FIREFLY EPISODE DISCUSSIONS

Book's line in Objects in Space?

POSTED BY: GEIIGA
UPDATED: Monday, October 15, 2007 04:43
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Tuesday, January 10, 2006 8:00 AM

GEIIGA


So, when River's wandering the ship at the beginning of the episode, Book's line is "I don't give half a hump if you're innocent or not. So where does that put you?"

Now, Simon's bit was kind of putting blame on her for separating him from his career, and Jayne's bit was almost an apology for the events in Ariel, but Book's line (and, come to think of it, Inara's) don't make much sense in context.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006 8:27 AM

AMITON


I don't think River is so much picking up on things that have to do specifically with her. In Simon and Jayne's cases, those thoughts about her are very strong and very current at that particular moment. Book, Mal, and Inara don't even realize River is there, I don't think, but they are all putting forth strong emotions at that point. Even moreso in the case of Wash and Zoe; they're so entirely caught up in what they're doing, they just might have lost sight of the fact that they're on a ship, much less in plain sight. River feels the flood of emotion coming off of them (and, in my opinion has gets a healthy does of what being in the throes of passion is like).

I'm personally not exactly sure how to take Book's thought, but if I had to wager a guess I would say that, like Jayne at that moment, he is dealing with anguish in his soul over something that happened in his past (in my opinion, whatever drove him to his current station in life). On a parallel line of thinking - during "Out of Gas," we notice that the normally staunch and reliable Book is not only in prayer and meditation, but is singled out (again, by River) as being *afraid*. I do believe that Book is completely firm in his religious conviction, and I don't think I believe he is a afraid to die - I think he's afraid to be condemned to the path that his conscience and his past lead him down and he feels guilty - e.g., he's going to a special hell himself.

Just a thought =)

Amiton.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006 8:35 AM

SINGATE


I think Inara's line was more directed at Mal: "I'm a big girl, just tell me". Part of her wants Mal to say he loves her.

Also River hears a sound like the ocean when she is observing Zoe and Wash. Swept up in the rush of emotion. If you listen she hears the same thing just before she runs from Mal and Inara. Its almost like she can't take anymore and has to get away.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006 8:13 AM

HIGHWIREDSITH


So no one thinks River tuned into the fact that Shepherd Book was an alliance operative, a mole, a spy - maybe a rogue spy working for some covert group inside the alliance, a group that wanted to keep River on the run to maybe see what she was made of, what she would do? And maybe Book was having his own reservations about his mission, maybe he was contemplating turning rogue or already had? Jubal Early's line "He ain't no shepherd" came soon after.

Speaking of this episode - the part where Simaon says "So you're Alliance" and Jubal thinks he says "You're a lion," how many times have you ever seen something like that happen in scripted dialogue? I'm guessing never. It had no real purpose, just one of those little things that blows me away about the way these shows are written.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006 4:59 PM

POWEROFTHEVERSE


You guys forget that in the movie Shepherd Book is living away from River doing his Shepherd thing. As he said before he wasn't born a Shepherd. I think he's an alien, can't think of anything else. Confusing thing is he didn't know the truth about miranda.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006 9:13 PM

ALASKAMIKE


Quote:

Originally posted by HighWiredSith:
So no one thinks River tuned into the fact that Shepherd Book was an alliance operative...



I think that Book is a retired operative, who tags along with Serenity initially because of the ship itself, and later because of River.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006 9:30 PM

THEREALME


If Book is currently undercover,then he is an incompetant! Even Jayne can spot the holes in his back story. He's let too many things slip.

No, Book MAY have once been an operative, but he is not on a mission now.

And I do not think that River was present during the Inner Thoughts episodes. I think her mind was wandering among the crew, looking for the stranger (earlY).

TheRealMe, First Officer of the Sereni-Tree

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Monday, January 16, 2006 6:43 AM

JOLYNEHEATHER


After watching all of the episodes and the movie, I am almost entirely convinced that there is some sort of Operative core out there in the Firefly-verse and Early and Book are former members. There are similarities between Book, Early, and the Operative in dialog and such that seem to link them together. I would bet the awarness that the Operative had that he was "a monster" is something similar to what drove Book to the monastary. Nevermind that Book was the first to point out that an Operative would be coming for them. Maybe Early was a failed (read: CRAZY) Operative. I have to agree with what others have posted, I don't think Book was even aware of River's pressence and his comment was directed towards Jayne. Perhaps what River picked up on was the Operative in Book.

Also, I can kill you with my brain...

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Monday, January 16, 2006 7:49 AM

SHOGUN


I have watched that episode many times and am not totally convinced that River is wandering about the ship physically as she is mentally or spiritially. Some of what the crew said made sense, but others like Book was kind of confusing and not sure if he was directing at River or someone else. He mentioned the word innocent and in my mind, River and her innocense is the only one really in question. I believe that Book was an operative once as perhaps was Jubal Early, but they wouldn't know each other as most operatives don't know each other as they are entirely covert. Maybe Book was too old and retired, perhaps he couldn't do it anymore and his inner demons caught up with him. Perhaps he became out of date and the operatives are better trained. Younger, made better!!! Thats another thought, the alliance tries to make people better...are the operatives made as well as trained. Was River in training to be an operative herself?

You could go on and on with thoughts of what could be. Its trying to figure the things out that are right in front of you thats sometimes the hardest.

