Mal takes control of the discussion and tells everybody that they're there to discuss the fact that there's somebody on the ship that may be a danger to them. This, of course, triggers a pan upward so that we can see the intruder on the outside of the ship, eavesdropping. Mal talks about how some of them have grown attached to River, but she does have an "oddness" about her. You guys just don't understand her! She's lived a hard life and that's why she's so confrontational and you have no right to judge her! She still has a lot to learn! She reminds me of myself at that age! Oh, I'm sorry. This whole conversation just reminded me of the inevitable meeting in every season of The Real World where they spend an entire episode arguing about whether to toss one of the members out for being violent and stupid, as opposed to just stupid. Mal points out that River seems to know things that she shouldn't or couldn't possibly know. Jayne asks if they're saying she's a witch. Oh, Jayne's shirt has a rainbow pattern, little flowers, and a nekkid woman. That makes more sense. Wash snarks back at Jayne, "Yes, Jayne. She's a witch. She has had congress with the beast." Hey, that's no way to talk about Tara! Phoebe, on the other hand…a befuddled Jayne says, "She's in Congress?" Wash snarks, "How did your brain even learn human speech? I'm just curious." Jayne angrily tosses something on the table at him as Inara says something in Chinese ("Combining milk with Babassu Oil from the Amazon, our Babassu Milk Bath provides a fragrant and moisturizing bath experience.") and judgmentally reminds them all that they're talking about their lives, along with River's. Mal's old lady's such a downer.
After everybody shuts up again, Simon says that River does seem to be deeply intuitive. Mal interrupts to say that he doesn't think it's intuition; he thinks River's a "reader" of some sort. Zoe realizes that Mal means "psychic." Wash asks if that's even possible. Mal calls on Simon for an answer. Simon says that the Academy has definitely altered the way she reacts and perceives things. Wash says, "Psychic, though? That sounds like something out of science fiction." Zoe responds, "We're in a spaceship, dear." Can I call for a moratorium on meta-humor? Seriously, it was fun for a few years, but it's gotten really tired. Even on The Simpsons. Especially on The Simpsons. Jayne asks if they really think River can read minds. Mal thinks she can. Book says he thinks so, too. Jayne says he doesn't like the idea of anybody hearing what he's thinking. Inara snarks that nobody likes the idea of hearing what Jayne's thinking. Oh, now Inara cracks her own jokes. Hypocrite. And I'm sure you don't have to have psychic powers to know what Jayne is thinking: "Sex, food, sex, food, sleep, guns, food, sex, guns, guns, guns, Simon, food, guns." Book says the Alliance could have a number of uses for a psychic. I think just about any organization could have a number of uses for a psychic. Zoe points out that they could also have been training her as an assassin. Simon sadly says that River just wants to be a kid. Mal says he wishes it were that simple. Jayne snarks, "If wishes were horses, we'd all be eating steak." See? Food. Jayne demands to know what they're going to do about her. Simon slowly says that he doesn't think River would hurt any of them. Jayne looks around, but doesn't bring up the knife again. Perhaps he's managed to do some math of his own and figured out why River might have attacked him. Mal says that he's not going to make a decision tonight, so that River can have the opportunity to prove herself by taking out the plot contrivance latched to the hull of the ship. He tells everybody to get some rest.