Firefly/The Message

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The Message
The Message
Season 1, Episode 14
Airdate unaired
Production Number 1AGE13
Written by Joss Whedon &
Tim Minear
Directed by Tim Minear
← 1x13
1x15 →
Heart of Gold
FireflySeason One

The Message is the fourteenth episode of the first season of Firefly.

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: Jonathan M. Woodward (Tracey), Richard Burgi (Lt. Womack)

Co-Starring: Al Pugliese (Amnon), Tod Nakamura (Fendris), Craig Vincent (Skunk), Morgan Rusler (Barker)


Plot Overview

An old war comrade of Mal's and Zoe's, Tracey, mails his corpse to them. He also leaves a message asking them to deliver his body to his family. Some men claiming to be with the Alliance are on the trail of the body and catch up to them demanding the body. The crew can't find anything on Tracey's corpse, but as they prepare to cut it open, Tracey comes back to life. He explains he is smuggling super-organs in his own body. They flee to the planet with the men in hot pursuit and eventually (supposedly) agree to give up Tracey. Tracey gets wind of the plan and makes a break for it with Kaylee as a hostage—they shoot him down and Mal reveals they were going to send the officer off since he's out of his jurisdiction and on a personal mission with no authority. Then Tracey dies and they deliver his body for real this time.


Arc Advancement


  • Blue Sun: When Serenity takes off from the port in the city where they attempted to sell the Lasseter, a large video screen can be seen in the background. On that screen is a commercial advertising some kind of Blue Sun product.



  • 1x11 - Trash: At the beginning of the episode, Inara and Mal are trying to fence the Lasseter. They stole the weapon in the previous episode with Saffron. But, because she tried to take it for herself, they didn't have the customers lined up by her.
  • 1x09 - Ariel: Simon asks Tracey if he took Bifuden to put himself under in a death-like state. He asks because that was the drug that he and River took to sneak into the hospital on Ariel, which has a tendency to make people throw up after they come out of the coma. Jayne was there when River threw up after waking, so he knew that Tracey likely would need something to empty his stomach in.


The Show

  • Goof: The straw on Jayne's hat keeps disappearing and reappearing again.

Behind the Scenes

  • Call Back Button: In the scenes on the bridge, the shuttle call back button seems to appear randomly. The reason why it disappears occasionally is because Alan Tudyk took the button after he thought filming was complete and sent it to Joss Whedon with the message "When your miracle gets here, call us back." What Alan didn't realize was that some reshoots had to be done on the bridge.
  • Mourning Joss: Joss Whedon appears in the funeral scene as one of Tracey's family members because he claims that this episode was the funeral for the series. Aside from a few pick-up shots, the funeral scene was the last scene shot for Firefly until Serenity.

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments


  • Simon: This may come as a shock, but I'm not very good at—at talking to girls.
Zoe: Why, is there someone you are good at talking to?
  • Mal: I will not have you jeopardizing your career over this.
Inara: The career you abhor and look down on?
  • Jayne: (wearing his mother's horrible homemade hat) How's it sit? Pretty cunning, don't cha' think?
Kaylee: I think it's the sweetest hat ever.
Book: Makes a statement.
Jayne: Yeah, yeah.
Wash: A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything.
Jayne: Damn straight!
  • Mal:: Using corpses for smugglin' is a time-honored, repulsive tradition.
  • Tracey: Do you think I'm stupid?
Mal: In every way possible.
  • Tracey: We went to the war never looking to come back, but it's the real world I couldn't survive.