An explosion leaves Serenity crippled - Mal orders everyone to abandon ship while he stays behind to try to make repairs. As Serenity's air slowly but surely leaks away, we're treated to a series of flashbacks, from Mal's point of view, that fills in some missing background for the original crew members, including Mal's early interactions with each of them.
original airdate--October 25,2002
music-- Theme song "The Ballad of Serenity" by: Joss Whedon Performed by: Sonny Rhodes
- The garbled line Mal speaks to Simon as they are about to burned at the stake is "Your talent for alienating folks is near miraculous," to which he responds "Yes, I'm very proud."
- This episode marks the television debut of a young Zac Efron, appearing as an adolescent Simon Tam in the flashback sequences.
- Inara asks whether a carved wooden statuette in a trading post is supposed to be a duck, and Kaylee replies that it's a swan. There is a Chinese proverb that says, "A badly painted tiger looks like a dog; a badly carved swan looks like a duck." (The meaning of the proverb is that it's better not to do certain things than to do them badly.)
Goofs-- In the flashback where Mal and Zoë meet Jayne for the first time, every close-up of Mal and the one close-up of Zoë shows their hair blowing in the wind. But in the shots of them together, their hair is completely still.
- Kaylee has just put Simon's birthday cake down on the table when the explosion happens, but in many subsequent shots of both the table and the floor in the dining room, the cake is nowhere to be seen.