The Firefly and Serenity Database
Ep trash sc471


Guest star(s)

Vern Gillum


June 28, 2003

Episode chronology
Previous episode

War Stories

Next episode

The Message

Trash is the eleventh episode of the Firefly TV series and wasn't aired during the original series run. It is the first of three episodes that were not broadcast in the original 2002 Fox run.

Saffron returns to plague Serenity with a scheme to steal a rare antique weapon from a wealthy landowner. Unfortunately for Mal, she neglects to mention just how she came across the information needed to break into the landowner's home.

Lassiter inara

Inara points a laser gun at Saffron


The show opens in a desert, where a naked Mal sits on a rock, staring into the distance, and says to himself, "Yeah… That went well." Flashback to 72 hours earlier, where Mal meets fellow Independence soldier-turned-smuggler Monty. Monty's crew is engaged in unloading his own ship as the two captains chat. Monty announces that he's gotten married, and introduces his lovely new bride Bridget. As soon as they spot each other, Mal and "Bridget" pull guns on each other. "Bridget" turns out to be none other than Mal's nemesis Saffron. The two adversaries disarm each other and struggle until a bewildered Monty separates them. Mal tells Monty that "Saffron" is his wife. Saffron objects and addresses Mal by name, to which Monty interjects that he had never formally introduced the two, catching Saffron at her treachery.

Monty, cursing over his ship's intercom, strands Saffron on the drop point with Mal. When Mal orders Saffron to start walking away from his "scrap o' nowhere", Saffron unsuccessfully works her wiles on him, then switches to teasing him with a profitable planned theft in order to avoid being stranded on "this lifeless piece-of-crap moon".

Later, Serenity arrives to pick up Mal and the unloaded cargo. The crew is puzzled over Mal's injuries, which he refuses to discuss. When Inara invites him into her shuttle for tea, he rants about her use of "feminine wiles" to manipulate him. Inara gets to her point — she wants to be able to conduct her business, and implies he is deliberately making it hard for her to find clients. As their argument devolves into personal attacks, Inara calls him a "petty thief" and suggests that he hasn't been serious about his own work lately. The scene cuts to Mal in the cargo bay, opening one of the loaded crates, getting Saffron out for more details on her "million-square job".

In the common room, Saffron stands before the crew describing her plan to rob an antique laser pistol, the Lassiter, from Durran Haymer, a wealthy collector of Earth-That-Was artifacts. She claims a remarkable awareness of Haymer's security arrangements, but insists that she needs help to get the weapon off the estate. However, the crew expresses outrage that they're even considering working with her, given her previous attempt to get them all killed and steal their ship. Mal discusses his reasons for his leniency, pointedly quoting some of Inara's words in their earlier argument to imply that she's partly responsible for his "descent into lunacy". Zoë is skeptical, but decides to go with the plan — immediately after delivering a flooring punch to the con artist's chin.

While Jayne watches over Simon and River, keeping them out of Saffron's sight, River delivers warnings about not trusting Saffron. She tells Simon in private that Jayne has been scared since their visit to Ariel, "afraid we'll know". Meanwhile, Wash and Kaylee describe their detailed plans of how to get Mal and Saffron in and the antique weapon out, interspersed with a montage of scenes of the activities as they take place. The key to the plan is to dump the collectible pistol into an automated trash disposal unit, which Kaylee will reprogram to take the trash to a remote location where they can pick it up.

Mal and Saffron enter the estate without difficulty, proving correct Saffron's claims about her inside knowledge. They quickly find the room that features the well-protected collectible, but are surprised when Durran himself enters. Mal is further surprised when Durran rushes to Saffron and embraces her, thanking him for bringing back his wife Yolanda. Apparently, Yolanda/Saffron disappeared six years earlier, at the same time an estate worker was killed. Mal comically tries to disappear into the background, but Saffron insists that Durran provide some compensation for Mal's "rescue". As Durran leaves to get the money, the uneasy partners finish retrieving the pistol, while Mal wonders aloud about whether Saffron is actually in love with Durran, and if he might be her real husband. She responds by pulling her weapon on him and insulting him. When Durran arrives in time to observe this disconnect with her story; she tries to backpedal, but Mal tells him the truth about their robbery attempt. While Saffron expresses contempt for Durran, Mal surreptitiously drops the antique in the trash chute. Durran, however, informs his beloved "wife" that he had notified the authorities the moment he found them in his trophy room. Saffron again demonstrates her erratic nature by switching back to her feminine wiles, but finally ends up knocking this husband unconscious. As the Feds descend on the estate, the two thieves barrel through them and leave in Serenity's shuttle.

Meanwhile, Wash has been holding Serenity directly under Haymer's estate's trash unit while Jayne retrieved the control unit and Kaylee reprogrammed it, clinging to the ship's hull. During the windy EVA, Jayne is shocked unconscious. Book drags the mercenary back into Serenity to be treated by Simon. Zoë goes outside to help Kaylee, who barely manages to get the control board plugged in before the automated pickup vehicle comes up behind them and attaches itself to the trash unit. Off it goes with the priceless weapon.

