Evil Geeks Women’s History Month Warriors: Zoe Washburne

I could probably spend an entire month just writing about all the things I love about the show Firefly, but sadly I think I would bore you all to death, or maybe commit several of you to more hours sneaking in time at your cubicle to read my mind-blowing posts rather than being productive at work. But this month’s theme gives me an excuse to spotlight several female characters from my favorite show. I know a lot of people might think of River Tams first when they think of warrior women from Firefly, yet I want to give some credit to this kick-ass first mate first.


It might be the fact that Zoe is played by Gina Torres that makes me think “warrior” when I picture her: the woman just screams Amazon Goddess in so many ways. Zoe was one hell of a soldier during the Unification Wars, already by Malcolm Reynolds’ side at the time. She worked her way up in ranks, always proving herself as a worthy fighter. But she is more complex than just a great shot; there is a lot of depth to Zoe’s character despite the fact that she gives very short, to the point answers and still insists on calling Mal “sir”.


Zoe has quite a moral code that she lives by. She believes the Alliance to be corrupt, just like Mal, and though she rarely questions the captain’s orders, she will voice her opinion during moral dilemmas, and will disobey orders if she feels they are unjust or cruel.


Zoe holds up better in battle and bar fights than all the men combined on the ship, but where you really get to understand her is in her interactions with her husband “Wash”, the pilot of the ship. In so many ways these two seem like the oddest couple, but they really do have a loving and caring relationship, setting a great example of when opposites attract. One of my favorite episodes of all time (oh who am I kidding, they are all my freaking favorite) was “War Stories”, when Wash and Mal end up on a mission together instead of Zoe and Mal because of Wash’s jealousy of the two’s war bond. Sadly for Wash and Mal they end up at the hands of Niska who has a bounty out on Mal and takes it in to his hands to torture the two. Zoe is faced with the task of rescuing them, which she does, but at first she tries to buy the boys back fairly. Niska only allows her to chose one of the two men, and even though Mal might be the better choice strategically we see in the scene that Zoe will always put the love of her husband first. She doesn’t even let Niska finish asking the question before she blurts out that she will save Wash first.


Speaking of Wash, it’s always nice to see a man who truly values his wife, and Wash on many occasions brags about how wonderful, caring, strong, and bad-ass his wife is. He even calls her a “warrior woman” at one point, so I think it is only fair that she get a spot on our month long spotlight of warrior women. Thank you again Joss Whedon for creating such a wonderful woman warrior, Zoe will be admired forever.

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Posted on March 8, 2014, in Geekology, TV, Women's History Month Warriors and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. In many ways I think Zoe is a more interesting warrior character than River. River is what she is because she’s been made that way by others. Zoe’s all about the choices – her side in the war, her husband, the job she does now. She’s a strong, interesting character without being a cliche or super powered.

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