River Tam
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Quotes for
River Tam (Character)
from Serenity (2005)

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Serenity (2005)
Dr. Simon Tam: River...
River Tam: I know. We're going for a ride.

Dr. Simon Tam: But I think when they triggered you, it somehow brought this up. This memory.
River Tam: It isn't mine. The memory, it isn't mine. And I shouldn't have to carry it. It isn't mine. Don't make me sleep again.
Dr. Simon Tam: I won't. I won't.
River Tam: Put a bullet to me. Bullet in the brain pan. Squish.
Dr. Simon Tam: Don't say that! Not ever. We'll get through this.
River Tam: Things are going to get much, much worse.

Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: But it ain't all buttons and charts, little albatross. You know what the first rule of flying is? Well, I suppose you do, since you already know what I'm about to say.
River Tam: I do. But I like to hear you say it.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Love. You can learn all the math in the 'Verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurtin' 'fore she keels. Makes her a home.
River Tam: Storm's getting worse.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: We'll pass through it soon enough.

[preparing for heist]
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Hey, little one. Understand your part in all this?
River Tam: Do you?
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: It's what I do, darlin'.
[River walks away]
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: It's what I do.

[after the hovercraft makes a crash landing in the hanger of Serenity. Simon runs to his sister]
Dr. Simon Tam: River?
River Tam: I swallowed a bug.

[chased by a Reaver aircraft]
Jayne Cobb: How come they ain't blowin' us out the air?
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: They wanna run us down. The up-close kill.
River Tam: They want us alive when they eat us.

Mr. Universe: [Watching the video feed of River fighting in the Maidenhead] And, she falls asleep. Which, she would be sleepy.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Can you go back? See if anybody spoke with her before she acted up... made any kind of contact with her.
River Tam: [On video] Miranda...
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Miranda? Go back further.
Mr. Universe: [Watching Oaty Bar commercial] No...
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Uh... please?
Mr. Universe: Oh, Mal, you're very smart. Someone is talking to her.
Hoban 'Wash' Washburn: The Oaty Bar?
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Subliminal. It's a subliminal message, broadwaved to trigger her.
Mr. Universe: I've been seeing this code pop up all over, the last few weeks. It's Alliance, and it's high military.
Mr. Universe: They have gone to enormous trouble to find your little friend... and found her they have. Do you all know what it is you're carrying?

River Tam: Put a bullet to me. Bullet in the brain pan, squish.
[giggles whilst crying]

River Tam: [seeing visions of dead bodies on Miranda] Run-tse duh shang-dee, ching dai-wuhtzo... make them stop! They're everywhere. Every city, every... every house, every room; they're all inside me! I can hear them all and they're saying... NOTHING! GET UP! Please, get up! Wuo-shang mayer, maysheen byen shr-to. Please God, make me a stone.

River Tam: You take care of me, Simon. You've always taken care of me. My turn.
[she dives through the closing doors, grabs the medikit, and throws it to Simon just before the doors close]

Dr. Simon Tam: [deciding to leave the ship] River, do you want to stay with them?
River Tam: It isn't safe.
Dr. Simon Tam: No. I fear it isn't safe any more.
[walks away]
River Tam: [quietly] For them.

River Tam: I had to show them. l didn't know if you were going to make me sleep.
Dr. Simon Tam: [hoarse whisper] You could have asked...
[River looks away guilty]

Young River: People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run, don't walk. We're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. We're meddlesome.

"Firefly: Objects in Space (#1.10)" (2002)
Jubal Early: All right, that's all the hide-and-seek I got time for. I know you're on this ship, little girl, so here's how this goes. You show yourself, we finish this exchange, or your brother's brains will be flying every which-a-way. You understand, I'm sort of on the clock here. It's frustrating.
River: You're wrong, Early.
Jubal Early: I'm not wrong, dumpling, I will shoot your brother dead if you don't...
River: Wrong about River. River's not on the ship. They didn't want her here, but she couldn't make herself to leave. So she melted. Melted away. They didn't know she could do that, but she did.
Jubal Early: I'm not sure I take your meaning there.
River: I'm not on the ship. I'm in the ship. I am the ship.
Simon: River...
River: River's gone.
Jubal Early: Then who exactly are we talking to?
River: You're talking to "Serenity." And Early, "Serenity" is very unhappy.

