As mentioned in the main page, the tune playing in the accidental marriage in "Our Mrs Reynolds" is really taken from an actual wedding march. Once you know when to listen for it though, the whole scene becomes the sweetest thing you'll ever see. And then she turns out to be a triple-crossing BITCH.
Also from "Our Mrs Renolds", during the celebration, there's this one shot of Zoe and Wash cuddling as they watch the others. And it's adorable.
Another from "Our Mrs Reynolds". Mal and Inara may be holding back all their feelings for each other, they may be at each other's throats half the time, but when Inara sees Mal unconscious after Saffron tells her he's dead, she is about to batshit with anguish before Mal stirs a little.
In Jaynetown, Inara bonds with Fess, the timid son of the slaveowner who cannot speak up to his father's wrongdoing. Inara and Fess bond over sex, and Inara gently tells Fess that being a real man takes courage. Eventually Fess aided Serenity's escape from the mudtown
Simon has his moments too, especially in "Safe," where he fights off an entire mob of torch-wielding witch-burning loonies to save River, and when he realized he couldn't win, choosing to die with her rather than leave her. It's more awesome because when you know how much he already gave up, you can easily believe he would do such a thing. He had nothing left but love and honor (which in his case were the same thing) and it would be simply impossible to wimp out now. It was a very believable Heroic Sacrifice.
Simon: Light it.
An unorthodox one in "War Stories": Jayne's the last one on the crew to agree to join the mission to save Mal... yet he's able to cover himself in more firepower than the rest combined. "...What?"
The real clincher here? He brought VERA.
Hence the point of that scene. He was always coming with them. He was just getting his guns first.
Meta-example: a hilarious outtake from "The Message" involves the slow rotating shot in Tracy's funeral, except Nathan Fillion is deliberately running counter to the camera rotation to re-appear beside every other cast member while acting like he's always been there, culminating in Mal sharing the coffin with Tracy. How does this count? Because the scene was being filmed just after the cast had learned that the series had been cancelled, and Nathan went above and beyond to keep spirits up.
The whole ordeal Simon went through with River is one giant CMOH.
At the end of 'Ariel': 'No, mei-mei. Time to wake up.' It's the way he says it more than anything else.
Pretty much any scene in Firefly between Wash and Zoe, or Simon and Kaylee, or Simon and River. Jayne even gets one in the pilot, where he's seen watching nervously through the infirmary window as Kaylee is operated on after getting shot.
At the end of the pilot where River looks into Simon's face all beat up from protecting her. Then wonders at her doubts saying,"I didn't think you'd come for me", and he just teases her, "Well, you're a dummy."
There's also the brief scene between Mal and River at the end of "Objects in Space," after they've teamed up to take down Early.
River: Permission to come aboard? Mal: You know, you ain't quite right. River: That's the popular theory. Mal: Go on. Get in there. Give your brother a thrashing for messing up your plan. River: He takes so much looking after.
I found it especially heartwarming due to River's pure lucidity. All I could think was "She just cracked a joke. An honest-to-gods joke, not just some unintentional hilarity stemming from her weirdness. She...she's going to be all right."
And the second-to-last scene from "Objects In Space," showing the entire crew in one long, unbroken shot, signifying that River is now really considered part of the crew as a whole.
The bit where Simon has been shot and is still desperately fighting to keep Early from getting to River, thinking that everyone else is locked in their rooms and that he'll probably die doing it is another good one.
One of the more pointed moments is at the end of "Safe," where Simon and River come into the dining room to eat with the rest of the crew, showing that they've been really accepted as part of the family on the ship.
"War Stories." One line: "If it were any one of us, Captain wouldn't hesitate."
Also in "War Stories," River's breakdown, and Simon caring for her.
River: (sobbing) What am I?! Simon: (hugs her tightly) You are my beautiful baby sister. River: (sniffles and stops crying) ...I threw up on your bed. Simon: Yep. Definitely my sister.
Another scene from "Jaynestown", when River tries to "fix" Book's bible, editing the parts that she thought didn't make sense. Book gently tells her, "You don't fix this book. It fixes you."
Two lines from the best scene in the series:
Mal: Well, look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us? Zoe:Big Damn Heroes, Sir! Mal: Ain't we just? —— Mal: Cut her down. Preacher: The girl is a witch. Mal: Yeah, but she's our witch. [KA-CHINK!] So cut her the hell down.
And, "You're on my crew. Why're we still talking about this?" From the same episode.
Also from that episode:
Simon: Light it. And
Simon: Mei Mei, all I have is right here.
The dancing scene in Safe was also good. For once we got to see her enjoying herself and see her brother see it.
And after Simon gets kidnapped, there's River, still happy. "Found you!"
The end of "Ariel", when Mal shoves Jayne into the airlock for betraying Simon and River. About to be killed, Jayne begs Mal not to tell them about his betrayal and instead to make something up, as if he died in an accident. Mal spares Jayne's life, convinced that he is truly sorry about his betrayal. This is the turning point in Jayne's character, and it is sad that we didn't get to see how that ended up.
The DVD extra about the making of Firefly is equally made of this trope and Tear Jerker. It starts with the usual behind-the-cameras information, but after a while it turns into a chronicle of the loving relationship formed between the cast, creators, and crew, the extraordinary fan support, and the good experience it was to work in the series.
Jayne in the pilot. Standing outside of the infirmary while Simon's operating on Kaylee, as mentioned earlier, and the fact that he's willing to shoot Book so that he can exact revenge on Dobson for shooting Little Kaylee. Heck...Jayne is actually full of Crowning Moments of Heartwarming.
