In the movie I was annoyed because they seemed like zombies . . . in space. And I thought, if they are so angry all the time, how do they fly their spaceships? I will admit the scene when the crew first flies through Reaver space to get to Miranda was chilling. But man, I liked the mystery of the Reavers much better than what we got.
I liked the answer to the Reavers. They didn't seem like zombies to me - zombies are content to stand around and wait outside - these boys fought tooth and nail to get at their prey. Anger doesn't necessarily mean too angry to operate machinery.
What the hell happened with Shepherd? They never told his story. Why could he get special medical attention in that one episode? What about River's visions about him? Nothing. He was killed, and basically killed off camera. That was so lame.
I wish we saw more, too, but I just assume he used to be a government man - everything Mal hated - but he "saw the light" and no longer worked for them - though was still entitled to top flight care and privy to how the government worked. I'm glad he fought back in the end and killed the bastards who kill him and his and not turn the other cheek. Hell, he may have been remarkably similar to the assassin guy, who, like him, became disillusioned with the government, too, and left it behind, and needed to wonder in anonymity.
The death of Wash? I wasn't the biggest fan of that character at first, but he grew on me. His death just sort of happened. And, I don't know why. It ws not as if they had time to mourn him in the movie or generate real pathos.
I liked it. Death always make things more real, and they mourned him later. River filled his slot - Zoë worked through it, though "torn up plenty, she would still fly true" or something like that. It was good.
Who was Mr. Universe? Was he character I should know or care about?
Not really. Just somebody with the equipment to get the word out.
Why did River have the knowledge about Miranda AND have the kung fu super powers AND the precog abilities? What were the Alliances reasons for training her like that?
She was made to be a super weapon, so kung fu and precog and mind reading. She knew about Miranda because some asshole allowed top government men - who knew about Miranda and shit - to visit her, where she could read their minds, so lots of government secrets were exposed, and this is why they were so keen to kill/capture her.
Inara really got nothing to do. Same thing with Kaylee.
Kaylee got her fondest wish - to hook up with the doc. Inara did enough for a companion.
The whole movie and the series culminates to a fist fight? And one that Mal probably should not have won?
It felt like the ending of Dune, where all this stuff leads up to a knife fight. I guess I just found it a bit anti-climatic.
Mal did get lucky, but so did the assassin for getting that far. Personally, I liked it, and had the assassin better information, he may have realized Mal's differences in nerve cluster placement via medical records, but I guess he didn't bother to read everything.
With all of the potential death at the end (of all the characters and the ship), it seemed pretty mediocre that it was all reset at the ending (sans Shepherd and Wash). And I hated how the bad guy didn't 1) die and 2) didn't stay evil. Why wouldn't Mal kill him? He has no problem throwing guys in Serenity's engines or pushing someone like Jubal out into space, so why the compassion now?
I think Mal probably would have killed him since he didn't seem that far sighted to know sparing him would be better, as it turned out. He A) helped them to reset, and B) told the government the big secret was out and the reason to kill/capture River was moot. Perhaps he wasn't evil so much as a true believer in his cause - the government is ultimately working for the good of all - and he was a little disillusioned and had already failed, so why kill - that would be to kill without purpose, which he never did, so he didn't really change at his core. Then he had to disappear since the government wouldn't be overly happy with him, either, and he wasn't working for them anymore - maybe just like Shepherd - though I suspect Shepherd wasn't trained as much or as lethally as this guy was.
. . . I think.