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The Train Job

FireflyRiver is plagued by bad dreams of her time at the Alliance academy, as well as bouts of seeming incoherence where she mutters about men with hands of blue, coming two by two. Mal continues an annual tradition by getting into a bar fight with Alliance supporters on Unification Day, the celebration of the final defeat of the Independents. With that taken care of, the crew moves on to its real job, a train heist on behalf of Adlai Niska. Their employer leaves no doubt in Mal’s mind as to what he does to people who fail to meet his expectations. Mal and Zoe ride the train and discover that a number of Alliance troops are on board, which only makes the job more appealing for him. Jayne breaks into the train from above, with the plan being for Serenity to haul the cargo and the three of them up. When one of the troops gets the jump on them, Jayne calls for an early pull-up, leaving Mal and Zoe behind. They blend back in with the other passengers, all of whom are held for questioning at the train’s next stop. Jayne wants to proceed to the rendezvous point immediately, while the rest of the crew tries to figure out a way to save Mal and Zoe first. Even if their cunning plan succeeds, questioning from the local sheriff is enough to give Mal second thoughts about completing the deal.

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Joss Whedon and Tim Minear
directed by Joss Whedon
music by Greg Edmonson

Guest Cast: Tom Towles (Lund), Andrew Bryniarski (Crow), Michael Fairman (Niska), Gregg Henry (Bourne)

Notes: This was the first episode of Firefly broadcast by Fox. It was written as a replacement for the original pilot, Serenity. An introduction to the overall setting, narrated by Book, began appearing before the teaser with this episode. These opening narrations do not appear on the DVD release.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Bushwacked

FireflyThe crew finds a derelict colony ship; Mal decides to check it out to look for survivors and potentially valuable loot. At first, the ship appears to be simply deserted, but when Mal and Zoey enter the cargo hold, they not only find the would-be settlers valuable supplies – they find their bodies as well. Mal recognizes the bodies as Reaver victims. They find a single survivor and bring him back to Serenity; Shepherd Book tries to lay the victims to rest while Kaylee works to bypass a booby trap that could destroy Serenity. All these chores take time, and before they can leave the derelict behind, an Alliance ship appears and boards them. The doctor and River hide outside Serenity, which unnerves him as much as it delights her. The Alliance captain suspects Mal of killing the crew as an act of spite and vengeance . . . until the tormented survivor demonstrates that he’s left his sanity behind and become a threat to both crews.

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Tim Minear
directed by Tim Minear
music by Greg Edmonson

Guest Cast: Branden Morgan (The Survivor), Doug Savant (Alliance Captain Harken)

Notes: This episode features Book’s opening narration.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Our Mrs. Reynolds

FireflyThe crew of Serenity helps a small town on Triumph fend off a group of bandits, and are rewarded with an evening of celebration. When they depart the next day, they discover that they have another passenger on board: a girl named Saffron who claims to be Mal’s wife. Book confirms that part of the party the night before was actually a wedding ceremony. At first the crew is amused by Mal’s plight. But as he tries to maintain his composure and reassure Saffron that she shouldn’t take his negative feelings toward marriage personally, tension starts mounting aboard the ship. Jayne seems desperate to trade for Mal’s “prize,” Zoe is none too pleased with Saffron’s matrimonial example, and Inara is considerably tenser than usual. When Saffron almost seals Mal’s fate with a kiss, the truth comes out. The innocent bride is playing them all, and leading them right into a trap.

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Joss Whedon
directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall
music by Greg Edmonson

Guest Cast: Christina Hendricks (Saffron), Benito Martinez (Boss), Erik Passoja (Bree)

Notes: This episode features Book’s introductory narration.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

War Stories

FireflyFrustrated by the bond between old war vets Mal and Zoe, Wash insists on going on a job with Mal. Mal figures a sale of some of the medicine they stole from Ariel will be a safe enough milk run to indulge his pilot. Unfortunately, Niska’s men get word that Mal is in the area; they kill the buyers and kidnap Mal and Wash. As Niska tortures the two men, Mal tries to keep Wash distracted by continuing the argument about Zoe; Zoe, meanwhile, arrives on Niska’s station to try and ransom the two. Niska will only free one; Zoe chooses Wash, but Niska is nice enough to give her Mal’s ear as well. When they return to Serenity, the entire crew chooses to mount a rescue, a plan that has no right to work – but thanks to unlikely contributions from two of the crew, it just might.