Mal: Am I dreamin'?
River: We all are.
[Mal rolls his eyes]
River: Don't make faces.

River: She understands. She doesn't comprehend.

River: I don't belong... dangerous like you. Can't be controlled... can't be trusted. Everyone could just go on without me and not have to worry. People could be who they wanted to be, could be with the people they wanted. Live simple. No secrets.
Simon: No...
River: I'll be fine. I'll be your bounty, Jubal Early. And I'll just fade away.

Mal: How come there's a guy on board and how come you're all of a sudden the ship?
River Tam: I know you have questions
Mal: That would be why I just asked them.

Zoë: I can take this guy out.
River Tam: He's faster than you - all of you. And he's wearing armor.
Hoban 'Wash' Washburne: What about his face? Is his face wearing armor?

River Tam: Permission to come aboard?
Mal: You know, you ain't quite right.
River Tam: It's the popular theory.
Mal: Go on, get in there. Give your brother a thrashing for messing up your plan.
River Tam: He takes so much looking after...

River: You're not right, Early. You're not righteous. You got issues.

Jubal Early: Yeah, well, you know me real well.
River: Wish I didn't. You like to hurt folk.
Jubal Early: It's part of the job.
River: It's why you took the job. Power, control, pain. Your mother knew. Sadness in her when she aved good-bye. She's relieved. Saw darkness in you. You're not well.

River: You're not welcome here anymore, Early.
Jubal Early: Do you think I'm gonna leave here empty-handed?
River: I know it.

Jubal Early: Doesn't anybody care that I have a finely crafted gun pointed at this boy's head?
River: I care.
Jubal Early: Then are you gonna come out and stop me from doing what I don't want to? You gonna be smart here, River?
[River doesn't respond]
Jubal Early: River? Serenity?

"Firefly: Jaynestown (#1.4)" (2002)
Book: What are we up to, sweetheart?
River Tam: Fixing your Bible.
Book: I, um...
Book: What?
River Tam: Bible's broken. Contradictions, false logistics - doesn't make sense.
[she's marked up the bible, crossed out passages and torn out pages]
Book: No, no. You-you-you can't...
River Tam: So we'll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God's creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah's ark is a problem.
Book: Really?
River Tam: We'll have to call it early quantum state phenomenon. Only way to fit 5000 species of mammal on the same boat.
[rips out page]

Book: River, you don't fix the Bible.
River: It's broken. It doesn't make sense.
Book: It's not about making sense. It's about believing in something, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It's about faith. You don't fix faith, River. It fixes you.

Zoë: River, honey, he's putting the hair away now.
River: Doesn't matter. It'll still be there... waiting.

[River is hiding after seeing Shepherd Book without his hair tied back]
River: You see, the snow on the roof is too heavy, you see, the ceiling will cave in. His brains are in terrible danger.
Book: River, please, why don't you come on out?
River: No! Can't. Too much hair.

River: Just keep walkin', preacher man.

River: I tore these out of your symbol and they turned into paper, but I wanna put them back, so...

"Firefly: Safe (#1.7)" (2002)
River Tam: Ruby doesn't talk. Her voice got scared away.
[gets distracted and smiles]
River Tam: I hear crickets.
Doralee: I don't understand. If Ruby didn't talk, how do you know...?
Dr. Simon Tam: Um, uh, my sister's... she-she's very good at- What's wrong?
Doralee: "And they shall be among the people, and they shall speak truths and whisper secrets, and you will know them by their crafts."
Dr. Simon Tam: What are you talking about?
Doralee: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."

