Episode 13, Heart of Gold; Petaline is about to have a baby, a dominating, above-the-law, male-chauvinist named Rance is about to take the baby, and the crew of Firefly are setting up to save the baby and the day.
Petaline and her peers live with their House Mother, Nandi on a large land plot outside of the main town. Out on the land, Zoe and Wash are preparing for an upcoming battle by laying and covering wire. They are also having what is apparently the umpteenth conversation about having/ not having a baby of their own.
Wash; “All I’m sayin is that we’re livin pretty deep in the rough and tumble and I don’t see that changing any time soon.”
Zoe; “Nor do I.”
Wash; “Well I’m not sure that now’s the best time to bring a tiny, little, helpless person into our lives.”
Zoe; “That excuse is getting a little worn, honey.”
Wash; “It’s not an excuse, dear. It’s objective assessment. I can’t help that it stays relevant.”
Zoe; “I don’t give a good gorram about relevant Wash, or objective. And I ain’t so afraid of losin something that I ain’t gonna try to have it. You and I would make one beautiful baby. And I want to meet that child one day. Period.”
We only get one more episode before the show is cancelled. Do they have a baby? Do they not? Wait…
A movie! YES! Now we will find out for sure!
Then, in one split second, we were all placed squarely into an alternate Universe. One in which Wash is not in it.
I replayed that second 3 times before I could finish watching the movie.
If I, an observer of a fictional story, could sense this immense moment that keenly, how intense it must have been for Zoe. Yes, yes, I get it, she’s not real, I’m just saying….. if she were real, and this had really happened; she didn’t just lose her husband, the love of her life, she also lost any possibility of meeting their child.
The enormity of that loss was the saddest moment in all of Firefly. We had 14 episodes of seeing Zoe and Wash get through a lot of life and still be so very in love. That second, that moment, which had been set up 5 years and 2 episodes earlier, made me cry a three Kleenex cry.
I was angry, hurt, and sad at Mr. Whedon. But I was also in absolute admiration. Wash was the perfect person to kill to get that gut reaction; and to have it be so sudden, so unexpected, and so quickly over with was the perfect way to do it.
My hat is off to you Mr. Whedon, for jerking my empathetic heart strings clear through my gorram chest.