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Cheryl Cain
directed by James Contner
music by Greg Edmonson

Guest Cast: Michael Fairman (Niska), Katherine Kendall (Councillor), Rolando Molina (Black Market Buyer)

Notes: Mal drew Niska’s ire in The Train Job. This episode festures Mal’s opening narration.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Jaynestown

FireflyWhen Serenity lands on the mud-farming planet of Canton, Jayne is unusually cautious. A job of his a few years back didn’t quite go smoothly, and he’s concerned the local magistrate hasn’t let go of the grudge. The ruler of this company town has other things on his mind for the moment, like hiring Inara to help his son “become a man.” Mal, Jayne, Kaylee and Wash head into town to meet their contact. They bring Simon along to pose as a would-be buyer; they leave River in Book’s care, which raises its own issues. In town, Mal and the crew run into two obstacles. For starters, their contact has been killed by the magistrate. That wouldn’t be too much of an issue, since an associate has stepped in to finish the deal. But it turns out that botched job turned Jayne into a folk hero, when he dumped a considerable sum of money into the impoverished townspeople’s lap. And when those folks see their hero is back, it puts the kibosh on any chance of Serenity sneaking out of town quietly. Especially when the magistrate lets loose a man who holds an even bigger grudge against Jayne than he does.

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Ben Edlund
directed by Marita Grabiak
music by Greg Edmonson

Guest Cast: Gregory Itzin (Magistrate Higgins), Daniel Bess (Mudder), Kevin Gage (Stitch Hessian)

Notes: This episode features Book’s introductory narration.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Out of Gas

FireflyA bleeding Mal collapses onto the deck of Serenity‘s cargo bay, one hand desperately clutching a catalyzer for the ship’s engine. As he struggles through the deserted ship to the engine room, he recalls the circumstances that got him into this predicament: Simon’s birthday party interrupted by an explosion that injured Zoe and damaged both the main and auxiliary life support systems; Kaylee unable to repair the systems because of the blown catalyzer; the ship adrift in empty space; the rest of the crew setting out in shuttles in a desperate effort to find help. He also thinks back to the moments that initially brought his crew together. Zoe, first to join up, initially didn’t take a liking to Wash, but that might have been the moustache. Mal’s first engineer brought about his own unemployment when he brought Kaylee aboard for a quick fling. Inara drives a hard bargain for use of her shuttle, but Mal display his own bargaining skills in getting Jayne to come on board. As Serenity‘s oxygen ticks away, a miracle appears – another ship, with the catalyzer Mal needs. But it’s no great surprise when the miracle comes with a catch.

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Tim Minear
directed by David Solomon
music by Greg Edmonson

Guest Cast: Steven Flinn (Captain), Ilia Volok (Markov), Lyle Kanouse (Salesman)

Notes: According to the commentary on the series DVD, the flashbacks to Mal’s purchase of Serenity and initial gathering of the crew take place five years in the past, about one year after the end of the war. This episode features Mal’s opening narration.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Shindig

FireflySerenity returns to Persephone in search of work. Simon tries to help River through one of her bouts of erratic behavior. Inara agrees to accompany Atherton Wing, a young noble, to a ball, while Badger approaches Mal with an offer. Sir Warwick Harrow wants some cargo shipped to his holdings offworld on Jiangyin, despite Alliance regulations to the contrary. Badger needs someone of a certain bearing to make contact with the noble – at the very same ball where Wing is asking Inara to remain with him permanently. Mal brings a very excited Kaylee to the party, but his negotiations are interrupted by an argument with Wing. When Wing insults Inara, Mal punches him and thus inadvertently challenges him to a duel with swords. The highly skilled fencer accepts, and Badger sends his men to Serenity to ensure that none of Mal’s crew interfere and somehow damage Badger’s reputation. With only an evening of lessons under his belt, no one gives Mal much of a chance. But Mal isn’t going to go down without a fight – and he doesn’t necessarily promise it’s going to be a fair one.