As Mal's shuttle flies toward the rendezvous in Isis Canyon, he continues to explore his theory that Durran was Saffron's true love and original husband, and the con artist seems to break down in contemplation of what she's lost. As Mal regretfully expresses his belief that she'll just go back to being her conniving self, she proves him correct by pulling his own gun on him. Meanwhile, the crew on Serenity find that Saffron sabotaged the ship's alternators preventing the ship from maneuvering. The ship is forced to touch down and wouldn't be able to make the rendezvous. Saffron forces Mal to disrobe and strands him in the desert leaving him to yell curses at her as she departs in the shuttle.

At the trashyard, Saffron searches through the garbage for the antique laser pistol. To her surprise, Inara emerges above her to taunt her with the weapon. She explains that Serenity's crew had been playing Saffron all along, "although some of the crew's performances weren't quite as nuanced as they could have been" (especially Kaylee and Jayne couldn't keep a straight face at their first meeting with Saffron, for example). The Companion also claims to have been part of the plan all along, knowing that Saffron would get the drop on them somehow and arranging to beat the clever thief at her own game of deception. She remotely closes the garbage container to trap Saffron for the authorities to pick up later.

In the infirmary, Jayne awakens to find himself medically paralyzed to rest a spinal injury. When Jayne asks if he's going to be okay, the doctor calmly asks him how much he was offered to hand over the Tams to the Alliance. Jayne calls, "Anybody there?", and River appears. Jayne then says, "Anybody else?" With Jayne paralyzed and in the company of the people he sold out, Simon ominously points out that in Jayne's "dangerous line of work", he will require the services of ship's doctor again. But he surprises the mercenary by promising, "I want you to understand one thing very clearly. No matter what you do or say or plot... no matter how you come down on us... I will never, ever harm you" because he's a doctor and Jayne is part of the ship's crew. After the good-hearted doctor leaves, River peeks in to tell the wounded man, "Also... I can kill you with my brain."

Later, Serenity makes it to Mal's location where Mal remarks "that went well," as was the opening scene. Inara and Mal trade some quips about Mal's "plan." Wash and Zoë look on, awkwardly stunned, as Mal cheerfully reenters Serenity, still sans clothing, and muses unselfconsciously about the success of their heist, which seems to offer a rosier financial future than before.


Behind the scenes[]

Nathan Fillion described the process for filming his nude scenes in separate interviews. In the first, he provided a contrast between the way a nude scene is shot when a woman is involved and when his scene was shot. For a woman, the set is typically closed. No one is on set that doesn't need to be there. For his scene, it was more of a free-for-all, with pretty much anyone stopping by.

During the roundtable discussion that took place just prior to the tenth anniversary reunion panel at the San Diego Comic Con in 2012 and subsequently shown as Firefly: Browncoats Unite on Science Channel, he provided further details. The only piece of clothing he was wearing was essentially a small mitten covering his front. Nathan got a picture of Joss Whedon's face and attached it to the mitten so that if anyone happened to look down there, they would see Joss' face.

At the end of the episode, Wash can be seen glancing down towards that area on Mal, and immediately is bemused and unable to form a sentence. He walks off, shaking his head.


  • When Kaylee and Jayne are reprogramming the bin on Haymer's estate, you can see that the second character in the writing on the bin (危電) is mirrored horizontally.
  • When Kaylee and Jayne are inserting the hacked motherboard into the trash bin, a monitor on the bin shows a Windows XP desktop and the "CD Writing" wizard as opposed to the fake computer interfaces typically used on the show [1].


Mandarin Translation[]

(Special Thanks to

  • "Ben tiansheng de yi dui rou. 笨天生的一堆肉 [Stupid inbred stack of meat.]" - Saffron.
  • "This was all your fault, you know. I had the perfect crime lined up." "Sure. You were stealing a man's beard." "No, you houzi de pigu! 猴子的屁股 [monkey's butt!]" - Saffron and Mal exchange words.
  • "Yiqi shenhuxi. [Let's take a deep breath.]" - Mal tries to calm Inara.
  • "I didn't mean petty." "What did you mean?" "Suoxi? 琐细 [Petty, Trivial]" "That's Chinese for petty." - Inara and Mal.
  • "Nimen dou shi shagua. 你们都是傻瓜 [Idiots, all of you.]" - Inara's response to the crew's willingness to follow Saffron.
  • "Why the captain is trusting that bu huihen de pofu [remorseless harridan] is beyond..." - Simon.
  • "Shensheng de gaowan... 神圣的睾丸 [Holy testicle...]" - Mal reacts to the opulence of Durran's collection.
  • "Wangbadan de biaozi! [Whores of sons of bitches!]" - Saffron curses the police.
  • "Ta shi suoyou diyu de biaozi de ma! [She's the mother of all the whores in hell!]" - Kaylee finds Saffron's handiwork.

Episode scripts[]