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Once '''Dr. Simon Tam''' had a promising surgical career in the Core Worlds and was sympathetic to the [[Anglo-Sino Alliance|Alliance]]. Now, he lives with his younger sister [[River Tam|River]], her caretaker and the ship's reluctant doctor. Simon sacrificed everything to liberate River from an Alliance 'academy' that ran grotesque experiments on her and tampered with her brain. A federal fugitive now, he finds himself outside the law like all ''Serenity's'' others. The relationship between Simon and the crew is mutually beneficial, if occassionally awkward -- they frequently need patching up, and the Tams need to keep on the move. Simon has and will continue to do whatever it takes to keep River from further harm -- even if it means running for the rest of his life from the very government he used to support. - ''From [http://www.serenitymovie.com/ The Official Serenity Website]''
 
Once '''Dr. Simon Tam''' had a promising surgical career in the Core Worlds and was sympathetic to the [[Anglo-Sino Alliance|Alliance]]. Now, he lives with his younger sister [[River Tam|River]], her caretaker and the ship's reluctant doctor. Simon sacrificed everything to liberate River from an Alliance 'academy' that ran grotesque experiments on her and tampered with her brain. A federal fugitive now, he finds himself outside the law like all ''Serenity's'' others. The relationship between Simon and the crew is mutually beneficial, if occassionally awkward -- they frequently need patching up, and the Tams need to keep on the move. Simon has and will continue to do whatever it takes to keep River from further harm -- even if it means running for the rest of his life from the very government he used to support. - ''From [http://www.serenitymovie.com/ The Official Serenity Website]''
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  +
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== Early life ==
  +
Simon was born in late November, c. 2490 to Gabriel and Regan Tam, and was born and raised on Osiris, a Core World planet with major Alliance ties. In the original script for the episode "Bushwhacked" it is revealed that Simon supported Unification, the issue that sparked the eponymous War of Unification, though he was young at the time and no doubt easily swayed by Alliance propaganda.
  +
  +
Due to an arrangement with his father when he was young, where Simon would receive a dedicated source box for access to the Cortex (similar to the Internet) in exchange for becoming a brilliant doctor, Simon eventually entered medical school c. 2507. In fact, due to Simon being considered practically gifted, he was accepted to the best Medical Academy, or "MedAcad," on Osiris. Simon graduated in the top 3% of his class, and promptly moved onto a medical internship, which he completed in a mere eight months (as opposed to a year), and is licensed to practice medicine.
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  +
Simon later tells Kaylee Frye, engineer of Serenity, that after he and his fellow doctors officially became surgeons, they imbibed quite a large amount of sake, and ended up naked on a statue of Hippocrates. There are rumors that Simon began singing the National Anthem, and he either talked or paid his way out of the Alliance telling his father. Simon admits that he is quite "fuzzy on details" regarding this story.
  +
  +
From there, he became a resident trauma surgeon on one of the major hospitals in Capital City, Osiris.
  +
  +
  +
== Trapped River ==
  +
Around this time, the Tam family was made aware of an elite Alliance-sponsored school called The Academy that their youngest daughter, River could attend. Simon began receiving notes from River a few months into her schooling, littered with spelling errors and mentions of parties and families that did not exist. Eventually, Simon realizes that River is writing in code, asking him to rescue her, though when he informs his parents of this, they dismiss it as paranoia (as seen in "Safe").
  +
  +
Due to Simon's intense attachment to River, however, he continues a quest to find and bring her out of the Academy, even going to lengths to enter Illegal Blackout Zones – although these are never exactly explained – and arrested, much to the shame of his father and family. Eventually, after two years of searching, he is contacted by an underground group that said they could rescue River and deliver her to Simon, should he be able to pay enough.
  +
  +
  +
== Breakout ==
  +
  +
For two years after he learned of River's treatment at the Academy, Simon couldn't help her. However, Simon is eventually contacted by a group of men from an underground movement. They explain to him that the Alliance has been "playing with her brain." If funded, the men agreed to sneak River out via cryogenics. River would then be taken to Persephone, which is a planet slightly outside the Core, where Simon could take her wherever he wished.
  +
  +
Simon spends a large amount of money funding the men. As part of the plan, he manages to break into the Academy disguised as a uniformed official of the Alliance government and asks questions of Dr. Mathias about River’s treatment. Simon activates a hidden stun grenade and releases River. They then run to the window of an elevator shaft, break through, and the mens' ship overhead releases a raft that they use to ride up to safety. This was all caught on the security cameras of the Academy (as seen in Serenity). From there, they head for Persephone.
  +
  +
When the Alliance learns of River's rescue, they promptly freeze all of Simon's monetary accounts, leaving him with nothing but his medkit, and put out a warrant for the arrest of both Simon and River, labelling them as fugitives (as mentioned in "Safe" and "Ariel'").
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Simon eventually makes it to Persephone, where, at the Eavesdown Docks, he decides to board Serenity, bringing with him a large case that is eventually revealed to be River, cryogenically frozen.
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  +
== Onboard Serenity ==
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  +
After landing on Persephone, Simon, looking for a ship to take he and River off-planet, chooses the ship Serenity, which had just docked. He comes aboard, dressed to the nines, and silent. The ship's pilot, Wash, hauls the box with River (unknown to Wash) onboard the ship.
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  +
Later, Wash realizes a beacon has been sent to the Alliance, and Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds believes that it is Simon – a possible undercover agent – who has sent it out. In the ensuing conflict, they realize that Simon is not a fed, but Lawrence Dobson, another passenger, is. Dobson, in an attempt to gain control of the ship and capture the "fugitives" onboard, and shoots Kaylee Frye in the stomach. As Simon is the only doctor on board, he alone has the means to save her, and uses this fact to make sure Mal Reynolds does not hand Simon and River over to the Alliance. Mal agrees only out of concern for Kaylee and resents most heavily anyone exerting power over him aboard his own ship. After Simon has done all he can for Kaylee, Mal decides to find out what Simon had in his crate. Mal opens it up, finding Simon's sister, River Tam.
