“Cut her down.”
“The girl is a witch.”
“Yeah, but she’s our witch. So cut her the hell down.”
– Malcolm Reynolds & the Patriarch, Firefly
Episode 5, “Safe”
It is worth noting that those last few words are accompanied by Mal leveling a rifle at the Patriarch’s head. 🙂
This scene takes place in close proximity to last week’s quote. Just before it, to be exact.
These town folk with next to nothing kidnapped a doctor and got his crazy little sister as well. Said sister, we will eventually learn, is psychic. She reads minds. She’s also been experimented on in ways which altered how her brain works, so she has next to no capabilities concerning discretion. So, she lets slip that she knows more than is obvious, that she knows secrets, and the superstitious town folk call her a witch. I love the moment where the Patriarch comes to judge the situation, and as the girl starts revealing how he murdered the previous Patriarch in order to gain the position, he quickly judges her a witch and sentences her to burn at the stake.
And just when things are at their most dire, here comes Mal and his crew to rescue two of their own. The Patriarch tries to stand firm, but Mal has a gun, and a friend with a gun at his side, and another friend with a big gun covering them from above. So, they’ll be taking their people back. That’s when this exchange happens, the Patriarch making one last attempt, and Mal shutting him down. It doesn’t matter what excuse the man waves, the crew is taking their people back, now.
There’s just something I love about that. Yeah, River Tam is crazy and unpredictable and just about impossible to control, but she’s one of theirs, one of Serenity‘s crew members. Jayne’s a big brute, Inara’s a courtesan, Mal and Zoe are remnants of a lost war, Wash is an overgrown kid at times, Book is a preacher on a ship where the captain does not welcome God after that lost war, Kaylee’s a machine junkie, and Simon is not a social butterfly, but so what? They’re an unlikely collection of freaks, but they come together and they’re a force to be reckoned with. Take away one, and the crew is incomplete.
That’s how bonds between humans work. Loyalty demands loyalty, not perfection. Love demands love, not submission. Everybody disagrees about something, and everybody has something wrong or different or off-putting about them when dealing with someone else. We still love each other, and that is something worth holding true to.
No matter which one of us would be the one tied to the stake as a witch in need of rescue (I bet that would be me), we do it, we rescue each other. Because, dangit, they’re our witch! 🙂