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'Firefly' recap: Mal and Christina Hendricks pre-'Mad Men'

Editors’ Note: Firefly fans rejoice! The Joss Whedon show was only with us for a year, but it lives on in The EW Community. Check back each week for Nathan Fillion goodness and watch with Brandi McCormick as she recaps the series from the very beginning.

Season 1 | Episode 6 | “Our Mrs. Reynolds” | Aired Oct 4, 2002

“I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I will end you.” — Mal

And thus begins one of my favorite Firefly episodes of all time.

Much like “Shindig” and “Safe,” this episode  gives us a quick and dirty, good old-fashioned gunfight. Mal, Jayne and Zoë kill a group of randy bandits who’ve wreaked havoc on the town in which they’re camped. After they rid the city of those decrepit outlaws, the citizens throw a massive celebration to thank the Serenity crew.

It’s quite nice to see the Serenity crew partake in real fun for a change: joyous music, dancing, sitting by the fire and copious amounts of drinking. The members are presented with gifts of gratitude: Jayne receives a rain stick (much to his dismay); Mal is given a wreath, wine and a dance from a beautiful, young local woman; but Zoë’s gift seems to have been forgotten.

Post-celebration, everyone is back on the ship readying for takeoff when Mal gets spooked by a stowaway passenger in the cargo area. It’s the young woman who gifted Mal with the dance and wreath the night before, doe-eyed and stunning, hiding away on Serenity. Surprised, Mal questions her and gets an answer he was never expecting: she claims she is his wife.

If you think you’ve seen Mal ruffled before, you’ve never seen him quite like this. A hilarious exchange ensues in which she claims that they married the night before. Mal swears he has no idea what she’s talking about, and in trying to prove that he did not actually willfully marry this woman, Mal inadvertently insults the young bride several times over. The young woman is Saffron (Christina Hendricks), and she doesn’t understand why Mal is hellbent on disavowing their marriage. The whole crew watches their interaction and does nothing but find the entire thing hysterical, so Mal consults Book to see just what the hell Saffron might be talking about. Book reads up on her planet’s local customs and, sure enough, the dancing/wine/wreath good times that seemed like innocent party tricks the night before are actually key parts of a traditional marriage ceremony. Ruh-roh.

As you can imagine, everyone’s in quite a tizzy, but most noticeably, the only crew member who does not find the whole ordeal even the slightest bit funny (aside from Mal, of course) is Inara. When she hears that Mal has somehow married this woman, her face reveals betrayal, hurt and anger and proves, yet again (to me anyway), that Inara has major closeted feelings for Mal. More on that later.

Because Saffron and Mal don’t have anything else to do and because Book informs Mal that divorce is pretty much out of the question, Mal and Saffron become acquainted with one another. She tells him of the horrors of her home planet and how they treat their wives, and Mal — in one of my favorite character moments for him — tells her that she’s “no one’s property to be tossed aside.” He may not know what to do, but he assures her no harm will come to her. Mal suggests that she make a life for herself on their next destination planet, one that does not include him as her husband. Seems fair.

Desperate to find refuge from his new bride, Mal goes to Inara. She’s noticeably angry, and Mal immediately takes notice. Ever the observer, Mal asks point-blank: Is she mad because he got married? Or is she mad because he doesn’t intend to stay married? He makes a fine point, because let’s be honest, Inara technically has no right to be mad that he’s with someone else (even if by accident), because they aren’t together. Right? RIGHT?!

With both Inara and Mal on edge, Zoë and Wash talk things over in the cockpit. And what do you know? Zoë’s on edge, too! She doesn’t trust Saffron and is upset that Wash didn’t immediately turn the ship around and leave her right where she came from (plus, she’s probably wondering about that missing gift). Zoë goes to bed in a huff, leaving Wash flabbergasted.

