“Yeah. That went well.”
-Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Firefly S1E11: “Trash”
Brief synopsis: When Mal runs into Saffron again, she offers to let him help her steal a priceless artifact, but no one in the crew is quite ready to trust her again.
Title significance: They have everything they need to get in. All they need to complete the job is an exit strategy. That’s were the trash comes in. The episode’s main reason for being titled “Trash” is because that’s where they end up throwing the priceless Lassiter in order to get it outside of Durran’s home without being caught.
In the end, I think the title is also a statement about Saffron. Not necessarily that she herself is trash (though the argument could certainly be made), but about how she treats other people. This episode gives us a glimpse at some of the people she has treated like trash, notable Durran. The most overt statement was when Mal mentioned that someone killed Heinrich because he wasn’t useful anymore. That is what trash is: things (or in Saffron’s case, people) that are discarded because they’re no longer useful.
Family: Well, we really get a display of the sense of family that can come from being a crew from Simon this episode. River tells him that Jayne is the one who ratted him out to the feds, and Simon decides that the next step would be to let Jayne know that no matter what, whenever he is a patient, Simon will never hurt him because they’re crew members.
Families don’t always get along. They fight and they can sometimes do some pretty awful things to each other. The difference between people who are related and a family are how these situations are dealt with. Simon dealt with it as though Jayne were a member of his family. He was honest, reassuring, and he wasn’t going to let revenge get in the way of his duty to another shipmate.
Success of family: I think it was really well done.
What “Trash” does right:
- Bookends – My boyfriend tends to hate the whole beginning scene followed by “however much time earlier,” and it usually doesn’t do much to get me excited about the episode. However, I thought this was perfect. It was just a brief glimpse, it was humorous, and I wanted to know how it happened. By the time we saw the scene again, I was satisfied. This is an example of this done right.
- The ending – Inara is brilliant this episode. The fact that she’s the one who gets Saffron in the end is great. It’s unexpected and believable at the same time, and it provides a great revenge for Inara. I loved seeing her in a position of control over Saffron. It also provides the necessary twist ending needed in any heist story.
- Durran – The first time I watched the episode, Durran was definitely not what I was expecting, given the description we’d been given earlier. He was absolutely adorable, and gave Mal great opportunities to be snarky about him perhaps hugging them in the act. It added an extra layer to the heist that I really liked.
What “Trash” could have done better:
- Reasoning – Monty decides to believe Mal that Bridget is a fraud when Saffron spouts off Mal’s name without Monty having mentioned it. He claims it’s because he didn’t say Mal’s name, and of course only Mal’s wife would know his name. It’s already been established that the two of them know each other. Just because Saffron knows Mal name doesn’t mean he’s not potentially a liar. She would have known his name anyway. I’m baffled as to how this means anything.
- Excitement on Serenity – Jayne falling and hurting his neck and back? Fine. It made sense and advanced a part of the plot. What bothered me was the whole Kaylee getting the disc in at the last second, barely avoiding getting smushed. There wasn’t really any need for it, and I felt like it was entirely too convenient and lucky with the timing.
- Ease at duping Mal – I know it’s played that Saffron is actually showing genuine feelings, but she isn’t so distracted as to not grab the opportunity to get Mal’s gun. It was way too easy for her to get his gun; Mal should have been more on his guard. I also don’t really like seeing this side of Saffron at this point. It’s too much of the wounded little girl at this point (As a hypothetical, if Firefly had continued, I would have like to see this much more in a later episode with Saffron).
Overall: I’m a sucker for heist stories. Therefore, this is one of my favorite episodes of Firefly.