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'Firefly' recap: All hail Jayne Cobb

Editors’ Note: Firefly fans rejoice! The Joss Whedon show was only with us for a year, but it lives on in The EW Community. Check back each week for Nathan Fillion goodness and watch with Brandi McCormick as she recaps the series from the beginning.

Season 1 | Episode 7 | “Jaynestown” | Aired Oct 18, 2002

Jayne Cobb is a hero? That’s the question on everyone’s lips as we dive into “Jaynestown,” Firefly’s seventh episode.

Upon arriving on the planet of Canton, a stinky, dirty planet where the majority of the workforce is made up of Mudders (people who work with the planet’s signature ceramic-making mud), a surprising bit of information is bestowed upon us: Jayne Cobb, our very own trigger-happy Serenity comrade, has become a legendary hero to the people of Canton! A hero who, much to everyone’s surprise (and Simon’s disgust), even has a statue erected in his image. Jayne! A hero with his very own statue?! Who would have thought?

Jayne tries his best to stay incognito, afraid that the residents of Canton will recognize him as a dangerous man who crossed paths with them years ago and revolt. When he comes upon the statue, Jayne is more than a little befuddled. He thought these people considered him an enemy, so why the idolatry and admiration? Something isn’t adding up.

Amazing mud statues aside, the Serenity crew is on Canton for a reason: They’ve got another smuggling job to take care of. They hit up the local watering hole to partake in a few drinks and meet up with their contact for the job, but they soon learn it’s going to be tricky to move the loot in the city without detection from Magistrate Higgins (Gregory Itzin) — since their middleman was just savagely murdered for his treachery. Mal’s contact imparts upon him the importance of laying low, as they will suffer a fate much like their middleman if Magistrate Higgins so much as suspects they are up to no good. So Mal’s up against a wall yet again, and must figure out a viable option for transporting the goods undetected.

As if the universe heard his cries of Dear space-smuggling gods, are you there? It’s me, Mal, he is soon presented with the perfect cover. While at the bar, the legend of Jayne Cobb rears its head yet again. The locals start regaling each other with the tale of Cobb’s valiant acts, and soon break into song. Not only is “The Ballad of Jayne Cobb” amazing, ridiculous, loud and proud, it’s also a shock to Jayne and the rest of the Serenity crew, who have no reaction other than chins hitting the floor. (And laughter, of course; there is always laughter.)


But it’s through the rendition of “The Ballad of Jayne Cobb” that we — and Jayne — realize what actually happened that made him a folk legend: Back in the day, Jayne stole a a huge chunk of money from the magistrate and tried to make off with it. Jayne didn’t exactly make off with it, however, and has spent the last several years wondering what had happened to it. He is horrified to find out that it was jettisoned from the ship he was trying to leave on, leaving him with nothing but a bad vendetta against him from Magistrate Higgins, and leaving the Canton citizens thousands of dollars richer. Thus, a Robin Hood-like legend was born out of Jayne Cobb’s supposed chivalry. Too bad it was only by accident.

Meanwhile, Inara is also in Canton, servicing another client. But lo and behold, the client she is servicing is none other than Magistrate Higgins’ son, Fess (Zachary Kranzier). After Inara and Fess do the deed (she took his virginity; how scandalous), he is called in to participate in a criminal hearing his father has set up to deal with and capture a heinous criminal. After describing this treacherous heathen to Inara, he’s the one who’s surprised, when he realizes Inara actually knows the local legend that is Jayne Cobb!

Back at the bar, the Serenity crew decides to get going before things get too hairy. But upon exiting the bar, they’re greeted with the entire city, waiting to welcome Jayne with open arms. Turns out he wasn’t as incognito as he thought.

They treat him like a king and swear to honor him — words Jayne has never heard and has a hard time resisting. Of course, this exuberant celebration is the exact opposite of “laying low,” but Mal quickly realizes that this is exactly the distraction he needs to pull off the job!

But Magistrate Higgins has gotten wind of Jayne’s return too, and he decides to give Jayne exactly what he deserves. He releases Stitch Hessian (Kevin Gage), a crazed prisoner Higgins has had locked up ever since Jayne’s big debacle. Why is this his secret weapon? Because Stitch is the partner Jayne abandoned four years ago when he tried to make off with the money himself. And what is Stitch’s first order of business? To beat Simon to a pulp and use him as a hostage when he finally gets the chance to confront Jayne. Yikes.

Fresh off a riotous speech to an adoring crowd, Jayne is shocked silly when Stitch shows up, Simon in hand. Stitch holds nothing back and tells the story of what really happened all those years ago: Jayne dumped him in an attempt to flee with the money on his own. The dollars-falling-from-the-sky legend Canton has been building up since is all just a big lie. Stitch shoots at Jayne, but a loyal Canton Mudder jumps in front and sacrifices himself for his hero.

Jayne naturally deals with Stitch, quickly killing him without so much as breaking a sweat. But it’s what happens next that is truly interesting: Jayne is faced with the lifeless body of the boy who gave his life for him. Jayne can’t quite accept that anyone would commit such a selfless act for a man like him. He’s no hero; no legend. You can tell in this moment that he not only faces his own mortality, but faces the true meaning of life too. How quickly it can change, how quickly it can end, and how significant it is that you could mean something to someone who would literally give his own life for yours. Could Jayne do that if the tables were turned? Could anyone on Serenity, for that matter?

How about this Jayne-centric episode? Do you think the events of “Jaynestown” will change Jayne Cobb?

Oh, and by the way:

  • Kaylee and Simon basically tell each other they like each other. Okay? Should I be interested in this? I’m still not enamored with Simon, and as such, I don’t find Kaylee’s interest in him interesting either. 
  • River and Zoë’s reaction to Book’s hair when he takes it out of his ponytail is funny. Other than that, Zoë doesn’t get much to do this episode (sad!), and River doesn’t either, besides tearing up Book’s Bible (snooze).
  • And although I don’t particularly care for Simon at this point, his reaction to Jayne’s newfound rock-star status in Canton is priceless.
  • This:

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 5.06.39 PM

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Get more of Brandi’s take on all things entertainment over at ReelSnarky.com!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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