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S01.E13: Heart of Gold

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From Wikipedia:

A Companion-trained friend of Inara's who runs a brothel on a remote planet calls for help from Serenity when a local bigwig reveals his intentions to take the baby from a girl he impregnated.

 

 

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Confession time!  <whispers>  I preferred Nandi to Inara... Am I awful backstabber now?

 

Also, Wash and Kaylee for the win!!!

- Wash, tell me I'm pretty.

- Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion.
- 'Cause I'm pretty?

- 'Cause you're pretty.

 

And Jayne being all "in" to help whores (once he found out that they were helping them). Isn't his heart of gold?  :)

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Inara's breakdown over Mal sleeping with Nandi has always rung false to me, I have to say. Yes, I get that there's the whole, 'he claims to dislike whores, yet he'll sleep with one who isn't me' element of the thing, but that doesn't hold a whole lot of water. Because it's not like Inara ever tried to instigate anything, only for Mal to use her profession as a reason for refusing.

 

She just finds out Mal had sex with her sexy friend, and it reduces her to crumpled-on-the-floor-crying? It felt like they went for too big a reaction, and one that hadn't been earned at that point. It needed more of an acknowledgement beforehand of the Mal/Inara feelings, by both of them, for that to fly.

 

I guess this was the most Western episode of this Space Western, and I think it was pretty daft, as a result. Yes, they explained it by saying Rance wanted some sort of Western theme park world or whatever (which made me think of Red Dwarf), but it was just a bit too silly. An actual 'posse surrounds the heroes who are holding out in a building' shoot out, but with hovercars and lasers interspersed amongst the horse and lever-action rifles. 

 

There are still lots of fun moments though. Like those between Wash and Kaylee, and Wash and Zoe talking about having kids, and Jayne being so very Jayne throughout. I also enjoyed River's unabashed curiosity about the wonders of childbirth.

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Well, of course Nandi had to die.  Can't leave someone who's smarter, tougher, prettier and in all way possible better than Inara around, now can we?  Were Nandi to live, Mal would have no reason to moon over Inara -- here's a "whore" who wears that label as a badge, who loves pistols and talks Mal's language.  I'm pretty sure two others were shot (a man and a woman) but we've got no time for them.

 

I don't mind the Wild West aspect of this episode as much as I do the way it not only hit on all the tropes (esp "whore with a heart of gold" -- 3 of them at least) but took a freakin' sledgehammer to them.

 

Blech.

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Nandi might have been smarter and tougher than Inara, but prettier? I'm not having that. Sexier, maybe, but there are few women who can beat Morena Baccarin in the prettiness stakes.

 

Honestly, I think I'd have ended up hating Mal/Inara, if the show had continued. Because there was no way they could ever get together and have it work, what with their diametrically opposed attitudes to her job. She'd never give it up, and Mal would never, ever accept it. So it would just be endless angst and yearning. Until I ended up wanting him to hook up with Yo-Saff-Bridge instead.

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Danny Franks:

Nandi might have been smarter and tougher than Inara, but prettier? I'm not having that. Sexier, maybe, but there are few women who can beat Morena Baccarin in the prettiness stakes.

 

That's definitely a YMMV kind of thing!  :)

 

Mal respected Nandi, a respect he never gave Inara.  I wish that Joss could have seem the amazing chemistry Nathan had with Melinda Clarke, sparks that I didn't get from from him and Morena. I think at this point Joss knew the series was doomed, or he might have changed course.  

 

This episode, combined with Jaynetown, show why the Independents deserved to lose.  Every planet or moon in the Colonies seems to be run by a local war-lord -- some decent like Patience, some not so good like Ranse,  Patron (from Safe), and Higgins, boss of Jaynestown.  Having a small contingent of Federation police on each enclave might not have been a bad idea.

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An actual 'posse surrounds the heroes who are holding out in a building' shoot out, but with hovercars and lasers interspersed amongst the horse and lever-action rifles.

