Coping with Serenity's Ending

UPDATED: Tuesday, March 13, 2007 03:15
VIEWED: 2678
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Thursday, March 8, 2007 4:26 PM


Since I'm guessing pretty much everyone on this MB has seen "Serenity", I don't think I need to say it, but SPOILER!!!


Ok, so the vast majority of you saw Serenity well over a year ago and have already talked about this topic more than a little bit, but seeing as I just saw it a few days ago, I'm grievin' something fierce...

How did you all feel about the death of Wash? If you were as crushed as me, how did you cope? LOL I've been totally depressed for like DAYS!!!

I know that sometimes characters die (or at least, the producers, etc. feel they have to die), but really, why did he have to die?!?!?

I feel like I could have had about half of the cast die, and I would have been able to accept it, but Wash? One of my 3 favorite characters, and the fact that he leaves behind a love, well that's like a million times worse! It's just plain cruel!

I know Joss seems to enjoy killing off major charaters now and then, as done in Buffy, but at least with those shows it was feasible to bring them back...or when they couldn't be brought back, there were at least subsequent episodes that allowed you, the viewer, to grieve with the characters and move on. With Serenity, its like BAM, rug is pulled out from under me and there's no way to get over it.

I know having all the favorite characters live may be corny, but at least then I can have my shiny imagination of them going on to adventures in the future. The future in my imagination as it ends with Serenity is so bleak and depressing...

Were any of you as crushed with Wash dying? I need a support group here!!



Thursday, March 8, 2007 4:36 PM


It sucked. But I prefer to pretend that he didn't die, that Mr Universe is on Holiday and Book is back at the Abbey.

Denial works for me!

If you do not want to wallow in the sadness DO NOT GO TO YOUTUBE ANS SEARCH FOR THE FIREFLY FANVID THAT USES THIS WOMAN"S WORK as the background song. Someone posted it recently - be sure to have tissues handy!

Bestower of Titles, Designer of Tshirts, Maker of Mottos, Keeper of the Pyre, Owner of a too big Turnippy smelling coat with MR scratched in the neck (thanks FollowMal!)

I am on The List. We are The Forsaken and we aim to burn!
"We don't fear the reaper"

FORSAKEN original


Thursday, March 8, 2007 4:58 PM


How did I deal with Wash dying? I cried. Have you ever seen a grown nerd cry? Not pretty.

Book and Wash died because for the movie to seem real there had to be real peril. Can't have that if all of the characters are given plot immunity. Sad but true when people shoot at each other people often die. And frequently it's the good guys that do the lion's share of the not living any more.

That having been said Joss has repeatedly said that if there was a sequel (and I continue to believe there will be) both Wash and Book could return. He is cryptic on just how that would be acomplished but he knows a way; a way that doesn't involve magic even.


"Not completely as well as the series of Firefly..." - From a review of Serenity at


Friday, March 9, 2007 2:45 AM


I choose to believe the plot point that someone posted on this site some months back (can't actually remember who it was now, but I love them for their contribution to my denial of Wash's death). It's a little disturbing though, so if you're a person of faint-heart (what Browncoat would be though!) turn away NOW. If I remember correctly, the gist of this argument is that when Zoe tried to get Wash to respond to her, he had been seriously injured instead of killed. The poster cited examples of people surviving serious trauma (for example being shot in the head, being shish-kebab-d {?} by objects in real life accidents). Essentially, this person argued that Wash was later found by the Alliance in this condition after possibly being nibbled on by Reavers (which may have led to the belief that he had been completely eaten, what with the possible, for want of a better word, scraps scattered around and all). He was then taken by the Alliance to be questioned about River and Miranda, but it will be discovered that he is still alive, which will in turn lead to a Big Damn Rescue! It works for me, cos I live on a river called De Nile. And should anyone attempt to dissuade me from this fabrication of reality, I will stick my fingers in my ears and sing loudly "I can't hear you!".

So yeah, that's how I don't cope with Wash's 'death'.

Mal gives control of the ship to Zoe...
Mal: If I'm not back in an hour, you come, and you rescue me.
Zoe: What? And risk my ship?