Stay shiny!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:34 AM

SHEPARD


I think it's pretty obvious Book was supposed to be a former Alliance operative, but the series didn't last long enough for Joss to develop that storyline. Book becoming a Shepard would be a good way to establish a persona for a person who otherwise would have come out of nowhere (Remember, the Operative in Serenity had neither name or rank in the Cortex). Think about it, it's easier to create & maintain a backstory which mostly involves being sequestered from society and working in a vegetable garden, out of sight of society, than to try to create a complete paper trail for someone who has held jobs, traveled, etc. I'm not so sure about Jubal, I like to think he was just really good at what he does. Indeed, with the psychological issues River describes, Jubal sounds too unstable to make a good undercover agent.

Hell. It's Special.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:58 AM

REAVERMEAT


Here's my theory.

I think Book knows that Jayne had sold River and Simon out. His thoughts in my opinion were directed at Jayne.

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Friday, February 3, 2006 9:36 PM

STILLFREE


If everyone's line was something emotionally significant they either said or will say, perhaps Book's was something from way back in his (presumed) Operative days. It's obvious that the Operative in Serenity is willing to do anything for his beliefs, with no conscience. Book's line strikes me as something an operative would say to a man begging for mercy ("I'm innocent, I don't know anything, take the sword out of there!")

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 6:02 AM

ANNA


I also definitely think Book was once an Operative. Not now though, not any more. I wonder how he quit? Doesn't seem like something you can just retire from and take-your-pension-thank-you-very-much, if you know what I mean.

Jubal...I don't think so. He's not Operative material. They're calm, collected, they don't do what they do because they enjoy it necessarily (I'm sure they each have their own reasons, although I'd guess they're similar to the big-screen Operative's, about doing what they think is right and creating a "better world", perhaps). Jubal, well, "[he] likes to hurt people". He's a little crazy. He gets unnerved while River is fooling him in OiS. No doubt, he's a very talented bounty hunter; but he'd be a very sloppy operative.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 7:07 AM

MATTCOZ


Quote:

Originally posted by PowerOfTheVerse:
I think he's an alien, can't think of anything else.

There are thousands of more rational explanations than that. No aliens in Firefly.

Book obviously has a darker past, had some kind of affiliation with the Alliance as we saw in "Safe". I don't think it is as complicated as some of you make it out to be though, really doubt he's some kind of spy. We might not ever learn the truth.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 9:33 AM

SAB39


Is there an accepted explanation for Book's line to Inara at the end of Serenity (the episode not the movie)? "I watched the captain shoot the man I swore to protect... and I'm not entirely sure I think he was wrong".

(I haven't read the comics and so I'm aware I'm probably missing some of Dobson's backstory)

It's occurred to me based on that line that perhaps Book's mission was to protect Dobson, and (just like the Operative in the BDM) he "lost his faith" in the Alliance at the end of the episode when he saw what kind of man Dobson was and heard Simon's story of what the Alliance was doing to River. At which point his way of continuing once he'd lost everything he believed in was to take solace in (what had previously been) his "cover" as a Shepherd and take on that life for real.

The fact that Dobson took him out would seem to contradict that, unless Dobson himself didn't know who he was.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 9:43 AM

ANNA


Quote:

Originally posted by sab39:
Is there an accepted explanation for Book's line to Inara at the end of Serenity (the episode not the movie)? "I watched the captain shoot the man I swore to protect... and I'm not entirely sure I think he was wrong".



I always just took it as in that episode, despite knowing that Dobson was Alliance and up to no good, Book tried to protect him because it was the Christian thing to do, or just the right thing to do, because he didn't want anybody to die etc. Not that they knew each other beforehand or had some covert Alliance scheme or anything.

Just my take

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 9:46 AM

MATTCOZ


Quote:

Originally posted by sab39:
Is there an accepted explanation for Book's line to Inara at the end of Serenity (the episode not the movie)? "I watched the captain shoot the man I swore to protect... and I'm not entirely sure I think he was wrong".

It's pretty self-explanatory, no deep meaning in it. He thought it was Dobson that needed protection from the crew, which is why he stood in front of Jayne and then later tried to free him. He didn't lose his faith in the Alliance, he was starting to lose his faith in himself.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 9:49 AM

SAB39


Yeah, that's the "face value" explanation and perhaps that's all there is to it, but (especially since we know something's up with Book's history - which other than his uncanny ability to knock a guy out with a single punch, we didn't really know at the time) I don't quite buy it.

"*The* man I *swore* to protect" seems a bit strong for a guy that just happened to be getting on the same boat as him...

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 11:23 AM

MATTCOZ


Maybe from any normal man, but not from a shepherd. Also it was that man he swore to protect that he knocked out with a single punch, hardly protection. :p

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 5:51 PM

SHEPHERDTERRY


Quote:

Originally posted by sab39:
Is there an accepted explanation for Book's line to Inara at the end of Serenity (the episode not the movie)? "I watched the captain shoot the man I swore to protect... and I'm not entirely sure I think he was wrong".
***
Yeah, well I think another thing we have to consider is that Book seems to have been the first of the passengers to board the ship. Granted that Dobson could have ostensibly boarded first, but if you look, you can see Dobson struggling in with his bags the first time we see him, and we do not see Book. Would be a mite convenient (or maybe he's just REALLY good)that Book would successfully pre-empt the exact ship that Dobson would trail the Tams to...

