Firefly: Our Mrs. Reynolds
April 30, 2015 3:19 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

As an unexpected reward for an unpaid job, Mal finds himself married to a naïve, subservient young woman named Saffron (Christina Hendricks). Saffron is all too willing to play the role of housewife, which leads to an argument between Wash and Zoe and lectures from Shepherd Book. But the young woman is not what she appears to be. (wiki)

"What makes “Our Mrs. Reynolds” such a superior episode is that it’s not just slam-bang quotable good fun. The contrast between Saffron (fiercely independent because, as a grifter, she knows no one can be trusted) and Mal lies in those “people” you mention. “Everybody plays each other; that’s all we do,” Saffron tells him. “We play parts.” But Mal triumphs (temporarily?) because he trusts that those who’ve yoked their lives to him aren’t playing a part. They won’t consider dropping one persona and picking up another as it might redound to their individual benefit. They’ll be there when he needs them. That’s a deep theme for a Western, the genre of outlaws, loners, drifters, and men without names. If the choice of how to live a life on the margins of society is represented by, say, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre and The Magnificent Seven, Mal opts for the Seven and asserts that even though the Serenity crew has been thrown together from a bewildering muddle of tangled personal histories, they’re going to stick."

"I’m glad you pointed out the effect Saffron’s spousal revelation has on Inara, because she seems to me to be at the heart of this episode’s conflict. She is playing a part, just as Saffron suggests; it’s her training and her comfort zone. Does that put her on the fringes of the Serenity family, along with Jayne who plays the part of the ally of convenience? Kaylee, Wash, Zoe, Simon, Book—they may have secrets (especially Book, to whom Mal comments “One day you’re going to tell us all how a preacher knows so damn much about crime”), but they basically wear their hearts on their sleeve. What you see is what you get. Can you have the kind of trust Mal boasts about to Saffron without that transparency?"

"I argued in our last installment that Inara is a more interesting character than some (I gather) give her credit for. Now she’s got me even more intrigued. “I guess we’ve lied enough,” she tells Saffron before their quick mutual admiration society. People who are professionally trained to inspire trust without ever having to resort to giving trust themselves are professional parasites. And that takes me back to The Big Valley and its cobbled-together family and to Heath’s determination not to take what isn’t his by right—not to even covet it. Because otherwise you’re just a con man, a barnacle, a locust in a drought-stricken landscape. You’re alone." (Donna Bowman at avclub)

[Horse-mounted bandits accost a Conestoga wagon-like raft, driven by Jayne and a hunched-over woman.]
Bandit: You gonna give us what's due us. And every damn thing else on that boat. And I think maybe you gonna give me a little one-on-one time with the missus.
Jayne: Oh, I think you might wanna reconsider that last part. See, I married me a powerful ugly creature.
[The "woman" looks up — it's Mal in a dress.]
Mal: How can you say that? How can you shame me in front of new people?
Jayne: If I could make you prettier I would!
Mal: You are not the man I met a year ago!
[Mal and Jayne get the draw on the bandits.]
Mal: Now think real hard. You been bird-doggin' this township awhile now. They wouldn't mind a corpse of you. Now, you can luxuriate in a nice jail cell, but if your hand touches metal, I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I will end you.

Mal: [aside, to Jayne, upon hearing he is married] How drunk was I last night?
Jayne: I 'unno, I passed out.
Mal: Right.

[Mal's insensitive remarks and horror at being wed have reduced his new bride to tears.]
Wash: You brute.
Kaylee: Oh, sweetie, don't feel bad. He makes everybody cry. He's like a monster.
Mal: I'm not a monster!

Book: If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of Hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.
Book: [walking away, pauses and looks at Mal] ...the... special... hell.

[Mal is disconcerted to find Saffron in his bed, wearing only a bedsheet.]
Saffron: But we've been wed. Aren't… we to become one flesh?
Mal: Well, no, uh… we're still two fleshes here, and... I think... that your flesh oughta… sleep somewhere else.
Saffron: I'm sorry. When we talked, I'd hoped, but I—
[She gestures with her hands, losing the sheet. Mal turns away.]
Mal: Whoa, hey! Flesh. Um... Saffron... i-it... it ain't a question of pleasing me. It's more a question of what's...
[Mal, breathing heavily, strains not to look at the naked woman.]
Mal: of what's morally right.
Saffron: I do know my Bible, sir. [Recites a fictional bible verse] "On the night of their betrothal, the wife shall open to the man as the furrow to the plow, and he shall work in her, in and again, till she bring him to his fall, and rest him then upon the sweat of her breast."
[Cut to Mal, who is openly staring now.]
Mal: Whoa. Good Bible.

[After closing the bridge door, Saffron grabs Wash's hand and pulls him close. They stare at the stars.]
Saffron: Do you know the myth of Earth-That-Was?
Wash: Not so much.
Saffron: That when she was born, she had no sky, and was open, inviting. And the stars would rush into her, through the skin of her…
Wash: Huh.
Saffron: ...making the oceans boil with sensation. And when she could endure no more ecstasy, she puffed up her cheeks and blew out the sky.
Wash: Whoa. Good myth. (way, way more at wikiquote)

• "Ni bu gouge, ni hunqiu. [You don't deserve her, you fink.]" - Kaylee to Mal after he insults Saffron.

• "Guan ni ziji de shi. [Mind your own business.]" - Mal's immediate response to Kaylee.

• "Daxiang baozhashi de laduzi! [The explosive diarrhea of an elephant!]" - Mal, when Jayne proposes a trade: Vera for Saffron.

