Once again, I am going to do my best to keep my fangirl squee for this episode to a minimum. In fact, I’ll save it for a few particular moments in this episode.
The episode starts with Captain Malcolm Reynolds naked as a baby in the middle of a desert. The episode then goes back to some time ago when our beloved captain meets up with an old friend of his named Monty for a smuggling job. Monty tells Mal that he has recently married a lovely woman named Bridget. Enter the lady formerly known as Saffron. Mal and “Saffron” point guns at each other and in the midst of their scuffle, the devious redhead inadvertently reveals that she knows Mal all too well and Monty ditches them. Unfortunately, Saffron doesn’t have anywhere to go. She begs him for a ride and even offers a deal on a heist with a seriously huge payoff.
The Captain returns to Serenity and gets invited into Inara’s shuttle, a very rare occasion. And by rare, I mean never. Inara laments to Mal that she hasn’t gotten any work in three weeks and thinks that Mal is keeping her from doing her usual job. They fight like a married couple, with Inara pointing out that their last batch of cargo was little geisha bobbleheads. And the audience and I go “OH JUST KISS AND MAKE UP ALREADY!”
It cuts to Mal taking Saffron out of the crate. Saffron explains the heist to the crew: a guy named Durren Haymer who collects a lot of Earth-that-was artifacts, including the MacGuffin of this episode, the Lassiter. The Lassiter is essentially the oldest laser gun in existence. Haymer, a member of the Alliance, currently lives on an estate on a central planet named Bellerophon and Saffron knows how to get inside. Of course, the gun is gonna be hard to get because taking the gun out of the house, it’ll alert security and the feds immediately.
Inara totally sees right through the scheme, smart lady that she is, and decides to stay out of it. Zoe decides to join in after punching Saffron in the face.
Simon and River are staying out of sight. River says “She’s a liar and no good will come of her.” Jayne, of course, doesn’t care so long as there’s payoff. River then points out “Jayne is a girl’s name” and Jayne reminds her that he’s got man parts. Of course, River tells Simon, after Jayne leaves, that Jayne is afraid that the Tam siblings will find out about his betrayal on Ariel. (And now you realize that River was actually talking about Jayne when she said “She’s a liar.”)
Zoe and Inara make small talk on a bridge. Inara is going to do her regular work and reminds Zoe that Saffron will more than likely stab Mal in the back.
As we move into Bellerophon, we realize that the estates are essentially floating islands. Mal and Saffron pose as members of a party prep crew. Kaylee points out that once they get the Lassiter, they’ll have to chuck it out the garbage chute since all the doors of the estate are tagged with security alarms. Kaylee will program the garbage bin to be flown to go to Isis Canyon, where Mal and the crew will get the loot.
While reprogramming the trash bin’s coordinate system, Jayne gets shocked and knocked out. Saffron hears someone coming. It’s Durren, who recognizes Saffron as his wife on the spot and calls her Yolanda. Durren says that she’s been missing for six years. He thought that she ran off with the security programmer named Heinrich, but his body was found by police a short time after Yolanda disappeared.
Mal points out that Saffron actually cared for Durren and was possibly the first man she married and conned. Saffron has a gun ready to go. Durren comes back in while Mal takes advantage of the moment to put the Lassiter in the trash. It’s at this point that Mal gets a gun out of the flowers he brought in and I start calling the little redhead “YoSaffBridge.” Durren points out that he activated an emergency button on his ring and the police comes right away. Saffron and Mal get out of the estate and YoSaffBridge quickly locks the feds inside as the two escape to the shuttle.
Mal and YoSaffBridge exchange small talk on the shuttle. She admitted that she did love Durren and wanted to run off with Heinrich, but didn’t kill Heinrich. In fact, she forgot the guy’s name. She actually starts crying at this point and Mal lets his guard drop long enough to sit next to her, which opens up the opportunity for her to get Mal’s gun out of his holster. She holds him at gunpoint and tells him to get naked.
Meanwhile, the crew of Serenity realizes that there’s a maneuvering issue. Kaylee quickly checks the engine room and realizes that YoSaffBridge sabotaged the ship again. They can’t make the rendezvous and land.
It cuts to YoSaffBridge in the dumpster looking for the laser gun, only for Inara to show up holding the exact laser gun. Too bad it doesn’t work. Thankfully, she has a backup that works just fine. To the little redhead’s surprise, Inara and the rest of the crew were all putting up an act, going along with the scheme, but creating a backup plan in case YoSaffBridge double-crossed Mal. Inara would act all huffy and storm off only to show up at the dumpster and get the laser gun herself. Inara points out that some of the crew’s performances weren’t as nuanced as she had hoped and was surprised that YoSaffBridge didn’t realize that everyone was acting. (But hey, they don’t have Companion training.) She closes up YoSaffBridge in the dumpster as the little redhead screams my second favorite line in this entire episode: “YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO ME! I HAVE A CONDITION!” Of course, Inara points out that she is not gonna die, but just be there long enough for the authorities to find her.
Meanwhile, back on the ship, Jayne wakes up paralyzed on Simon’s operating table, drugged with some medicine Simon gave him so that he wouldn’t break his spine when he regained consciousness. Simon takes advantage of Jayne’s paralyzed state to talk about Jayne betraying them on Ariel. River takes this opportunity to show herself. Simon tells Jayne that they are working together and that he will never harm Jayne as long as he’s on the operating table and says that they should trust each other. River, of course, says my actual favorite line in this entire episode: “Also, I can kill you with my brain.” The Tam siblings leave Jayne to rest and wallow in his guilt.
Speaking of wallowing in guilt, we find a very naked Mal out in the desert. The crew of Serenity arrives to pick him up and all is well.
This episode is one that is worth repeat viewings. And not just because it’s the opportunity of a life time to see a naked Nathan Fillion. As stated in a previous blog, the last encounter with YoSaffBridge involved the lady tossing in the apple of discord and taking advantage of the crew’s preconceptions in order to deceive them. This time, she gets the tables turned on her. The crew creates a plan to make sure they get the loot whether or not YoSaffBridge stabbed them in the back. Repeat viewings show the instances where Wash and Kaylee are breaking character, a slight giggle here, an over-the-top line said there.
Inara and Mal continue to have communication issues. It’s implied that Mal was probably keeping them out on the backwater parts of the verse to keep Inara from getting into situations like what happened in Shindig, but Inara was right in the fact that their most profitable ventures happened on central planets. Mal was wrong to call Inara a whore just as much as it was wrong for Inara to call Mal a petty thief. But in the end, they finally decided to compromise. Inara gets to join in on Mal’s latest crime while Mal lets Inara do her work on a central planet. And Inara gets to see Mal naked.
Speaking of that, I’m going to end this post with my fangirl squee.
OMIGOSH HE’S NAKED! And Inara finds him and she’s looking at him naked. How is she not fazed by this?! Heck, how is the rest of the crew unfazed by Mal’s very naked state?! Stop smiling like that, Mal! I’m thinking dirty thoughts!
I’ll be in my bunk. And then I’ll be going to Confession.