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Because of the need of Simon and River to stay on the move, Mal Reynolds offers Simon a post as medic on Serenity, and Simon accepts.
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  +
Simon soon settles into life on the ship, spending time with River, in attempts to figure out what happened to her at the Academy. The Tams remain below Alliance radar, despite some close calls, notably, the boarding of the ship in "Bushwhacked".
  +
  +
From the beginning Simon and Mal experience a lot of tension. This is due mainly to their similarity: both would do anything to protect their family. To Mal, his crew is his family and he tolerates and accepts Simon and River as long as they do not threaten the wellbeing of his ship or crew. Simon is likewise devoted to River’s safety. These two goals are not always seen as the same despite Simon being the ship’s medic and thus a member of the crew.
  +
  +
There is also some tension with Jayne Cobb who is crude and uneducated and does not see any wisdom in keeping the Tams aboard. Indeed, after River attacked him with a knife in one of her psychotic outbursts, Jayne attempted to turn them in and collect the reward ( “Ariel”)
  +
  +
Simon remains so intent on making sure River is not causing trouble that he doesn't concentrate on relations with the rest of the crew. When Simon meets up with Inara and Kaylee while they are shopping on Jiangyin, he manages to insult the only thing important in Kaylee's life by referring to Serenity as lo se, or, basically, "garbage."
  +
  +
Simon then loses track of River on Jiangyin, and while he finds her happily dancing with townspeople, he soon gets captured by hill-folk who are in desperate need of a doctor. This leads downhill, as River is soon accused of witchcraft, and while Simon is ready to die with her, Mal and Zoe successfully located them and come to the rescue. After they have safely returned to the ship, Simon asks Mal why Mal had come back for them. Mal simply responds:
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"You're on my crew. Why're we still talkin' about this?"
  +
  +
From that point on, Simon is clearly more a part of the crew. In "Jaynestown", he pretends to be a high-class buyer of ceramic mud as a cover for a job. While on this job, he and Kaylee have their first moment where it's realized that Simon may have more feelings for Kaylee than originally thought. When they sit together in the pub in Canton (the town where the job is), Simon and Kaylee get rather drunk, and when they get to talking, they reveal their true colors:
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Kaylee: You are pretty funny.
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Simon: And you're pretty... pretty.
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Kaylee: What did you just say?
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Simon: I just said that you're pretty. Even when you're covered in... engine grease, you're... No, especially, especially when you're covered in engine grease.
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However, when they are awakened the next morning by Mal, Simon denies that anything could have ever happened between him acknowledging Mal's older brother relationship with Kaylee. However, he did so in a manner that understandably angered Kaylee. They resolve this somewhat at the end of the episode when Simon explains that his polite manner is his way of showing respect and affection.
  +
  +
Simon appears prominently in "Ariel", where the crew finds themselves on Ariel, a Core Planet swarming with Alliance. Mal forbids the crew to leave, but Simon suggests a job for them that involves stealing medicine from St. Lucy's, a major hospital on Ariel, and selling them on the black market for profit.
  +
  +
Simon's motive is to access the sophisticated neural scanners that are in St. Lucy's, as he has reached a wall in his attempts to find out what the Academy scientists did to River. They eventually sneak in (through an elaborate plan, in more detail on the page for "Ariel") and Simon is able to gain access to the 3D neuro-imager to look at River's brain, and realizes her amygdala has been "stripped," and she feels all emotion and cannot filter or push aside any emotion. While in the hospital River predicts that a doctor will make a mistake and kill a patient. Simon intervenes and saves the man, demonstrating his ability and how natural being a trauma surgeon is to him.
  +
  +
By "Objects in Space", the final episode, Simon has begun to loosen up much more, especially around Kaylee, and tells her about when he made surgeon and got drunk and sang on top of the statue of Hippocrates. Due to River's quasi-psychic powers, she "hears" Simon say "I'd be there right now" and later he says something similar to Kaylee, extending it to "I'd be there now if she hadn't -- if they'd have just left her alone." This reveals that as deeply as Simon cares for his sister and as much as he tries to make her well-being his only concern, he does miss his old life.
  +
  +
== Controversy ==
  +
  +
There is a perceived discrepancy regarding Simon's role in the rescue of River, as the film and the series offer slightly conflicting views on how exactly River is released from the Academy. However it should be noted that the discrepancy is based on Simon's account given to Malcom Reynolds, at a time when Simon was extremely suspicious of him, and so it is quite likely that Simon's account is not intended to be completely accurate. Hence the depiction in Serenity is not incompatible with the series. The explanation given in the series (more specifically, in the pilot episode "Serenity") is that Simon funded the group that smuggled River out and picked her up on Persephone suspended in cryo in a large crate, with no mention made of his direct participation:
  +
  +
Zoe: “How’d you do it?”
  +
Simon: “Money. And luck. For two years I couldn’t get near her then I was contacted by some men, some underground movement. They said that she was in danger, that the government was playing with her brain. If I funded them they could sneak her out in cryo, get her to Persephone, and from there I could take her wherever.”
  +
  +
In the film, however, a security video captured Simon impersonating an alliance official and being directly involved in rescuing a fully animate River
  +
  +
Joss Whedon has commented on this, saying that for the movie he had to have Simon rescue River, for plot reasons, and saying that Simon was lying when he first told the crew about rescuing River (which is believable given his character), and that he plans on addressing the issue at some point.
   
