We cut to about ten seconds later for some inexplicable reason. Mal pulls a mug out of his little locker in the dining area as the rest of the crew files in from the set they were on just a moment ago to beg for some more exposition. A visibly rattled Jayne insists that it wasn't Reavers; he tries to hold onto his first theory that the space floater they found was the murderer. Kaylee tries to bring up Jayne's more recent theory, but he dismisses it and is all cagey because he's specifically afraid of the Reavers. Like any other group capable of mass-murdering sixteen families and hanging them from the ceiling wouldn't be similarly terrifying. Jayne points out that Reavers don't ever leave survivors. Mal suggests that given the mental status of said survivor (I'll come up with a nickname for him soon, I swear), perhaps they didn't. Book asks Mal what he means. Mal non-explains, "Don't matter we took him off that boat, Shepherd. That's the place he's gonna live from now on." Book refuses to accept that and insists, "Whatever horror he witnessed, whatever acts of barbarism -- it was done by men, nothing more." And that matters how, exactly? How exactly is that less horrifying? Have you read that book you keep harping on, you twit? Jayne insists that they're not men. Book repeats that they're men, even if they are a bit removed from civilization. Book believes in a higher power, "a power that heals." I agree, and as proof, I suggest they lock Book in sick bay with the survivor until Book convinces that higher power to heal him.
So what exactly are the Reavers? I'm so glad you asked. Book's denial of the Reavers' evilness triggers Mal's exposition campfire ghost story. He starts off by telling Book that the Reavers wouldn't be too interested in hearing about his spiritual philosophy; they'd be too busy eating his innards. He "explains": "They got out to the edge of the galaxy to that place of nothing, and that's what they became." Oh. Of course. That makes perfect sense. Perhaps at the edge of the galaxy, the only radio station they could pick up is KRZY, and it wore them down. Or maybe they got trapped in the script for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; that would destroy anybody's mind.
After that illuminating tale, Jayne asks them all why they haven't taken off yet to get away from the floating monument to Hellraiser. Mal tells them that their work isn't done. They've got scavenging to do. Jayne insists that there's no "rutting" way he's going to go back to a ship that's been mauled by Reavers. Zoe deadpans (like she has any other vocal delivery), "Jayne, you'll scare the women." Then Simon volunteers to go, explaining that he's dealt with bodies before. He's quite the eager beaver, isn't he? Before the show started, I was afraid that Simon would be some uppity twit who recoiled at the harshness of life on the fringe. I'm actually glad that's not the case. Book insists that he wants to give the dead a decent memorial service. Mal balks, but Book says, "How we treat our dead is part of what makes us different from those who did the slaughtering." The other part that makes them different is how they don't kill people, eat them, and string their remains up in the rafters in the first place. Let me read from Chapter Two in the story of "The Recapper Who Told Book To Shut Up": Shut up, Book. Mal appears moved, and agrees to allow Book and Simon to cut the people down. He orders Jayne to assist. Jayne gets incredibly pissy about having to help them hold a funeral, leaving them sitting ducks should the Reavers return. Mal insists that they should take the opportunity to give the folks some peace if they can. As people file out, Inara admiringly observes of Mal, "Just when I think I've got you all figured out." Yeah, whatever. Is she going to say something to that effect every episode?