The crew of Serenity engages in an illegal salvage operation, but their work is cut short when the Alliance cruiser I.A.V. Dortmunder arrives in the area on patrol. Serenity manages to get away with the cargo from the wrecked ship, but not before the Dortmunder's crew can send a bulletin over the cortex, alerting authorities to be on the watch for a Firefly-class vessel carrying stolen goods.
Serenity arrives at the Eavesdown Docks on Persephone where Mal, Zoë and Jayne meet with Badger to sell the salvaged cargo. Unfortunately, Badger has already recieved the Alliance bulletin, and refuses to pay for marked goods. They return to the ship, and find that Kaylee has chartered three passengers for their trip to Boros: the bumbling Lawrence Dobson, a holy man named Shepherd Book, and a mysterious doctor named Simon Tam. Knowing they'll never be able to sell the cargo on Boros, Mal decides to make a detour to Whitefall, risking contact with an old enemy, Patience. Inara returns from conducting her business, and the ship takes off.
En route to Whitefall, Wash intercepts a transmission to an Alliance cruiser coming from on board Serenity. The mole is revealed to be Dobson, who has come, not for the crew, but for Simon, who he claims is a wanted fugitive. When Mal presses for more information a heated stand-off develops, and when Kaylee wanders into the middle of it she is shot and grievously wounded by the lawman. Book manages to subdue Dobson, but the Alliance cruiser still draws closer. With Kaylee's life in the balance, Simon demands that the captain take flight from the authorities or he will refuse any treatment to the wounded girl. Mal reluctantly complies, and Kaylee is taken to the sickbay.
Once Kaylee is stabilized, Mal heads to the cargo hold, and searches through the doctor's luggage to find out why the Feds are currently pursuing him. There, he finds a young girl, cryogenically frozen. Simon is forced to tell his story. The girl is his gifted sister River. She was broken out of a government research facility that had been experimenting with her highly advanced brain, causing the girl such high levels of duress that she has gone insane.
Luck is not with Serenity on this voyage. In addition to Dobson (who is now bound in the brig), they find themselves encountering a vessel full of the savage Reavers. Fortunately, they pass on without incident.
Mal leaves Jayne (and his knife) to find out what Dobson has told the Feds; however, after Mal leaves Dobson bribes Jayne to free him in return for the huge reward on the fugitives.
Serenity arrives at Whitefall and Mal makes contact with Patience. It soon becomes clear that the woman has no intention of paying them for the cargo, but dealing with her is the only choice they have at this point. Mal takes Zoë out to face Patience and her men. The cargo is buried, and Mal tells Patience she will have the coordinates as soon as he recieves payment. As expected, Patience double-crosses them, but Mal is prepared, having sent Jayne ahead to take out Patience's snipers. A firefight breaks out, but with Jayne behind the sniper's scope and Mal and Zoë's trained marksmanship, it is over in no time. Mal collects his fee from Patience, but the crew is not out of trouble yet.
Wash radios them, urging them to get back to the ship. The Reavers have tracked them to Whitefall, and are closing fast. Upon returning to Serenity, they find Dobson has escaped, and is now holding River hostage. Rather than deal with his posturing, Mal unhesitatingly puts a bullet in the annoying lawman's head and dumps his body in the desert before taking off. The Reavers join them in hot pursuit. Despite her weakened condition, Kaylee is brought to the engine room, where Jayne and Book act as her hands. In a desperate attempt to escape, Wash has her rig the engines for a "Crazy Ivan", a maneuver that whips the ship about at dangerous speeds. They narrowly escape the savage Reavers, and go to full-burn while still in the atmosphere, leaving behind a huge fireball to dangerous for the Reavers to follow them through, and launching them into deep space.
Book chooses to stay aboard Serenity, convinced by Inara that this may be the place he is needed most.
Considering the young doctor's skill, and ship's need for a medic, Mal offers Simon and his sister asylum aboard his ship. Simon accepts, and he officially joins the ragtag crew of Serenity.
- Guest Starring:
- Score by: Greg Edmonson
- Main Title Theme Song Written by: Joss Whedon, Performed by: Sonny Rhodes
- Edited by: Lisa Lassek
- Production Designer: Carey Meyer
- Director of Photography: David Boyd
- Casting by: Amy McIntyre Britt, Anya Colloff, Jennifer Fishman Pate
- Produced by: Gareth Davies
- Written and Directed by: Joss Whedon
- Executive Producers: Joss Whedon and Tim Minear
- End Credits
Behind the Scenes
- Won the Visual Effects Society's Best Visual Effects in a Television Series award, and was nominated for Best Compositing in a Televised Program, Music Video, or Commercial. Came second in the 2002 Hugo Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form category; and was nominated for a Golden Reel Award by the Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA in the Best Sound Editing in Television Long Form: Sound Effects/Foley category.
(Special Thanks to BrownCoats.com.)
- "Tama de! [Fuck me blind!] Have they spotted us?" - Mal to Wash as the Dortmunder approaches.
- "Bizui! [Shut up!]" - Mal to Jayne.
- "Kaylee! Go to blackout! We're being buzzed!" "Shia. [Affirmative.] Going dark." - Kaylee responds to Wash.
- "Ai ya, huai le! [Shit, it's not working!]" - Wash realizes the Dortmunder has spotted Serenity.
- "Bizui! [Shut up!]" - Mal, again to Jayne.
- "Zhen tama yaoming. Zhuyi. [This is pretty damn dangerous. Pay attention.]" - Wash, concerned for his wife.
- "Qingjin. [Come in.]" - Inara, answering a knock at her door while she bathes.
- "Ni tama de tianxia suoyou de ren dou gaisi. [Fuck everyone in the universe to death.]" - Mal is not happy to learn he has a mole aboard his ship.
- "Meimei [Little sister] you have to focus." - Inara to Kaylee, trying to prevent her from succumbing to shock.
- "Nimen dou bizui! [Everyone shut the hell up!]" - Mal, in the galley.
- "I'm picking up a lot of radiation. They're operating without core containment. Well, that's kuangzhe de [nuts], that's suicide." - Wash comments on the scans of the Reaver ship.
- "Don't go workin' too hard on that crush, xiaomeimei [little sister]. Doc won't be with us for long." - Mal to Kaylee as she recovers in sickbay.
- "Hundan! [Bastard!]" - Jayne, cursing his target while firing a sniper rifle.
- "Aiya, women wanle. [We're in big trouble.]" - Zoë remarks on the Reavers' approach.
Alliance cruiser; Alliance drop ship; Alliance gunship; Alliance skiff; Athens; Apatosaurus; Badger; Baker; Battle of Serenity Valley, The; Bendis; Boros; Brutus; Capital City; Capshaws, The; Companion; cortex; "Crazy Ivan"; crybaby; Dobson, Lawrence; dog; Earth-That-Was; Eavesdown Docks; Green; Gruviek; Holden Boys, The; Horowitz; horse; I.A.V. Dortmunder; Interpol; Little Lord Fauntleroy; Londinium; Orion Cruiser Line; Osiris; Patience; Persphone; rosemary; Sihnon; Southdown Abbey; Stegosaurus; strawberry; tomato; Trans-U; Triceratops; "Two-Fry"; Tyrannosaurus rex; Whitefall
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