Wait, Inara was dying???

Discussion in 'Entertainment and Movie Talk' started by Noeland, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. Noeland

    Noeland Sr Member

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    So, I'm a firefly fan. I got into it after I saw Serenity and then picked up the DVD set. Recently I rewatched the series, and picked up the comic about Book's history (which was pretty good) and started to wonder what information there might be online about the other characters that I didn't know.

    First thing I learn about is that Inara hit the stars because she was dying of a terminal illness. I didn't find any explanation beyond this though.

    This changes the whole tone of her presence in the show for me now, and certainly makes me wonder about where they'd of gone with her character after Serenity.
     
  2. robstyle

    robstyle Master Member

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    You cant really base anything on film/tv on books and comics. Most written forms are after thoughts. I doubt Inara had any illness minus what was in that book/comic alone.
     
  3. Roland

    Roland Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Normally I fully share your opinion about comic books and their importance for movies and tv shows. But in case of Firefly comic books are indispensable. This is intended by producer Joss Whedon (he's comic book writer too). ;)
     
  4. ShadowX81

    ShadowX81 Well-Known Member

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    Joss Whedon even said this was the intention from the beginning.

    There is that one exchange in "Out of Gas" that hints at this.

    Simon: I didn't want to die [on this ship]

    Inara: I didn't want to die at all.

    Its written and acted pretty awkwardly if you take the story at face value, but it suddenly has a logocal context if you take this into account.
     
  5. Noeland

    Noeland Sr Member

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    I didn't learn about Inara being terminally ill in a comic book. I was reading an interview with Joss about the characters of Firefly that was done at comic con, and then I did a google search on the topic to read more.

    There is a scene in the pilot episode where Inara has a syringe. Most folks thought was for suicide, but Whedon says that was not for suicide, so I had read some ponderings and fan theories about it being related to her illness.

    Also, the comic I read about Book was plotted by Joss Whedon, and written by Zack Whedon. It's not an after thought.
     
  6. firesprite

    firesprite Master Member

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    Ah, yes... a mysterious terminal illness that doesn't take a physical toll.

    I don't doubt that Joss intended for her to be dying. Unfortunately, I just find the idea of it a little laughable considering she showed absolutely no symptoms of being sick. :unsure
     
  7. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    People love Firefly because the first season is very happy-go-lucky. There are some touch-and-go moments, but on the whole, the heroes manage to survive and win and beat the odds repeatedly.

    People also frequently forget that Joss has a tendency to build you a happy, warm, sepia-toned home.....and then burn it to the f***ing ground with everyone inside. Thus, it would not surprise me IN THE LEAST if Inara and Mal had some doomed romance. Likewise, I firmly expect that Kaylee and Simon would've ended....badly. Probably with Kaylee dying or turning out to be an Alliance spy or somesuch. Oh, and Jayne? He'd end up becoming one of the most loyal people on the crew, then sacrifice himself to save everyone in a moving goodbye. New characters would be introduced, but at the end, MAYBE only Mal would survive.


    It's actually become one of the things I find most irritating about Whedon's style in that he has become predictable as "Oh, that guy who has the snappy dialogue and kills everyone." Also, if you EVER see ANYONE in love in a Joss Whedon production, expect death or painful breakup. Possibly both. The man REFUSES to give couples a happy ending.
     
  8. Sundowner

    Sundowner Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Wow I had never heard this about Inara. It's a pretty interesting twist, I guess I will just have to watch the whole series again.:lol
     
  9. ShadowX81

    ShadowX81 Well-Known Member

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    Yea, this sometimes annoys me too. Sure it has worked alot of the times he has used it, but it became overkill sometimes.

    For example he admitted that the only reason Fred died in "Angel" was because he realized everyone liked her, so "she had to go".

    Or Ballard's death at the end of "Dollhouse" seemed way to over the top. Same thing with Bennet's death in the middle of the secon season.

    It seems to be not that Joss loves writing engaging stories, but rather he doesn't know how to write couples that are in a stable relationship so he kills one of them to move the story along.
     
  10. Akiriano

    Akiriano New Member

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    I never knew this. Havent yet read any of the comics or books, might just have to have a look and see.

    Its a shame it never made it past the first season, its little things like this that hint at something in the future, but due to damned tv executives only looking at the figures we never get to see the culmination.
     
