Have Mal's Contacts Been Discussed?

UPDATED: Friday, July 20, 2018 09:13
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Tuesday, November 14, 2017 2:00 AM


We see our BDHs getting jobs and info from contacts they have, apparently largely former War Buddies.

They've had Serenity a few years, and we see about 8 months of their travels during series and movie.

I don't see them making any NEW contacts since picking up the Tams. And Mal seems to keep losing sources, burning bridges.

Has any of this been discussed? My perception of this dynamic has focused while rewatching for the 15th Anniversary of the broadcasts.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018 2:34 PM


Okay, here's my rundown.

Serenity (Pilot): Badger SEEMS like he won't be a good contact again. Patience neither. Both old contacts.
Train Job: Clearly things went south with Niska, but this sets precedent for them making new contacts.
Bushwhacked: No contacts.
Shindig: Turns out they can deal with Badger again after all. Also, Lord Harrow is a new contact.
Safe: Probably can still deal with Harrow? The complication with delivery wasn't on Serenity's end.
Our Mrs. Reynolds: I think Elder Gommen was innocent, but either way, there probably isn't another job from him.
Jaynestown: I don't think we get a name, but they did the job. So probably still solid?
Out of Gas: No contacts.
Ariel: I guess Simon could be a "contact" again.
War Stories: Bolles is dead, so probably won't be buying again. Things still bad with Niska.
Trash: Good with Monty. Saffron would probably have come back. Good with wobbly headed doll caper contact?
The Message: Inara says she knows folks she could sell the Lassiter to, but otherwise no contacts.
Heart of Gold: Nandi is a new contact. No repeat jobs with her, but maybe other prostitutes?
Objects in Space: No contacts.
Serenity (movie): I don't remember exactly how it plays out, but Fanty & Mingo are probably dead, yeah?

So this is what I'm coming up with.

Definitely new:
Lord Harrow, Niska (though bridge definitely burned), Inara's fencing contacts (theoretical)

Possibly new:
Elder Gommen, mystery contact from Jaynestown, mystery contact from Trash (wobbly headed doll caper)

Technically a new source for a job:
Saffron, Simon

So I guess Lord Harrow is the only new contact that was enough of a character that I think we'd be reasonably likely to see him again.

In terms of old contacts who are still around, assuming the Operative didn't get them, I think we still have a few. Relations are strained with Badger, but my sense is neither Mal nor Badger would let that get in the way of a profit. I'm sure Monty wasn't enthused that Mal was married to his wife, but I think he'd recover. I could see him calling Mal for help with a job. Things'd have to be pretty desperate to visit Patience again, but they were desperate the last time, so I guess it's not off the table. Bolles is dead, and I think Fanty & Mingo are probably dead, but other than that, I think Niska is the only door that's probably totally closed.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018 1:14 AM


In the novelization of Serenity, Mingo and Fanty are killed, but this isn't necessarily confirmed in the movie.

In the comics, the crew works with Badger - and he betrays them. It's not necessarily as bad as what goes does with Niska, but it seems like maybe that might be the end of the road there (on the other hand, the comic in question - Those Left Behind - is also a bridge from the series to the movie, basically the Season One finale).

A number of other contacts are referenced in the series, movie, and comics.

In addition to the ones referenced above...

In the pilot, they reference a number of contacts as alternatives to Patience: Horowitz (who can't afford the goods), the Holden Boys (who won't touch it), Capshaw (who is "brain-blown"), and Gruviek (who is dead).

In Out of Gas, when talking about Wash's references, Mal says that Tanaka has raved about Wash and that Renshaw has been trying to get Wash on his crew. Seems to be that Renshaw is another captain, like Monty, but that doesn't rule him (or her) out as a potential source of employment.

Additionally, in the same episode, they crew is en route to Greenleaf. Although Mal notes that they're not in a rush to get there, I feel like maybe there's a job involved... I think there's a similar dynamic with New Melbourne later in the series.

In Jaynestown, the crew is slated to meet with Kessler (who is killed) to pick up goods to deliver to Bernoulli (who is not seen in the episode). Based on how they talk about him, Bernoulli is clearly the real contact behind the job.

Additionally, the crew parts on good terms with Fess Higgins. One can easily imagine him popping up at a later date.

In the movie, in addition to Mingo and Fanty, the crew clearly has an established relationship with Mr. Universe, and then there's this: "Get on the Cortex. Wave the Sanchez brothers, Li Shen -- anyone whose ever sheltered us after a heist. Tell them to get out. Get out now." Along with the good folk of Haven, these people seem like potential contacts who wind up dead.

In the comics, we see a bit more, but not too much. The one new concrete contact I can think of is the nameless guy who hires them in Better Days to steal part of a robot. He's a bit loopy and wind up not actually paying them, which makes me wonder if he's actually the brain-blown Capshaw mentioned in the pilot.

Now, there's interesting dynamic with all of Mal's contacts. Regardless of whether you're looking at the series or the movie, they're largely slated to wind up dead.

In the series, the Hands of Blue travel in the wake of Serenity, killing everyone who crosses their path to eliminate contact with River. In the movie, The Operative makes an active effort to kill anyone who has ever sheltered Mal and the crew. Either way, the story imperative is that, at a certain point, Mal stand alone.

I have to assume that this was part of Whedon's grand plan and that we would have seen a new direction in Season Two. Personally, I suspect that, with Simon demonstrating a talent for crime in Ariel and Inara having a lot of connections, had the series continued, a desperate Mal would have turned to them increasingly, but that's just speculation.

It may also be worth noting the contacts in the Firefly boardgame, a list which includes:

Amnon Duul
Mr. Universe
Lord Harrow
Mingo & Fanty
Magistrate Higgins

Most of these folks have already been referenced, but Harken, Amnon Duul, and Magistrate Higgins show up as offering more legally based work. Honestly, I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility that if the series had continued long enough, the crew might have gotten a call from Harken at some point, who would have remembered their competence if he ever needed a crew for a "non standard situation."


Friday, July 20, 2018 7:46 AM


I think the Sheriff in Paradiso considers them favorably.
The Counselor from War Stories might have been leaned on too much, at least in the deleted parts from the script.
I think Kaylee impressed a number of folk at the Shindig.
Sheydra was deleted in the BDM, but she seems still friends with Inara.

But these are not necessarily folk that Mal would engage in naughty business with.


Friday, July 20, 2018 9:13 AM


Yeah, fair. There are a lot of characters who the crew wouldn't think of as business contacts that the the writers might use for a job in the future (a la Saffron). In world, Lord Harrow is the only character I can think of who the crew would reasonably consider a good, new contact.






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