Firefly: Trash
June 4, 2015 4:11 AM - Season 1, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Mal's "wife" Saffron convinces him to help her steal a valuable artifact, but the crew of Serenity suspects foul play. (wiki)

"I’ll be honest: Maybe it just suffers from the close proximity to “Ariel,” but I don’t think the big heist scene in “Trash” works as well as the one in “Ariel,” even though there’s a lot of similarity in the way they’re built into their respective episodes, with the plan being explained in voiceover while we see it play out. I also don’t think Saffron’s presence as a whole is as much fun as it is in “Our Mrs. Reynolds.” And I’m always a little disappointed when I watch “Trash” that it doesn’t do more with this conflict that’s been quietly intensifying over the past couple of episodes, between Mal’s vision of freedom and his colleagues’."

"Or does it? We’ll talk more about where this episode lands later, and whether the ending makes sense either in terms of the plot or the theme, but there’s a big twist in “Trash”—similar to the reveal of Saffron’s true nature in “Our Mrs. Reynolds”—that I think is more than just a nifty surprise. When Mal and Saffron arrive at Haymer’s luxury apartment on the planet of Bellerophon, Saffron is able to get them inside because she’s acquired the access code. While they’re preparing to grab The Lassiter, Mal learns why Saffron knows the code: She used to live in that apartment, as the wife of Durran Haymer, who arrives mid-heist, gives her a hug, and calls her “Yolanda.”" (Noel Murray at avclub)

. . .

"I love the ending both as a comeuppance for YoSaffBridge and as a revelation of Inara’s centrality to the Serenity gang’s operations after all. No, it’s not believable that anybody would be able to see that many twists and turns ahead to position Inara there in the desert as the last line of defense. But then, it’s not believable when Saffron exploits Mal’s gloating over reducing her to tears to steal his gun. Believability ain’t the point. Keeping us all off balance and two steps behind the action is the point, because that’s fun. And who cares if the coincidences and triple-crosses strain credulity, when the script is so carefully crafted to bring back Inara for a well-deserved “I told you so,” long after we’ve forgotten the argument that opened the episode?"

"Color me thrilled about naked Nathan Fillion too, and no, not for reasons of cheap titillation. Often, and I feel certain you’ll back me up on this, nakedness destroys suspension of disbelief because we are thrown back into too-conscious awareness that this is what Actor X or Actress Y looks like without their clothes on, instead of remaining focused on the character’s behavior. In my opinion, the cold open allows us to get that problem out of the way before the story even starts, and when we return to the naked man in the desert, it’s naked Mal Reynolds instead of naked Nathan Fillion."

"And I’d also argue that naked Mal Reynolds makes a very important point in the epilogue. He’s been stripped in order to shame him, but when rescued, he makes an enthusiastic—and successful—show of not being embarrassed or shamed in the least. It’s the behavior of a man with nothing to hide, and it’s couched as a counterpoint to duplicitous Saffron on the one hand, who never said or did anything that wasn’t a calculated ploy, and to Jayne on the other, who lies trussed up on Simon’s table hearing the chilling news that he’s utterly safe there. (“Also? I can kill you with my brain,” River murmurs to her erstwhile betrayer.) Jayne’s a simpler sort than Saffron; knowing he’s being watched, knowing his secret is out, does tend to tamp down his villainy. And Mal’s a simpler sort, too. Watch me all you want, his nude entrance into Serenity’s cargo bay says. You can’t change the man I am." (Donna Bowman at avclub)

[As the show opens, Mal is shown sitting naked on a rock, in the middle of a desert.]
Mal: Yep. That went well.

Monty: Mal, I want you to meet my Bridget.
[Monty steps aside to reveal Saffron, aka Mrs. Malcolm Reynolds. She and Mal draw guns on each other.]
Monty: So... you guys have met.

[Mal frisks Saffron.]
Saffron: Mmm. You missed a spot.
Mal: Can't miss a place you've never been.

[Inara cannot find work because Mal is avoiding central planets.]
Inara: Right, you're a criminal mastermind! What was the last cargo we snuck past the Alliance to transport?
Mal: That was a little dif—
Inara: What was the cargo?
Mal: [pauses, embarrassed] They were dolls.
Inara: They were little geisha dolls with big heads that wobbled!
Mal: Hey! People love those!

[Durran, yet another Saffron spouse (who calls her "Yolanda"), interrupts her as she holds a gun on Mal.]
Saffron: Durran, this isn't what it looks like.
Mal: Unless... it looks like… we're stealing your priceless Lassiter, 'cause... that's what we're doing. Don't ask me about the gun, though, 'cause that's new.
Durran: Well, I appreciate your honesty. Not, you know, a lot, but...

