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How Shan Yu Missed the Point and other Stories, Firefly, War Stories

You know Iíd start with a poem, but my Titus Andronicus isnít quite what it should be.

Knowing yourself. How others know you. Gosh, didnít I just write something something something for the last BtVS episode
on this score. Of course. Always.

A story. A curling slashing line of black ink dividing waiting paper. The journey through time of individuals. The line. The
dimensionality, the 3-D rise and fall and rise and rise of it, is how those individuals respond to what occurs. In a great story, the
dimensions deepen and shade the more we learn of the past. The more the past fills in with the future. The more we peel away
at Riverís Russian doll drawings to get to the real you.

Because I suppose the other yous were fake. Or not. Perhaps, as I always argue they are aspects of the whole. Some being
affectations like a black mustache. All the better to twirl while doing crime. 

Malís easy smile hiding the mad determination to protect his people. The preacher with his secrets. The Companion. Even as
she complimented the Councilor, I wondered, is Innara a reliable narrator? Is she just saying what the Councilor wants to hear?
Needs to hear, so the Councilor can be herself. Relaxed. Or is Innara revealing an essential truth? Letting down a barrier a
little. Perhaps itís both. Revealing in order to conceal. 

Wandering the boards, itís interesting to see some of frofragh about Innara and the Councilor. Good idea versus Suicidal
storytelling. Fresne pivots to the left and says, contextually irrelevant. Thatís not part of my analysis. To my mind, the scene is
there because it is directly relevant to the theme of the episode and is in direct opposition to Niskaís argument. Connection
coming not through adversity/experience inflicted, but adversity/experience shared. Mal and Zoe are comfortable together
because she trust him. They have a history together. Together they went to gaze into the volcano. And they came back to tell
the tale.

When you are with people who know, who share some common thing, like being a woman, or a man, or a sharing a history, or
whatever, barriers can drop. All of a sudden, certain things donít have to be explained. 

At opposite ends, we have two people looking for true natures. Niksa, who tortures with a smile. People in their place.
Business running smoothly. Gazing from across the abyss, River attempts to stand. River, who was tortured. Stripped of her
barriers. Chaos floods in.

It seems to me that if two men go to the lip of a volcano. The one being pushed into the flames learns just as much as the man
doing the pushing. Or better yet, the Cask of Amontillado. In that moment of being bricked into the wall, Fortunato learns far
more about Montressor than all of his previous years of knowing. In torturing those who cross him, Niska mimes at desiring to
know his victimís true nature, but what heís really attempting to define is his own. 

See me. I am the monster than men fear. I am great. I am powerful. 

River wants to be a girl, but never will be again. For awhile each day, the sun that she danced under in Safe comes out, but then
the sun grows dark and the chaos is come again. Like apples that carry death, the fruit comes up in bits. She is fortunate at
least that she has a brother to trust. Who will always see her as his beautiful Mei Mei. Throw up on his bed and itís only
confirmation. Yup, thatís his sister. Itís there in her smile. Even if she does not know herself, Simon will know her. Know the
girl that she was. Will love the person that that girl has become.

So many people have seen so many things in Riverís repetition of Kayeeís line. To me her smile was shy. As if to say, Iíve
revealed a little bit of myself to you. The hidden part that isnít trees and unicorns and rainbows. Do you still love me? Sadly at
this point, Kaylee and Riverís relationship is superficial. Two laughing girls. Kaylee, of all of them, has the least experience with
the bitter taste of tainted fruit. I bet he brings her flowers. A dreamer is our Kaylee. However, she had the misfortune to leave
her world and take up ship into the Jossverse. Where things rarely stay shiny.

In upcoming episodes, weíll see how Kaylee deals with her new self knowledge. Her knowledge of previously held
conceptions of others. Will she judge herself for failing to live up to some previously held ideal of self? Will she be able to adjust
to her know vision of River, this slight damaged girl? How will it affect how she relates to Simon? All I can be sure of in a Joss
story is that things will change.

Then we have so recently betraying Jayne, giving his crewmates fruit. So, unexpected a gesture that it causes unease rather than
any sort of connection. Then again itís a guilt thing. More usefully real when he joins the group to rescue the Captain. Their
Captain, my Captain. (yes, I do realize the irony of the quote). Contrasted to the repetition of Jayne alone in his bunk. Yes, itís
crude and fairly funny, but also essentially sad. For some reason the whole heading for this bunk, Jayne get your gun sequence
makes me think of that scene in Grosse Pointe Blanke where the main character looks at himself in the mirror, loads his gun and
says, ďThis is me breathing.Ē Not sure why, so weíll resolve with Zoe and Wash.

There are a couple of points where Zoe and Wash fail to connect in the episode. Her lie about her opinion of Washís idea. His
incomprehension of Zoe and Malís bond. Barriers that wear away a bit as the episode progresses.

Wash both looses a little shiny-ness in this episode and comes to new level of understanding of his wife. Of Mal. Of war
stories. Of himself. That he is one of those who does not leave anyone behind. Part of unisex suicide team. Zoe and Wash
showing each other that they can be trusted. Making their own history. That they are a suicide team that will be in their bunk
thank you very much.

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