Friday, March 9, 2007 3:43 AM


Every time a thread like this comes up, I feel a little sad. But not for _that_ reason (although I am sad that Wash died) but more because it is always like Book's death was somehow less important, or had less of an impact.

Don't get me wrong - I like Wash well enough. But I liked Book equally. And I miss them both.


"Carpe Aptenodytes"


Friday, March 9, 2007 4:48 AM



Originally posted by mrben:
Every time a thread like this comes up, I feel a little sad. But not for _that_ reason (although I am sad that Wash died) but more because it is always like Book's death was somehow less important, or had less of an impact.

Well it did have a little less impact. Firstly because Book being an older gentleman can be said to have lived a reasonably full life. Wash was really just starting out on life's grand adventure. Second, Wash's death was more sudden and random. Book at least got to give his dying speach and died from actively defending his town. Sad but heroic. Wash died with the look of relief from the landing still on his face and just because he was struck by a randomly shot harpoon. Not very heroic. Third Wash's death strongly affects Zoe (and of course the beautifull baby they can't have now) so it's extra sad there.


"Not completely as well as the series of Firefly..." - From a review of Serenity at


Friday, March 9, 2007 6:43 AM


I try not to think about it. When it happens ( as I watch the movie again) I cry and feel awful and then take heart that Joss promises Wash and Book will come back. So they aren't dead, just in limbo:)

"I'm not all that interested in the mental health of people who want to kill me. "- Leroy Jethro Gibbs


Friday, March 9, 2007 7:13 AM


I know just what you're going through--Wash was my favorite character all the way through the series. When that spike came through the canopy, well, yeah. I thought they might all die.

I have to respectfully disagree with all the "Wash lives" posts, though. I think Wash is dead, and will remain dead in any sequels (though we may get more of him in flashback form). It feels very inauthentic to insist that he's still alive, and harbor resentment at Joss for killing him off, and spin wild theories about how he could return from the the grave (or the not-grave, depending on your favorite theory). But to me, that just feels fake. I have always loved Joss's work because even though it's fantastical, it feels very genuine. In life, people die. Just look at what happened in Buffy: people--important people, people we cared about--died. And I think that makes the Jossverse a more real, richly texture place to live in. So I grieve over Wash and Book, because I loved them, and was saddened by their passing. But I accept that that's part of living, and part of loving people. Eventually, you'll have to let go. Demanding script immunity for favorite characters just seems inauthentic to me--I'd rather have a real world of peril than a false world where you just know that the heroes will come out of it in the end. Because often times they do not. That's why you hear Medal of Honor winners insisting that they're not heroes: to them, the heroes are the guys that didn't walk off the battle field. That's the reality of war, the reality of conflict and the reality of life. And to me, that's what makes Joss not just a good story teller, but a great one.

/ Rant


Friday, March 9, 2007 7:16 AM


What he said.

(Though my favourite guys are Mal and Jayne.)


Friday, March 9, 2007 8:07 AM



It works for me, cos I live on a river called De Nile.

Ah, De Nile. I like to take a quick swim in that river every day. It's relaxing and good for my mental health, (which at the best of times I only have a tenuous hold on).

I always thought that as Joss and Ron saw Book as the conscience of the ship that in any sequel he might come back as the conscience of Mal. A guiding hand when he needed some direction.

I know lame and cliché. Me all over.



Friday, March 9, 2007 10:29 AM


First I gasped and sputtered.
I too choose the Denial route. I just watch the episodes and occationally cast evil glares at the movie (Which was awesome...but then Wash died) I still watch the movie though, it gets easier every time (trust me). I especially read the fanfics where Wash is alive, Wish I Were Someone Else (I hope I got the title right...) is awesome because though it takes place after the movie it comes up with a whole story line behind how the REAL Wash didn't actually die and it rocks my socks because it is so easy to believe (and why wouldn't I?!!)
It's just great to know that Wash mourners are not alone!!

That nerdy hat


Friday, March 9, 2007 11:45 AM


You are not alone Stonearch. When I saw Serenity in the theater and Wash was killed I sobbed through the rest of the movie and all of the credits. My BF and I went out to get something to eat afterwards and I burst into tears in the middle of the restaurant. Even now when I watch it I start to cry and if the BF is here he always holds me during that scene.