Also, I think the idea that Book was an operative fleeing from the demons of his past makes the most sense. I mean, an operative without a name would have to create one for himself when he was done, and for a shepherd, what is more logical than Book (the 'good book' - the bible)? And he seems mighty handy with a gun (kneecapping a running man with one shot in "War Stories"? Egad! That's one hell of a priest!)

I think Shepherd cannot escape his past, and River tuned into that feeling. In my opinion, it's one more clue for the audience to peice together Book's past.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 6:58 PM

MATTCOZ


Quote:

Originally posted by ShepherdTerry:
And he seems mighty handy with a gun (kneecapping a running man with one shot in "War Stories"? Egad! That's one hell of a priest!)

He showed a lot of military training in that episode, just another small insight into his past.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 7:03 PM

ALGUS


The scene between Inara and Book at the end of Serenity is probably one of the most pivotal scenes for Book in the entire series. I suspect a lot of people don't realize it either because of when it occurs.

Alright, so it shows Book to be a good Christian Priest, fine, yes, we know that. But it also establishes something very important: he was someone nasty in his past, we know this from later episodes, especially the line that sparked this thread. Now, however, he truly is a Shepherd. He wasn't acting for Inara's benefit (Why would he need to?) That was him, purely him. And I love that scene because it reminds me that whatever he was then, that's not who he is now. And, as I made clear in my own thread, I've got my own theories on what he was ;)

---
Where's the KABOOM?! There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom! *sigh* Delays...delays...

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Thursday, March 9, 2006 11:15 AM

LEEBO


Book can't be an alliance operative, acting or retired.

If he had been then the Alliance Ship would NOT have operated on his wound in Safe. Think about that for a moment.

If he's an operative, than the Alliance could not risk giving him any special treatment specifically BECAUSE it would prove he was an operative. Book's not always the bravest, but he's far from a coward, and he wouldn't have revealed the ID Badge if that were the case. As in Mission Impossible, the Alliance "would disavow any involvement" in his actions and that means treating him like a regular joe when he's been shot.

So Book is no operative or working stiff of the Alliance, by my reasoning. I'd hate it if he were, Book an antagonist? No way.

I do get the feeling the line in Objects In Space was another teaser about Book's past. We probably don't know all of the facts necessary to paint the complete picture of what it means.

If Book is referring to Jayne, then it contradicts his behavior when he's around Jayne. When they're not on opposite ends of a moral spectrum (IE Jayne wanting to kill the mole in the Pilot and Book stopping him) they make a good pair. They work out together and generally get along better than most members of the crew to Jayne. If this line does refer to Jayne, then it suggests that all that bonding they do is an act and Book is purposely befriending Jayne for some reason.

The only problem with this theory is that if it were true Book would have certainly acted on it by now. Had he, for example, been sent to kill Jayne then he'd have done it sooner and not, as per the BDM, leave the ship to live in Haven and ultimately get bombed.

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Friday, April 7, 2006 11:34 AM

MACQYVER


Hi
I was thinking about what shogun said, that they may have been training river to be an oprative. Not only is it possible but it's logical, which in my mind is far more frightening. There is the possibility that operatives carry out assasinations. Some places, like Canton, do not allow guns (although they seem to be fine with bowie knives). An operative could kill someone without a weapon, but that would narrow down the possible suspects since not everyone can kill a guy with thier bare hands. First, we know that river could kill anyone she wants with here bare hands. The fact that she is a 19 year old girl means that she would be able to move about un-noticed and if she did kill someone with nothing but her hand, who in their right mind would suspect River when you've got a huge guy like Jayne Cobb in the area. Next, suppose that she couldn't get close enough to the target to use her hands, she is a pretty good shot with Jayne's Deasert Eagle, as seen in "War Stories". But if she had a gun it would ruin her cover. I mean, what would you think if you saw a teanage girl with a huge .50 callibre semi-automatic pistol? The sweet part of the set-up is that she doesn't need a weapon or her martial arts training to kill someone. In "Trash", Simon is fixing up Jayne while telling him that there in the same side and they shouldn't have to each sleep with one eye open. After Simon leaves River, who had been just inside the door the whole time, says " Plus, I can kill you with my brain." The point I'm making is that river is the perfect assasin. Mal could open up his own assasination business if he ever got tired of smugling. Oh, and did I mention that suposedly over 80% of the contract killers and hired assasins in the world are women! just making a point.


As far as Jayne seeing through Book's cover, it makes perfect sence. Someone once said "The best place to hide something is in plain sight". If they ever suspected book of being an operative someone, probably Jayne, would say that he didn't do a great job of hiding it so there's no way he can be clever enough to be an aliance operative. Well, during the cold war thegreatest compliment that could be given to a CIA agent working in Russia was " Who, him. No, he's not smart enough to be a spy." Just thought I'd leave some food for thought.

[Frank Drebin is emptying out his files after being kicked off the force]
Frank: Hey! The missing evidence in the Kelner case! My God, he really was innocent!
Ed: He went to the chair two years ago, Frank.
Frank: Well, uh...
[Frank Drebin quickly shoves the evidence back into the file cabinet]

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Friday, April 7, 2006 3:06 PM

USAGIVINDALOO


I've only seen the episode once (SHOCK! HORROR! I'll get right on fixing that ) and I remember thinking that the statement was directed at Jayne.

