Now that the universe has been established in the first episode of the series (Serenity), the second episode takes us through the daily life of the Serenity crew.
Right off the bat I noticed that unlike the pilot episode, which was 1.5 hours long, this episode is nice 40 mins, which makes for a much smoother episode. I didn’t feel like I was watching a two part story; it felt line one cohesive episode.
In “The Train Job,” Mal, Zoe and Jeyne (whom I shall refer to as “the trio” henceforth) go to an alliance-sympathizer bar on Unification day (i.e. the day that the Browncoats lost the war) and get into a fight before making a cool escape on their firefly ship. One good thing that comes out of a knock to the head? They’ve got a job!
Using their lead, they head to see Niska, crime lord with a ruthless reputation. He wants them to do a “train job”, stealing two crates of unknown Alliance goods from a train as it travels from Hancock to Paradiso. Before they go, Niska shows them the dead body of a man hanging from his ceiling, telling them that that is what he does to people who “Don’t finish the job”. Uh-oh! Right then, I wondered why they didn’t just decline the job, but then I guess one cannot walk into a lion’s den and then decide they are not ready for fight.
Zoe and Mal get aboard the train and find an entire compartment filled with Alliance troops, but they don’t seem to be guarding the goods. The two successfully get into the cargo bay and manage to sneak the goods off the train to Jeyne (who drops in from Serenity as she is flying above), but all the noise they make attract the attention of a curious Fed, who ends up tripping on the smoke alarm at the door. Shootout ensues, and Jeyne’s leg is hurt; he’s airlifted out, but Mal and Zoe get left behind.