12.01.2013

Black Girls' Night Out: Zoe Washburne Rewatch

I can do bad all by myself.
I'm doing this because I can't stand what's happened to Gina Torres's character on Suits.  If anyone wants to take over the BGNO for Jessica Pearson, be my guest.

I also wanted to introduce a Rewatch Factor to the Black Girls' Night Out series.  Black girls have had quite a few nights out on TV and in film, Clubbers...we just didn't have this blog back then.

So let's revisit.

Zoe Washburne is one of my all-time favorite Gina Torres roles.  If you're not familar with Joss Whedon's Firefly, I don't know what you're doing with your life it's streaming on Netflix.  Quick rundown: Whedon takes us 500 years into the future where everyone speaks English and Chinese fluently and intermittently.  Humans have left Earth to terra-form dozens of other words and moons.  Thus, the cycle of civilization begins all over again.  On the Central Planets, people live in relative comfort and have access to the latest technology; on the Outer Planets and "backwater" moons, some folks have little more than a blanket, a shack, and if they're lucky, a herd of sheep.

This setting allowed the writers to fuse sci-fi with the Wild West (creating all sorts of new slang).  It also allowed the composers to fold Asian instruments in with American Southern country and blues.  This all in turn created an opportunity for the wardrobe department to do some wonderful, wonderful things.

The first episode, "Serenity", introduces Zoe Alleyne as one two survivors of a great battle between the Alliance and the Independents.  No need to explain who's going to win that one.  Being on the losing end of the war, Zoe and her Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), try to move on as unwilling citizens of the Alliance.  This establishes their unbreakable "war buddy" bond, which is great to see between two heterosexuals of the opposite sex (think Ichabod & Abbie, but with less obvious chemistry).

War Buddies
Mal and Zoe spend the next six years (which we skip to after the battle ends) building a rag-tag crew aboard a rinky-dink Firefly-class spaceship called Serenity (to honor their comrades who fell at the Battle of Serenity Valley), and they earn a living doing odd jobs for other people.  Some of their gigs are legal; most of them are not.  In the first ep, for example, they've been hired to do an illegal salvage, which gets their ship flagged by law enforcement.

The first ep also reveals Zoe later married the ship's pilot, Hoban "Wash" Washburne (Alan Tudyk).  For all the black girls who are into ginger geeks, Wash is like a Godsend...like a dorky prayer that got answered personally.

Geeky Ginger
Husband and wife
"Serenity" establishes Zoe as Mal's semi-stoic, stalwart First Mate; she accompanies him on all missions and he consults her in pretty much everything. They clearly value each other's opinions, and they tend to put each other first.  Naturally, this arouses the ire of Zoe's husband, and thus a peculiar triangle is established, in which neither man relishes having to "share" Zoe.  In the first ep, after the mission is halfway completed, Wash suggests they take their cut and go somewhere pleasant where he can watch her bathe.  The moment she mentions having to ask the Captain, it triggers the first of many marital disputes. Thus the unrequited "Are they or aren't they?" dynamic is established between Mal and Zoe.

Are they?
Or aren't they?
The episode also establishes Zoe as the cynical one; when she thinks something's a bad idea she's fairly correct, like, every time.  She's also one of the three Bad-Asses of the crew; Zoe's the Gun, Mal's the Negotiator, and Jayne Cobb handles "Public Relations" (think intimidation, interrogation, etc.).

L to R: Zoe, Jayne, and Mal
Try it.  I dare you.
Plan A to sell the salvaged goods to the original client goes south, causing the crew to consider alternatives.

Knew this cheap bastard wouldn't pay us.
Time for a Plan B.
The episode ends with Plan B almost going south, but the crew of Serenity perseveres and Zoe drags her husband off to bed.  Literally.

Not today.
"Armor's dented."
"I need this man to tear off all my clothes." (She actually says that)
Bonus Pics

Grace under Reavers fire.
No.  I'll never get tired of screen-capping perfection.

11 comments:

  1. "I'm doing this because I can't stand what's happened to Gina Torres's character on Suits."

    I knew there was a reason I hadn't been watching. *sighs, preps trash bags and shovels*

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't know if you kept up with the series after the movie when it continued canonically in the comics but there was a major development which is going to get explored when Serenity resumes with Darkhorse comics. PM me if you wanna know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why am I not surprised to see you here in record time? I just posted this thing. Hell, I'm still editing it.

      Delete
    2. "Why am I not surprised to see you here in record time?"

      Hello. Have you met me?

      Delete
    3. I'm just sayin', boo-boo, this was fresh off the press. And you commented not once, but twice.

      You, sir, have an addiction.

      Delete
    4. If there is a Gina Torres Fan Coven, our man Denny is the High Priest.

      Delete
    5. Thank you Amaya. And Mistress Bartender, that is not an addiction, it's called clairvoyance or precognition, one of the perks of following the path of the Goddess.

      And don't act like I'm the only one who saw season 4 of Angel and the Jasmine story arc. You saw how the Goddess was worshipped. You know how I get down. ;-)

      Delete
    6. nd don't act like I'm the only one who saw season 4 of Angel and the Jasmine story arc. You saw how the Goddess was worshipped. You know how I get down. ;-)

      Mm-hm...I most certainly do.

      Delete
  3. I need to bump this up my Netflix queue...b/c Suits basically is worthless except as way to showcase the fabulous time the costume designer has dressing Gina Torres and her fabulous frame. You know an opportunity to dress a woman like that does not come up often in Hollywood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After a while, I had to admit that's why I kept watching Suits - just to see what Gina Torres would wear.

      Firefly, on the other hand....

      Delete

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