  11. CB2001

    CB2001 Master Member

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    Not all sicknesses have noticeable symptoms at first. For all the audience knows, the character was probably still in the beginning of the first stage when she was first introduced, if that was indeed the intention of the creator of the series. Most STDs do not have any symptoms at first (AIDS does, but HIV doesn't). Some cancers as well, such as colon cancer and pancreatic cancer. And Sudden Death Syndrome. It just really depends on which one the creator was going for (if the disease that he was going to use is a real one, or a made up one just for that particular story's universe) .
     
  12. firesprite

    firesprite Master Member

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    Yes, but when the majority of those diseases are in their 'no visible symptom stages', they're usually treatable and not considered terminal. My point is that as an escort, and a respectable citizen of the Alliance, she would have access to the best possible medical care. If she's aware that her condition is terminal, you would think that we'd see some symptoms given the advanced medical technology the Alliance has at its disposal.

    Of course, there's also the possibility that she's yet another experiment similar to River, but instead of making her an insane killing machine, it placed certain strictures on her or else she'd die and she chose to break those strictures.
     
  13. Too Much Garlic

    Too Much Garlic Master Member

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    News to me. I doubt it would be anything in the region of STD's, otherwise she'd probably have stopped her profession entirely.

    My guess would be a genetic disorder.
     
  14. Mr_Creepy

    Mr_Creepy Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Nexus 6 replicant, basic pleasure model, four year lifespan.
     
  15. Sundowner

    Sundowner Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    ^This lol
     
  16. Noeland

    Noeland Sr Member

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    Also puts a whole new twist on Ariel too. Inara explains she's having some routine tests done for the guild. It could very well have been she was having treatment done for her illness.

    From the Firefly Wiki:

     
  17. Weaselhammer

    Weaselhammer Sr Member

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    Wow ! I never picked up on this, and I've watched ALOT of Firefly. I did however get the graphic novel for Shepherd Book's history and that explained alot too.
     
  18. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    Exactly. I didn't see Dollhouse or S5 of Angel, but I just got exhausted by the whole "Oh, you like her? Great. She's dead. DEAD, I SAY!!! MWAHAHAHAHA!!!! I CRUSH YOUR JOY!!!" thing. And yeah, he has NO IDEA how to write happy, stable couples (which, by the way, can still have plenty of drama). I find this odd because he is married himself, as I recall, so presumably he lives IN a happy, stable couple. Presumably he's also had drama with the missus now and then.

    I just don't buy that you can't have a couple and still have drama. Or that you couldn't even have a token couple while OTHER folks are having drama. I appreciate that you never know who's gonna die on one of his shows, but the flipside of that has become that you end up playing "Guess Who Dies Next" like it's a horror movie. An ironic twist of fate considering his goal with Buffy was to demolish the conventions of horror movies to which we've grown accustomed.
     
  19. Wolfie

    Wolfie Sr Member

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    bleh. I liked Firefly myself, but based on Joss's writing, it totally would have just annoyed everyone when he killed them off one by one. Kaylee or Simon would have be killed or broken up in some lame way, he got a chance to come back in and kill Wash because he couldnt just let it end well...

    So my opinion is Firefly is good because Joss wasnt able to have time to screw it up like he was able to do with everything else. lol

    Dan, its less of a "guess who dies next" and more of an "oh crap, they are going to die next" because its so freaking predictable with Joss lol
     
  20. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    Well, you know that a bunch of folks will die, there may be a few survivors (although he talked about wanting to "Wild Bunch" the crew), but there's no guarantee who will live. The safer bet is that everyone will die or is at least fair game.

    And while this was clever and novel back in the late 90s, it's become old hat now. The moreso because it's almost always beloved characters who die in the most offhanded or pathetic ways. I thought Buffy handled it well overall. The characters who died there, their deaths mattered and made sense.

    That said, EVERY couple gets broken up. Either by someone's death or by the relationship going sour or something. THAT part is utterly predictable now. Romances DO NOT survive in Whedon shows. Ever. You see a happy couple in a Whedon show? Watch out for falling anvils. Hell, even a dysfunctional couple will likely see someone die. At the absolute least, the relationship will end. Badly.


    The shame of it is that so much else in Whedon's work is really top-notch. He DOES get drama and action and how to build tension. His dialogue is usually entertaining (if you like his style -- I can see where it'd get annoying for some). But the "I'm gonna kiiiiiiiilll someone....." thing and especially the "No lasting romances" thing have just gotten tedious for me.