I thought at the time that it was supposed to reveal that a lot of Book's Shepherd nature is a facade... not necessarily his kindness, but his efforts to save the crew in a moral sense. By saying that he doesn't care if Jayne is innocent or not, he's sorta indicating that he doesn't give a damn about saving Jayne's soul or anyone else's. THat doesn't necessarily mean that he dislikes Jayne, only that his "good will" and "guidance" does not run as deep as it seems to. A true Shepherd WOULD care about whether someone is innocent or not, and try to "save" them; hence why the rhetorical question, "and where does that leave you?" is chilling, he's basically saying he doesn't care if Jayne is going to the special hell.

Having said that, that was a mere brainfart. I also like all the other suggestions that are being put forward.



"This must be what going mad feels like."

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Friday, April 7, 2006 4:09 PM

DEEPGIRL187


Everyone's had some really great reponses so far. Once more proving that Browncoats are the smartest people in the verse.

That being said, I was wondering: Does anyone know what Joss has to say on the subject? Maybe there's something in the DVD commentary about it? Just a thought.

At last.
We can retire and give up
this life of crime.

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Friday, April 7, 2006 7:50 PM

EVERYWORLDSPINNIN


I definitely think that comment was directed at Jayne as well, and River's shock to it was that it seemed that Book didn't care. Book always preached a caring chorus, but he seemed cold and uncaring at that moment. River also most likely sees his secret as well, but doesn't bust him out because she knows he is atoning for something.

The Operative - Book connection makes sense. Book's comments about how an Operative is trained to believe blindly, leads me to sumise that Book was an Operative as well.

Book most likely leaves because of a crisis of conscience similar to what The Operative had. The reason he goes to religion is twofold:

1. It gives him the chance to do some good works, and..
2. It more closely resembles the life he just left. Primarily due to the fact that religion requires no proof, just a belief. Much like he had as an Operative. The belief that he was making "a better world. All of them...better worlds".

Not to start a religious debate, but that's the way I see it.

BTW, when I met Ron Glass at GenCon last year, he had no idea what Book's secret was. According to him, "It's all locked up in Joss's head".

--------------------------------------------------
Child One: "Republicans aren't real."
Child Two: "Full well they are!"

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Friday, April 7, 2006 8:08 PM

ABILITY6


Quote:

Originally posted by Leebo:
Book can't be an alliance operative, acting or retired.

If he had been then the Alliance Ship would NOT have operated on his wound in Safe. Think about that for a moment.

If he's an operative, than the Alliance could not risk giving him any special treatment specifically BECAUSE it would prove he was an operative. Book's not always the bravest, but he's far from a coward, and he wouldn't have revealed the ID Badge if that were the case. As in Mission Impossible, the Alliance "would disavow any involvement" in his actions and that means treating him like a regular joe when he's been shot.



I agree, an operative would not be permitted to just go his own way, as evidenced by Chiwetel Ejiofor's parting line in the BDM. Yet, this circumstance makes Book all that more intriguing, as he knows exactly what kind of trouble an operative can be, "trouble you've not known." My guess is not too many people wander around with that kind of knowledge.

"Yolanda?"

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Monday, April 10, 2006 3:48 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Wow, this has been a great thread to read. I'm just going to put my own thoughts out there now:
I'm not sure if Book's line was really *directed* at anyone, per se. It struck me as just being a general statement. Kind of "whether you're innocent or not you're still likely to go to hell" hence, not caring if someone was innocent, etc. That point was pretty much made earlier on, but I don't think it was even specific to Jayne, just kind of the attitude Book had. Whether that line itself had anything to do with his shady past is debatable; I've met a few preachers who don't seem to think anyone is innocent and don't care.
I'm also glad I'm not the only one who thinks Book was an Operative in his past. "Sort of man they like to send believes hard" really made it seem like a transition to believing hard in religion rather than government would be easiest for those retiring from the life. Plus his uncanny military skills and Early's comment on him later. I can really see how the character of Early evolved into the Operative and how the character of the Operative could then evolve into Book. Of course Joss ulitimately made the decision not to tell us Book's background in the BDM, so we may never know what's locked in his head, but that's how I see it. And it makes sense that Early was possibly an Operative himself, or at least had some of the same training, as he was highly intuitive and kind of creepy. The only line between him and River was that he was more malicious with his skills; he "liked to hurt folk" whereas River did not. And maybe River was being made into an Operative, too. Or an upgraded Operative, as the Operative himself didn't quite have her abilities, he just believed hard.
And I'll just throw this out there, too: I don't think the Alliance would deny him medical help if he was an Operative. For one thing, it wouldn't really give anything away as people outside the government don't even know they exist. For another thing, it probably didn't say "this man is an Operative" it probably said something like "this man ranks so high you can't even know what he is, but you had better respect his authority" and no soldier on a flying base is going to question that.
Wow, I've rambled on. I'll stop now.

*************************************************
Bible's broken. Doesn't make sense.

Zhu fu ni, mei-mei

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Monday, April 10, 2006 4:49 AM

GORRAMREEVER


Quote:

the part where Simaon says "So you're Alliance" and Jubal thinks he says "You're a lion," how many times have you ever seen something like that happen in scripted dialogue? I'm guessing never. It had no real purpose, just one of those little things that blows me away about the way these shows are written.


