One of my favorite lines from the whole Firefly series is the one provides the backbone to The Message, the episode where Mal and Zoe get the body of one of their old war buddies in the mail. A lot of you probably know the one I’m talking about already (and if you don’t, please beware of spoilers below):
“When you can’t run, you crawl, and when you can’t crawl– when you can’t do that anymore, you find someone to carry you.”
It’s a sentiment that’s been deeply important to my circle of friends. We’re a bit less melodramatic about it than we were during college, but it’s still one of the easiest shorthands we have to describe what you do for the people you care about. So when I recently rewatched the episode, I was surprised to remember that Tracey used it as justification for calling his old comrades in arms “saps”.
The last time I watched it, I think I was so focused on the no-man-left-behind part that I didn’t really register that one of the main characters in the episode actually considered it a weakness. And sure, there’s a good chance he was grateful for it by the end, and our protagonists did right by him regardless. But still.
I’m not sure why I noticed it so much this time. It’s not like it’s the first time someone exploited the people who were there for them, and I’m pretty sure the whole thing is just a variation on the same theme Jesus was talking about when he said to turn the other cheek. But for whatever reason, it made me think a little harder this time. It made me that much more grateful for the people I know who will be there to carry me, too.