Because I… probably spent a large portion of Christmas weekend watching Serenity and a Firefly marathon on television, I figured it was a good time to bring this up. One of my many favorite things about the whole series-and-film-and-everything is the friendly relationships between the characters. I mean, the romances and implied romances and fan-ships are nice and good, but friendships… I’m fond. Some of them, like Mal and Zoe or Kaylee and Inara, are pretty overt. Others of them are much more background and to be noticed and analyzed upon repeated viewings. So. Let’s analyze some friendships, with a healthy dose of headcanon, yes? (And yes. There is a reason that I have this tumblr tag: #actually kaylee is best friends with everyone. Because she is.)
Mal (Nathan Fillion) + Zoe (Gina Torres)
These two are old war friends. I assume they didn’t know each other before the war or anything (Mal grew up on a ranch, and the Firefly wiki says that Zoe was “born Vesselside”) but through their experiences in the trenches and all, they became close. And though Zoe’s deference towards Mal is still pretty military, “sir” and all, their friendship is fairly equal. He turns to her for advice. And, despite what the others may infer and what Wash is fearful of, their relationship is strictly platonic and always has been. That is possible. They respect each other, they’d do just about anything for each other.
Mal + Kaylee (Jewel Staite)
Kaylee is the youngest on the crew before the Tams arrive, that’s pretty obvious. And even if technically she wasn’t, the nature of her personality does make her sort of fall into the role of everyone’s mèimei, but it’s truest with her and Mal. Their first real interaction in the first episode involves her ineffable cheer and Mal’s acknowledgement thereof; it’s lighthearted. It’s sweet. You can tell he’s sad when bad things happen to her, and she’s determined to make things work, in part for him. Because even if he did meet her mid-her sex adventure, she’s a little sister to him, and she always will be. In “Objects in Space,” when she’s explaining her gunfails in “War Stories,” Mal’s quick to assure her that he’s perfectly fine with her not actually shooting anyone. He doesn’t want her to get any more caught up in the violence than she has to be. Another cuteness, during “Our Mrs. Reynolds,” involves Kaylee being clearly cranky after having to fix up Saffron’s (Christina Hendricks) mess of the controls, and he makes a point of telling her, again, that it’s okay. That she’s still doing the best she can, and her best is better than everyone else’s.
Mal + Shepherd Book (Ron Glass)
Theirs is a friendship that doesn’t make sense, quite. They have differences because Mal is adamantly anti-faith, and Book is obviously pro-faith; Mal feels strange about his work in the eyes of a shepherd sometimes, Book is keeping secrets galore. But they do respect each other, even when they argue and poke fun and are generally at odds.
Kaylee + Inara (Morena Baccarin)
What is discussed here.
Kaylee + Wash (Alan Tudyk)
We do get the occasional Kaylee and Wash interaction inseries, but I… have for sure built it up in my head. The only romance possible is in that really theoretical “I’m your friend, so I can see how it would make sense, but no” way:
Kaylee: Everyone’s got somebody. Wash, tell me I’m pretty.
Wash: Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion.
Kaylee: ‘Cause I’m pretty?
Wash: ‘Cause you’re pretty.
These two are just… best best friends. It’s not really the same little sister thing that Kaylee has with the rest, it’s more my favorite thing of kindred spirits. They’re closest to speaking each other’s language out of anyone on the crew, and I am convinced that I’d adore just listening to and watching them technobabble for hours (I tend to be a fan of that). They’re friendly friends who can banter and snark and giggle and swap awesome thoughts and facts.
Kaylee + Jayne (Adam Baldwin)
I know that Kaylee and Jayne are a favorite fan-ship, and I don’t deny that there are moments that might imply that Jayne has a little crush on her. Being a big, big supporter of the canonical Kaylee/Simon, I can’t really get on the other ship much, but I can speak for the Kaylee and Jayne friendship. It’s that same sort of big brother/little sister feeling, but while Mal is the protective sweet-but-only-to-you big brother, Jayne is the protective yet always joking about every single thing big brother. And Kaylee can take the teasing like a champ. They’re pleasant with each other, I’m sure they’ve gotten drunk with each other more than once just for the hell of it, there’s more banter, it’s nice.
Kaylee + River (Summer Glau)
It’s really the only time that Kaylee gets to be big sister instead of little, and I’m sure she appreciates that, but – despite the fact that River freaks her out sometimes – she genuinely does like the other girl, I think. Kaylee’s a see-the-good-in-everyone type, and even the being freaked out only lasts so long, because she’s determined to think the best of people. She genuinely feels bad for River’s situation, and she genuinely does want to befriend her. River, for her part, probably appreciates that Kaylee doesn’t always think she’s insane. (That can for sure matter.) She gives River a chance to actually be her age.
Inara + River
It’s like the sister who’s so much older and more worldly that she practically mothers the littler one, in a lot of ways. Since Inara isn’t involved in a lot of the crew’s adventures directly, she often winds up taking care of River. She can offer River a place to just relax, she can give as much comfort as she’s able. And since Inara does know a bit about psychological things, she can try to understand River better than many of the others. Not that she ever talks it through, but even the comforting could be construed, if you’re me and read too much into things, as being a bit more direct.
Inara + Simon (Sean Maher)
Inara and Simon are both, in their own ways, outsiders in this world. They’re both from Core planets, ones more refined and structured; they’re both unused to the life of crime. Neither of them quite fits in with the crew: they’re too fancy, too proper. Inara’s got her Companion training, Simon has his medical training, they’re both running from things. Because of these similarities, the two of them have a certain bond. Simon appreciates that Inara has a way with River. Inara, in her understanding-psychology-of-everyone-not-herself-or-Mal way, can try to understand what Simon’s going through much more than anyone else can. They offer each other a certain manner of respect and camaraderie.
–your fangirl heroine.