Firefly: Browncoats & the Beatitudes PART THREE-B: “Blessed are the meek.”

* Part THREE-B of EIGHT * From a breakout session/presentation at Doxacon 2013 (for Part THREE-A, please click here

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

Kaylee & Simon

imagesKaylee & Simon are each meek and sweetly humble characters. In a scene excerpted from the pilot episode, you can watch each deflect the other’s compliment:

Kaylee: “’You’re so young to be a doctor!’”

Simon (avoiding the topic of his career): “’Aren’t you pretty young to be a ship’s mechanic?’”

Kaylee’s self-confident response comes without arrogance or pride, a tiny shrug and a shy glance down: “’I know how. Machines just got workins’ and they talk to me.’”

Book acknowledges and praises her with “’that’s a rare gift’”, to which she deflects to Simon’s superior skill of “helping fix people”.

It’s the machines that do the talkin’ – Kaylee just hears what to do. She praises Serenity in the pilot episode, saying, “that’s my good girl,” and she frets over the ship when she’s not working right, blaming herself for not listening to the ship in “Out of Gas”: “Usually she lets me know when somethin’s wrong…” She grieves that she failed the ship and the Captain, not that she didn’t do her job; see the difference? She serves Mal and the ship, rather than merely fulfilling an obligation as mechanic. Like Zoe, her whole person is committed to her work. Kaylee’s openness and love for machines, and for Serenity in particular, makes the ship work when others, like Bester the ‘genius mechanic’, cannot see possibilities. In fact, Kaylee’s “rare gift” is a great part of the love that helps the ship “stay in the air when she shouldn’t”, Mal’s quote from the finale of the Serenity movie.

19979_simon-tam-18Simon is humble about his prodigious and gifted skills as a doctor. This is most clearly shown in his love for his sister, and in how much he gave up to get her out of The Academy. He quietly serves her, honing all his resources, training, money and energies into caring for her. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). If meekness has an enduring quality for all these characters, it is love: Zoe’s love for her job as Mal’s right hand and her love for Wash, Kaylee’s love for her Cap’n and for Serenity, and Simon’s love for River.

serenity425

All those people on that Firefly 10th Anniversary Panel? All the people whose names are in the credits of these moments we love: the producers, writers, directors, composers, production assistants, gaffers, costume designers and seamstresses, the builders and prop people, camera operators, riggers, editors – The Crew – make what we love come to life. They’re our Zoe, Wash, Kaylee & Simon, but we rarely see them. They’re also our “blessed meek”. May they inherit an earth’s worth of gratefulness and reward for the beauty and escape they give to us, the audience.

The scenes in the video below are from the Firefly pilot “SERENITY”, written & directed by Joss Whedon, and from “Out of Gas”, written by Tim Minear & directed by David Solomon. All commentary is my own; video material is the property of 21st Century Fox Television, used here as reference only.

Notes on the episode CLIPS:

ZOE

  1. Listen to the weight and purpose – without hesitation – behind the simple and quickly-spoken, “always.”
  2. Beautiful dialog and acting as Kaylee speaks to both Zoe and Serenity’s dire condition (thank you, Tim Minear!).

KAYLEE/SIMON

  1. Serenity’s Dining Room, crew and new passengers talking over their meal: “Aren’t you young…” Watch each deflect compliments and give credit to others for their abilities.
  2. Kaylee laments and shows how she grieves failing Serenity when she needed her most: “Usually, she lets me know…”
  3. Kaylee shows her affection for the ship: “That’s my girl. That’s my good girl.”
  4. Simon explains about River.
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