Mal makes his way back to his room only to find his new bride in his bed, naked. The most forward of conversations ensues, in which Saffron quotes her bible, stating that she just desperately wants the wedding night she deserves, especially since she was lucky enough to be married to someone as good-looking and decent as Mal. She blabbers on about how her female relatives have been married to fat, grotesque monsters, so even though this marriage was forced upon her, she’s lucky. No minced words here: She basically tells Mal to just sleep with her already because she really, really wants it. He’s trying his best to politely reject her come-ons, but after they indulge in one quick make-out, he wishes he’d sent her packing. The doe-eyed vixen has narcotic-laced lipstick that knocks Mal out in five seconds flat. And instantly, the submissive townie forced into marriage is revealed to be nothing of the sort. Saffron is up to no good.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 9.24.08 PM

Leaving Mal unconscious, Saffron seeks out her next target. She gets to Wash in the cockpit, and after spewing more innocent-sounding garbage, she knocks Wash out with a swift kick to the head. She starts messing with the dashboard, and after some beeps and boops, she has royally screwed up Serenity and sent the ship on a crash course with a dangerous trap.

But her dastardly escape is momentarily thwarted when she accidentally runs into Inara on her way out. In one of my favorite exchanges, the two seductresses play each other for a few moments, Saffron pretending she wants Inara to teach her the ways of love, and Inara pretending she will gladly show her the ropes. An alarm sounds, and they both drop the act and call each other out.

Inara: I guess we’ve lied enough.

Saffron: You’re good.

Inara: You’re amazing. Who are you?

Saffron: Malcolm Reynolds’ widow.

They fight briefly before Saffron gets the jump on Inara and escapes in Inara’s shuttle. Inara races to Mal’s room, where she finds him unconscious. She instinctively leans in and kisses him, hoping beyond hope he isn’t dead. Just as she yells for help, the narcotic from Mal’s lips hits her, and she falls to the ground unconscious. Got to love kissing hijinks!

Upon waking, Mal is a mess and Inara insists she was out cold due to hitting her head. The crew also finds this entire situation hilarious, and Simon explains how Saffron was able to knock him out, thus revealing to everyone that Mal totally made out with her. That sound you you hear is a collective tsk, tsk from the whole crew.

Wash and Kaylee get to work on the bang-up job Saffron left Serenity in, and quickly realize she set the ship on course to fly right into a trap. A giant electronic net set to capture them and burn the whole ship (and everyone inside) to dust is right on the horizon. But it’s Jayne who essentially saves the day by shooting up one of the net’s breakers, allowing Serenity to soar through unharmed. Hooray!

Crisis averted; cut to a snowy, idyllic cabin. Saffron is inside, packing for what I assume is another escape, just as Mal barges in, gun in hand. They have a tussle wherein Mal unsuccessfully tries to get some information out of her. Frustrated, angry, but unwilling to pull the trigger, he promises Saffron that if she tries to pull one over on him again, he will kill her. Then he punches her out, and it’s AWESOME.

Back on Serenity safe and wifeless, Mal confronts Inara about how she couldn’t have possibly fallen and hit her head when she’s such a naturally graceful woman. But Mal, being a dense dude, assumes that Inara kissed Saffron, which is why she was knocked unconscious. OF COURSE. Kissing hijinks, amiright?

Open your eyes, you guys, and make out already!

What did you think of this episode? Could you smell the BS on Saffron from a mile away, or were you tricked by her innocent act too? If she escaped in Inara’s shuttle, I’m curious what that might do to her companion business. Man, she was good.

Oh, and by the way:

  • Morena Baccarin was on fire this episode — from her priceless and heartbreaking reaction to Mal’s “marriage” to her face after waking up from being drugged by kissing Mal. Perfection.


  • Saffron: “Everybody plays each other. That’s all anybody ever does.”
  • Mal: I would appreciate it if one person on this boat would not assume that I’m an evil lecherous hump.
  • Zoë: Nobody’s saying that, sir.
  • Wash: Yeah, we’re pretty much just giving each other significant glances and laughing incessantly. (Wash is the best.)
  • That’s SOME bible Saffron quotes, yeah? “On the night of their betrothal, the wife shall open to the man as the furrow to the plow, and he shall work in her, in and again, ’til she bring him to his fall and rest him then upon the sweat of her breast.” What?!

Firefly is available for rental or purchase on NetflixHulu PlusXbox VideoAmazon Instant VideoiTunes and more.

Get more of Brandi’s take on all things entertainment over at ReelSnarky.com!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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