Episode Report Card
Shack: B- | 4 USERS: F
A River Runs From It

Commercials. We return to some Minority Report-esque officious building of authority. Papa Tam is standing at some desk, so we know it's another flashback. A bellboy escorts Simon in. Papa Tam is furious with Simon. He interrupted his dinner with the Friedlichs. Simon sarcastically apologizes, saying that he never would have "tried to save River's life" if he had known there was a dinner party at risk. Pa Tam tells Simon not to be so flippant about it -- bailing him out cost Pa two thousand credits, and simply walking through the door to this holding area or whatever the hell it is will be reported on Pa's "permanent profile." Oh no! He'll never get into an Ivy League school now! Pa asks if Simon is trying to destroy the family. Simon responds, "I didn't realize it would be so easy." He insists that he didn't do anything wrong. Pa says that Simon was in a "blackout zone." Simon says he was just talking to somebody who could help River. What the hell is a blackout zone? Another energy crisis? Have we forgotten Enron? Simon insists that he's going back to that very blackout zone again. Pa warns Simon that he's going down some slippery slope and isn't thinking things through. Simon asks what he means by that. Pa says that he won't come down to bail Simon out the next time he gets in trouble. He's on his own. Pa asks if Simon's coming home. Simon regards Pa as if he were a piece of poo. Which he is.

The tolling of a bell brings us back to Hick Town. That would be Butterfly ringing the bell. Simon tells her that this is lunacy, asking Butterfly what exactly it is she teaches the people here. Well, she don't know nothin' about birthin' no babies, but she knows plenty about burnin' witches. Some folks wander over. One guy, whom I shall call "Lothar," asks what the heck is going on. She explains that River's a witch, and describes the mind-reading. Simon insists that River isn't a witch. She's just a little "troubled." Jayne is a little "troubled." River's a loony. Lothar approaches and asks River if she's a witch. He explains that he's the patron there, and asks if River understands what that means. She does. He's in charge. Then she starts babbling about how the old patron died. He was sick, but he was getting better, but then Lothar was alone with him and…she's a witch! A witch! Ignore those lies! She's a witch! Lothar actually smacks River and agrees with Butterfly, accusing River of spinning falsehoods. Lothar, by the way, is one really bad actor. There's a reason I called him Lothar beyond just the Hill People joke. He insists that the evil must purged from River with fire. Men grab her as she starts screaming.

Meanwhile, Serenity is detaching itself from the Alliance behemoth. Mal is in the room with Book, who is patched up and recovering from his wounds. Mal explains that the Alliance fixed Book and then let them go. Book tries to pretend that this is a surprise to him as well. Mal asks him what sort of ident card would get them good treatment from the vaguely evil, officious, and very boring Alliance. Book suggests that it's because he's a preacher. He says folks like a man of God. Mal says that they don't: "Men of God make everybody feel guilty and judged." Mal wants an explanation. Book says he'll get one…someday. "Well, hurry up," Mal says. "Have you seen our ratings?" Book concludes that it's good to be home.

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