Next Step: Straight To Video
Zoe, first mate, Mal's war buddy from the fight for independence, my personal favorite character, appears: "We crashing again?" Mal tells her to ask her husband, who is the pilot, Wash, and asks if the Mule is prepped -- that's the four-person ATV they use on the ground. In the Big Damn Movie, it flies. Mal, and the tracking shot, continue into the kitchen as Zoe and Jayne trail off, still talking about the grenades: "We're robbing the place, we're not occupying it..." Into the engine room, where adorable, wonderful Kaylee is running around, calm and efficient as a cucumber with an engineering degree, as the interior of the engine room goes to merry hell all around her: sparks, smoke, buzzing, beeping, freaking. "Kaylee! Kaylee, what in the sphincter of hell are you playing at? We got the primary buffer panel coming right..." She smiles. "Everything's shiny, Captain. Not to fret." Behind her, the room is almost entirely obscured by smoke and steam, and sparks are shooting out of everything. Mal complains that she told him the entry couplings would hold for another week, and she reminds him that this conversation actually took place six months ago. Hmm. Wonder how long Inara's been gone?
"My ship don't crash. If she crashes, you crashed her!" She ignores him, because blustering is his main hobby. Simon approaches from behind, and Mal reminds him that River will be accompanying them on the job once they land, should they not explode and die. There's another crash and shake, and Simon looks nervous. "Fear is nothing to be ashamed of, Doctor." Simon explains that it is not fear, but anger that he is feeling. Mal says it's hard to tell, and Simon gives him a snippy over-explanation in reply: "Well, I imagine if it were fear, my eyes would be wider." Mal says he'll look out for that next time, knowing full well that Simon's wrong: it's fear. "You're not taking her," says Simon, and somewhere in this beat of the scene there's a cut because of the set constraints -- the camera has to get all the way around Simon to follow them down through the ship, and can't. But you wouldn't notice, so it doesn't count -- the point of the tracking shot is not affected, and the continuity of the ship exploration is not interrupted. The movie's named after her; it's important we get to know her and the people inside as efficiently and engagingly as possible.