That is one of the main reasons I love whedon's work. the dialogue is real, it doesn't feel scripted.

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Monday, April 10, 2006 5:34 AM

CAPTAINJOSH06


I heard Joss was thinking of writing something about Shepherd Book and who he really is or was.

Greatz!
CaptainJosh

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Monday, April 10, 2006 5:55 AM

GROOVYAL


Ok! Now i have read lots of "book-is-an-operative"-thoughts, here is something new to chew on:
my guess is that book was like mal, a soldier with belive and therefor a high rank. the only difference was, he was on the other side. after the war was over book got the hang of how things were runnin he started to question all he has done sofar and in order to find peace he became preacher. he never tells mal he was an alliance, just coz this would arise an unnecessary conflict.
but i dont think he was an operative nor a spy, nor was jubal, he did just his homework.

books line was in fact kinda' strange.
my inspired guess is, book was talking about innocence, meaning not having sex. because they are talking about masturbating and the like before river enters the room. probably he was just kinda' pissed at the moment speaking about sexual problems of an adult man, but since he is a sheppherd he just had to listen and keep a calm face.

this whole river-operative issue... well i guess that is exactly what the allies wanted to do with her... but on a higher level, to make her read the opponents minds and to be able to protect herself if in danger. the whole sublimminal trigger in serenity(movie) points out that she was thought like some sort of a sleeper.

think this should be pretty much it.


ps:i appologize for probable misspelling or mistakes


-You missed me Malcom Reynolds
-Can't miss what you never had!

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Monday, April 17, 2006 6:18 AM

MAGNUSDAMNOVIR


I really doubt that Book was talking to Jayne OR River in that scene. His body language just seems different.

When we see into Jaynes mind he looks directly at the camera, so too, does Simon. Book on the other hand is sort of looking down with a bit of a look of disdain on his face. It looks to me like he was about to execute someone who he had just captured and had put them on their knees to deliver the fatal blow.

In my mind, Book was an Operative and he killed and hunted as the Alliance saw fit. But then he changes. Redemption is a key theme in most of Whedons work, and the idea that people should not be forever judged on their worst deed is a strong themeatic device that he uses. Book probably came to his senses that mindlessly killing people was wrong and he turned to the Bible for forgiveness, but you can never escape your past and he constantly thinks about his past misdeeds which is why River picked up that thought when she went near him.

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Monday, April 17, 2006 8:06 PM

LEGOLAD


Well, sinc it's relevant... actually, more relevant here than in the discussion it was originally posted on... I'll just copy a post I wrote for another thread:


There are enough clues in the series to assume that Inara is dying, presumably from some fatal disease. Particularly this exchange from "Out of Gas":

INARA: I love this ship. I have from the moment I saw it.

SIMON: I just don't want to die on it.

INARA: (glances away) I don't want to die at all.

The implication seems ot be that since she has to die, she wants it be on Serenity. Put that together with the memory River reads in "Objects in Space": "I'm a big girl. You can tell me." To me, it sure seems like she's remembering talking to her doctor, and finding out about her terminal illness. I guess this interferes with all the hopes for a happy Mal/Inara relationship. Sorry about that; maybe I'm wrong.

As for Book, after seeing the movie, one of my first thoughts was, "Hey! We got gipped! We never found out Book's mysterious past!" But then I decided, maybe we did, just in a very subtle way. Personally, I'd bet a lot he was an Operative. The similarities between the two characters (sigh... no, not just the fact that they're black) are too strong to ingore: the Operative reevaluates his life view, and turns his back on his military career, just like Book obviously did. And Book just seemed to be way too efficient a fighter, and know way too much about Alliance military procedure (including Operatives) for me to conclude anything else. In fact, if Joss was going to bring time travel into the 'verse (although I hope he doesn't), I'd say the Operative WAS Book. The two characters seem like the early and latter parts of the same life. What do you think?

"We need a hood ornament."

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Monday, April 17, 2006 8:39 PM

ECAMBER


Quote:

Originally posted by TheRealMe:


No, Book MAY have once been an operative, but he is not on a mission now.

Sereni-Tree



Now there's an interesting thought. What if the Operative from the movie ends up another Shepard Book a few decades down the line? The possibility makes Shepard Book's backstory that much more tintillating.

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Monday, April 17, 2006 8:43 PM

ECAMBER


Quote:

Originally posted by ReaverMeat:
Here's my theory.

I think Book knows that Jayne had sold River and Simon out. His thoughts in my opinion were directed at Jayne.



DAMN, another good theory. Sorry to be posting so close.. but this one made a lot of damn sense!

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Monday, April 17, 2006 8:51 PM

ECAMBER


Quote:

As in Mission Impossible, the Alliance "would disavow any involvement" in his actions and that means treating him like a regular joe when he's been shot.

QUOTE]

But that's assuming that when they ran his ID card NOTHING shows up, opposed to something. And something did pop up, enough "something" for them to give immediate aid to him...

No, I think it's rather likely that Book has some connection... people outside of the "need to know" ranks aren't going to know he's an operative.

