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'Firefly' flashback recap: Christina Hendricks back for backstabbing seconds

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 11 | “Trash” | Aired June 28, 2003

Whoever said blondes have more fun clearly never met a redhead. Not just any redhead, but Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks, to be more specific.

Hendricks comes back for seconds as Mal’s “wife” in “Trash,” the eleventh episode of Firefly. In case you forgot where we left off with her in “Our Mrs. Reynolds,” here’s a quick recap:

She tricked Mal into marrying her, called herself Saffron, lied about her identity, knocked Mal out with laced lipstick, tried to steal Serenity and basically left the crew for dead. I think that pretty much sums it up. So you can imagine that not one single crew member on Serenity really wanted to see her again.

“Trash” opens with Mal, naked and alone, in the middle of the desert. Already I know this episode is going to be amazing.

The rest of the story picks up 72 hours earlier. Mal is chatting it up with old Independence buddy Monty (Franc Ross), while some of Monty’s crew is busy unloading some of his latest stolen cargo. Monty confidently reveals he’s gotten married (much to the surprise of Mal), but when he beckons for his new bride Bridget (Christina Hendricks) to meet his longtime pal, everyone’s in for a huge surprise when Mal and Bridget instantly pull a gun on each other. DUEL! (Just kidding, but that would have been awesome.)

Mal explains to Monty whom he knows “Bridget” to be: Saffron, a two-timing, backstabbing con artist who tricked him into marrying him and then tried to kill his whole crew and steal his ship. Monty is reluctant to believe, but when Bridget/Saffron slips up and reveals she knows Mal’s identity, Monty must face the truth. He deserts Bridget/Saffron and Mal. Mal is quick to tell Saffron to scram, but since she’s a wily redhead and Mal is Mal, she somehow manages to convince him to go in on a lucrative scheme to steal a priceless weapon with her so that they can split the profits.

Mal returns to Serenity with Saffron hidden in a crate, much to the disgust of his crew members. Once all pleasantries (or lack thereof) are out of the way, she explains her plan: Steal an antique laser pistol called The Lassiter from Durran Haymer (Dwier Brown) and sell it for an unimaginable profit. Intrigued by a high-stakes heist and the lore of the Lassiter, Mal agrees to join in on her hijinks. The Serenity crew, not so much. That is, until they all get their complaints about Saffron off their chest and Zoë plants a whoppingly satisfying punch on Saffron’s precious lying face. After that, it’s all systems go.

The plan is thus:

1) Break into Haymer’s estate

2) Steal the pistol

3) Drop it in a trash chute

4) Have Kaylee program the trash disposal unit to take the trash bin to a remote location of their choosing so they can retrieve the artifact

Breaking into Haymer’s estate is easy, as Saffron has intimate knowledge of cracking that security system. It’s troubling that she has that knowledge, but it seems to bother no one but me. (More on that later.)

Mal and Saffron enter Haymer’s office and lay eyes on the precious Lassiter, only to be interrupted almost immediately by Haymer himself. But instead of being killed on the spot, Saffron is swiftly taken into an embrace by Haymer, who gushes how grateful he is to Mal for returning his wife “Yolanda,” who’s been missing for six years. HOLD THE PHONE. Saffron’s got three husbands? This girl is too good.

Turns out Saffron was once Yolanda, and Haymer was just one of her many marks, like Monty and Mal. Now Saffron/Yolanda’s knowledge of how to break into the estate makes sense. (*Shakes fist at sky in frustration.*)

Though Mal’s only wish is to leave quickly and unharmed, Saffron/Yolanda insists Haymer repay Mal’s kindness with a reward. As Haymer goes to retrieve the reward money, Mal and Saffron attempt to finish what they came for, but are once again interrupted by Haymer, this time while both Saffron/Yolanda and Mal have their guns drawn on each other. You see, Mal accused Saffron/Yolanda of being in *real* love with Haymer, to which she responded with a gun in the face. Saffron/Yolanda tries to cover her tracks but Mal isn’t having it. He tells Haymer the truth, that they came there to steal the pistol. While Haymer and Saffron/Yolanda have words, Mal actually does manage to drop the pistol in the trash chute as planned. Their escape is then rushed, however, when Haymer tells Saffron/Yolanda and Mal that he never believed Saffron/Yolanda to be truthful and that he called the authorities the second she showed up again. After a scuffle that leaves Haymer unconscious, Saffron/Yolanda and Mal escape through a crowd of Feds unharmed on Serenity’s shuttle.

Meanwhile, Kaylee and Wash have been waiting patiently under the trash disposal unit. Kaylee manages to program the unit to deliver the trash to their secret location, just as Jayne is knocked unconscious from the high winds and dragged back to Serenity to be treated.

On the shuttle headed to the rendezvous point, Mal tries to call Saffron/Yolanda out on her lies. He claims Haymer was her true love and her one and only real husband, and for a moment it seems Saffron/Yolanda is truly saddened by the thought that he’s right and she’s essentially lost everything in favor of being a con artist. But in an instant she proves once and for all that she’s a conniving brat and pulls Mal’s own gun on him, forcing him to take off all his clothes. She leaves him in the middle of the desert, naked and alone, like we first saw at the beginning of the episode. “Well, that went well,” is all Mal can say.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 11.03.01 AM

Saffron/Yolanda makes it to the deposited trash bin and goes through it in a fury looking for the pistol. But it’s she who’s knocked off her rocker in surprise as Inara shows up, pistol in hand, and breaks down what really just happened: Mal and the Serenity crew were actually the ones conning her. The plan from the beginning was to double-cross her double-cross and have Inara wait at the trash bin and retrieve the pistol first, knowing full well that Saffron/Yolanda was going to try to take the artifact for herself. HA!

Inara then traps Saffron/Yolanda in the trash bin in what is one of the most satisfying moments EVER.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 11.01.41 AM

After naked Mal is picked up by Serenity and graces his crew with his birthday-suited presence, all is well.

Oh, and by the way:

  • I didn’t get to it above, but there was a minor B plot that involved Simon and Jayne. Due to River’s mind-reading abilities, she informs Simon — albeit in a circuitous way — that Jayne is the one on the ship who can’t be trusted. She says Jayne’s “afraid they’ll know,” and Simon connects the dots to realize it was Jayne who sold them out to the Feds on Ariel. Simon pulls a real Simon and has this to say to the traitorous Jayne: “I want you to understand one thing very clearly. No matter what you do or say or plot … no matter how you come down on us … I will never, ever harm you.” Simon takes the familial crew and ship’s loyalty to heart, so betrayal is not something he’s going to take part in. But the real kicker comes from River, who stoically states, “Also, I can kill you with my brain.” So there’s that.

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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