Saffron returns to plague Serenity with a scheme to steal a rare antique weapon from a wealthy landowner. Unfortunately for Mal, she neglects to mention just how she came across the information needed to break into the landowner's home.
The show opens in a desert, where a naked Mal sits on a rock, staring into the distance, and says to himself, "Yeah… That went well." Flashback to 72 hours earlier, where Mal meets fellow Independence soldier-turned-smuggler Monty. Monty's crew is engaged in unloading his own ship as the two captains chat. Monty announces that he's gotten married, and introduces his lovely new bride Bridget. As soon as they spot each other, Mal and "Bridget" pull guns on each other. Monty wryly comments, "So, you two have met?"
"Bridget" turns out to be none other than Mal's nemesis Saffron. The two adversaries disarm each other and struggle until a bewildered Monty separates them. Mal tells Monty that "Saffron" is his wife, and Monty reluctantly believes him after Saffron says Mal's name, which he never told her before, leaving her stranded when he departs. When Mal orders Saffron to start walking away from his "scrap o' nowhere", Saffron unsuccessfully works her wiles on him, then switches to teasing him with a profitable planned theft in order to avoid being stranded on "this lifeless piece-of-crap moon".
Later, Serenity arrives to pick up Mal and the unloaded cargo. The crew is puzzled over Mal's injuries, which he refuses to discuss. When Inara invites him into her shuttle for tea, he rants about her use of "feminine wiles" to manipulate him.
Inara gets to her point — she wants to be able to conduct her business, and implies he is deliberately making it hard for her to find clients. As their argument devolves into personal attacks, Inara calls him a "petty thief" and suggests that he hasn't been serious about his own work lately. The scene cuts to Mal in the cargo bay, opening one of the loaded crates, getting Saffron out for more details on her "million-square job".
In the common room, Saffron stands before the crew describing her plan to steal an antique laser pistol, the Lassiter, from Durran Haymer, a wealthy collector of Earth-That-Was artifacts. She claims a remarkable awareness of Haymer's security arrangements, but insists that she needs help to get the weapon off the estate. However, the crew expresses outrage that they're even considering working with her, given her previous attempt to get them all killed and steal their ship.
Mal discusses his reasons for his leniency, pointedly quoting some of Inara's words in their earlier argument to imply that she's partly responsible for his "descent into lunacy". Zoe is skeptical, but decides to go with the plan — immediately after delivering a flooring punch to the con artist's chin.
While Jayne watches over Simon and River, keeping them out of Saffron's sight, River delivers warnings about not trusting Saffron. She tells Simon in private that Jayne has been afraid since their visit to Ariel, "afraid we'll know". Meanwhile, Wash and Kaylee describe their detailed plans of how to get Mal and Saffron in and the antique weapon out, interspersed with a montage of scenes of the activities as they take place. The key to the plan is to dump the collectible pistol into an automated trash disposal unit, which Kaylee will reprogram to take the trash to a remote location where they can pick it up.
Mal and Saffron enter the estate without difficulty, proving correct Saffron's claims about her inside knowledge. They quickly find the room that features the well-protected collectible, but are surprised when Durran himself enters. Mal is further surprised when Durran rushes to Saffron and embraces her, thanking him for bringing back his wife Yolanda. Apparently, Yolanda/Saffron disappeared six years earlier, at the same time an estate worker was killed. Mal comically tries to disappear into the background, but Saffron insists that Durran provide some compensation for Mal's "rescue".
As Durran leaves to get the money, the uneasy partners finish retrieving the pistol while Mal wonders aloud about whether Saffron is actually in love with Durran, and if he might be her real husband. She responds by pulling her weapon on him and insulting him. When Durran arrives to observe this disconnect with her story, she tries to backpedal, but Mal tells him the truth about their robbery attempt.
While Saffron expresses contempt for Durran, Mal surreptitiously drops the antique in the trash chute. Durran, however, informs his beloved "wife" that he had notified the authorities the moment he found them in his trophy room. "YoSaffBridge" (as Mal now refers to her) again demonstrates her erratic nature by switching back to her feminine wiles, but finally ends up knocking Durran unconscious. As the Feds descend on the estate, the two thieves barrel through them and leave in Serenity's shuttle.