Besides when the Operative in the movie provided his clearance, it went through but without any information about him. Only that he was protected and validated by the Alliance.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006 3:04 AM

THEREALME


Well, Ecamber, we don't know what information Book's ID card provided, either. If all it said was "Operative of the Parliament", that would have gotten the officer on the Magellan jumping.

TheRealMe, First Officer of the Sereni-Tree

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Saturday, April 22, 2006 2:48 PM

LAVACHE


Quote:

Originally posted by TheRealMe:
Well, Ecamber, we don't know what information Book's ID card provided, either. If all it said was "Operative of the Parliament", that would have gotten the officer on the Magellan jumping.



There is a potentially humorous problem with the "blank-check" ID card.

Douglas Adams played with it in one of the Hitchhiker books. Basically, society got to the point where various and sundry biometric tests were required to confirm your identity for even something simple like cashing a check...so they made an Ident-o-Card (or something) which would hold all of your biometric information and prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are who you say you are with a simple swipe.

Then Ford Prefect steals the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy's President's Ident-o-Card and suddenly has full access to everything in the building .

So, long and wandery story short, no "Operative of the Parliament" cards for Book or anyone else.

I also have my doubts as to whether or not the Alliance would let an Operative retire or change occupations. Book is obviously someone import within the Alliance, but who?

Politician? Someone would likely recognize him.

Soldier? Not unless he was HIGHLY decorated (see our VA hospitals vs. the care Book got for evidence), and if he was such a huge war hero for the Alliance face recognition could once again prove problematic.

Officer? If you get up high enough the perks could possibly explain the special medical treatment, but the higher you get in the chain of command the more visible you would become, especially to your enemies and other Officers, neither of which recognize him in the series. This is much more likely than the other two, though.

Independant Contractor (ala blue man group) The visibility issues go away with this posibility, but would the Alliance really go out of it's way to save the life of someone who no longer works for them?

Weapon Designer Would be largely unknown to the public even if he was very high ranking in the government, retiring without lots of worldly wealth highly likely if he worked directly for the government (giving away worldly wealth as penance sounds like something Book might do even if the government did set him up pretty), Potential guilt over having your weapons used on people is likely or at least plausible...things sound good, but unfortunately in the series he shows no especial scientific aptitude and lots of hands on kick your ass aptitude.

So in summary...I don't know what Book was, but if I had to guess I'd say that he was a soldier (probably special forces, although not Operative special) who was related to someone who was either a General, Politician, or whatever combination of Politician/Businessman that Blue Sun fits into. His past regrets most likely stem from a mistake that he made, and was not the result of something the Alliance made him do, since he doesn't seem to show any special aversion to the Alliance but does towards his past.

I'm all about the long wandering stories today .

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Saturday, April 22, 2006 2:50 PM

LAVACHE


Quote:

Originally posted by LaVache:
Quote:

Originally posted by TheRealMe:
Well, Ecamber, we don't know what information Book's ID card provided, either. If all it said was "Operative of the Parliament", that would have gotten the officer on the Magellan jumping.



There is a potentially humorous problem with the "blank-check" ID card.

Douglas Adams played with it in one of the Hitchhiker books. Basically, society got to the point where various and sundry biometric tests were required to confirm your identity for even something simple like cashing a check...so they made an Ident-o-Card (or something) which would hold all of your biometric information and prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are who you say you are with a simple swipe.

Then Ford Prefect steals the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy's President's Ident-o-Card and suddenly has full access to everything in the building .

So, long and wandery story short, no "Operative of the Parliament" cards for Book or anyone else.

I also have my doubts as to whether or not the Alliance would let an Operative retire or change occupations. Book is obviously someone import within the Alliance, but who?

Politician? Someone would likely recognize him.

Soldier? Not unless he was HIGHLY decorated (see our VA hospitals vs. the care Book got for evidence), and if he was such a huge war hero for the Alliance face recognition could once again prove problematic.

Officer? If you get up high enough the perks could possibly explain the special medical treatment, but the higher you get in the chain of command the more visible you would become, especially to your enemies and other Officers, neither of which recognize him in the series. This is much more likely than the other two, though.

Independant Contractor (ala blue man group) The visibility issues go away with this posibility, but would the Alliance really go out of it's way to save the life of someone who no longer works for them?

Weapon Designer Would be largely unknown to the public even if he was very high ranking in the government, retiring without lots of worldly wealth highly likely if he worked directly for the government (giving away worldly wealth as penance sounds like something Book might do even if the government did set him up pretty), Potential guilt over having your weapons used on people is likely or at least plausible...things sound good, but unfortunately in the series he shows no especial scientific aptitude and lots of hands on kick your ass aptitude.

So in summary...I don't know what Book was, but if I had to guess I'd say that he was a soldier (probably special forces, although not Operative special) who was related to someone who was either a General, Politician, or whatever combination of Politician/Businessman that Blue Sun fits into. His past regrets most likely stem from a mistake that he made, and was not the result of something the Alliance made him do, since he doesn't seem to show any special aversion to the Alliance but does towards his past.

I'm all about the long wandering stories today .



tl;dr

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Sunday, April 23, 2006 11:40 AM

GROOVYAL


pretty much everybody seems to like the operative-idea... well i dont... it would be just too easy... too startrek-like-easy... too damn disappointing easy

so i came up with an other theory:

you all watched "pulp fiction" for sure...
there are these two guys, vincent vega (john travolta) and jules (sam l jackson). the got shot at and then jules thinks about what he does and decides to leave this life of crime in favor of something religious... so i'd say, this is our book... used to be some kind of gangster, something happend, made him make up his mind and leave the crime behind...

than there is the question as to why he got this medical treatment...

so as we've seen in ff-verse there are some female politicians... and maybe he once have slept with the right one

Well! If it aint somethin'!

