"Sex. Muscles. Humor. Thuggery. Jayne."
-- Adam Baldwin, summarizing his character
Jayne Cobb - The Mercenary (played by Adam Baldwin)
A mercenary who didn't fight for either side in the Unification War, Jayne works for whoever pays him the best. At the moment, that's Mal, so that's where Jayne's loyalty lies — until something better comes along.
Jayne stores his guns just above his bed — appropriate since his favorite posession is a gun he calls Vera (Our Mrs Reynolds). He's a tough fighter who can take a bullet or two without much complaint, and an expert marksman. For all the talent Jayne has for combat, he's lacking in social graces, which frustates Malcolm Reynolds on more than one occasion.
But there's more to Jayne than meets the eye; he also shows a human side:
- When Kaylee gets shot in Serenity he reacts with the anger you'd expect, but there appears to be more to it than pure anger, indicated by a shot of Jayne waiting with bated breath to see if Kaylee survives her surgery.
- In Jaynestown when a local Mudder throws himself in front of a bullet meant for him, Jayne is clearly conflicted by the act and spends quite a bit of time at the end of the episode trying to deal with it.
- In Out of Gas Jayne goes out of his way to help Mal by closing air vents that lead below deck and prepping a suit for when the air in the ship runs out.
- In Ariel when Jayne thinks Mal is going to kill him, he doesn't want the crew to know he betrayed River and Simon. He cares what the crew thinks of him in the end. SLS?
- In The Message, Jayne receives a hat from his mother which he seems to cherish through the episode, despite ridicule from the crew. Importantly, the note that accompanies the hat includes his mother's thanks for the credits he has forwarded her, and news about the family. Perhaps Jayne's greed is grounded in something other than pure avarice.
- In Heart of Gold Jayne puts on his best shirt to make a good impression at the brothel and is later seen tenderly combing the hair of his chosen lady. SLS?
He is almost always touching or smelling something. This becomes more pronounced as the series conitinues and is quite pronounced in Serenity.