River 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.
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