 
==Behind the Scenes==
 
==Behind the Scenes==

Revision as of 21:50, May 14, 2006

Once Dr. Simon Tam had a promising surgical career in the Core Worlds and was sympathetic to the Alliance. Now, he lives with his younger sister River, her caretaker and the ship's reluctant doctor. Simon sacrificed everything to liberate River from an Alliance 'academy' that ran grotesque experiments on her and tampered with her brain. A federal fugitive now, he finds himself outside the law like all Serenity's others. The relationship between Simon and the crew is mutually beneficial, if occassionally awkward -- they frequently need patching up, and the Tams need to keep on the move. Simon has and will continue to do whatever it takes to keep River from further harm -- even if it means running for the rest of his life from the very government he used to support. - From The Official Serenity Website


Early life

Simon was born in late November, c. 2490 to Gabriel and Regan Tam, and was born and raised on Osiris, a Core World planet with major Alliance ties. In the original script for the episode "Bushwhacked" it is revealed that Simon supported Unification, the issue that sparked the eponymous War of Unification, though he was young at the time and no doubt easily swayed by Alliance propaganda.

Due to an arrangement with his father when he was young, where Simon would receive a dedicated source box for access to the Cortex (similar to the Internet) in exchange for becoming a brilliant doctor, Simon eventually entered medical school c. 2507. In fact, due to Simon being considered practically gifted, he was accepted to the best Medical Academy, or "MedAcad," on Osiris. Simon graduated in the top 3% of his class, and promptly moved onto a medical internship, which he completed in a mere eight months (as opposed to a year), and is licensed to practice medicine.

