On Simon's birthday, Serenity's engine stops turning and an explosion knocks out auxiliary life support, severely wounding Zoe. With few options, Mal orders the rest of the crew off the ship, but he stays behind hoping for a miracle. The story is told in multiple time frames shifting from Mal's time alone on the ship to the events prior to the crew's departure. Flashbacks to Mal's initial meetings with many of his crew members are also a part of the narrative, showing how and why Mal and Zoe decided to buy the old Firefly-class ship, as well as revealing it wasn't love-at-first-sight for Zoe and Wash when he was hired as the Serenity's pilot, as well as how Inara charmed her way into letting Mal rent out one of the Serenity's shuttles for herself, how Mal met the mechanic/engineer Kaylee in a compromising position, and how the crew met Jayne who was an tough, but dumb, interplanetary bandit. Written by
Did You Know?
Mal narrates the pre-credit opening rather than Book. The introduction at the beginning of the show in this episode is somewhat different from the normal introduction, but close-captioning displayed the words for the normal introduction. See more
Kaylee has just put Simon's birthday cake down on the table when the explosion happens, but in many subsequent shots of both the table and the floor in the dining room, the cake is nowhere to be seen. See more
I thought I ordered you all off the ship. I call you back?
Hoban 'Wash' Washburne
No, Mal, you didn't.
I take full responsibility, Cap'n.
Dr. Simon Tam
The decision saved your life.
Won't happen again, sir.
Good. And, thanks, I'm grateful.
It was my pleasure, sir.
Referenced in Firefly: Ariel
The Ballad of Serenity (Instrumental)
Written by Joss Whedon
Performed by Sonny Rhodes See more