There's a shot during this monologue, when Simon is preparing the shot to put River under. She glares at the needle and sticks her tongue out. Considering she's still confused and uncertain and likely sick from being revived from cryo, that one little moment speaks volumes about both their personalities and their relationship.
When Inara tells Mal that "If you throw them out, I'm leaving too," there's a subtle but important implication there: that if Mal won't help Simon and River, Inara will.
The final scene of Serenity:
Mal: But it ain't all buttons and charts, little albatross. You know what the first rule of flyin' is? Well I suppose you do, since you already know what I'm about to say.
River: I do. But I like to hear you say it.
Mal: Love. You can know all the math in the 'Verse, but take a boat in the air you don't love, she'll shake you off, just as sure as the turnin' of worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells ya she's hurtin' 'fore she keens. Makes her home.
In "Ariel", when Jayne learns what the government did to River, the expression on his face, and what he did afterwards, namely trying to rescue the two of them from the mess he made.
If you watch carefully you can see him get more and more uncomfortable as Simon keeps sincerely thanking and praising him.
It's tossed off. It occurs in the background, and no one comments on it. Jayne's reading a letter from his mother and she mentions that the money he sent helped. Then he goes on to wear the hat she sent for the rest of the episode. How much of his cut do you think he sends home?
There's a reason Jayne's a money-grubbing scoundrel.
This is already kind of hinted at in previous examples, but any scene in which Simon utters the words "Mei-mei". The amount of unconditional love Sean Maher can put in to those two words is heartbreaking.
About 80% of Mal's actions in "Shindig" were a result of his sexist backwards views on how to defend a lady's honor, but it all comes together when Inara finally calls him out on it:
Inara: You have a strange sense of nobility, Captain. You'll lay a man out for implying that I'm a whore, but you keep calling me one to my face.
Mal: Look, I may not show respect to your job, but he didn't respect you. That's the difference. Inara, he doesn't even see you.
It's further sealed when he asks her not to stay with Atherton and even admits he has no right to say it, but he does because he cares about her.
The scene in "Out of Gas" where Mal makes Inara leave the ship with the rest of the crew. The most important bit is when he touches her shoulder—one small little touch that shows everything in their relationship. He knows he can't tell her how he feels and she knows she can't reciprocate it and so that one touch conveys his concerns better than any dialogue could have.
Mal quipping to Wash about Zoe during the torture scene in "War Stories" comes across just really damn mean-spirited, up until the music kicks in, where it becomes apparent that Mal is just goading Wash so he'll weather through it.
As the argument in "War Stories" culminates, Wash insists Zoe always follows Mal's orders and Mal objects. Wash asks him to name one order of his she disobeyed. His answer? "She married you." Even the most stalwart number two had to make an exception for true love.
My favorite Simon & River scene is in "War Stories" (before Niska captures Mal and Wash). He's started medicating River, and she throws up from the side effects. She starts saying that she hates it when she's lucid because she knows she'll relapse, and goes into a spiel ending with "What am I?" He hugs her and says, "You are my beautiful sister."
River: I threw up on your bed. (beat) Simon: Yep, definitely my sister.
Kaylee is basically one heart-warming person. So sweet, yet never sickeningly sweet, just genuinely sweet which is unique. You usually feel this way about children and it feels great that a grown-up woman can be like this. Makes you want to hug her, take her home and feed her with cookies.
In the pilot, there's a moment when Mal visits Kaylee in the infirmary, and she pats his arm and cheerfully assures him that her being shot was "nobody's fault."
Gotta love the scene when Kaylee and River are playing together like children, running about the ship, laughing and whooping, and playfully fighting over an apple. Crowned with Mal's funny and heart-warming comment:
Mal: Ah, the pitter-patter of tiny feet in huge combat boots... SHUT UP!
Once she retreives said apple.
Kaylee: There's no power in the verse can stop me.
In "Objects in Space," While Kaylee is recounting her actions in 'War Stories.'
Mal: I got no problem with the notion you not killing nobody Kaylee.
In "War Stories," Zoe tries to make a deal with Niska to save Mal and Wash. He tells her that she only has enough money for one, thinking that he's about to force her to make a Sadistic Choice, but before he even finishes his sentence, Zoe immediately chooses Wash. She doesn't even stop to think about it, it's her first instinct to get her husband out of there.
In "Bushwhacked", when Simon and River are hiding from the Alliance. Simon's tense, naturally, but River is just looking at the stars with a huge smile on her face. As soon as they get back on board, she's just saying "Let's go again!" in as cheerful a tone as she is able.
Wash's Indulgent Fantasy Segue in the second issue of the comic book miniseries Better Days, involving his absolutely adorable hypothetical child with Zoe.
Zoe's speech at the end of Float Out. On so many levels.
(Zoe has taken the bottle of champagne for christening the Jetwash and gives Tagg another) Tagg: This is un-ga-pae. Zoe: Sure is. Cheap Asian liquor. Perfect for a young couple of limited means on a first date. Wash loved it. Just like he loved flying. And his friends. Just like she will.
Tagg's story about passing up an opportunity to arrest Wash after seeing him dump a cargo of valuable water purifiers so his friends could get away.
This exchange from the end of The Train Job:
Sheriff: You were truthful back in town; these are tough times. A man can get a job, he might not look too close at what that job is. But a man learns all the details of a situation like ours... well, then he has a choice.