Firefly: Season 1, Episode 14

The Message (28 Jul. 2003)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 2,134 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 9 critic

A dying request from an old army buddy turns treacherous for Mal, Zoë, and the rest of the crew.



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Episode cast overview:
Lieutenant Womack
Amnon Duul


A pleasant day out at a space station turns sour when Mal and Zoe receive the dead body of one of their old army buddy's in the post office. Their old friend is named Tracey who fought with them during the Battle of Du-Khang during the Alliance-Independence Civil War six years earlier. Along with Tracey's body is an audio message, asking them to take him to his home planet to be buried by his parents. However, Mal begins to suspect something might be wrong when Alliance agents, led by the relentless Lt. Womack, start chasing Serenity, demanding return of their property: the body. It soon turns out that Tracey is actually alive and reveals the real reason why he faked his death, and why he's going to die soon. Written by Shiro

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Release Date:

28 July 2003 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although it is not the last episode aired, this was the last episode ever shot. See more »


When Tracey is threatening Mal on the bridge a hand can be seen behind Mal through the ship's window reaching for a chunk of snow. Visible at 35:17. See more »


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


References Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) See more »


The Ballad of Serenity (Instrumental)
Written by Joss Whedon
Performed by Sonny Rhodes
See more »

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User Reviews

Absolutely Underrated- Chekhov's Gun x4
17 September 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode has the perfect ending.

During a certain scene there are 4 Chekov's guns, aka 4 lines that pay off at the end literally and thematically via foreshadowing.

It takes at least two viewings and some skill at analyzing art to spot all four of these "guns." Once you recognize how every single line and even movement was selected as foreshadowing for the end, then you will appreciate this as one of if not the very best Firefly episode. There is a real reason this episode almost won a Hugo.

Unfortunately, most people today will not catch the well-hidden subtleties that Whedon and Minear injected into the script, and so this episode shall forever endure the tragedy of under-appreciation.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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