EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community


Image Credit: Fox

'Firefly' recap: Just in the Niska time

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 10 | “War Stories” | Aired Dec 6, 2002

“War Stories” begins with the Serenity crew members separately dealing with their own personal issues in what seems like a relatively quiet time for them. That is, until everything hits the fan. But we’ll get to that.

Simon, still reeling from his discovery that River’s brain was operated on by the Academy, tries to make sense of his findings from the neuroscanner he used at the Alliance hospital in “Ariel.”

Zoë and Wash wonder why Jayne is being so nice to the crew by gifting the ship with a large supply of apples. (Let’s not forget that Jayne betrayed Mal and the whole crew by agreeing to deliver River and Simon to the Feds, so he’s overcompensating for his treachery by being uncharacteristically nice to everyone.) This won’t be Zoë and Wash’s only problem this episode, but more on that later.

And Inara has an impending client arrival — the first time she is bringing a client directly onto her shuttle instead of servicing them on their home planet. As such, she is concerned the crew is going to embarrass her by making a scene when the client arrives. To be honest, I don’t blame her for that worry, but it’s only later that we find out exactly why she was so concerned: Her client is actually a woman!

To the surprise of everyone, Inara welcomes her client to Serenity — a lovely blond woman by the name of The Councilor. The crew’s reactions are nothing short of hilarious:

Book: “Oh my.”

Jayne: (gulp) “I’ll be in my bunk.”

Kaylee: “Oh, gosh, I knew she took female clients, I just … They look so glamorous together.”

Inara takes The Councilor back to her bunk and enjoys an uninterrupted evening with her client. It should be noted that it was likely only uninterrupted because half of the crew was being tortured and the other half was preoccupied with trying to save them. So there’s that.

Like I said before, Zoë and Wash had a few other issues to deal with besides wondering why Jayne was bring so weird. This episode finally sees an issue between them come to a head, an issue I had been wondering about all season long. After Zoë and Mal regale the crew with another war story about the Alliance planting grenades in apples, Wash becomes fed up. He calls out Zoë for always taking Mal’s side — not having a real opinion of her own because she’s too concerned with sharing the same opinion as the captain — and for her past connections with Mal. It’s not all fair; Zoë did serve in the trenches with Mal, so there is obviously going to be a strong connection there. But the other qualms Wash shares with her ring true. An all-out screaming match ensues, and both Zoë and Wash leave angrier than ever.

Meanwhile, our old friend Adelai Niska (Michael Fairman) has resurfaced, and he’s got his sights set on Mal and the Serenity crew. Remember Niska? We last saw him back in “The Train Job.” He’s that mean SOB who has it out for Mal, because instead of delivering the medical supplies they stole in the train heist, Mal returned it to the people who needed it the most, as well as returned the money he was fronted by Niska. So even though Mal was on the up-and-up, Niska didn’t approve; thus his grudge for Mal’s whole team. (Also, Niska is just plain evil, so …)

Angry that the deal that’s about to go down is going to include Mal and Zoë, and he’ll be relegated to listening to yet another battle tale involving the two of them, Wash throws a fit and insists Mal take him instead, nearly rendering Mal without a ride by sabotaging the shuttle in protest. Zoë is pissed, but lets Wash go in her stead anyway.

Unluckily for Wash, though, this job definitely does NOT go as planned.

Mal and Wash show up to make the drop of their medical supplies, but in an instant, the middlemen they meet are shot dead by none other than Niska’s men. And just like that, Wash and Mal are captured and taken prisoner on Niska’s skyplex.

In Niska’s hands, it’s a bloody, bloody mess. Mal and Wash are brutally tortured, with Niska subjecting them to some serious electroshock agony. While Mal is well experienced in his ability to withstand long periods of torture, Wash isn’t so lucky. The two bicker back and forth to avoid the situation that is really going on around them, and Mal sees that it’s only Wash’s anger and investment in his argument (that Zoë is obsessed with Mal) that keeps him from completely collapsing under the torture.

Back on Serenity, Zoë realizes that something is amiss after an hour has passed since Wash and Mal should have been back on the ship.  After visiting the meet-up site, Zoë determines Niska is behind the double-cross, and she jumps into action to save her two leading men.

Zoë decides to use the rest of the money made from the Ariel gig to pay off Niska in the hopes of bringing Wash and Mal back. It almost works, except Niska only allows her to bring back one of them. Without hesitation, Zoë picks Wash and heads back to Serenity — much to the disappointment of Niska, who was hoping to torture Zoë as well by making her pick between the two. But Niska gets the last laugh in that moment by severing one of Mal’s ears and giving it to Zoë as a “refund.” Ew.

After returning to Serenity, the whole crew launches into action. They take up arms and storm Niska’s skyplex with gusto.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 11.43.22 AM

What ensues is all-out warfare, with everyone from Simon to Kaylee to River and Book doing their part to save their captain. But while Kaylee is practically useless with a gun, Book blows everyone out of the water with his kneecap-busting abilities. Guy’s got some secrets. But you know who else has secrets? River, who blows away three guys with her EYES CLOSED. So yeah. She’s got some scary skills too.

Mal and his team successfully make it out of there alive (barely), but not without realizing that Niska, too, has gotten away. Even missing an ear and having temporarily flatlined can’t keep Mal from expressing just how pissed he is at letting that monster go. Until next time, Niska. Until next time.

Oh, and by the way:

  • River: No power in the ‘verse can stop me. (Cue the image of River going “pew, pew, pew!” that will live in my head forever.)
  • Simon: I never shot anyone before.
    Book: I was there, son. I’m fair sure you haven’t shot anyone yet.


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

You May Like