5 Movies and TV Shows With Brilliant Clues in the Dialogue

#2. Two Episodes of Firefly Predict That the Ship Will Break Down

20th Century Fox Television

Firefly follows a group of space travelers thrown together by circumstances (a high-class escort and a priest on the same ship? Conflict!) as they try to make ends meet doing various illegal activities on their Firefly-class ship, Serenity. Unfortunately, in the episode "Out of Gas," the ship becomes stranded in outer space after the engine suddenly stops working. Things are looking dire: oxygen is running low, temperatures are dropping, and wisecracking Whedonesque banter is at critical levels.

20th Century Fox Television
"Can't put situation ... into ... irreverent ... phrasing ..."

Why We Should Have Seen It Coming:

The characters figure out that the engine has unexpectedly shat itself due to the "catalyzer on the compression coil" blowing up. But if you'd been paying attention to the dialogue from the start, it should have been clear that the cat-laser on the compression cola or whatever was going to fuck everyone over sooner or later.

Serenity's resident mechanic, Kaylee, mentions on two separate occasions in early episodes that the catali ... cathaly ... the technobabble is going to cause major problems in the future. In the pilot episode, for example, this line is quickly slipped in as some back-and-forth between Kaylee and Captain Malcolm Reynolds, which at the time just comes off as banter:

Kaylee: I'd sure love to find a brand new compression coil ... Compression coil busts, we're drifting.

Mal: Best not bust, then.

20th Century Fox Television
"We need to keep this thing going for many successful years."

Then in the second episode of the series, we again see Kaylee trying to give Captain Reynolds a serious compression coil-based warning after she had to rewire the entire engine because:

"... somebody won't replace that crappy compression coil."

Six episodes later, the inaction of that unspecified sexy somebody nearly kills everyone on board when the compression coil breaks and leaves them adrift in deep space.

20th Century Fox Television
"Curse its sudden but inevitable betrayal!"

And while we're in the Whedonverse ...

#1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Counts Down to Buffy's Death

20th Century Fox Television

Before there was Joss Whedon, The Avengers director, there was Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: a modern tale of a strong, go-getting young woman who for some reason had an annoying habit of constantly dying. Having already been drowned and resurrected way back in Season 1, Buffy Summers' next significant trip to Deadville came in the Season 5 finale when she sacrificed herself to save her sister, Dawn.

She naturally comes back in the next season, but this doesn't mean that Whedon killed Buffy off all willy-nilly to boost his show's ratings, because he was in fact planning her death for more than two years.

20th Century Fox Television
"SHE WAS A WHEDON CHARACTER
THIS WAS INEVITABLE"

Why We Should Have Seen It Coming:

The show actually started counting down to Buffy's death in dream sequences all the way back in Season 3. In that season's final episode, "Graduation Day," during an ongoing fight to stop the renegade slayer Faith, Buffy encounters Faith and hears her say:

"Little Miss Muffet counting down from 7-3-0."

20th Century Fox Television
She then starts dancing with a backward-talking little person.

It seems like nonsense dream babble, but "730" was in reality the number of days until the planned broadcast of the Season 5 finale where Buffy was meant to snuff it. Unfortunately, the two-part finale -- which culminated in a violent showdown in the halls of Sunnydale High -- was set to premiere only a month after the Columbine shootings, which forced it to be postponed, in effect rendering the countdown incorrect. This, however, was remedied in another dream sequence in the Season 4 finale, where a character glances at a clock and says ...

"Oh ... that clock's completely wrong."

The time on that clock?

20th Century Fox Television
This was also a symbol of Whedon's undying hatred of daylight saving time.

But there's even more meaning packed into these sequences. Later in the show, it actually turns out that Dawn isn't human at all, but rather a mysterious entity called the Key with the power to unlock otherworldly dimensions. She appears suddenly during Season 5 after everyone has been implanted with false memories of always having known Dawn. It has since become one of the most important elements of the Buffy canon and, you've guessed it, it too was telegraphed months in advance on the show.

In two dream sequences in Season 4, we hear these seemingly random lines:

"Be back before dawn."

"Little sister is coming."

In the next season, BAM, Dawn is introduced and ends up as the crescendo of a carefully planned-out story arc that Whedon kept foreshadowing for years without once getting distracted by his actresses' feet.


You can read more from Amanda at her blog or follow her on Twitter. Lachlan has been known to sometimes tweet.

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Related Reading: Speaking of foreshadowing, did you know a song in one episode gave away the Breaking Bad series finale? And a seat-belt malfunction gave away the disastrous twist in Jurassic Park? We've always been big fans of movies that put insane detail into things 90% of viewers won't notice: cases in point!

Exactly what drives us to bone the things that we bone? Jack O'Brien sits down with Kristi and Soren in our latest podcast to figure this conundrum out. Be sure to subscribe here and download it here.

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