Durran: How long have you been with him?
Mal: Oh— pfft! We are not together.
Saffron: He's my husband.
Mal: Well, who in the damn galaxy ain't?!

[Simon continues to work on Jayne as he talks.]
Simon: No matter what you do, or say or plot, no matter how you come down on us… I will never, ever harm you. You're on this table, you're safe. 'Cause I'm your medic, and however little we may like or trust each other, we're on the same crew. Got the same troubles, same enemies, and more than enough of both. Now, we could circle each other and growl, sleep with one eye open, but that thought wearies me. I don't care what you've done, I don't know what you're planning on doing, but I'm trusting you. I think you should do the same. 'Cause I don't see this working any other way.
[He leaves. River pokes her head in again.]
River: Also... I can kill you with my brain. (more at wikiquote)

• Saffron first appeared in "Our Mrs. Reynolds", an episode that occurred "about a half a year back" from this one.

• After Jayne stocks up Simon and River's cabin and leaves, River, in another paranormal instance, tells Simon that Jayne is afraid they'll know what he was attempting to do in "Ariel", two episodes past. Simon and River confront Jayne on the subject towards the end of the episode. (wiki)

• Won the SyFy Genre Awards: Best Special Guest/Television Christina Hendricks for "Trash", 2006
• Won the SyFy Genre Awards: Best Episode/Television "Trash", 2006

The planet where most of the action takes place is Bellerophon. Bellerophon is the name of a spacecraft in the 1956 movie Forbidden Planet; the TV series Andromeda; and the series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It originated in Greek myth, and has been used as a name for both British Royal Navy and U.S. Navy warships. (wiki)

Nathan Fillion described the process for filming his nude scenes in separate interviews. In the first, he provided a contrast between the way a nude scene is shot when a woman is involved and when his scene was shot. For a woman, the set is typically closed. No one is on set that doesn't need to be there. For his scene, it was more of a free-for-all, with pretty much anyone stopping by.

During the roundtable discussion that took place just prior to the tenth anniversary reunion panel at the San Diego Comic Con in 2012 and subsequently shown as Firefly: Browncoats Unite on Science Channel, he provided further details. The only piece of clothing he was wearing was essentially a small mitten covering his front. Nathan got a picture of Joss Whedon's face and attached it to the mitten so that if anyone happened to look down there, they would see Joss' face.

At the end of the episode, Wash can be seen glancing down towards that area on Mal, and immediately is bemused and unable to form a sentence. He walks off, shaking his head. (firefly wikia)

Malcolm Reynolds nekkid (safe for broadcast TV).
posted by valkane (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ah, Mal naked. A memory I always treasure. Plus there's the "what the fuck is that squiggly tattoo?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:14 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Lassiter of course named after the ray-tracing obsessed John Lasseter of Pixar fame.
posted by Artw at 5:20 PM on June 4, 2015

I would have thought it was a reference to the heist movie starring the Great Moustache.
posted by cardboard at 6:34 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I haven't rewatched this one recently, so my memory could be off, but as a heist plot it had some things going for it.

One is I interpreted the Inara ploy not as a highly choreographed move, but as a willingness to improvise. "You know, we're going to screw this up somehow, so you can play free safety. And Saff won't even know you're on the field." Best approach possible against a slippery character and pulled off convincingly.

Also, the point of a good heist movie is to deceive the viewer, but the plot and dialogue should make sense against the mark. Characters not discussing things they know, because they are in front of the camera, is a cheap ploy. This sleight of hand in this one is that it's basically told from Saffron's point of view--we just assume it's the crew of Serenity that is the focus and we're in on their secrets because that's what we're used to, but that's not the case this time.
posted by mark k at 9:50 PM on June 4, 2015

"And what precisely was our take from the famous wobbly-headed doll caper!!?!"
posted by dry white toast at 2:28 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

The most interesting thing about this episode is that it so deftly focuses the audience on Saffron being the villain that the Alliance guy, Durran, who is a monster, winds up being a somewhat sympathetic figure.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:04 PM on June 5, 2015

You can't do this! I have a condition!
posted by flaterik at 8:33 PM on June 5, 2015

Is Durran definitely a monster though? The only evidence we have for that that I can remember is Saffron saying so. I always assumed that was just her patter to get the essentially decent Mal involved, and he maybe isn't actually a bad sort after all.
posted by Dext at 4:54 PM on June 6, 2015

Well, I guess not. We don't see him use biological weapons on civilians to increase his hoard of Earth-that-was treasures. He does have an awful lot of them though.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:39 PM on June 6, 2015

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