Synopsis by Josh Ralske
This episode opens with Serenity idle, floating in space. Mal (Nathan Fillion) appears to be the only soul aboard, and he's badly wounded. Bleeding and gasping for breath, he flashes back to when he bought the ship. He explained to Zoe (Gina Torres), back then, how the little ship would keep them out from under the arm of the Alliance. As Mal struggles to stay alive and make a critical repair to Serenity, he flashes back to the beginning. We see how he hired Wash (Alan Tudyk) over Zoe's objections; how he used cold cash to convince Jayne (Adam Baldwin) to turn against his pirate brethren, who were robbing the ship; how he convinced a stately companion, Inara (Morena Baccarin), to rent one of his shuttles; and how he discovered that a promiscuous country bumpkin, Kaylee (Jewel Staite), was also a brilliant mechanic. Mal also remembers, much more recently, how an explosion onboard Serenity knocked out Zoe, robbed the ship of most of its oxygen, and disabled all the life-support systems. Because they had been flying "under the radar" at the time, to avoid the Alliance, it was unlikely that anyone would receive the ship's distress call, so Mal opted to stay with the ship, sending the rest of the crew out in the two shuttles, in hopes of reaching help. As it turns out, someone does pick up their distress signal, but they may not be the good Samaritans Mal was hoping to see.