But Wash is not dead! Not only is there the show to watch over and over again there is always the chance that in the next Serenity movie we'll see him in flashbacks. I know it's not quite the same but it will still mean that we get to see our beloved Wash. Personally I'm hoping that Zoe is pregnant with his baby.

"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle."


Friday, March 9, 2007 3:01 PM


It wouldn't have been so hard for us all to bear with Wash's death, if only George Lucas had written the script...

I mean, Padme/Amidala (whichever) died and I actually breathed a sigh of relief. I knew that even though the Great Love Interest had died, at least the actress was no longer under contract to Lucasfilms. That must've been a relief for Natalie, who rebounded nicely with V For Vendetta.

Of course had GL written/directed/produced, our scoundrel (as portrayed by Canadian-born actor, Nathan Fillion) would never have shot first at the Operative. No, no! After all, a proper scoundrel would never behave in so ungentlemanly a fashion. He'd have waited until the trained assassin took the first shot... (and then we'd be mourning Mal's death; tho' interestingly, not Wash's, cuz the movie would've been over.)

On the other hand... Had George w/d/p'd Serenity, Inara might've gotten chained up in something skimpy... Hell, I'd happily put a bullet in Wash and a barnyard full of his baby geese to get Morena scantily clad!

I've reconsidered, and I think Mr. Lucas should definitely helm the next SereniFly venture. Have Kaylee inexplicably die after giving birth to Jayne's quadruplets in a five minute timespan, if you must. But give me Inara nekkid! (NB: Okay. How about semi-nekkid?)



I know I speak for all the guys and more than a few of the women around FFFn, with my Let's Get Inara Nekkid Even If It Means Another Hero Gets Senselessly Snuffed appeal. Similar to the adage about men masturbating, 98% of the male population of this website will readily confess to wanting to see Morena unclad, and the other 2% are lying...

"I aim to misbehave." -Capt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity, a.k.a. 'the BDBOF'


Friday, March 9, 2007 3:30 PM


It takes all kinds to make the world go ‘round. Unfortunately, some are pedaling in the wrong direction...

Ah, so many theories, so many tears...

When that particular moment occurred, I simply said, "What?!" I mean, it was a moment of inexplicable confusion for me. It was sudden, abrupt, almost random in nature. But then, as I observed more of Joss's work, I realized that nothing he does his random. There is a reason, a message, a connection to something greater to be gleaned.

Would I miss Wash terribly in whatever medium Firefly/Serenity lives on within? Of course, yes. Will I also miss Book, with his worldly yet Godly wisdom? Again, of course. Even while writing my screenplay, I thought of at least a dozen possible wonderful moments that would have included those characters, but I had decided to write within a timeline post BDM. That's the price I paid, I guess.

Coping, yes. Happy about it, no.

Rob O.


Saturday, March 10, 2007 4:06 PM


I dunno, it didn't crush me really, but I was sad. I definitely didn't expect him to kill off Wash, because he was just a very likable character. But then it also makes sense because it keeps you interested. When you feel that upset when one of the characters dies, then you really know that you are into the show.

What's so amazing about really deep thoughts?


Saturday, March 10, 2007 7:31 PM


We sniff the air, we don't kiss the dirt.

As a Buffy and Angel fan, I should have expected Joss to do something like that, but it still shocked the crap out of me (and everyone else in the theater--loudest gasp I'd ever heard). When Book died, I thought "WOW! But, at least Joss has it out of his system." Then Wash died and I had never heard such a loud collective "gasp!" as I heard in that theater. In my opinion it was only surpassed by "No. I am your Father!"

The funny thing is, and I don't know if its good or bad, but when I watch the BDM now I still get a little down at their deaths, but what happens to Serenity as it crashes still makes me cringe and almost look away and this is after seeing the movie at least 2 dozen times. Is that odd?


Saturday, March 10, 2007 9:40 PM


The first time through when Wash died, I was kind of in a daze for the rest of the movie. I remember feeling pretty distraught. The only thing that helped me thru it was to watch Serenity many times.