    By the way, I bet Hawkeye will die in The Avengers when a stray power cable fries him in the hallway of the Avengers Mansion, right after Mockingbird has just accepted his request for a first date after lots of romantic tension has built up.
     
  21. hydin

    hydin Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Nah, Whedon's just gonna have an aneurism during filming because he can't kill off any of the main characters.

    Chris
     
  22. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    So you're saying if he can't kill anyone else off....he'll kill himself off?
     
  23. Noeland

    Noeland Sr Member

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    Which is a lot like life. I've always thought Whedon's intent for characters was interesting. It rarely effects how I feel about a story overall, but this time it has, to learn she was sick.

    I disagree that killing off characters is so late 90's. Like any kind of narrative story telling device it just has to be done in a manner that works for the story overall, and has impact, and forwards the story.

    In this case, Inara, I think this part of her character lends itself to a subtle intent that Whedon built into this show. I love that Firefly still has stories to tell us, and stories that it will never tell. I don't think he did it with later shows.
     
  24. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    Well, technically every couple -- even the couple that's been married for 60 years -- will be broken up by the death of one of them.

    But Whedon literally breaks up every couple. There's never an exploration of the drama that's involved in maintaining a long-term relationship. You see a couple in love or even "deep like" in a Whedon project, and you'd better watch out for stray bits of lumber, vengeful demons, or incurable diseases. It's basically guaranteed that the relationship will end and end badly. If not by death, then by the incompatibility of the couple that inevitably rears its ugly head.

    Whedon usually pays off his deaths well. He uses them at once for the "shock value" and for the long-term implications (when he has time to explore those). But that said, I think that, while you need the odd death here or there to up the ante, the problem is that it's no longer shocking. You know it's gonna happen. Maybe not to whom or when, but you KNOW he's gonna get lethal with some characters.

    This was revolutionary in the 90s when, most of the time, a character death was a VERY rare thing on even long-running sci-fi shows, and usually was down to something like failed contract negotiations. Even then, it was more likely to be a "departure" that left an opening for the character's return for a guest spot down the road.

    Whedon was a trailblazer in this respect. In fact, I'd say it's more "so 90s" to have a show where your main characters face death regularly and all come through unscathed. This is why, even though it ran well into the 2000s, I tend to view a show like Stargate SG-1 as a "90s" style scifi show.

    My point is more that the shock value is gone from this particular tactic, and it's now old hat. I'd be more shocked by everyone making it through multiple Whedon seasons alive than I would be by him killing people (especially when they're in couples).

    Well, generally, that's because I think he usually knew the show was gonna end, so he wrapped things up nicely. Angel is the exception to this, but even that was wrapped up in comics, as I understand it (I haven't read 'em though). I enjoy Firefly but I think a lot of what folks loved about it, the comfortable, homey feeling of the show, would've been totally shattered in subsequent seasons. Certainly Serenity suggests that in classic flying-timber fashion.
     
  25. Too Much Garlic

    Too Much Garlic Master Member

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    The two to three things that people refer to being meant as hints to her illness... well sure... it could be... I just doesn't buy it.

    The syringe - how is that related to her illness and how would it help her, when it is explicitly explained that it isn't a suicide kit? It works best as a suicide kit or some sort of super weapon booster in time of need - not hinting at some sort of obscure illness in the face of direct danger and the possibility of a reaver attack.

    The Ariel episode... well... why would she get treated for the illness and not tell the crew? Doesn't make sense. Sounds more likely that it is exactly what she explains to the crew - just routine Companion tests.

    The dialogue in Out of Gas hints strongly to her character trait of being a winner and in control and wanting to control everything around her. It is a very common thing for a character like that to say, as death is really not something they can really control, so it scares them.

    Not ONCE in the series did she play the character like one with having a terminal illness. The character has secrets, sure... but that just wasn't in how the character was played.
     
  26. Nexus6

    Nexus6 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I always looked at that scene as Inara contemplating the irony of it all; thinking to herself something like: "I've taken medicine for so long, in an attempt to stave off the effects of my illness & extend my life, only to meet my end like this..."

    *shrugs*
     
  27. Kerr Avon

    Kerr Avon Master Member

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    Meh. Whedon saying a comic is 'canon' is just a way to get people to buy it. If wasn't in the show or movie, I don't care.
     
  28. jason1976

    jason1976 Sr Member

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    WOW! This point has never been made better.

    I do love this about Joss though.

