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Find an Alliance bar and pick a fight, Browncoats. Today's Unification Day

By Dandi Galvez Published Sep 20, 2020 12:00 am Updated Sep 20, 2020 4:53 pm

It's never great when a government you fought against keeps rubbing their victory in your face, year after year, and you have to sit there every time just taking it.

Or not. That's definitely choice, and that's exactly what happened on the premiere episode of famously-cancelled-after-one-season TV show, Firefly. The Joss Whedon creation debuted on the Fox network on September 20, 2002, with the "pilot," The Train Job.

Set in a vast universe 500 years in the future, humans have largely abandoned Earth and are now spread out across space still divided by class and politics. Firefly's Western theme evoked a world where outlaws roamed planet to planet, squeezing out a living doing various jobs for anyone willing to pay the right price.

Our gang of misfit heroes are the crew of the Firefly-class spaceship, Serenity. They are the pastor Derrial Book (Ron Glass), surgeon Simon Tam (Sean Maher) and sister River (Summer Glau), engineer Kaylee Frye (Jewel Staite), mercenary Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin), companion Inara Serra (Morena Baccarin), pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk), second-in-command Zoe (Gina Torres), and last – but not least, captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion).

Unification Day serves as one of the plot beats in the conflict between Mal and his crew, and the government known chiefly as the Universal Alliance. This was the day that the Central Planets of the Alliance emerged victorious in the war against the outlying Independent Planets, whose supporters were also known as "Browncoats."

In this episode three of the Serenity's crewmembers – mainly captain Mal, Zoe, and later Jayne – get into a brawl at an Alliance bar after taking offense at one of the patrons celebrating the 6th Unification Day. Former Browncoat Mal does not appreciate the toast, as Zoe steps in to help in the melee followed by a very reluctant Jayne.

Curiously enough, Unification Day did not have an actual date mentioned in the entire series. September 20th is assumed as it coincided with Firefly's first episode airdate. That fact was cemented in the show's canon after a fan tweeted to Nathan Fillion asking about it, to which the actor replied:

So, happy Unification Day to us all. Laugh it up at the bar, but not too much. You can't tell if there's a Browncoat in the corner aiming to misbehave.