Firefly/Out of Gas

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Out of Gas
Out of Gas
Season 1, Episode 5
Airdate October 25, 2002
Production Number 1AGE07
Written by Tim Minear
Directed by David Solomon
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FireflySeason One

Out of Gas is the fifth episode of the first season of Firefly. This episode is played out in reverse order of events. The episode starts out later in the timeline and then goes back to an earlier point to show how Mal got into the situation he was in during the final few minutes of the program. A break in the engine causes the Serenity to run out of gas, and out of oxygen.

Starring: Nathan Fillion (Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds), Gina Torres (Zoe Washburne), Alan Tudyk (Hoban "Wash" Washburne), Morena Baccarin (Inara Serra), Adam Baldwin (Jayne Cobb), Jewel Staite (Kaylee Frye), Sean Maher (Dr. Simon Tam), Summer Glau (River Tam), Ron Glass (Shepherd Book)

Guest Starring: Steven Flynn (Captain), Ilia Volok (Marco), Lyle Kanouse (Salesman)

Co-Starring: Dax Griffin (Bester), Roderick L. McCarthy (Lacey #1)


Plot Overview

In a delirious state after Serenity's engine explodes, draining the ship of its oxygen supply, Mal has a series of flashbacks about how he came to own Serenity and form his crew.


Arc Advancement


  • Serenity: Mal and Zoe purchased the ship five years prior to the events of this episode.


  • Inara: During the war, Inara supported unification. She voices this opinion to Mal when they first met and she rented the shuttle, but her opinions may have changed over time on the ship. There are also some small hints about the character and why she would be on Serenity and not on a luxury cruiser, but writer Tim Minear refused to explain them on the DVD commentary.


  • 1x01 - Serenity: The damaged part of Serenity is the compression coil, which Kaylee warns Mal about in the first episode when they touch down at the Eavesdown Docks.


The Show

Behind the Scenes

  • Ratings: This episode scored a 3.0/6 in the Nielsen overnight ratings on its first airing.
  • Opening Intro Change: The opening introduction from this episode on is narrated by Mal rather than Book.
  • Blooper: During one of the takes in the flashback to when Wash was checking out the controls of the ship, he pulled himself out from under the console only to see Nathan Fillion and Gina Torres wearing bad fake mustaches to rival the one his character wears in the flashback.
  • How They Shot It: All of the flashbacks that occur at least 48 hours prior to the episode were shot in reversal film so that they would be much grainier and washed out. Additionally, a great deal of smoke was used to create a dreamy look.
  • Passed Out: The reason why Zoe was absent for many of the scenes in this episode was because Gina Torres needed time away from filming due to her honeymoon with Laurence Fishburne.

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments


  • Mal: A ship like this, be with you till the day you die.
Zoe: Because it's a death trap.
  • River: Don't be afraid. That's what it says: "Don't be afraid."
Shepherd Book: Yes.
River: But you are afraid.
Shepherd Book: Yes.
River: You're afraid we're going to run out of air, that we'll die gasping. But we won't. That's not going to happen. (pause) We'll freeze to death first.
  • River: "Day" is a vestigial mode of time measurement based on solar cycles. It's not applicable... I didn't get you anything.
  • Kaylee: It's your turn.
Simon: My turn?
Kaylee: Well, Shepherd told us a funny story about being a preacher. Now you tell us a funny story about being a doctor.
Simon: Oh, a funny story.
Jayne: Yeah, 'cause sick people are hi-larious.
  • Simon: I always thought the name Serenity had a vaguely funereal sound to it.
  • (Kaylee gives Simon a birthday cake)
Simon: I'm very deeply moved. Thank you.
Jayne: Well, deeply move yourself to blow out them candles, so we can try a slice.
  • Inara: You don't have to die alone.
Mal: Everyone dies alone.