A 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.
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