Simon later tells Kaylee Frye, engineer of Serenity, that after he and his fellow doctors officially became surgeons, they imbibed quite a large amount of sake, and ended up naked on a statue of Hippocrates. There are rumors that Simon began singing the National Anthem, and he either talked or paid his way out of the Alliance telling his father. Simon admits that he is quite "fuzzy on details" regarding this story.

From there, he became a resident trauma surgeon on one of the major hospitals in Capital City, Osiris.


Trapped River

Around this time, the Tam family was made aware of an elite Alliance-sponsored school called The Academy that their youngest daughter, River could attend. Simon began receiving notes from River a few months into her schooling, littered with spelling errors and mentions of parties and families that did not exist. Eventually, Simon realizes that River is writing in code, asking him to rescue her, though when he informs his parents of this, they dismiss it as paranoia (as seen in "Safe").

Due to Simon's intense attachment to River, however, he continues a quest to find and bring her out of the Academy, even going to lengths to enter Illegal Blackout Zones – although these are never exactly explained – and arrested, much to the shame of his father and family. Eventually, after two years of searching, he is contacted by an underground group that said they could rescue River and deliver her to Simon, should he be able to pay enough.


Breakout

For two years after he learned of River's treatment at the Academy, Simon couldn't help her. However, Simon is eventually contacted by a group of men from an underground movement. They explain to him that the Alliance has been "playing with her brain." If funded, the men agreed to sneak River out via cryogenics. River would then be taken to Persephone, which is a planet slightly outside the Core, where Simon could take her wherever he wished.

Simon spends a large amount of money funding the men. As part of the plan, he manages to break into the Academy disguised as a uniformed official of the Alliance government and asks questions of Dr. Mathias about River’s treatment. Simon activates a hidden stun grenade and releases River. They then run to the window of an elevator shaft, break through, and the mens' ship overhead releases a raft that they use to ride up to safety. This was all caught on the security cameras of the Academy (as seen in Serenity). From there, they head for Persephone.

When the Alliance learns of River's rescue, they promptly freeze all of Simon's monetary accounts, leaving him with nothing but his medkit, and put out a warrant for the arrest of both Simon and River, labelling them as fugitives (as mentioned in "Safe" and "Ariel'").

Simon eventually makes it to Persephone, where, at the Eavesdown Docks, he decides to board Serenity, bringing with him a large case that is eventually revealed to be River, cryogenically frozen.

Onboard Serenity

After landing on Persephone, Simon, looking for a ship to take he and River off-planet, chooses the ship Serenity, which had just docked. He comes aboard, dressed to the nines, and silent. The ship's pilot, Wash, hauls the box with River (unknown to Wash) onboard the ship.

Later, Wash realizes a beacon has been sent to the Alliance, and Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds believes that it is Simon – a possible undercover agent – who has sent it out. In the ensuing conflict, they realize that Simon is not a fed, but Lawrence Dobson, another passenger, is. Dobson, in an attempt to gain control of the ship and capture the "fugitives" onboard, and shoots Kaylee Frye in the stomach. As Simon is the only doctor on board, he alone has the means to save her, and uses this fact to make sure Mal Reynolds does not hand Simon and River over to the Alliance. Mal agrees only out of concern for Kaylee and resents most heavily anyone exerting power over him aboard his own ship. After Simon has done all he can for Kaylee, Mal decides to find out what Simon had in his crate. Mal opens it up, finding Simon's sister, River Tam.

Because of the need of Simon and River to stay on the move, Mal Reynolds offers Simon a post as medic on Serenity, and Simon accepts.

Simon soon settles into life on the ship, spending time with River, in attempts to figure out what happened to her at the Academy. The Tams remain below Alliance radar, despite some close calls, notably, the boarding of the ship in "Bushwhacked".

From the beginning Simon and Mal experience a lot of tension. This is due mainly to their similarity: both would do anything to protect their family. To Mal, his crew is his family and he tolerates and accepts Simon and River as long as they do not threaten the wellbeing of his ship or crew. Simon is likewise devoted to River’s safety. These two goals are not always seen as the same despite Simon being the ship’s medic and thus a member of the crew.