    I have watched every episode, of Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, etc. more times then I would like to admit. And wall I loved the fact that he would build you up, just to rip it out from under you, I never really thought about it in relation to Firefly, since it didn't go that long. And I never thought about Wash's Death as being just typical Joss, but now I do.

    I know this style, my have been predictable for most, and a lot of folks don't like it. I love something that makes me feel something, and most stuff now adays makes me feel noting at all, but that is just not the case with Joss's stuff, even when I see it coming it always gets me.

    I didn't even like Buffy's Mom all that much, but I still cry like a girl every time I watch "The body" (the episode where she dies)

    I Really didn't like Jenny Calendar, but I love Giles, and was so very happy for him, that things were patched up with her, and then she died, and I cried like a baby.


    I LOVED Fred, and I wanted her and Wes to get together so badly. (to be honest there times, that my hope for them getting together was the only reason I watched the show) And ever single time I watch the episode were she dies, I cry like a "hungry angry baby."

    I don't know, I guess my real life has been a lot like a Joss show/Movie, so maybe I can relate to these moments more then some. However, as much as I truly loved the crew of serenity I would have loved to see the further advintures of serenity go the way Solo4114 posited in the attached post. I could see Jayne going that way, I could see Kaylee as a spy. I could see inara dieing. (I never really liked inarra, but I but Mal loves here, and I love Mal, so I would probably cry for his sake if she died. even though I did not really care all that much when book died, and when Wash died as much as it felt like a bunch in the gut, I didn't cry then either. )

    Man, I wish there were more episodes of Firefly.
     
  29. firesprite

    firesprite Master Member

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    The Body is without doubt the most emotionally genuine episode of Buffy. I lost my mother in 2001 and let me tell you, watching that episode was VERY true to what my family and I went through losing her. It was extremely painful to watch, but it was also very cathartic. I thought it showed a level of maturity that I'd hoped would continue to pop up, but, unfortunately, didn't seem to.
     
  30. Kerr Avon

    Kerr Avon Master Member

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    Wasn't that essentially the only non violent, totally normal death in the series? That's what I think is the hardest thing about the episode, it's a brutal slap that even with all the magical resurrections in the show, that when it's someone's time there's nothing that can be done, true to life.
     
  31. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    Don't get me wrong. I still love his stuff on the whole. I just find that it's become predictable in terms of the emotional beats. He's frequently said that a happily-ever-after relationship is boring, dramatically speaking. And yeah, he's right, but who here knows of any TRULY "happily-ever-after" relationships? I'm not talking the glowing memories we have of Grandma and Grandpa's last 50 years together at the big anniversary party. I'm talking about the day-to-day existence which is made up of some really happy moments, some really bad/painful moments, and lots of in-between stuff. Put simply, all couples have drama to one extent or another.

    Good friends of mine -- who I tend to view as, in many ways, a model couple -- had some real drama about having kids. It all worked out and they're very happy on the whole, but (A) they still have their moments of bickering, and (B) the drama that hit them about that was real and major. Whedon doesn't seem interested in exploring that in any extended fashion.

    As a good example of what I'm talking about, I'd offer Lily and Marshall on How I Met Your Mother. Here's a couple that has lasted, but has DEFINITELY had its ups and downs at times. And while it's in a sitcom (and thus, many/most of the problems are resolved in 30 minutes or less), it's about as true-to-life a sitcom as I've encountered, and it manages to create solid drama between two people who are very much in love, happily married, and yet STILL have their drama from time to time.

    Whedon? He doesn't do that. You see a happy couple, and one of them is gonna end up dead, cheating, brainwashed, turned into a demon, or flying off in a helicopter for covert ops missions.

    Now, while much of that is true-to-life for our late teens and early twenties (the period Whedon depicted in Buffy and Angel), what about fantastical environments like Firefly/Serenity? Wash and Zoe were a solid couple that still had the potential for drama. Oh, wait. Can't have that. Throw a pylon through that guy, will ya? How come Alan's script only goes up to page 95 but everyone else's goes to 115?

    And again, while he almost always pays off the breakups (however they occur) by using them to propel major, interesting stories...it's just gotten kinda tiresome for me. Predictable, really.

    I suppose it's one of the reasons why I find Firefly so enjoyable. There's still a sense of palpable drama, but without killing anyone off. And frankly, there's enough TV out there now that does "real" and "gritty" that I could do without the underlying sense of "I really want to wild-bunch the crew like the end of Blake's 7 or something..."
     

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