was coming before she gets symptoms. That's some more drama and explains why she is out exploring the Universe while she's still young. And why she waivers about making an attachment to Mal.

Since this is science fiction, there's the mirage of a future super-cure. Nano-bots to the rescue. Joss Whedon could save Inara in season seven of Firefly, if he wanted to play god and give everybody a happy ending. But even if Inara dies in the final episode, she still will have had a worthwhile life and an answer to her question, “Why was I born, Mother?”

The Joss Whedon script for "Serenity", where Wash lives, is
Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/two

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 11:08 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by Zeek:
She doesn't want to die at all.

"I'd rather not die at all."


The laughing Chrisisall


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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 12:59 PM

FEARTHEBUNNYMAN


@Zeek - I think what you are saying is part of it, but I disagree that she's in any kind of denial. But shying away from the emotions - well, desiring to die alone and not deal with anyone else's reactions would probably make it easier to push things away, certainly.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010 4:31 AM

TOADSMOOTHY


Has Joss indicated that Inara is dying?

If Mal had known she was dying he would have tempered his remark.

In the sense that no one can share our inner experience of death, we do all die alone. Of course, by that token we all also live alone. But, dying while surrounded by loved ones must be more of a comfort than dying devoid of company. We see this when Tracy dies. I believe he took some comfort in that Mal and Zoe were there.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010 4:57 AM

GWEK


Apparently, Joss did mention it somewhere. Morena Bacarrin confirmed it at a convention, only after someone said that Joss had already spilled the beans.

www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010 6:19 AM

TWO

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by GWEK:
Apparently, Joss did mention it somewhere. Morena Bacarrin confirmed it at a convention, only after someone said that Joss had already spilled the beans.

“Wow! You're really putting me on the spot here. I could get into so much trouble for this, but . . .” said Morena Baccarin about Inara's Secret at Dragon*Con 2008. I don't think that Morena committed a sin against storytelling. She is telling us that there is a cliffhanger that most of us were unaware of, which makes the story better. (By the way, a cliffhanger is not a spoiler.)

Inara's fate is the cliffhanger. Since it's Joss Whedon's story, if he wants Inara to live, a cure will be found because it's Science Fiction. If he wants her dead, she dies before the Serenity Saga ends. I don't know which will happen, but I suspect Inara's fate has NOT been decided. We will have to wait for years to find out.

Knowing that there is something really big that hasn't happened, yet, will keep the audience interested while they wait for the story to continue. That is a great storytelling strategy Joss Whedon is using. An even better strategy would be for Joss to write that comic book NOW!

Morena spills the beans:



The Joss Whedon script for "Serenity", where Wash lives, is
Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/two

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010 12:00 PM

TOADSMOOTHY


Thanks for the clip. Wow...something else to ponder.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010 12:41 PM

PENGUIN








King of the Mythical Land that is Iowa

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