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Jane Espenson
directed by Vern Gillum
music by Greg Edmonson

Guest Cast: Mark A. Sheppard (Badger); Edward Atterton (Atherton Wing); Larry Drake (Sir Warwick Harrow)

Notes: Mal’s prior dealings with Badger, referenced in this episode, took place in the episode Serenity. A new introduction narrated by Mal appears at the beginning of this episode.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Safe

FireflySerenity lands on Jiangyin to deliver their cattle cargo. In an effort to ensure things go smoothly, Mal sends Simon and River to take a walk into town while he concludes the deal. This being one of Mal’s ideas, things don’t quite go as planned. Simon manages to insult Kaylee, and while she’s giving him what-for, River wanders off. Mal’s trading partners are wanted for murder; the local law shows up, and the suspects don’t go quietly. In the shootout, Book is wounded. Zoe manages to stabilize him, but he needs a doctor. Unfortunately, Simon and River have been kidnapped by an outlaw community with much the same need. Mal orders Serenity to take off and rendezvous with an Alliance cruiser. The Alliance captain is hesitant to offer aid until Book’s ident card earns him the VIP treatment, for reasons the Shepherd won’t explain. Simon thinks back to the life he left behind in order to find his sister – a lifestyle his parents weren’t willing to endanger – but he fights through the frustration to try to help those in need. But when River starts reading the locals’ minds, they accuse her of witchcraft. And they have an old-fashioned solution for that particular problem.

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Drew Greenburg
directed by Michael Grossman
music by Greg Edmonson

Guest Cast: Isabella Hoffman (Megan Tam); William Converse-Roberts (Gabriel Tam); John Thaddeus (Stark); Gary Werntz (Patron)

Notes: Mal contracted to deliver the cattle in Shindig. This episode features Mal’s introductory narration.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Ariel

FireflySerenity brings Inara back to Ariel, a planet in the Core Systems, so she can complete some necessary paperwork to maintain her license as a Companion. Mal’s instinct is to stay quiet and stay in orbit until Inara’s ready to be picked up. Things change when River suddenly slashes Jayne with a kitchen knife. Mal confines her to quarters and tells Simon that unless he can keep her in check, Mal will have to rethink their arrangement. So Simon decides to hire the crew for a job – he’ll provide them with the know-how to break into the hospital stores and swipe medicine with considerable value on the frontier, and in exchange the crew will get him and River into a neural diagnostic lab to give Simon a chance to figure out what’s really wrong with his sister. It’s a very clever plan, and the only thing that might screw it up is one of the crew deciding to go freelance. And that might turn out disastrous for everyone. Just because River’s not quite sane doesn’t mean she doesn’t have good reason to fear the Alliance and their men in blue.

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Jose Molina
directed by Allan Kroeker
music by Greg Edmonson

Guest Cast: Blake Robbins (Agent McGinnis), Jeff Ricketts (Man of Blue #1), Dennis Cockrum (Man of Blue #2), Tom Virtue (Doctor)

Notes: This episode features Mal’s introductory narration.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Objects in Space

FireflyRiver seems to be getting psychic flashes of the crew’s thoughts, thoughts that make her feel isolated from the crew. She has a vision of a branch in the cargo bay – but the branch she’s holding turns out to be one of Jayne’s guns. The crew’s concern about River’s erratic behavior only grows when Kaylee informs them of River’s skill with a gun during the rescue from Niska. Mal tries to figure out what to do about River, not realizing that the ship is being tracked by Jubal Early, a bounty hunter who intends to take the decision out of his hands. Jubal inflitrates the ship, incapacitates Mal and Book, and locks most of the crew in their quarters after threatening Kaylee. He forces Simon to help him look for River, holding the threat of violence against Kaylee over his head. The doctor reluctantly complies, but they have no luck. Eventually, River’s disembodied voice begins to speak to them. She claims to have disappeared, to become one with the ship. In truth, she’s inside Early’s ship, offering to go with Early in exchange for the crew’s safety. Simon refuses to go along with this – but is he staging a rescue, or simply ruining a cunning plan?

