Out of Gas

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"Out of Gas"
Firefly episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 8
Directed by David Solomon
Written by Tim Minear
Production code 1AGE07
Original air date October 25, 2002 (2002-10-25)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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List of Firefly episodes

"Out of Gas" is the eighth episode of the science fiction television series Firefly created by Joss Whedon. It differs stylistically from the rest of the series, in that it tells its story alternately in three timeframes: events in the present, events in the near-past that led to the present, and events in the past that led to the formation of Serenity's core crew.

After Serenity suffers a catastrophe that leaves her crew with only hours of oxygen, flashbacks show how Mal and Zoe acquired Serenity and assembled their motley crew.


Captain Malcolm Reynolds, who falls to the floor of the cargo bay, bleeding from a stomach wound. The episode then launches into its varied flashbacks; though the events are presented in this synopsis in strict chronological order (one era per paragraph), readers should be aware that the episode's narrative moves back and forth between all three eras.

The first era visited is the gradual assembly of the crew: Mal welcomes Zoe Alleyn aboard his new purchase, a Firefly-class transport, and quotes the words of the man who sold it to him. Mal declares his intention to renovate her, make her spaceworthy, and assemble a crew. The first two to join the team are Hoban Washburne, an accomplished pilot with an accomplished mustache which bothers Zoe, and a laid-back mechanic named Bester. On a layover for repairs, Bester brings a young woman to the engine room for some illicit coupling; this woman, Kaylee Frye, soon replaces him as engineer when she shows an instinctive rapport with the ship's engines, diagnosing during sex a technical problem Bester couldn't fix while paying attention. The next recruit is Inara Serra, who uses her status as a Companion (and the legitimacy it confers) to bargain for a 25% discount on the rent. She also insists that Mal never call her a "whore" again (an ironic reference to the fact that he calls her this at least once an episode). The final member is Jayne Cobb, an acting dumb but competent tracker and enforcer whose partners are cheating him out of his fair share; he defects with enthusiasm when Mal offers him a bigger cut of the payoff, and his own bunk.

Mal goes to the infirmary, where he fortifies himself with a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. He then proceeds to the engine room, where he manages to get the port compression coil installed correctly, thanks to Kaylee's earlier demonstrations. Finally he staggers up to the bridge, but is unable to press the big red button before blood loss takes him. As Mal hears the voices from the various flashbacks, he gradually comes to in the infirmary, where the crew is bustling about. The episode closes with, chronologically, the most remote flashback, in which Mal is still contemplating which ship to buy.

Guest Cast[edit]

  • Steven Flynn as Captain, who comes to the aid of a disabled Serenity and attempts to commandeer the ship
  • Ilia Volok as Marco, a bandit whom Jayne once worked with.
  • Lyle Kanouse as Salesman, the businessman who originally sold Mal the ship.
  • Dax Griffin as Bester, Serenity's original mechanic.


  • Espenson, Jane, ed., with Glenn Yeffeth (ed.). Finding Serenity: Anti-heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's "Firefly". Dallas, Texas: Benbella Books. ISBN 1-932100-43-1. 
  • Rhonda V. Wilcox; Tanya Cochran (20 May 2008). Investigating Firefly and Serenity: Joss Whedon's Worlds Beyond: Science Fiction on the Frontier (Investigating Cult TV Series). I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84511-654-5. 
  • Joss Whedon (1 Sep 2005). Serenity: The Official Visual Companion. Titan Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84576-082-3. 
  • Joss Whedon et al. (25 August 2006). Firefly: The Official Companion: Volume One. Titan Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84576-314-5. 
  • Joss Whedon et al. (25 August 2006). Firefly: The Official Companion: Volume Two. Titan Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84576-372-5. 
  • Joss Whedon (December 9, 2003). The Complete Series: Commentary for "Serenity" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 

External links[edit]