Sunday, March 11, 2007 2:26 AM


There's one reason Book's death may not affect all fans the same way; many came to the 'verse via the movie. Why does that matter? Consider coming to the movie not having seen the series. You see this nice, older man come out of "no where" to give Mal a place to stay and some sage advice; this fellow then dies. Sad, but honestly, you don't have much time to attach to him. From that perspective, he almost seems like an "extra" brought in almost solely for that purpose.

Later, when you watch the series (as I did), you come to understand his importance; but by then you already know he dies.

Wash, on the other hand, is through out the movie and thus has a strong impact regardless of having caught the series.

"Third Wash's death strongly affects Zoe (and of course the beautifull baby they can't have now) so it's extra sad there."
Hey, don't rule out that beautiful baby... Zoe certainly hasn't had time for a pregnancy test yet, and she made it clear to Wash that "just waiting" didn't make sense.

BDV - Big Damn Vote for a Big Damn Hero:
Special vote day: Nathan Fillion's birthday - March 27th
Please vote (often) this day for Firefly if no other!


Sunday, March 11, 2007 5:25 AM


As difficult as it is to come to grips with the losses, here's one thing you can take as a positive.

How many TV shows or other fictional worlds affect you this deeply? If you can take a step back from it, you can really appreciate the gift that Joss has given us. The 'verse is so real to us that it can make us grieve as we would for the loss of a real-life friend, or nearly so.

I'm pointin' right at it!


Sunday, March 11, 2007 10:18 AM


Now I am learning about scary.

Sure, I was crushed. Just look at my alias up there: Save Wash!

When I saw the movie in the theatre, the first thing I did was yell, "NO!" and look around to see who else was reacting the same way. I think I was looking for fellow Wash-fans who'd storm the stage with me and somehow rush into the movie to save him. I know how stupid that sounds, but that's how badly I wanted Wash not to be dead.

It affected me for days afterward. I still have trouble watching that scene. I attribute this to two things: Joss is a genius, and Joss is an evil, sadistic man.

"We need to keep our heads so we can ... keep our heads."


Sunday, March 11, 2007 10:34 AM


Thanks to those who have posted!

It is indeed some comfort to hear that, should there be a second movie (my personal hope!), that Book and Wash will make some appearance. Even if it is just flashbacks and memory-sequences - they are a poor substitute to living characters, but infinitely better than nothing...INFINITELY!

And thanks to those who pointed me towards the theories on how he may have survived (specifically PASTORBADGE's - what a fascinating and massively long thread!) - being a rather pessimistic and scientifically minded person, I am not sure yet if I can truly swallow it (Joss didn't leave a ton of openings for us to really make it work), but that's the beauty (and curse) of the human mind, we believe what we want/need to believe, contrary to all evidence otherwise, LOL, so it is indeed a comfort to at least be able to mull over this theory. :)

I feel your pain, Book fans, at seeing his death sort of shrugged off in comparison to Wash's. But as David said, I think it is in part because Book was older/unmarried, and because we got to see a little pre-death speech, etc to help us through it. But ultimately, I think it was the shocking end for Wash that pretty much drove out all though of Book, for me at least. If the thing with Wash hadn't happened, or if things had been done in a different order or whatever, we might all be sitting around lamenting Book more.

Regarding Causal's post - I hear ya. I have long been a fan of Hong Kong cinema where the stars almost ALWAYS die, and its just part of life, folks accept that the heroes often die. I very rarely resent a storyteller killing off a character. The first 24 hours after I saw Serenity, I was terribly sad and crushed, but I didn't necessarily think that Joss shouldn't have done things the way he did - as you said, its his story, death is inevitable, etc. etc. etc. All good, logical thoughts.