 

I doubt most of you are old enough to remember the Roy Rogers Show, but that was how it ran too. While Roy and Dale rode horses, and the local town was serviced by a stagecoach, Pat the comic sidekick had a jeep called NellyBelle, and there were phones . Even as child too young to spell anachronism , I knew that made no sense. 

The anachronism that annoyed me was the dance music in Shindig. Actually most of the music was too folky/western for my liking. 

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On ‎08‎/‎05‎/‎2014 at 9:30 PM, decembar13 said:

Confession time!  <whispers>  I preferred Nandi to Inara... Am I awful backstabber now?

 

Also, Wash and Kaylee for the win!!!

- Wash, tell me I'm pretty.

- Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion.
- 'Cause I'm pretty?

- 'Cause you're pretty.

 

And Jayne being all "in" to help whores (once he found out that they were helping them). Isn't his heart of gold?  :)

Wonder what Zoe would have said about that?

 

On ‎23‎/‎12‎/‎2014 at 11:14 AM, DHDancer said:

I just loved that Nandi was Lady Heather!  I guess Melinda is "doomed" to play whores with hearts of gold....

And S&M zombies!

 

On ‎12‎/‎05‎/‎2014 at 4:50 AM, jhlipton said:

That's definitely a YMMV kind of thing!  :)

 

Mal respected Nandi, a respect he never gave Inara.  I wish that Joss could have seem the amazing chemistry Nathan had with Melinda Clarke, sparks that I didn't get from from him and Morena. I think at this point Joss knew the series was doomed, or he might have changed course.  

 

This episode, combined with Jaynetown, show why the Independents deserved to lose.  Every planet or moon in the Colonies seems to be run by a local war-lord -- some decent like Patience, some not so good like Ranse,  Patron (from Safe), and Higgins, boss of Jaynestown.  Having a small contingent of Federation police on each enclave might not have been a bad idea.

I always thought it was a case of class, he respected Nandi because she had no illusions about her career whilst he feels Inara does, Nandi is more Browncoat, Inara more Alliance. 

HEART OF GOLD

The good; Stonking great battle, some lovely Inara/Mal stuff and sex aplenty for everyone. Small scene but I love the bit where Mal is doing his best John Wayne impression organising the defence of the brothel and then starts to panic when Pateleen goes into labour only to be saved by level-headed Simon (her kid must have the strangest trio of midwives ever).

The bad; Silver foil can't hide the cheapness of the sets. Didn't they think to lock up or put a guard on Serenity overnight? If Jayne can take out the M60 gunner on the back of the hovercraft with his M14 can't he just slot Ranse and then it would all be over? You also wonder that Ranse just hands over his deadly, pride and joy pistol to the first stranger who admires it?

Best line; Nandi;(of the Firefly crew) "If they're got guns and brains that's all I need" Inara; "Well they've got guns...."

Kinky dinky; Inara bursts in on Mal 'handling his weapon'. She prefers his dinky Colt 32 instead (Wash's 'Leave no man behind' gun from War Stories). Mal and Jayne indulge themselves at the bordello with Jayne in particular getting into some hi-jinks with his blonde to judge by his transmission to Mal just before the gunfight.

Notches on the Serenity bedpost; Mal finally get's some action. Jayne get's so much he might leave the crew in debt to the Madam.

Capt subtext; Obviously the idea is that Nandi is a substitute for Inara. Does Mal take up with her because she's 'An independent' and not tainted in his eyes with her support for the Alliance? There are also male whores, one wonders are Companions exclusively female or do they also have male members...oh for a different phrasing. When Mal shows no interest in her girls Nandi wonders if he's gay? His answer that 'I LEAN towards the womenfolk' is strangely ambiguous. One could speculate that Ranse represents the dark side of Mal himself, you wonder after this ep will Mal continue to use the word whore as an insult?

