Hey, they've changed the intro! Well, not quite. The images seem to be mostly the same, but now they've got Mal narrating it rather than Book. And he gives a little more detail about himself and the crew, and they've added shots of the non-crew passengers as well. Probably for the benefit of new viewers, which is good. Though Mal still refers to the earth getting "used up." And he calls River a "genius," which makes my teeth itch. He also rushes through the intro and is impossible to understand in parts. It sounds like they dragged Nathan Fillion into a studio on Friday afternoon to record the new intro as quickly as possible. In fact, the captions still read out as the old intro.
Exterior shot of Serenity, floating silently in space. Melancholy music begins to play. Shot of the bridge, empty. Shot of a corridor, empty. Shot of the dining area, empty. Lots of emptiness on Serenity. An emptiness that we are led to believe is tragic, because of the music, and not because everybody's off at a rodeo on Hephaestus IV.
A shot of a seemingly empty cargo bay. We get a close-up of the metal grating on the floor of part of the bay. Suddenly, Mal falls to the floor with a loud clang. That really must have hurt. Mal lies on the floor, looking all sweaty and pained, as a voice in Mal's head says, "She's a real beauty, ain't she? Tell you what? You buy this ship, treat her proper -- she'll be with you for the rest of her life."
We hear the sound of the cargo doors opening, and light shines down on Mal's face. But what's this? It's Mal opening the door as well, with Zoe by his side. A different Mal. A flashback Mal. Flashback Mal and Flashback Zoe are sort of washed out with yellow lighting. Mal asks Zoe what she thinks. Zoe responds, "You paid money for this, sir? On purpose?" Zoe thinks that Mal got robbed in the deal, and calls the ship a piece of "fei-oo." I believe that's Mandarin for "almond taffy." Mal admits that the ship won't win any beauty contests. Not with that attitude, she won't. But, he adds, the ship is "solid" and will last until "the day [we] die." Zoe observes that this is because the ship is a deathtrap. Mal encourages Zoe to think about the future and what it means for them. Zoe asks, "What's that?" Mal starts to explain his plans, but Zoe's question was literal. Apparently, there's something nasty on the floor that we can't see. Amusingly, whatever it is seems to be located in nearly the exact spot where we left the other Mal. Flashback Mal tells her to just "step around it." Mal explains that he wants to hire a mechanic, get the ship running, add a pilot and maybe a cook, and they'll get to fly around in space, living like "real people." They'll do jobs as they find them, "and [they'll] never have to be under the heel of nobody, ever again." Zoe recalls back to the part where Mal said "get her running," and realizes that this means the ship currently doesn't work. But it will, Mal promises. As they head off into a corridor awash in yellow lighting, Mal tells Zoe that he's already got a name picked out for the ship.
Back in the present, blue-tinted Mal lies on the grating some more. He's steeling himself in the hopes that he hasn't gotten himself trapped in some awful time-travel story from Star Trek. Oh, he's bleeding, too. From the gut.