Firefly: Heart of Gold (4 August 2003, Thomas J Wright)

Heart_Of_Gold_0_28629

Spoiler warning: these reviews reveal plot twists.

Inara is contacted by a friend who asks for help in defending her brothel from a local thug…

Written by Brett Matthews. Directed by Thomas J Wright.

Best performance: Another lovely turn from Morena Baccarin as Inara.

Best bits:
* The whorehouse is covered in solar-panelling – a nice sci-fi twist.
* Inara disturbs Mal while he’s cleaning his guns. “It’s not altogether wise to sneak up on a fella while he’s handling his weapon,” he says. “I’ve heard that said,” replies Inara.
* Mal assuming that the distress signal is for him. It’s actually for Inara.
* Jayne doesn’t want any part of the job, but then Mal says, “They’re whores.” Jayne: “I’m in.”
* Jayne’s glee at being in a brothel. “My John Thomas is about to pop off!”
* The scene at the theatre, including a sadly briefly seen shadow-puppet show.
* Having met bad guy Ranse Burgess, Mal decides they should all run away.
* Jayne braiding his favourite prostitute’s hair.
* One of the hookers goes into labour. Simon and Inara, who’ll have to deliver the baby, say it’s their first time. “Mine too,” adds River.
* A shockingly nasty moment when Burgess forces a prostitute who works for him to give him a blowjob.
* Inara learns that Mal and her friend Nandi slept together – she pretends to be fine with it, but then we see her crying in private.
* River’s mostly dialogue-free fascination with the labour.
* Nandi is shot by Burgess and dies. Mal and Inara share a killer look that says, ‘Get him.’
* A shock ending: Inara says she’s leaving the crew.

Review: After a run of sci-fi-heavy stories, this is the most Western-y the show has been since at least Jaynestown. Featuring a brothel, bad guys on horses and a torch-lit frontier town, it evolves into a cowboy-style siege-and-shootout episode. It may have a rather dull and one-dimensional villain – not for the first time in this series, it must be said – but there’s also some typically witty dialogue and another boost of energy to the Mal/Inara romance.

Eight small, concealable weapons out of 10

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