The Message

Episode Report Card
admin: F | 9 USERS: B-
With friends like these...

While this discussion is going on, River has crept quietly into the cargo bay. She starts climbing up on top of the coffin. Jayne notices her presence and asks her what the hell she's doing. She slithers across the top of the coffin and lies down on top. Book tells her that might not be the best place to hang out, but River insists she's very comfortable. Book says, "I guess we do all have different reactions to death."

Cut to laughter, of course. Wherever would we be on television if the last statement from one scene didn't serve as a transition to the next? We would be lost, I tell you! Lost! Anyway, Mal and Zoe are hanging out with Inara in the dining area, sharing more "war is hell, but zany" stories. They're telling a very detailed, incredibly dull story about Tracey shaving off some officer's mustache. The entire ship shudders in boredom. Oh, wait -- actually they're under attack or something. They all rush off to the bridge.

Up on the bridge, Book is already there with Wash. Wash says there's a ship behind them; it fired over the port bow. Since they didn't hit them, Zoe realizes it's feds. Officer Evil! (actually Lt. Womack) comms in and tells them he knows they've got stolen goods and they're to power down and surrender, et cetera. Mal assumes he means The Lassiter. But of course, he means Tracey. See, if they had cut Act I, then we, too, would have experienced the dramatic tension of finding out what these men are looking for in a tense environment involving characters we know and care about. As it stands, we have to sit here and listen to Mal and Officer Evil! go through pretty much the same conversation we heard with the Postmaster Generic. Actually, neither Officer Evil! nor Mal mentions anything about a dead body. Officer Evil! wants the crate. Mal pretends he doesn't know whether they've got the crate or not, and tells Officer Evil! to lock onto their ship and follow while he searches for it. Mal then cuts the communicator off and tells Wash to keep Officer Evil! distracted while they figure out what the hell is going on. Wash doesn't know what he's supposed to do as a distraction. Book offers to stay with Wash and help. It would seem to me that having Book blather away at an angry evil man would be a quick way to get your bridge blown off, but Mal doesn't seem to be bothered.

Down in the cargo bay, Mal, Zoe, and Jayne have carefully removed Tracey from his coffin and are ripping both it and the crate he came in apart to try to find what Officer Evil! may be looking for. They don't find anything. Mal has Zoe go through Tracey's pockets. Kaylee, watching over by the stairs with Inara, River, and Simon, declares, "That ain't right." Yes, apparently, it's wrong to even touch dead people. How do you think he got dressed up and put in the coffin? Again, shut up, Kaylee. Nobody finds anything. Then Mal turns to Simon and tells him it looks like they're going to need an autopsy after all.

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