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Joss Whedon
directed by Joss Whedon
music by Greg Edmonson

Guest Cast: Richard Brooks (Jubal Early)

Notes: Kaylee observed River’s shooting skills in War Stories. This is the last one-hour episode that Fox broadcast. A brief scene was reshot to explain Inara’s decision to leave Serenity, since Heart of Gold – where she made that choice – was never aired. Whedon restored the original intended version to the DVD version of the episode.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Serenity (Pilot)

FireflyIn 2511 AD, humans have long since left Earth to terraform and colonize other worlds. A group of central planets have formed an Alliance and demanded that all other planets join up. Some Independent worlds on the frontier choose to fight instead. At the Battle of Serenity Valley, the Alliance delivers a crushing blow to the Independents; soon after, the Alliance consolidates its control.

Six years later, former Independent Sergeant Malcolm Reynolds captains a transport ship he named Serenity. His fellow Independent vet Zoe is his first mate; her husband Wash pilots the Firefly-class vessel. An almost-but-not-quite-obnoxiously optimistic young engineer named Kaylee keeps Serenity running, while the self-interested mercenary Jayne provides some extra muscle. Inara, a licensed Companion, rents one of the ship’s shuttles; the presence of a highly-respected Companion opens doors for the crew that would otherwise be closed.

Mal and his crew perform an illegal salvage job on a wrecked Alliance ship and travel to Perspehone, expecting to drop off the goods and pick up some passengers to bring in extra cash. Shepherd Book, a clergyman who aims to see life outside his abbey for a while, comes aboard, as does Simon Tam, a young doctor with some very large cargo, and one more passenger named Dobson. The salvage dropoff goes sour, because the would-be buyer has learned that the Alliance has imprinted the goods and thus made them very traceable. Mal is forced to divert course and find an alternate buyer for the goods. When the third passenger turns out to be an Alliance agent who broadcasts their location, that’s bad news. When Simon turns out to be fugitive on the run with some very important cargo, it gets worse. And when Simon’s cargo turns out to be his sister River, the situation threatens to reach entirely new levels of badness. Kaylee is shot, and the doctor will only save her if Mal agrees to help him run. Savage humans called Reavers get Serenity in their sights. And Patience, the only possible buyer of the salvage, has had prior dealings with Mal. She shot him then, and he’s pretty sure she aims to repeat the favor this time around – if everyone else trying to kill or capture the Serenity crew gives her the chance.

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Joss Whedon
directed by Joss Whedon
music by Greg Edmonson
main title theme by Joss Whedon

Regular Cast: Nathon Fillion (Mal Reynolds), Gina Torres (Zoe), Alan Tudyk (Wash), Jewel Staite (Kaylee), Adam Baldwin (Jayne Cobb), Morena Baccarin (Inara), Sean Maher (Simon Tam), Summer Glau (River Tam), Ron Glass (Shepherd Book)

Guest Cast: Carlos Jacott (Lawrence Dobson), Mark Sheppard (Badger), Andy Umberger (Dortmunder Captain), Philip Sternberg (unnamed), Eddie Adams (unnamed), Colin Patrick Lynch (Radio Operator), Bonnie Bartlett (Patience)

Notes: This two-hour episode was the original pilot for Firefly. When Fox expressed reservations about it, executive producers Joss Whedon and Tim Minear wrote The Train Job as a replacement introduction to the series. Serenity wound up being the last episode Fox aired. When broadcast on Fox and Sci Fi, episodes end with a diagram of Serenity; on the DVD, they end with an executive producer credit for Joss Whedon and Tim Minear.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Trash

