I've Got A Theory..
Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Okay, I got a new theory. Wash threw the part in the junkyard on Ariel, cuz it reminded him of the trouble they had in Out of Gas. I'll leave the rest below untouched to show my stupidity, but I still think there's a connection between the prop used in one episode and the same looking prop used in a later episode. I just got them reversed.


I've got a theory. The explosion that happens in the episode "Out of Gas"? It was Wash's fault.

I've been rewatching the tv series Firefly again. Found something interesting that may or may not have been intended but it's a working explanation why the ship died in Out of Gas. Malcolm said something to the effect of, "it was the catalyzer. A nothing part until you ain't got one and then apparently it's everything." Kaylee wasn't able to fix it, because the problem with it was something inside the device which rarely ever blows up the way it did. We're led to believe most ships never have a problem. The captain of the ship that comes to Mal's 'rescue' after a fashion didn't readily believe that such a nothing part could be such a problem. That's because most ships don't have a catalyzer that's been thrown across a junkyard to bounce off a derelict ambulance shuttle.

In the episode "Ariel" there's a scene where Kaylee and Wash are digging around in the munincipal dump yard that Saint Mary's hospital uses for its mechanical waste disposal. Kaylee's picking up parts that she can use for their planned hospital robbery, but she's also no doubt looking for parts for Serenity herself. "Ooh! Synchronizers!"

That's where they find the ambulance shuttle. Wash finds it quite by accident. He picks up some random part, throws it across the junkyard and the thing bounces off the shuttle. Wash then looks back at Kaylee with a stupid grin on his face. We never see it, but it's perfectly plausible that Kaylee later picks up the same object Wash had already thrown, not knowing that its insides just took a tumble. I say this because if you freeze frame this scene in "Ariel," and look closely at the object in Wash's hands before he throws it? It's the same exact prop used in the episode "Out of Gas" when Kaylee is trying to explain to Malcolm why she can't fix the ship. It's the same prop Malcolm later removes to replace it with a new one. We can assume perhaps that a catalyzer can take a tumble down to the floor like the new one did, but a football-like toss across half a football field to slam into the metal hull of a shuttle?

Same catalyzer? I can't prove it, but it makes perfect sense. The reason why the ship fails in "Out of Gas" is because of a part that took just enough damage in that throw to be useful for a short time, blowing up a few weeks later long after they'd left Ariel. So the reason why they all almost died was inadvertently and indirectly because of Wash. This makes the shouting match scene between Mal and Wash in Out of Gas even more interesting. Could help to explain why Wash was more stressed out than usual, besides the obvious reasons of course. Although it's doubtful Wash was consciously aware it was all his fault, he may have had some sinking suspicion that he couldn't quanitify.

The more I watch this crazy show, the more I see. Lotsa fun on multiple viewings. =)


Wednesday, January 26, 2005 3:14 AM


Maybe then we should see the coinsidence to be an in-joke rather than a cause and effect.

Now that they have a new part the catalyzer returns to being a nothing part that isn't given another thought. Or my preferred thought is that Wash, recognising the part, takes out a little frustration at their prior predicament on it!

Of course it is also entirely possible that the prop. department thought no one would notice. =)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005 10:48 PM


Actually, if you blame anyone it has to be Mal. In both the Pilot episode and the "second" pilot episode ("Train Job") Kaylee brings up to Mal that they need new compressor coils ("If it blows we'll be stranded" or some such comment), and --I'm pretty sure--that the catalyzer is referred to as part of that in "Out of Gas." In both "Serenity" and "The Train Job" Mal blows her off because they are so tight on moolah. That's some tight plotting, in my book. And the irony... oh, the irony.
Obsessive girl, signing out. =)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005 5:25 PM


That anonymous post was me by the way. Why this website keeps forgetting who I am, I don't know. I meant to direct it to jebbypal's comment that Out of Gas apparently comes before Ariel, thus making my theory obsolete.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005 4:52 PM


I had just watched the dvd's myself and noticed the same thing. The catalyzer was in the junkyard on Ariel. However my stricly platonic love for Wash prevents me from believing that anything bad could be his fault:)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005 4:31 PM


Except airing wise and on the dvds, OoG comes before Ariel.


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