• "Wo de ma he ta de fengkuang de waisheng dou! [Mother of God and all her wacky nephews!]" - Wash curses as Saffron tries to seduce him.

• "Renci de Fozu... [Merciful Buddha...]" - Inara, when she realizes Mal is still alive.

• "My man would never fall for that jianhuo [cheap floozy]." - Zoë. (more at Firefly wiki)

[Deleted Scene] River confounds the crew with one of her seeming whimsies, this time demanding that Book marry her and Simon. When Simon tries to explain that they can't get married because they are siblings, River gets very upset and questions his love for her. Mal and Saffron then come in and River accuses Saffron of being a thief, though River says she never saw Saffron stealing food. This indicates River's knowledge of Saffron's true nature, though at this point Saffron is still playing the subservient wife. After they leave, River takes a pillow from nearby and puts it in her dress at the stomach, stating that she and Simon have to get married now: "I'm in the family way."

Joss Whedon said on the DVD commentary that this was one of his, the cast's and the crew's favorite scenes, but they had to edit it out due to time constraints. Because this scene was cut, River has no lines in this episode.

According to Jayne, "Vera" needs oxygen around her to fire; however, real-world gunpowder incorporates both fuel and oxidizer and will combust regardless of the presence or absence of atmosphere. According to the DVD commentary, the episode's producers checked this with a gun expert, but were incorrectly informed. It is possible that the limitation deals more with the action of the rifle, because some metals normally made to work in an atmosphere will vacuum weld together with no air present. It's also possible that the fictional, 26th century Vera used a propellant or particular ammunition type unlike any real-world 21st century gun, that does indeed require oxygen.

Vera herself is a rather extensively modified Saiga-12 semi-automatic shotgun.

The episode's title, "Our Mrs. Reynolds," is a play on the 1952 radio show, Our Miss Brooks. (wiki)

Google Image Search for Our Mrs. Reynolds (including pretty floral bonnet)
posted by valkane (16 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
...And with that, I fell in love with Christina Hendricks forever and ever. She's just amazing.

Joan Holloway Harris should get in more fistfights.

That "If I could make you prettier, I would" line is in constant rotation at my house.
posted by mochapickle at 4:35 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

...And with that, I fell in love with Christina Hendricks forever and ever. She's just amazing.

Yeah. I'd never heard of Christina Hendricks before (she's all of 27-years-old in this episode), but Saffron solidly put her on the map for me. That character is one of the bigger lost opportunities of Firefly having such a truncated life. She would have been an amazing recurring character.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:45 AM on April 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

Well she did recur once, and was pretty amazing then too.
posted by Naberius at 7:09 AM on April 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

Well, we did get to see her again in "Trash," but yes, more Saffron would have been lovely.
posted by blurker at 7:11 AM on April 30, 2015

Anybody know whether Whedon had had long-term plans for her? Seems like there would be lots of stories they could do with a character who's too dangerous to be around, but too useful to resist.
posted by mochapickle at 7:52 AM on April 30, 2015

I always figured Saffron was going to be Firefly's Q: showing up every so often, causing the crew no end of headaches, and being endlessly entertaining for viewers.

This might be my favourite hour of television anywhere in the 'verse. Every bit of dialogue is fantastic. The bit about the scavenging station is totally tacked on, but who gives a shit.

"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle", is my favourite piece of Whedon dialogue.

Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE how smug Zoey is that Wash didn't succumb to Saffron's charms. Their marriage is so great.
posted by dry white toast at 8:19 AM on April 30, 2015 [10 favorites]

posted by dry white toast at 8:20 AM on April 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

Anybody know whether Whedon had had long-term plans for her? Seems like there would be lots of stories they could do with a character who's too dangerous to be around, but too useful to resist.

Considering Whedon' the womenfolk, I can't imagine he didn't have future plans for her, had the series survived. Sort of like Mal's Catwoman.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:52 AM on April 30, 2015

I'm still mad we ended up with Heart of Gold instead of a third Saffron episode.
posted by mochapickle at 8:57 AM on April 30, 2015

My favorite scene in this episode is the exchange between Inara and Saffron. I just love the idea of the characters both acting, each angling to get the drop on the other.

The "KIll you? What kind of a crappy planet is that?" scene is a very close second.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:33 PM on April 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

But she was naked! And all... articulate!
posted by nubs at 1:46 PM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

In the board game there are three character cards for Saffron (Saffron/Yolanda/Bridget) and if you have one of her on your crew and another player recruits a different one she immediately leaves your ship to join theirs. It's infuriating, especially if you're in the middle of a complicated safecracking heist and were relying on her to sweet talk the guards.

Never rely on Saffron, that's the rule!
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:56 AM on May 1, 2015

There's a Saffron Reynolds NPC in World of Warcraft. She lurks upstairs in a lodge in Grizzly Hills and sells poisons.
posted by mochapickle at 7:12 AM on May 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

One of the top exchanges is Inara questioning Mal about why he likes wearing a dress and Mal says something to the effect Inara is jumping to the middle of a long story. The bit where Jayne wants to trade Vera for Saffron and Mal thinks it's a mutiny, is pretty funny.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 11:25 PM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just love everything about this episode. Much like many others, this is when I became smitten with Christina Hendricks and I'd love to see her in another part like this - she's great as a con artist/grifter type.
posted by rednikki at 6:40 PM on May 2, 2015

Oh no, best line hands down is Zoe to Wash: "Hey, remember that sex we were going to have . . . ever?" It gets frequent repetition in our house when one or the other of us is being a complete blockhead.
posted by chainsofreedom at 1:20 PM on May 21, 2015

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