What's Your Favorite Scene or Dialogue Featuring a McGuffin?

UPDATED: Friday, October 6, 2017 07:23
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Saturday, July 9, 2016 4:32 PM


Firefly does seem to have an abundance of them, perhaps due to the nature of smuggling, thievery and the I Know Nothing creed (ala BJ and The Bear).

Pilot Serenity seems to have a few. First, we have the loot, the stolen goods. It is unknown, somewhat mysterious, not really mentioned, and could be almost anything - but it is the prize. We find out near the end of the show from Patience that this highly valued haul is foodstuffs, high-nutrient bars, needed by Rim Worlds and settlers, therefore controlled, regulated, and stamped by Alliance.
Also in Pilot Serenity is the generous and valuable contents of the Box given to Kaylee by Book ("Oh, Grandpa"). The contents are eventually revealed in a memorable and adorable scene once Kaylee gets herself alone.
Also in Pilot Serenity is Simon Tam's Box. It is coveted by him, but mostly unknown in terms of contents and function. It is not until the end of the first half of the Pilot when we learn what it is, what it contains.
Also in Pilot Serenity is our mother of all Firefly McGuffins - River Tam. Deceptive in her beauty and apparent vulnerability and innocence, yet mysterious things are about with her, not only does the audience not know what the next unlayering will reveal, but also the cast finds out one episode at a time about another facet of her - likely not even Sean Maher knew, but it is unclear whether Summer herself was privy to her character's properties - even if she was effectively Alliance property. This McGuffin spans the entire Firefly series and the film Serenity. Much of the characteristics of this McGuffin are still in dispute, despite clear evidence throughout the series - are psychic abilities science fiction, as Wash asks, is prescience or precognition ability real, is mind reading possible, and does River possess any, all, or none of these? Even Joss claims that some of these characteristics present in script are actually fantasy as far as he is concerned.

In The Train Job we have the loot again. Niska is real, his pain is real, Mal proves he is real, but the loot is unknown and of no concern to Mal. Until things go awry and we find it is Meds - valuable and highly needed by the settlers and Rim Worlders.

In Bushwhacked, the McGuffin of a sort is the "survivor" of the Reaver-attacked ship. Mal comes to understand what this man is made of, after surprise demonstration, but Purplebellies do not believe in Reavers and are thus unaware - and also disbelieving of Mal.

In Safe, I'm not sure if we should consider Book's credentials or card to be McGuffin - I don't know if I know enough about this.

In Our Mrs. Reynolds the obvious McGuffin is Saffron - she is not what she seems, and is deceptive and unknown, mysterious to most besides Inara.
I believe we are also introduced to Vera here, which may be a McGuffin for gun enthusiasts.

In Jaynestown, perhaps the whole concept of Canton's Hero being Jayne is a McGuffin - it does take a bit to find the understanding of it.

In Objects in Space, what Jubal seeks may be a McGuffin, whether he realizes it or not. Much of his dialogue and interaction seems mysterious or deceptive.

In The Message, early McGuffin is the Box posted to Mal and Zoe.
Then when we meet Pvt. Tracy he seems also to be a McGuffin - why is he so valuable or in demand, what is inside him? More than just secrets in the sense of thought, but physical secrets? How much unknown is here?

For BDM Serenity, I'm not sure if there is a McGuffin. Inara's trunk that she left on Serenity's Shuttle, the message hidden in the Lovebot, the message hidden in the Oaty Bar jingle, or the eye-opening Miranda Scene at Maidenhead, are possibilities.
But the missing planet of Miranda is my choice.

My favorites?
In Pilot Serenity, Simon's "She's my sister"
In Universal's Serenity, while Piver is pointing out the missing Miranda in the charts and pointing her gun at Mal, Mal's "or maybe not"

What are your favorites?

The first thread of this series of topics:


Tuesday, July 12, 2016 7:58 PM




Wednesday, July 13, 2016 8:06 PM




Friday, October 6, 2017 7:23 AM


The Maidenhead scene.
The very first time we hear Miranda, uttered by River.
The cause if the whole War, the Reavers, the entire series, and nobody has heard of it for 12 years until now. And the reason the Alliance has been after River.
The whole show - a monster McGuffin.
And River is unleashed in the Maidenhead, to preserve the secret and the deleted planet.

12 years before it was discovered in Serenity.
And 12 years ago we watched Serenity.






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