…this is an absolutely brilliant dissection of human madness. The plot is not about Malcolm Reynolds, Hellbusting, hardbitten idealist-turned-cynic leading his ragtag, fugitive fleet on a quest for freedom. That’s the boring cover. No. It’s about Malcolm Reynolds, shattered survivor of the Battle of Serenity Valley,* who was so badly broken by that battle and its results that he experienced a psychotic break.
The show is about life inside his fractured mind.
It is the only way the show makes sense, and the only way it’s truly enjoyable. Each element/character in his “crew” is actually a part of his fractured mind. Zoe is his loyalty, Wash his lightheartedness, Inara his libido, Jayne his physical courage, Kaylee his innocence, Simon his certainty, River his awareness, Book his faith in God. They’re not symbolic of these things, they’re the things themselves.
…but we will forgive him that; after all, it has led him to the proper place. And who are we to say which path to the donning of the Brown Coat is the best one?
So welcome, brother.