“The hero of Canton, the man they call…me.”
Definitely NOT one of my favorite eps, but that line cracks me up every single time, and as so often with this show, there are plenty of nuggets of great stuff scattered here and there. “Bible’s broken”; love that bit. Inara getting all set to make a speech about Mal’s nobility, then the look on her face when she discovers that it’s Jayne who’s the town hero. Jayne’s speech to the Mudders. “Mudder’s milk”, haw haw. The really quite sweet little drunken interchange between Simon and Kaylee, followed by Simon, as usual, firmly inserting foot in mouth.
As others have mentioned, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that Mal would insist on Jayne coming with them to town, especially after Jayne had repeatedly said he wasn’t welcome there. There seems to be a lot of padding and not a whole lot of subtlety, with people standing around with perplexed looks on their faces for what seems like days on end. Also, the joke concerning Book’s hair and River’s fear of it is cute, but ultimately pointless and silly.
Anyway, ultimately Jayne has become for me the most fascinating character on the show, and I’ve gotta give props to Adam Baldwin for making him so. Yes, the character is a repulsive oaf, a legend in his own tiny mind, the delinquent high school bully more or less grown up, but there is a sense that deep down he knows, and is ashamed, that he’s an uneducated yokel, and has a clear desire to be part of a family, something he’s apparently never really had. Being on Mal’s crew gives him that feeling, even if it takes his attempted betrayal of another character in a later episode for him to acknowledge how important that feeling is.
The most interesting point in the episode is just when he’s gone berserk and beaten Stitch to death in front of the assembled Mudders. It seems clear that he’s not just upset about the kid who threw himself in front of the shotgun blast; he almost appears to be trying to beat himself to death in shame over the fraud that he is, and the look of self-loathing on his face is truly wrenching. And there, I guess, is the main reason I like this show so much: almost every action one of the main characters takes supports what we know about them already, and despite the show’s short run, we can see the consequences of their actions changing them.