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Zoe and Wash discuss how there are Reavers, and Wash mobilizes the crew still on board. Over Zoe's increasing anxiety over how they might soon die -- again, in like an hour -- Serenity takes off and heads for them. Jayne reaches for the reload clips in a hatch on the Mule, and something resembling a rotary blade from the Shop class in Hell embeds itself quite near his hand. He screams, and everybody else stays focused. The Reavers then harpoon Jayne through the leg, and he ends up stretched out parallel to the ground, holding on to the edge of the Mule and freaking out. "I won't get ate! You shoot me if they take me!" Mal pulls out a gun and he whines, "Well, don't shoot me first!" Mal fires over him at the ship several times, everybody stays in the chase, and he shoots at the harpoon instead, breaking the wire. Jayne abruptly falls, hanging from the end of the Mule, dragging behind, and Mal grabs and pulls him up.
Wash tells Zoe to get over the flats and swing around, because they're going to "try a Barn Swallow." Beat. "Simon!" Poor Simon. Even Wash is cracking gay jokes now. Mal tells Zoe to crash into some boulders a little bit and maybe knock some distance into the Raider ship. It works, and part of the debris blows one Reaver engine. This relates to the Crazy Ivan, in that it involves abruptly flipping around to face the Reaver ship, which is less maneuverable, but the difference is that the Mule is just basically a moped, a part to Serenity's whole, and Serenity will swoop in, the Mule crashing into her hangar like a barn swallow, and take off leaving the Reavers holding the bag. Which, not for nothing, but since most of the meaning of this movie involves the politics of location, who is inside and who is outside Serenity, the family, at any given time, it's a nice reference with an even better twist. The Crazy Ivan is about facing the Reavers with their own madness, playing chicken with chaos and then laughing into a full burn up into the sky, but the Barn Swallow is about surrendering to the safety of Serenity herself. It's about trust.
Which is at issue. Wash and Zoe talk about how they've discussed the maneuver before, but as Zoe mentions, "Talking ain't doing." Which in terms of surrendering to the trust of Serenity, whether their self-created family means anything at all, is the central issue. They pull it off, of course, because Serenity will never let you down, and they crash hard into the hangar's back wall, followed by one small Reaver vessel that looks like a Viper. Simon closes the doors behind them as they all pick themselves up and dust off, and again drops to her side: "River?" She smiles. "I swallowed a bug." Kaylee runs to Simon, whose main part here has been standing around, and asks if he's okay. Mal gives an outraged squeak at this, but just then a Reaver jumps up growling. Mal shoots him fast as anything, and they stand around. In the cockpit, Wash calls again and again: "We all here? What's going on?" Cut to a wide shot, Wash tiny and alone, cut off yet again from the action. "...Hello?"