River Tam: The human body can be drained of blood in 8.6 seconds given adequate vacuuming systems.
Mal: See, morbid and creepifying, I got no problem with, long as she does it quiet-like.

River Tam: I remember everything. I remember too much. And some of it's made up, and some of it can't be quantified, and there's secrets, and...
Simon: Hey, i-it's okay.
River Tam: But, I understand. You gave up everything you had to find me. You found me broken. It's hard for you. You gave up everything you had.
Simon: Mei-mei, everything I have is right here.

River: Little soul, big world. Eat, sleep, and eat. Many souls.
Mal: Cattle on the ship three weeks, she don't go near 'em. Suddenly we're on Jianying, and she's got a driving need to commune with the beasts?
River: They weren't cows inside. They were waiting to be, but they forgot. Now they see sky, and they remember what they are.
Mal: Is it bad that what she said made perfect sense to me?

Gabriel Tam: [after young Simon swears in Chinese] Language, young man.
Young Simon: Sorry, Dad. The Independents attacked us with dinosaurs.
Young River: Simon lost his head in the heat of battle.
Gabriel Tam: [Chuckles and says something in Chinese] Because there were dinosaurs involved, I think we'll let it slide.

"Firefly: Ariel (#1.8)" (2002)
Simon: This is the recovery ward. This is where patients come to get better.
River: They're going to die.
Simon: No one is going to die.
River: [points] He is.

[after slashing Jayne with a knife]
River: He looks better in red.

[Simon prepares some bad rice]
River: I don't want it.
Simon: River, you have to eat. It's good. It tastes like...
[Simon samples rice and grimaces]
Simon: It's good.
Jayne: It smells like crotch.

Simon: Do you remember why we went to the hospital?
River: Is it time to go to sleep again?
Simon: No, mei-mei. It's time to wake up.

"Firefly: War Stories (#1.9)" (2002)
River Tam: No power in the 'verse can stop me.

Simon: Did you do anything today?
River Tam: Played with Kaylee. The sun came out, and I walked on my feet and heard with my ears. I hate the bits, the bits that stay down and I work, I f-function like I'm a girl. I hate it because I know it'll go away! The sun grows dark and chaos has come again. It's... fluids. What am I?
Simon: You are my beautiful sister.
River Tam: I-I threw up on your bed.
Simon: Yep. Definitely my sister.

River Tam: Can't look, can't look.

"Firefly: Bushwhacked (#1.2)" (2002)
Mal: [on the bridge; all looking at the ship that set of the proximity alarm]
Mal: Bring us in a little closer.
Wash: Get you close enough to ring the doorbell.
Dr. Simon Tam: What is it?
[standing in the doorway, completely out of sight; softly, as if talking to herself]
River Tam: It's a ghost.
[half smiles briefly]

Dr. Simon Tam: [River's sitting up in bed, face hidden in her hair & hands; panting & sobbing softly]
Dr. Simon Tam: Bad dreams again?
River Tam: No I - I can't sleep. There's too much screaming.
Dr. Simon Tam: [pause, River still sobbing; sounds slightly worried] River, there is - there is no screaming
River Tam: [looking straight at him; whispers] There was.

Dr. Simon Tam: [When River enters the abandoned ship] River! What are you...?
River Tam: I followed the voices.

"Firefly: Trash (#1.13)" (2003)
Simon: You're in a dangerous line of work, Jayne. Odds are you'll be under my knife again, often. So I want you to understand one thing very clearly: No matter what you do or say or plot, no matter how you come down on us, I will never, ever harm you. You're on this table, you're safe... 'cause I'm your medic. And however little we may like or trust each other, we're on the same crew. Got the same troubles, same enemies, and more than enough of both. Now, we could circle each other and growl, sleep with one eye open, but that thought wearies me. I don't care what you've done, I don't know what you're planning on doing, but I'm trusting you. I think you should do the same. 'Cause I don't see this working any other way.
River: Also, I can kill you with my brain.