But after that first 24 hours, I've been increasingly unhappy with that twist of the plot, and have gotten a case of the "I Wish..." It certainly WAS a good bit of story telling, he did it in just such a way that obviously had a HUGE impact on all of us, because we are all sitting around talking about it. LOL If he had more of a wrap-up, post death speech, etc he could have lessened the impact, but he chose to do it the way he did, which is what made it such a shock to the fans. That's his choice, but I don't think it's fair to try and say that fans don't have the right to "wish" it were otherwise, or find alternate theories to feed their own imaginations. That's the beauty of imagination and story telling - he's told us a GREAT story, but wither he likes it or not, once we've got it in our own minds, we can take the story wherever we like...he can try to make it nearly impossible for us to take the characters some places (such as by killing them), but hey, if a fan really wants to use their imagination and take the story in a different direction, there ain't much that can be done to stop us, and I'm not sure its fair of anyone to tell us we can't. The example that comes to mind is the Harry Potter series, where the author has hinted heavily that she will give a definite ending to the story so that no one else can carry on the story after her. I understand that its HER story, so she can end it how she pleases, but it feels just a tad selfish to have her say "glad you enjoyed my fine story, but you aren't permitted to carry it on in your own imagination, its MINE ALL MINE!"

I whole-heartedly agree that these stories are BEST told by the original storytellers, and I vastly prefer to hear their own versions over anyone else's (including my own imagination's), but if they put in a twist that I just can't abide by, I reserve the right to, at the very least, be upset and unhappy about it. :) I'm not about to scold the storyteller or try to tell them they shouldn't have done it - its their story, then can tell it as they like, but I can at least be unhappy about it. And, as a good storyteller, I'm sure Joss expected that kind of reaction, and indeed helped cultivate it through the way the events unfolded..

Honestly, I don't think its an insult to Joss, rather I'd guess he's rather PROUD that fans have been so terribly lamenting the death of Wash, don't you? If the storytelling and characters and acting weren't what they were, we'd all sort of say "gee, that was really sad, but hey, death is part of life - good story though". The fact that so many fans are SO affected by the ending with Wash (to the point of going into denial about it) should be a credit to Joss and the rest!

I guess all I can do is hope for a Serenity 2 movie, where we can at least have some chance to grieve or wrap-up the deaths, if not "reverse" them. The ending was just too abrupt for comfort - made a good story, but now I've got to live with the consequences "alone"...well, at least I've got this message board though to help me through, in the absence of a continuation of the story, at least for now...

Still, I think it will be awhile before I get rid of my case of "I wish it didn't happen like that...", so I'll just have to make a personal choice as to dealing with it or siding with denial and self-delusion (lovin' those theories). :) Denial is looking good right now...I concur, Joss is an evil, sadistic man. LOL

Thanks for humoring the newbie with re-hashing an old topic, your patience is appreciated - I know you've all been through all this, but it’s brand new to me. So thanks to all for posting, I love hearing everyone's thoughts - good, bad or ugly! :D


Sunday, March 11, 2007 10:39 AM


I missed so much my first time in the theater because I was crying so hard! I understand the depression. But denial does work.

An I carried such a torch


Sunday, March 11, 2007 10:39 AM


Oh, and I saw a comment from someone on one of the old threads that was something like "We cry when Joss cries, but Joss laughs when we cry. Is that fair, I ask you?" That seems terribly, terribly true, doesn't it? LOL


Monday, March 12, 2007 1:25 AM


May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.


Originally posted by stonearch:
Were any of you as crushed with Wash dying?

I most definitely was when I saw the prescreening in June of '05.

It is odd, seeing as how I have never really considered Wash to be one of my favorite characters, but his death on screen impacted me more than I would have thought possible. I remember saying softly over and over (to myself of course so as not to disturb others) "I can't believe it. Not Wash."

It took me a while to come to grips with it and I think this is the exact reaction that Joss was looking for when he wrote it. It impressed upon me just how much each character means to the whole story.

Holding the line since December '02!

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Richmond, VA & surrounding area Firefly Fans:

Color Sergeant

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 3:15 AM


For me?
Lots and lots and lots and lots and lotsa and lots and lorra lots of music. Flogging Molly, Thrice, the stuff what cheers me up. Whenever I watch the BDM, I make sure to have my CD player prepped for some major usage. Oh, and I surf around this here shiny burg and bitch about it. It's fun.


Our Idols lay in Ruins,
We'd have saved them if we Could,
But we still chose to Worship,
The Places where our Idols STOOD!!!







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