Bushwhacked doesn’t really raise any moral issues aside from “What is the measure of a non-human” and how the crew of Serenity chose to deal with the dead bodies they found on an abandoned ship. Said dead bodies were of families that were attacked by Reavers.
The main theme of this episode is fear. Simon is afraid of getting in the spacesuits and being out in space in general. Jayne is afraid of the dead bodies. River, burdened with the power of mind reading, feels the residual fear of the families that got attacked by Reavers. And the sole survivor of the ship turns out to have a lot of psychological trauma, so much so that he becomes like the monsters that attacked him. The episode plays out like a thriller or creature feature, with the same air of suspense that makes your skin crawl.
Later on, the crew runs into the Alliance, who are on the lookout for Simon and River. As the Alliance men search the ship, we find out that Simon and River are hiding on the outside of the ship in space suits. Someone pointed out on the Firefly TVTropes page that while Simon was completely terrified of being out in space, River was staring out in wonder and awe because out in space, there are so few minds for her to read. She is actually more stable staying on Serenity with its small crew than if she stayed on a planet with millions of people because in the emptiness of space, her mind finds peace. It reminded me of something I read in high school about how silent rooms and empty spaces are great places for meditation.
But this idea of contemplative, silent prayer isn’t just something from New Age or Buddhism. Silence is valued very much in Catholicism. A homily from Catholic Online goes into more detail about it.
And while we’re in a Flashback Friday kind of mood, here’s a clip of one of what Father Benedict had to say about silence:
Mother Teresa, of course, is the most famous advocate of silence:
In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.
The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.
I hope that today, you’ll find an hour for silent prayer. You can spend it in Adoration or out in a quiet place. See how the silence affects you.
Screenshots belong to Fox and Mutant Enemy and are for editorial purposes only.