Niska catches up with the Serenity crew.


(as James Contner)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Dunn ...
Viktor (as Michael A. Bentt)
Vanilla Husband (scenes deleted)


Wash begins to feel threatened by the bond between Mal and Zoe. To see for himself how the two work together, Wash demands that he, instead of Zoe, goes on a mission with Mal to sell the stolen Ariel medical supplies. Unfortunately, the ruthless and sadistic gangster Niska has found out where Serenity is, and captures Mal and Wash and tortures them as revenge for their failure in the train robbery mission (from The Train Job episode). Meanwhile, Inara has another client who is a wealthy councilperson on the planet they're on and to the crew's surprise, the client is a woman. When Zoe learns about Niska's abduction of Wash and Mal, she tries to strike a bargain for their release, but Niska steals all their money and stolen cargo, while releasing only Wash. Realizing that Mal was willing to sacrifice himself for him, Wash persuades Zoe, Jayne and Book and the rest of the crew to help him launch a rescue mission in a full-scale attack on Niska's fortified space station to save Mal. Also,... Written by Shiro

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Release Date:

6 December 2002 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the opening scene, where Simon and Book are discussing the operations performed on River, Simon is looking at a computer display of River's brain. The text that scans past underneath the brain model is lines of Javascript code from a web page. See more »


When Zoe and Jayne are examining the bodies of the buyers, cars can be seen driving along a road in the background. See more »


Book: A government is a body of people, usually, notably ungoverned.
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References Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place: War Stories (2000) See more »


The Ballad of Serenity (Instrumental)
Written by Joss Whedon
Performed by Sonny Rhodes
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User Reviews

Character studies like this one are why this show is so damn good.
15 September 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

With its harsh subject matter, it always surprises me (even just a little) that "War Stories" follows so soon after "Out of Gas". But it's a phenomenal character piece, this time centering on the Mal-Zoe-Wash triangle. And I like that, no matter what goes down here, it's really about them. What's great is that Alan Tudyk gets his time to really shine outside of his usual one-liner confines. Wash totally mans right up when the chips are down and proves his mettle among his more battle-worn peers. The torture scenes in this episode are rough, but also deeply rewarding in the end.

8/10 Also, we already know this, but Zoe's an incontrovertible badass.

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