FireflyA naked Mal sits in the middle of the desert. Seventy-two hours earlier, he met up with an old friend named Monte to pick up some cargo, with Serenity coming by later to retrieve him and the load in order to avoid raising suspicions. When Monte enthusiastically introduces his new wife Bridget, Mal is a bit taken aback to see that Bridget is really Saffron. When her latest husband leaves her behind, Saffron tries to convince Mal that she has the inside scoop on a big heist. Mal isn’t interested, until Inara confronts him about their recent itinerary and points out that the crew hasn’t had a substantial job in a while. Mal decides to take Saffron up on her offer and go for the big score, which isn’t quite what Inara had in mind. The plan involves going to Bellerophon in the Core Systems, to the estate of a huge collector of artifacts from Earth-that-was. Saffron has all the security codes, so they can walk right in and take one of the earliest laser pistols ever made. Getting it out will be a problem – it’s rigged with sensors, so they can’t go out the door. Kaylee figures that if they dump it in a trash bin, they can hotwire the bot that picks up the trash and get it to drop the bin in the desert. Mal and Saffron head in to do the thieving while everyone else takes care of the rewiring. When Jayne gets knocked out, it gives Simon the chance to have a heart to heart with him about events on Ariel. At the estate, Mal is surpised – albeit not terribly so – to find that he is not the only one of Saffron’s spouses on the premises. They manage to grab the gun, toss it in the bin, and make their getaway, but Mal still loses his shirt. Everything seems to be going according to plan – but whose?

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Jose Molina and Ben Edlund
directed by Vern Gillum
music by Greg Edmonson

Guest Cast: Christina Hendricks (Saffron), Franc Ross (Monte), Dwier Brown (Durran Haymer)

Notes: Saffron married Mal under dubious circumstances in Our Mrs. Reynolds. This episode was not broadcast by Fox and first aired on Sci Fi in 2005.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

The Message

FireflySerenity stops at a space station to pick up their mail and get a little R&R. Simon tries to whisper sweet nothings in Kaylee’s ear, but manages to put his foot in his mouth instead. The mail turns out to be a bit of a surprise when a package addressed to Mal and Zoe turns out to be coffin carrying the body of Tracey, a private they fought alongside during the war. He carries a message tape asking Mal to bring his body home to his family, a request Mal tries to fulfill. When Alliance officers pursue Serenity, however, he wonders what’s so valuable about Tracey and asks Simon to perform an autopsy. The second Simon’s knife hits, Tracey wakes up screaming. Tracey had been faking his death, trying to get away from people he doublecrossed during a job smuggling artificial body parts. Tracey begins to befriend Kaylee while Mal looks for a way out of their jam. Book may have an idea . . . but Tracey fears betrayal just enough to do something stupid.

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Joss Whedon & Tim Minear
directed by Tim Minear
music by Greg Edmonson

Guest Cast: Jonathan M. Woodward (Tracey), Richard Burgi (Lt. Womack)

Notes: This episode was not broadcast by Fox and first aired on Sci Fi in 2005. It was also the last episode produced.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

Heart of Gold

FireflyNandi, an old colleague of Inara, waves asking for help. She has set up a prostitution house on a planet on the frontier, outside the jurisdiction of the Companion Guild. Now the most powerful official on the planet has impregnanted one of her girls, and plans to take his child by force. Nandi needs some firepower to convince him otherwise. Mal agrees to take the job; after sizing up the opposition, Mal’s instinct is to take everyone on board Serenity and run. But Nandi’s not willing to go, so they prepare for the next day’s firefight. Simon helps to deliver the baby while Mal and Nandi spend the night together. Inara finds this development unsettling but tries to hide her feelings. When battle ensues, the official has one further advantage – one of the girls has sold them out.

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Brett Matthews
directed by Thomas J. Wright
music by Greg Edmonson

Guest Cast: Melinda Clarke (Nandi), Kimberley McCullough (Chari), Fredric Lane (Ranse Burgess), Tracy Leah Ryan (Petaline)

Notes: This episode was not broadcast by Fox and first aired on Sci Fi in 2005.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

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