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006 5:10 AM

FOEHAMMER


I would lean most towards Book being a former Alliance officer. You don't see the faces of the officers because they are ususally back at the HQ with the planning staff and directing the action, not running around shooting people. He probably rose through the ranks and that would explain his shooting and hand-to-hand skills.
I don't believe he was an operative. He probably worked with operatives at one point, that would explain his detailed knowledge of their methods. He even might have been involved in Operative training. Maybe he left when the training became more than just obstacle courses and detective skills. Maybe he left when the program became what snared River. Ending up on the same ship as a fugitive from that program would really push his moral boundaries. He feels loyal towards the Alliance in general but disagrees with their methods. He would be conflicted. His choice of becoming a Shepherd would lead him to believe that perhaps running into River & Simon was a test from God.

I think that Book's line "I don't care whether you're innocent or not. Where does that leave you?" would be his internal struggle. River picks up on Book having a moral argument with himself.

Ok, I'm rambling...
___________________________________________________

It's been a good while since anyone but me touched my plow, so don't think I ain't interested....

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Thursday, April 27, 2006 6:58 AM

MARVLGRL


Quote:

Originally posted by Legolad:
There are enough clues in the series to assume that Inara is dying, presumably from some fatal disease. Particularly this exchange from "Out of Gas":

INARA: I love this ship. I have from the moment I saw it.

SIMON: I just don't want to die on it.

INARA: (glances away) I don't want to die at all.

The implication seems ot be that since she has to die, she wants it be on Serenity. Put that together with the memory River reads in "Objects in Space": "I'm a big girl. You can tell me." To me, it sure seems like she's remembering talking to her doctor, and finding out about her terminal illness. I guess this interferes with all the hopes for a happy Mal/Inara relationship. Sorry about that; maybe I'm wrong.




Hi fellow browncoats. Long time reader, first time commenter here. I couldn't leave this one alone. Inara ill? I think it's plausible but not likely. My notion is that Inara is running away from something. She literally says to Simon, "We're all running from something." I just get the distinct feeling from when we see her buying the shuttle for the first time that she's trying to escape some aspects of her life as a companion. Sure, she's still practicing the profession but I'm just getting a "I need freedom" vibe from her. I think she may have felt too confined in her old life. I think she wants to be saved but is conflicted with the fact that she was taught to be so independent and self-reliant. Her's is a tortured character.

I certainly welcome other thoughts or reactions to this! Thanks :)



"How'd ya like a bite of this green apple, America?"

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Monday, June 12, 2006 4:31 PM

FLAME


I'm not sure what I think about Inara's secrets, but just an FYI - the shooting script for The Message ...

http://www.twiztv.com/scripts/firefly/season1/firefly-115.htm

... mentions that Inara "finds a small package, squarish, addressed to her. She smoothly slips it beneath her outfit without anyone noticing, turns to see Kaylee arrive, looking glum."

That didn't show up in the episode that was aired, as far as I can tell, but it's an interesting tidbit.


~ Flame ~

SERENITY on the big screen in Raleigh, NC, June 22, 2006!!
http://www.monkeyshinesbeadery.com/serenity/shindig/

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Monday, June 12, 2006 4:59 PM

FLAME


Quote:

Originally posted by Geiiga:
Now, Simon's bit was kind of putting blame on her for separating him from his career, and Jayne's bit was almost an apology for the events in Ariel, but Book's line (and, come to think of it, Inara's) don't make much sense in context.



I'm coming late to this discussion, and I apologize for the long post, but I've given a lot of thought to this question.

I think what River was seeing was secrets. Everyone's secret is different, some have to do with her, some don't.

No one on this thread (from what I can tell) has mentioned the shooting script from The Message. I don't know whether people consider shooting scripts to be "canon" or not, but I think they offer some interesting tidbits. (See my post about Inara, above.)

In The Message script, after Book drives Womack off of Serenity, Jayne says: "Either you spent a lotta time fightin' bad cops... or bein' one." And Book answers, "Maybe both."

In the context of that exchange, I went back and looked at some other Book "clues":

In OUR MRS REYNOLDS -

BOOK
It's a Carrion House. Scrap shop,
takes ships, pulls 'em apart or fixes
'em up.

WASH
Doesn't sound that scary...

MAL
That pattern you're looking at is a
net. We fly into that we're more
than helpless. It'll turn the ship
into one big electrical conduit, burn
us all from the inside out.

BOOK
Some of the newer ones'll just hold
you, then the scrappers'll override
the airlocks, pull the Oh-two, or
just gas you. They're not looking to
deal with survivors.

JAYNE
One day you're gonna tell us all how
a preacher knows so damn much about
crime.

In TRAIN JOB -

BOOK
This Adelai Niska you're talking
about?

JAYNE
Now how would a Shepherd know a
name like that?

(Book doesn't actually answer the question, just says that he knows Mal made a deal with Niska - but I think he knows even more about Niska.)

BUSHWHACKED -

BOOK
What if that ship's a crime scene?

