The Message

Episode Report Card
Shack: F | 9 USERS: B-
With friends like these...

Elsewhere on the ship, Inara notes the bombing runs going on as she sits in her shuttle. Since she can't have sex with anybody to fix this little conflict, she's just going to stay there. Kaylee and Tracey note that they've stopped. Tracey is worried, but Kaylee is sure the captain has a plan.

Out in the cargo bay, River is being all wacky and counting the time between bomb explosions in order to determine whether the "storm" is coming or going.

On the bridge, Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Wash, and Book are trying to figure out a plan. Wash says that if they get a direct hit from above, all the ship's electrical systems will break down, and they'll have to dig their way out. Things are looking grim. But then Book pipes up and says, "Captain, there is another way." Oh, great. Now we're going to listen to Book?

Oh, apparently, they are. We're not, because it's going to be one of those plans where the dramatic tension comes from us not knowing what it is, like in "Bushwhacked" and "Trash." Except even dumber. Instead, we watch as Tracey decides to leave Kaylee's quarters, despite her protests, to find out what's going on.

So Tracey works his way up to the bridge and overhears Book's plan. Well, part of Book's plan. And this "plan" makes it sound like Book wants them to hand Tracey over to Officer Evil! And it sounds like Mal and Zoe are inclined to agree, so of course there was more to this plan that we didn't hear. Tracey, though, hasn't watched mediocre television in ages and doesn't realize this. He eyes a couple of guns sitting on a table next to the door (and what the hell is that? Some sort of NRA variation on the "take a penny, leave a penny" plate?), as tense music plays.

Oh, it looks like that sad little egg guy has taken a turn for the worse with the depression. I'm hoping there isn't a Zoloft commercial in the future with him sitting on the ledge of some building.

We return back to the "plan" to sell Tracey out. Another bomb falls. Jayne declares he agrees with Book's plan. Book insists it's the only way. Mal stares at Book. Then he tells Wash to call Officer Evil! and tell him they give up.

Then, of course, Tracey pulls the gun off the table and pulls it on Wash and orders him to stop. Everyone's surprised. He insists he's not going back with Officer Evil! to be eviscerated. Book tries to tell him that he doesn't know what's going on, but Tracey's not having it. Rather than explaining anything, Mal orders Wash again to call Officer Evil! Tracey threatens to blow Wash's head off. Mal angrily says, "You mailed your ugly business to Zoe and me, Tracey, cash on delivery. I'll go to hell before I watch you turn and bite us for the favor." Oh, I guess it really was Book's idea to sell him out. After all, if they had another plan, I would certainly take this moment to at least say something like, "We've got a plan. You're not going back. Trust me." Wouldn't you? Mal again orders Wash to contact Officer Evil! Wash picks up the comm to make the call, and then Tracey shoots at him, grazing his temple. Yikes. But then we see a really fake bloody wound on Tracey's chest. Zoe shot Tracey at the exact same time he shot Wash. Tracey stumbles down the stairs leading to the bridge to find Kaylee standing there. He grabs Kaylee in the required hostage-taking neck lock and backs down the corridor, shooting up into the bridge.

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