Back in Hick Town, the folks drag River up to a stake prepared for burning. Man, those folks work fast. Or perhaps they always have one up and ready in the event they needed it. I think they might have been waiting for somebody witchy to come by as an excuse to try it out. River is dragged up to the stake and tied up. Simon begs Lothar to take his life instead. Lothar's not having it. He claims that God commands them to burn River. Wow, she's not that annoying. At least, not this episode.
Lothar nods to the men to light the kindling around the stake. This brings out the big brother in Simon. About as big as he can hope to get, anyway. He rushes over and pulls a couple of men away from River. A fistfight ensues, and Simon holds his own against two men. How butch. Oh wait, my gaydar's still off. I mean, "it's about time that Simon stepped up to the plate and protected his sister in a thoroughly masculine and heterosexual fashion." He shouts at the people that River has done nothing to them. If they kill her, they're not doing God's bidding; they'll be acting on their own lunacy and ignorance. The crowd stands there, unimpressed. Simon looks up to River. River recollects "post-holer, for digging holes for posts." Because she's tied to a post, I guess. I don't know. I guess the writers feel that they just have to have some sort of repetition of images or words, or else it's just not a good episode. Anyway, Simon climbs up next to River and holds her close, then orders the others to light the pyre. Aww. Okay, that got to me. A little bit. Shut up. River declares that it's time to go.
But this time River's speaking of something else entirely. There's a loud roaring wind. It's not God arriving. At least, not while my gaydar's still broken. Serenity suddenly floats overhead and a hatch opens, revealing Jayne -- and Vera. And she's ready for a good time. Mal and Zoe stride in on the ground from behind the gathered folks. Mal observes, "It looks like we arrived just in the nick of time. What does that make us?" Zoe: "Big damn heroes, sir." Mal: "Ain't we just." The wind from Serenity blows their leather dusters all photogenically as they stride up to the hicks with their guns ready for shooting. Mal tells them all they've got something that belongs to them. Lothar insists that they're interfering with a holy cleansing and cannot thwart God's will. Mal points out Jayne hovering above them. He explains that Jayne didn't even want to come back, so he's just itching to shoot somebody. So really, they should be worried about thwarting Jayne's will. Why would anybody want to thwart Jayne's will? Hey, I think my gaydar's coming back. Mal tells Simon that his "talent for alienating folks is near miraculous." Simon snarks back, "Yes, I'm very proud." Just kiss already. Oh yeah, the gaydar's back. Mal orders them to cut River down. Lothar says that River's a witch. Mal responds, "Yeah, but she's our witch. So cut her the hell down."