How'd they get away with that? The scene where Ranse humiliates Chari on the saloon balcony is just unwatchable

Subverting the Hollywood cliché; Having met the villain tough-guy Mal wishes to bravely run away. Jayne the callous womaniser actually likes to snuggle with his hooker. Pateleen shows the father his newborn son and then blows his head off in front of her baby with a .357 Magnum.

Whedon clichés; Misogynists who get what's coming to them.

Women good/men bad; Ranse tells the woman pregnant with his child that if necessary "I'll cut it out of you!" He really is just scum, reminds me of Caleb. The scene where Mal compliments him "She's a beauty" and he takes it to mean his sidearm rather than his wife really sums up the character right there.

Kills; I figure 5 each for Mal, Jayne and Zoe Mal; 17- Zoe; 17- Jayne; 16- Wash; 2 River; 3

Happy high-class hookers in Space; In this case, low class hookers in space. Inara draws a distinction between Companions and whores but seems to have no problem with them. Nandi hints that there was a great mystery surrounding Inara's decision to leave the home of the Companion Guild where she was on track to go far.

Know the face? The beautiful Melinda Clarke is familiar to fans of Xena as Valesca and also plays a more exotic Lady of the Night on CSI. Be sure to check her out as the incredible S&M zombie in Return of the Living Dead 3. Looking at her you wonder did she maybe audtion for the role of Inara?

Fanfic; Any or all of the crew indulging themselves in or deciding to work at the Heart of Gold (Kaylee "I love to make people happy and here that's now my job") plus several where Nandi does decide to take up Mal's offer and flee, her girls/boys setting up their new business on the Serenity itself.

Missing scenes; Reputedly a scene where Ranse's wife (the 'prarie shrew') comes to the Heart of Gold the night before the battle to try to convince Pateleen to just give her the kid, Pateleen can have others and all the violence can be avoided, that she has everything to offer a child and it's the only thing her life is lacking, the only thing she can't do is conceive despite modern technology and numerous miscarriages. And Pateleen tells her she's sorry, she truly understands her maternal desire but that she feels the same way about her baby and thus can never give it up.

Another supposedly has Zoe berating Jayne and Mal for sleeping with the Heart of Gold hookers, saying that no woman would ever act as they did and pointing out that none of the Firefly females took advantage of the male whores. At which point Kaylee looks suddenly guilty and slips quietly out the room...

Questions and observations; Jayne in a hat again, a stetson for the first time. Zoe wants a baby but Wash is reluctant given their precarious lifestyle. Inara actually get's into the fighting, holding a knife to Ranse throat. Nice quip from Mal when Nandi kisses him, he waits to see if he's going to pass out (as with Saffron). How did they know Chari was the traitor?

Marks out of 10; 7 out of 10, a fairly slight story but well told and some nice Mal/Inara stuff

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5 hours ago, Joe Hellandback said:

 Obviously the idea is that Nandi is a substitute for Inara. Does Mal take up with her because she's 'An independent' and not tainted in his eyes with her support for the Alliance? There are also male whores, one wonders are Companions exclusively female or do they also have male members...oh for a different phrasing.

Mal never said much about Inara's alliance with the alliance, and was sappy to use her help when her Alliance contacts could help him.  On the other hand, he was always contemptuous  of her profession.  Had he taken up with Nandi and she continued to provide "services", he would absolutely use that against her.

I believe, but can't be sure, that we saw some reference to male Companions.

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9 hours ago, jhlipton said:

Mal never said much about Inara's alliance with the alliance, and was sappy to use her help when her Alliance contacts could help him.  On the other hand, he was always contemptuous  of her profession.  Had he taken up with Nandi and she continued to provide "services", he would absolutely use that against her.

I believe, but can't be sure, that we saw some reference to male Companions.

If not the show  o this episode where we got more Companion lore spoiler alert the movie did at the Companion academy.. But it has been awhile since my latest rewatch and the memory fades

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