Jayne: Well, as a rule, I say girlfolk ain't to be trusted.
River: Jayne is a girl's name.
Jayne: Well, Jayne ain't a girl! If she starts in on that girl's name thing, I'll show her good and all I got man parts.
Simon: I'm trying to think of a way for you to be cruder. I just... It's not coming.

"Firefly: Heart of Gold (#1.12)" (2003)
River: [as her brother tends to a woman in labor] Who do you think is in there?

Inara Serra: How many babies have you actually delivered?
Simon: As the primary? This would be the first. You?
Inara Serra: My first too.
River: Mine too.

"Firefly: Out of Gas (#1.5)" (2002)
River: [after Simon looks at her to see if they found out his birthday from her] "Day" is a vestigial mode of time measurement based on solar cycles. It's not applicable... I didn't get you anything.

[River finds Book reading the Bible]
River: Don't be afraid. That's what it says. "Don't be afraid."
Shepherd Book: Yes.
River: But you are afraid.
Shepherd Book: Yes.
River: You're afraid we're going to run out of air. That we'll die gasping. But we won't. That's not going to happen.
[Book looks at her hopefully]
River: We'll freeze to death first.

"Firefly: The Message (#1.14)" (2003)
River Tam: My food is problematic.
Jayne Cobb: Girl's a mind-readin' genius, can't even figure out how to eat an ice-planet.

River Tam: [to Simon] You are such a boob.

"Firefly: Serenity (#1.11)" (2002)
River: [quietly] I didn't think you'd come for me.
Simon: [long pause; just as quiet] Well, you're a dummy.
[both smile briefly]

[River wakes up screaming; looks around frantically; scrambles out of the box; cringes in fear, hyperventilating as Simon breaks loose from Jayne's grasp; cautiously approaches her]
Simon: R-River...
[River gasps]
Simon: Hey, it's okay. It's okay. It's okay... It's okay. I'm here.
River: [calms as recognition dawns on her] Simon.
[silence; starts breathing erratically and sounding frightened again]
River: Simon they-they talk to me. They want me to - They want me to...
Simon: No, they're gone.
[holding her face, sounds almost as afraid]
Simon: They're gone. They're gone. They're gone - We're safe now... We're safe. We're safe. I'm here.
[hugs her; whispers]
Simon: Come here.
[River still sobbing, hugs him tightly, as if afraid to let go]
Mal: What the hell is this?
Simon: [looks up, still holding a shaking River] This is my sister.

"Firefly: Our Mrs. Reynolds (#1.3)" (2002)
River: [in a deleted scene, to Shepherd Book] We want you to marry us.
Simon: What? We... no!
Simon: What?
River: Two by two. Everyone has a match, a mate, a dopple. I love you.
Simon: No, River... mei-mei... of course, I love you too, but we can't be married.
[to Shepherd Book]
Simon: She's really crazy!
Simon: [River kicks Simon in the shin] Ow! Ah, no, I - I don't mean crazy... that's just - you know that's not something brothers and sisters do. I mean, on some planets, but only pretty bad ones.

"Firefly: Shindig (#1.6)" (2002)
River Tam: [mimicking Badger's Cockney accent] Sure, I got a secret; more 'n one. Don't seem likely I tell 'em to you, now, do it? Anyone off Titan colony knows better 'n to talk to strangers. You're talkin' loud enough for the both of us, though, ain't ya? I've met a dozen like you. Skipped off-home early. Minor graft jobs here and there. Spent some time in the lockdown, but less than you claim. And you're, what, a petty thief with delusions standing? Sad little king of a sad little hill.
Badger: Nice to see someone from the old homestead.
River Tam: Not really. Call me if anyone interesting shows up.
Badger: I like her.
Jayne: [Whispering to the crew after River leaves] That there - exactly the kind of diversion we could have used.

"Firefly: The Train Job (#1.1)" (2002)
River Tam: Mal. Bad. In the Latin.