SAFE -

Book notices that the men who come to buy the cattle are "jumpy."

His ident card gets him to the infirmary "at once" after they were reluctant to take him before.

WAR STORIES -

Book has read the works of Shan Yu, warrior poet and psychotic dictator. Enough to be able to quote it. Then, later, he's seen reading a book (script says "not the bible"). He carries Shan Yu around with him?

BOOK
This is precision work.
Sharpshooters. From the look of
these wounds, I'd say a 54R sniper
rifle. Laser sights.

JAYNE
You do a lot of shootin' at the
abbey, Shepherd?

Then a little later in the scene:

JAYNE
Only one kinda transport I know
leaves that kinda mark.

ZOE
Fast burn rocket shuttle.

BOOK
Craft like that wouldn't commonly be
part of a ship. More likely we're
looking at--

ZOE
A space station.

And, of course, he's terribly good at shooting kneecaps. The script reads:

ZOE
You're going to hold this ground,
understand me? That's an order.

The far door opens and one of NISKA'S MEN storms for them, gun raised. In a flash, before even Zoe gets a bead on him, Book fires from the hip, hitting the guy in the KNEECAP.

He pitches forward with a SCREAM, his face smashing into the side of the Mule -- out cold.

Book turns to Zoe, calm and ready.

BOOK
Understood.

And finally, Book tells River in JAYNESTOWN - "You don't fix faith, it fixes you." Which I think refers to his changing his life from being that "bad cop" to being a better person.

SO... for those of you still with me ... my take is that Book was a lawman, a fed, a crooked one, who didn't care if someone was innocent or not, then he turned his life around, withdrew from the world, looking for redemption.

That's how he seems to know so much about ships, weapons, and criminal activity.

And just wanted to point out, the script says "During all this, River wanders unnoticed right between the two of them" in OBJECTS. If she's "unnoticed" I don't think they were thinking of her, specifically. Like I said, she sees secrets. Jayne's secret just happens to have do with her, but Book's doesn't.

~ Flame ~

SERENITY on the big screen in Raleigh, NC, June 22, 2006!!
http://www.monkeyshinesbeadery.com/serenity/shindig/

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006 1:06 AM

SPACEANJL


I think Book was a cop, too. Not an Operative (I don't think they retire, I think they might GET retired) or a soldier. And I think he was probably not a totally honest one - think Remy in the Big Easy rather than LA Confidential though.

SpaceAnJL

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Thursday, June 29, 2006 10:25 AM

MANNY


Quote:

Originally posted by HighWiredSith:
So no one thinks River tuned into the fact that Shepherd Book was an alliance operative, a mole, a spy - maybe a rogue spy working for some covert group inside the alliance, a group that wanted to keep River on the run to maybe see what she was made of, what she would do? And maybe Book was having his own reservations about his mission, maybe he was contemplating turning rogue or already had? .



("Serenity" spoiler alert)

I thought the same thing. Remember when Book is dying, and Mal calls out for the Doc? Book gasps "River" to Mal, as if he is about to share some info, or "secret" to MAL before he dies. I wondered if he was about to confess to such a thing before he passed away.

Alas we'll never know. Ah that Joss.....

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Wednesday, August 9, 2006 7:50 AM

TWILIGHTJACK


Operative-Book doesn't sit too well with me. First, let's go with the obvious reason: Book is too old. If the Unification War ended only six or seven years ago, then Book could not have reasonably been a field agent during that time. The man's in his sixties, at least. In the second place, I don't believe that a man without any "official" existence would be able to use his ident-card to gain immediate treatment at an Alliance hospital. Unless he was on official government business, it just doesn't make sense that the Alliance would leave that option open to him. Thirdly, the parallel is just a bit too obvious for my tastes. Oh, one other thing: as Simon points out in "Ariel", "Important people don't do field work." I refer again to Book's reception aboard the I.A.V. Magellan.

The corrupt lawman angle also seems a bit too pedestrian to merit the reception he receives in "Safe", which to my way of thinking is the most important piece of evidence we have regarding Book's past.

Someone above pointed out that a politician would be too publicly visible to disappear or be completely unknown to the crew, esp. Simon, who's been on the core most of his life.

A high-ranking Alliance officer is similarly too public a persona to explain the crew's complete ignorance of him. . . unless he oversaw covert operations.

See, I don't think Book was an operative; I think he was a director of covert operations for the Alliance during the war. High-ranking Alliance brass, without anyone in the civilian world having ever heard of him. After the war, he retired honorably (again, he still gets five-star treatment from the Alliance), and retreated to a monastery to contemplate the things he had seen and done, which obviously disturbed him to no small degree.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2006 8:35 AM

TERRI


Yeah, I think that Book goes deep into the Alliance hierarchy, but Operative? Nah, that's a little too far fetched for me. The line was a little too plebian for an Operative (IMHO). They speak in more grandiose terms that put your in awe with their use of metaphor and juxstaposition. Yeah, this sounds like some sort of local guy putting the squeeze on some other local guy. But knowing the way Joss writes, he'll probably turn out to be the former leader of the Alliance or something.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2006 9:21 AM

TWILIGHTJACK


I'm going to be content with banking on a former leader of the Alliance military. The Glorious Leader of the Anglo-Sino Alliance would be a bit too well known to pose as a shepherd.

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