Meanwhile, Wash has been hovering Serenity directly under Haymer's estate's trash unit while Jayne retrieved the control unit and Kaylee reprogrammed it, clinging to the ship's hull. During the windy EVA, Jayne is shocked unconscious. Book drags the mercenary back into Serenity to be treated by Simon. Zoe goes outside to help Kaylee, who barely manages to get the control board plugged in before the automated pickup vehicle comes up behind them and attaches itself to the trash unit and its priceless cargo.
As Mal's shuttle flies toward the rendezvous in Isis Canyon, he continues to explore his theory that Durran was Saffron's true love and original husband, and Saffron breaks down in contemplation of what she's lost. As Mal regretfully expresses his belief that she'll just go back to being her conniving self, she proves him correct by pulling his own gun on him. She forces him to disrobe and strands him in the desert, which brings the episode back to its opening scene.
At the trashyard, Saffron searches through the garbage for the antique laser pistol. To her surprise, Inara emerges above her to taunt her with the weapon. The Companion claims to have been part of the plan all along, knowing that Saffron would get the drop on them somehow and arranging to beat the clever thief at her own game of deception. She remotely closes the garbage container to trap Saffron for the authorities to pick up later.
On Serenity, the crew finds that Saffron again sabotaged their ship, forcing them down before reaching the rendezvous. In the infirmary, Jayne awakens to find himself medically paralyzed to rest a spinal injury. When Jayne asks if he's going to be okay, the doctor calmly asks him how much he was offered to hand over the Tams to the Alliance. When Jayne calls for assistance from the rest of the crew, only River appears.
With Jayne paralyzed and in the company of the people he sold out, Simon ominously points out that in Jayne's "dangerous line of work", he will require the services of the ship's doctor again. But he surprises the mercenary by promising, "I will never, ever harm you," because he is a doctor and Jayne is part of the ship's crew. River then says "Also, I can kill you with my brain".
Later, Serenity makes it to Mal's location, where Inara and Mal trade some quips about Mal's "plan". Wash and Zoe look on, stunned, as Mal reboards Serenity and muses about the success of their heist, still unclothed.
- Saffron is a returning character who first appeared in "Our Mrs. Reynolds", an episode that apparently occurred "about a half a year back" from this one.
- After Jayne stocks up Simon and River's cabin and leaves, River, in another paranormal instance, tells Simon that Jayne is afraid they'll know what he was attempting to do in "Ariel", two episodes past. Simon and River confront Jayne on the subject towards the end of the episode.
- Won the SyFy Genre Awards: Best Special Guest/Television Christina Hendricks for "Trash", 2006
- Won the SyFy Genre Awards: Best Episode/Television "Trash", 2006
- Christina Hendricks as Saffron
- Franc Ross as Monty
- Dwier Brown as Durran Haymer
- Espenson, Jane, ed., with Glenn Yeffeth, ed. Finding Serenity: Anti-heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's "Firefly". Dallas, Texas: Benbella Books. ISBN 1-932100-43-1.
- Tanya Cochran (20 May 2008). Investigating Firefly and Serenity: Joss Whedon's Worlds Beyond: Science Fiction on the Frontier (Investigating Cult TV Series). I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84511-654-5.
- Joss Whedon (1 Sep 2005). Serenity: The Official Visual Companion. Titan Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84576-082-3.
- Joss Whedon et al (25 August 2006). Firefly: The Official Companion: Volume One. Titan Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84576-314-5.
- Joss Whedon et al (25 August 2006). Firefly: The Official Companion: Volume Two. Titan Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84576-372-5.
Joss Whedon (December 9, 2003). The Complete Series: Commentary for "Serenity" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
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|Episodes||"Serenity" • "The Train Job" • "Bushwhacked" • "Shindig" • "Safe" • "Our Mrs. Reynolds" • "Jaynestown" • "Out of Gas" • "Ariel" • "War Stories" • "Trash" • "The Message" • "Heart of Gold" • "Objects in Space"|
|Characters||Malcolm Reynolds • River Tam • Shepherd Book|
|Comics||Those Left Behind • Better Days • Leaves on the Wind|
|Other media||Firefly Role-Playing Game • Serenity Role Playing Game • Finding Serenity • Done the Impossible • Serenity soundtrack • Firefly Online|
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