There is also some tension with Jayne Cobb who is crude and uneducated and does not see any wisdom in keeping the Tams aboard. Indeed, after River attacked him with a knife in one of her psychotic outbursts, Jayne attempted to turn them in and collect the reward ( “Ariel”)

Simon remains so intent on making sure River is not causing trouble that he doesn't concentrate on relations with the rest of the crew. When Simon meets up with Inara and Kaylee while they are shopping on Jiangyin, he manages to insult the only thing important in Kaylee's life by referring to Serenity as lo se, or, basically, "garbage."

Simon then loses track of River on Jiangyin, and while he finds her happily dancing with townspeople, he soon gets captured by hill-folk who are in desperate need of a doctor. This leads downhill, as River is soon accused of witchcraft, and while Simon is ready to die with her, Mal and Zoe successfully located them and come to the rescue. After they have safely returned to the ship, Simon asks Mal why Mal had come back for them. Mal simply responds:

   "You're on my crew. Why're we still talkin' about this?"

From that point on, Simon is clearly more a part of the crew. In "Jaynestown", he pretends to be a high-class buyer of ceramic mud as a cover for a job. While on this job, he and Kaylee have their first moment where it's realized that Simon may have more feelings for Kaylee than originally thought. When they sit together in the pub in Canton (the town where the job is), Simon and Kaylee get rather drunk, and when they get to talking, they reveal their true colors:

Kaylee: You are pretty funny. Simon: And you're pretty... pretty. Kaylee: What did you just say? Simon: I just said that you're pretty. Even when you're covered in... engine grease, you're... No, especially, especially when you're covered in engine grease.

However, when they are awakened the next morning by Mal, Simon denies that anything could have ever happened between him acknowledging Mal's older brother relationship with Kaylee. However, he did so in a manner that understandably angered Kaylee. They resolve this somewhat at the end of the episode when Simon explains that his polite manner is his way of showing respect and affection.

Simon appears prominently in "Ariel", where the crew finds themselves on Ariel, a Core Planet swarming with Alliance. Mal forbids the crew to leave, but Simon suggests a job for them that involves stealing medicine from St. Lucy's, a major hospital on Ariel, and selling them on the black market for profit.

Simon's motive is to access the sophisticated neural scanners that are in St. Lucy's, as he has reached a wall in his attempts to find out what the Academy scientists did to River. They eventually sneak in (through an elaborate plan, in more detail on the page for "Ariel") and Simon is able to gain access to the 3D neuro-imager to look at River's brain, and realizes her amygdala has been "stripped," and she feels all emotion and cannot filter or push aside any emotion. While in the hospital River predicts that a doctor will make a mistake and kill a patient. Simon intervenes and saves the man, demonstrating his ability and how natural being a trauma surgeon is to him.

By "Objects in Space", the final episode, Simon has begun to loosen up much more, especially around Kaylee, and tells her about when he made surgeon and got drunk and sang on top of the statue of Hippocrates. Due to River's quasi-psychic powers, she "hears" Simon say "I'd be there right now" and later he says something similar to Kaylee, extending it to "I'd be there now if she hadn't -- if they'd have just left her alone." This reveals that as deeply as Simon cares for his sister and as much as he tries to make her well-being his only concern, he does miss his old life.

Controversy

There is a perceived discrepancy regarding Simon's role in the rescue of River, as the film and the series offer slightly conflicting views on how exactly River is released from the Academy. However it should be noted that the discrepancy is based on Simon's account given to Malcom Reynolds, at a time when Simon was extremely suspicious of him, and so it is quite likely that Simon's account is not intended to be completely accurate. Hence the depiction in Serenity is not incompatible with the series. The explanation given in the series (more specifically, in the pilot episode "Serenity") is that Simon funded the group that smuggled River out and picked her up on Persephone suspended in cryo in a large crate, with no mention made of his direct participation:

   Zoe: “How’d you do it?”
   Simon: “Money. And luck. For two years I couldn’t get near her then I was contacted by some men, some underground movement. They said that she was in danger, that the government was playing with her brain. If I funded them they could sneak her out in cryo, get her to Persephone, and from there I could take her wherever.”

In the film, however, a security video captured Simon impersonating an alliance official and being directly involved in rescuing a fully animate River

Joss Whedon has commented on this, saying that for the movie he had to have Simon rescue River, for plot reasons, and saying that Simon was lying when he first told the crew about rescuing River (which is believable given his character), and that he plans on addressing the issue at some point.

Behind the Scenes

Simon is portrayed by actor Sean Maher in the television series Firefly and the motion picture Serenity.

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