“Trash” has a lot going for it. Saffron is back, there’s all sorts of plot twists, it’s the “I can kill you with my brain” episode, but what comes to mind every time I think of this episode? Captain Mal has a really nice ass. That’s right, it’s time for naked Nathan Fillion.
We open the show with Mal sitting on a rock, naked in the desert saying “Yeah, that went well.”
Seventy-two hours earlier…
Mal and his old friend Monty exchange boisterous greetings during a smuggling exchange. During the catching up portion of their conversation, Monty tells Mal that he has some big news – he’s married! He calls over the little missus, Bridget, to introduce her to Mal and who turns up? The former Mrs. Reynolds, Saffron. Mal and Saffron each pull a gun on the other and commence to fighting. Monty, who was likable before, cements his place in my heart by taking neither side in the fight, instead he picks them both up like a pair of kittens and demands an explanation. Said explanation ends up with both of them left on the surface while he flies away.
Once alone, Saffron starts to work her con again. She has this really great job, totally easy, big pay-off, can’t go wrong. She had planned to get Monty’s crew to do it, but now he’s gone and what’s a poor girl to do? Mal wants nothing to do with it and tries to drive her off by shooting at her feet.
When Serenity shows up, Mal refuses to explain his bloody nose and heads off to talk to Inara. She is unhappy because they have been avoiding planets where she can find clients. They end up fighting and Inara implies that Mal may be a little nervous about taking on “serious” work since the whole torture thing with Niska. In a fit of wounded manly pride, Mal goes and asks Saffron about her job. Turns out he couldn’t just leave her to die in the middle of nowhere, so he took her up on her suggestion to lock her in a crate till the next drop.
She explains that the job is to steal an antique laser pistol from an Alliance officer. Wash is confused. Not about the job, of course, but where the hell did the crazy girl come from? There is much arguing about whether or not Saffron can be trusted and the general consensus is that no one is planning on trusting her, but they are willing to steal with her. She makes a snarky comment to Zoe about just getting over it, Zoe punches her in the face (cheer!) and agrees that they can probably pull it off.
Jayne informs Simon and River that they are confined to quarters while Saffron is around. No one wants her to figure out that there are fugitives aboard who she can turn in for profit. River’s psychic powers kick in and, after he leave, she tells Simon that he has been afraid since Ariel. Afraid of what? That they’ll find out what he did. Simon puts the pieces together and Jayne’s secret is out. The Tams know about his betrayal.
The crew begins Operation Lassiter. I love the fact that, amidst the space ships and laser guns, Mal and Saffron sneak in to the house using the oldest trick in the book, flower delivery.
Kaylee has figured out that if they can get into the house and find the gun, the only way to get it out without setting off the alarms is to throw it in the trash. She and Jayne will reprogram the trash bin to fly to a rendezvous point, instead of the incinerator, and the rest is cake. What could go wrong?
Well, for starters, Jayne could get hurt. And he does. Or the owner of the house could come back. And he does. But it’s all OK, because he’s also married to Saffron, or Yolanda now, and he’s oh so happy to get her back. He leaves to get Mal a reward for “rescuing” his wife and Mal gets psychological with Saffron. He thinks that maybe she might actually like this particular husband, and she was hoping he wouldn’t figure out that she is a thief. Presumably he hits a nerve with his line of thinking, because when he looks around, she is holding a gun on him. Her husband Durran comes back, and conflict ensues. While Yo-Saff-Bridge and Durran fight, Mal gets the Lassiter gun into the trash and hits the eject button.
It turns out that Durran isn’t quite the patsy he seems. As soon as he saw his wayward wife, he called the Alliance. She tries to charm her way out of being arrested, but he ain’t buying it. She is such a shameless, transparent manipulator that whenever someone sees through her crap, it is very satisfying. Even if it makes things difficult for Mal.
They manage to fight their way back to the shuttle and have a little heart-to-heart about how she tried to be a good wife, but just couldn’t make it work. Mal falls for the tears once again and we end up back at the beginning, with Mal stranded naked in the desert.
It looks like all is lost. Mal is stuck in the middle of nowhere and Saffron has sabotaged Serenity so she can get to the trash bin first. We see her digging through the trash, getting all gross and garbage-y trying to find the gun, when Inara shows up with the classic, “Looking for this?” She sits calmly, decked out in her full Companion regalia and explains that the whole crew had been playing her (Saffron) from the start. Letting her think she was getting away with it was all just a part of the plan. Then Inara locks her in the trash bin, calls her a big baby and calls the authorities. I love her so much for this, because we assume it’s all total bullshit. There was no great plan, she figured out how to outsmart the con-girl by herself, but she doesn’t want Saffron thinking Mal is an idiot, so she makes it sound like they were all in it together.
Back on board, Simon is tending to Jayne’s wounds – sort of. Simon shows his tough streak by paralyzing Jayne – truly in his best interests, so he won’t hurt himself while the swelling around his spine goes down. What may not be in his best interest is waking him up while he’s paralyzed to mess with his head. He asks about Ariel, points out that Jayne will probably end up on the operating table again, and promises, with a frightening intensity, that he will never be less than professional in his role as a doctor. “I’m trusting you. I think you should do the same. ‘Cause I don’t see this working any other way.” And as he leaves, River pops in with her best weird Riverism yet: “Also … I can kill you with my brain.”
Mal gets picked up in the desert, completely unembarrassed by his lack of clothing, and we find out that Inara was indeed part of the plan. Her little confrontation with Saffron in the trash bin was Mal’s fail-safe plan, in case everything else went wrong. He really is that smart, and Inara was acting like a bad actor because she is just that good. (Don’t worry, I confuse myself too when I get like this. I blame it on being flustered by Nathan Fillion’s fine ass.)