Favorite Characters #5

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Captain Malcolm Reynolds

The second of the fabulous Firefly characters on this list, (the first being this one), Captain Malcolm Reynolds or “Mal” as he’s called in the show made it to number five precisely because I didn’t know what to do with him.

And that’s a good thing.

A lot of the characters I run into nowadays are archetypes, especially in misfit-group-forced-together setups. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it allows the audience to easily identify a character’s role and mindset. For example: this one’s the gruff straight-laced leader with a heart of gold, this one’s the token girl/minority (sometimes both), there’s the comic relief, etc.

However, one of the things I love most about Firefly is the fact that, while every character fits a type at first glance, as the story continues they deviate from and subvert the type at practically every turn.

Mal is no exception to this. He seems like the typical antihero. Until he’s a little too heroic. Then does he become a full blown hero? Maybe until he shoots some people up or incinerates a guy via tossing him into an engine. He’s loyal to his crew, sure, but who exactly makes up his crew can change from moment to moment. He’s honest until he’s not, flies under the radar until he goes in guns first, and is intelligent and perceptive right up until the moment when something vital sneaks past right in front of him.

In short, he’s an impressively flawed and contradictory character the likes of which is a rare find in any medium of any genre. Which makes him well deserving of the number five spot on this list.

Also: I know it’s no longer Fav February, but I’m not going to leave y’all hanging and having to guess at the identities of the last five characters.
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Posted on March 5, 2014, in Fav February and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m also a huge fan of Mal, and for many of the same reasons. He starts from a familiar template, but turns out to have a depth and variety of character that’s amazing given how few episodes they had to get it across.

    I think he’s also a good example of TV’s power as a medium for collaborative story telling. While Mal’s a very well written character, Nathan Fillion’s performance makes him stand out even further. He’s such an entertaining actor, going from over-the-top sillyness to heartfelt sadness in a very relatable way. Honestly, I could watch him read his shopping list.

    • Ooo, I forgot to mention my never-ending appreciation for Nathan Fillion, thanks for reminding me! He really is a great actor. I still have the dreaded Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters movie on my to-watch list solely because he’s in it.

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