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*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.



The end is nigh. The last season of Firefly started last night and if the season premiere is any indication, it comes a season too late.

Joss was on a roll last season only to be brought to a screeching halt by the writer's strike. Those nine episodes are right up there with the first season's classic hours. It marked a return to form that we thought would be unattainable after the slipping in the third season (except for the Shepherd Book storyline) and the absolutely abominable fourth season that saw Mal and the crew in the employ of the Inner Worlds Provisional Government as System Marshals. The Shield in space sounds good, but in practice, not so much.

The fifth season's attempt to return the crew of the Serenity to some kind of outlaw status was too obvious, having framed them for the assassination of President Ying-Smith. It also went on way too long. However, the political play afforded by last year's return of Inara to the series as she navigated the halls of the capitol on Sihnon trying to uncover the conspiracy, set the stage for the series to get back to it's original status quo. If only we could get Ron Glass back on the show. While his death at the end of the two-parter that revealed his past as an Operative was one of the most stirring on TV in recent memory, I still miss him. He was always my favorite.

But with last night's episode, "Rise and Fall," (the first season premiere not written by Whedon, who has apparently decided the leave the series in Cain's hands for it's final run while he preps Dollhouse and works on the Dr. Horrible stuff) the wishes of fans for things to be like the first season were met a little too literally. Be careful what you wish for and all that. The revelation that new government is actually a puppet of the New Sun corporation almost suggests that everything we and the crew have been though has been for naught. And with no Miranda controversy this time, what's gonna happen to topple yet another corrupt government (though this does serve as an interesting socio-political commentary on the dangers a too-powerful executive branch). Are we headed for a downer ending? A suicidal last battle come May sweeps?

The episode wasn't all bad, though. Jayne's big action piece in the fourth act when he was chasing Mal across the rooftops on Ariel had me actually kinda rooting for him. And Adam Baldwin just crackles when he tries to get all authoritarian and keeps flashing that badge to people who couldn't give a rat's ass.

Also, the rhyming game and Wash and River were playing between taking pot shots as the Marshals was hilarious. When she said "spleen" and got the last guy and then Wash said "washing machine" and killed an appliance...guess you had to be there.

Nothing against Cain, her episodes rank right up there with the Jossmeister's. That one where Saffron gets her memory back after a year as Mal's actual wife, "Missy" was a roller coaster ride and Mal's still carrying those scars, figuratively and literally. She knows the show inside out, having been around since her first season episode, "Dead or Alive."

Still, I wish they would have got Minear back to close things out. He would have given us a season that would makes us cry for an eighth.

Still, I liked it better than last night's Fringe. Not that I should complain about Fox's Sci-Fi Tuesday Especially if they bench Fringe and put Dollhouse on at 9/8c. JOSS NIGHT!
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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