Firefly Episode 11: "Trash"
"Trash" features the return of Saffron, who left a bad taste in my mouth with "Our Mrs. Reynolds," but came off better here. This wasn't just a case of not having as many flaws as "OMR," but also the fact we got to see Christina Hendricks pull off some great acting. I imagine it's not easy to act as a character who is themselves acting, but she does it really well. She admits Durran is the husband she actually fell for, but how much of her breakdown in the shuttle was an act? I'm inclined to believe a lot of it, but the episode doesn't seem to resolve it one way or the other. Either way, I saw enough here to suspect Saffron could have been a good recurring character.
Mal's response to her interactions with Durran was great to watch, some of the most quietly funny lines in the whole series. His argument with Inara seemed contrived, and his reaction to the "petty" seemed unduly sensitive, but it's certainly plausible he could have an odd spot for that sort of thing. I like the thought of Mal setting Inara up as a failsafe, though it also seems clear Inara was just looking out for Mal's reputation when she told Saffron they expected things to go this way all along. Mal certainly let his guard down in the shuttle after they escaped from the feds.
The B plot, while small, was very, very good, and makes me revise my "Ariel" rating to a solid 10/10. Commenter Sandy said in that post that Simon knew about Jayne's betrayal all along. I initially thought he figured it out in this episode from River's sensing of Jayne's fear, but Sean Maher's acting clearly conveys that he's in control of the situation there, and betrays no surprise whatsoever. This also clears up why the alleged change of plans Jayne used to get them out of the examining room didn't come up, as Jayne wouldn't mention it, and Simon is clearly intent on ignoring the matter. The scene in Serenity's medical bay is perfectly played, and River's warning at the end is also just perfect. Jayne's reaction to Simon, which Adam Baldwin manages to convey with only his eyes, is a very human moment.
So altogether, I liked this a lot. Not only is it a fun and solid outing, as I said, but thanks to the Simon/Jayne material and the suspicion that was laying groundwork for further Saffron developments, I'm giving this an 8/10.
Durran: "Now I'm intruding."
Saffron: "Durran, this isn't what it looks like."
Mal: "Unless it looks like we're stealing your priceless Lassiter, 'cause, that's what we're doin'. Don't ask me 'bout the gun, though, 'cause that's new."
Durran: "Well, I appreciate your honesty. Not, you know, a lot, but..."