'Firefly (Flashback)' recap: Dead Weight Walking

According to Firefly lore, “The Message” was the last episode shot but not the last episode aired during the sci-fi western’s original run on Fox in 2002. In fact, “The Message” never aired at all. Sad. This was one of the great ones, full of metaphorical resonance about Fireflyitself. The story had the smugglers of Serenity transporting a corpse to its final resting place. During the execution of the task, the dead man sprung back to life. There was joy, and then there was betrayal, and Mal and company wound up playing pallbearers, anyway, right after fulfilling the unexpected role of executioners. If the cast and crew shot the episode knowing the series had been canceled, then at least they had a story they could pour themselves into and get some small bit of catharsis in return.

Mal and Zoe knew the deceased well. Private Tracey was a fellow Browncoat; they had fought with him during the war. The young man was a terrible solider, and Mal and Zoe had to work hard to keep him from getting killed, and to keep themselves from getting killed by his sloppiness. How did Tracey's body come into their possession? Through the mail, of course.  During a stop at a space station that was part open-market bazaar and part street fair (complete with sideshows like a canry huckster promising a peek at alleged alien life) (actually a upside down mutant cow fetus), Serenity’screw picked up a load of post that included a care package for Jayne (Mom had knitted him a fuzzy, flappy cap -- hilarious) and a crate containing Tracey. In a recorded message, the boyish-looking vet explained that he had fallen in “with untrustworthy folk” and made “a bunch of bad calls” since the end of the war. He wanted Mal and Zoe to lay him to rest on his home world. They accepted the charge, and their shipmates gave their support easily. Read More...


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