The background exposition clip show from last week is back. Blah blah Earth was "used up" blah blah blah Alliance blah blah civil war. I believe Book is the narrator, which doesn't endear him to me any further.
The Fiddle Of Don't Forget It's A Space Western plays us into a shot of Serenity zooming through space. Inside the cargo bay, most of the crew plays some sort of game with a ball that looks sort of like basketball, but with various minor changes to indicate future evolutions of the game. Or just because. Simon and River watch the game from the catwalks above the bay. River is strangely fascinated with the game, because she's weird, in case you had forgotten. Inara wanders by, wearing an indigo gown and a burgundy shift, and joins Simon. Does she even own a pair of sweatpants or anything? Down in the game, Kaylee jumps on Jayne's shoulders in order to toss the ball through the hoop, suspended vertically in the middle of the bay. Inara asks Simon who's winning. He responds, "I can't really tell. They don't seem to be playing by any civilized rules that I know." Ah, I think this game is called Anvilball. Inara asks how River's doing. Simon says she's doing better, but still won't talk about what happened to her at the Academy. River continues to goggle at the crew's game like it's the most amazing thing she's ever seen. Maybe the Academy forced her to watch nothing but C-Span as part of her torture. Simon worries that he won't be able to help River. Inara offers a bit of confidante support for free when she reassures Simon that he's helping River simply by getting her out of the Academy's clutches. Simon mutters about turning them both into fugitives. Inara heavy-handedly foreshadows, "We're all running from something, I suppose." In this case, subtlety.
Suddenly the proximity alert goes off, halting the game. Wash pretends to freak out, fearing that they're all doomed and shrieking out the promo line, "Who's flying this thing?" The answer of course, is him. A little joke to remind us what his role on the ship is. A very little joke. Wash looks good in a tank top. He heads up to the bridge to see what the problem is as Kaylee observes that they're now a man short. Jayne jokes that "little Kaylee is always one man short." She punches him playfully, then invites Simon to come down and join her side. Oh Kaylee, poor thing -- I really don't think Simon plays for your side.
Wash heads up to his chair and sees a ship tumbling helplessly through space just outside. The ship can't be more than half a mile away, so the proximity alert is really more of a "you're about to smash into something" alert. Wash sits down and looks at the ship in confusion, when suddenly a human body slams down onto Serenity's "windshield" from above and bounces off into space. Wash shouts in surprise. The impact of the body rattles the whole ship, and the crew runs up to the bridge to find out what's going on. Mal asks if there's anybody on the ship. Wash has been trying to hail the ship, with no luck. Mal orders him to bring them closer. Simon asks, "What is it?" We pan back to the hall just outside the bridge, where River stares off at nothing and mutters, "It's ghosts." Cool. I like Space Ghost.