|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Marita Grabiak|
|Written by||Ben Edlund|
|Original air date||October 18, 2002|
Returning to a moon where he ran into some serious trouble years ago, Jayne discovers that he's become a local folk legend. Mal decides to use this entertaining distraction to complete a job, but some unfinished business may derail his plans.
The episode opens with Kaylee insisting that the always-proper Simon never uses swear words, despite his protestations that he does whenever they're "appropriate." Inara departs for an overnight meeting with a client. Jayne attempts to use tape to smuggle concealed weapons on the mission, against orders, apparently afraid he will be recognized for crimes committed some years back, but is forced to leave them behind.
The crew arrive at the factory town of Canton, taking on the disguise of buyers of "mud", a clay which when properly treated produces a ceramic described as "ten times stronger than steel". After talking with the foreman, they enter the town, where they find a statue of the "Hero of Canton", Jayne himself, to Jayne's shock and puzzlement. It is revealed by a song started by a performer and taken up by a cheering crowd that Jayne is a legend in the town, apparently credited with stealing a large amount of money from the magistrate and dumping it on Canton from the air. Jayne attempts to escape, only to be recognized, and finds himself offered the best whiskey and accolades from all. The smuggling contact is horrified by Mal's supposed idea of "lying low," but Mal soon develops a plan around this considerable distraction. While Jayne carouses with the admiring locals, Mal heads back to Serenity with Wash and tells Zoe how this unexpected celebration of Jayne is exactly the cover they need to sneak the merchandise past the foreman and his "prods."
Inara meets with the magistrate, who introduces her to his son, Fess. He is disgusted that his son is a virgin and has brought Inara to Canton to "make a man of him". The magistrate attempts to stay and watch, but Inara manages to get rid of him. She goes on to tell Fess that there is nothing wrong with his being a virgin, and that he should be himself and not his father.
On the ship, an agitated River dismantles Shepard Book's Bible, insisting that it makes no sense and that she has to "fix" it. Book manages to calm her, and explains that the Bible isn't about making sense in a logical or scientific sense, but rather is about faith that fixes people rather than needing fixing itself. He allows her to keep the pieces of the Bible when she refuses to let go of them. Later she attempts to repair it and return it to him, but panics when she sees his wild head of hair that normally he keeps in a tight bun.
The foreman informs the magistrate that Jayne Cobb has returned to Canton. The magistrate then goes to a shed where he releases a man named "Stitch" from what appears to be four years of solitary confinement. He gives the man a loaded shotgun and informs him that Jayne has returned.
Inara, having taken Fess's virginity, prepares to return to the ship. When he expresses puzzlement at not feeling different, she explains to him that being a man is about being old enough to ask what makes him a man rather than about sex. Somewhat later, Inara learns from Fess that Jayne is about to be captured and tried, and that the ship has been "land-locked". He expresses to her that he would rather Jayne escape.
Mal returns to fetch Kaylee and Simon, finding the mechanic draped over him on a couch. He tries to explain to Mal how "nothing happened," but once again manages to insult the frustrated Kaylee. Collecting a tipsy Jayne, they head off, but Kaylee stops Simon in his tracks with her scorn. As the doctor eats breakfast alone, Stitch arrives. The scarred criminal brutalizes him in an attempt to locate Jayne, but the roars of an approving crowd outside give away his location instead. Stitch drags Simon along as a hostage to confront Jayne.
Stitch confronts Jayne in front of a crowd of Canton citizens. He informs the crowd that Jayne and he had stolen the money together, and that when they found themselves needing to reduce weight, Jayne had thrown his partner overboard rather than jettison the money, then lost the money overboard accidentally. Stitch then attempts to shoot Jayne, but is foiled when a mudder jumps in front of the gun to protect Jayne and is shot and killed. Jayne kills Stitch, but is unable to understand why the man sacrificed himself to save Jayne even after having learned the truth of Jayne's "heroism".
When the crew reboards Serenity, Wash attempts to take off, but finds the ship "land-locked" per the magistrate's order. It is quickly released, however, as Fess has decided to prove himself a man by defying his father's attempt to capture the "Hero of Canton." Kaylee has a heart-to-heart talk with Simon and briefly makes him worry about his propriety after the previous night's party.
In the cargo bay, Jayne broods about the mudder's selflessness and how it eats at him that, despite Stitch's telling them the truth, they're probably going to put his statue back up. Mal attempts to explain to Jayne the hero worship isn't about Jayne but about what the townsfolk need, but Jayne only replies, "Don't make no sense."
- Gregory Itzin as Magistrate Higgins, the senior law man of Canton who hires Inara and sets Stitch loose on Jayne.
- Daniel Bess as the young Mudder who sacrifices himself for Jayne.
- Kevin Gage as Stitch Hessian, Jayne's former partner whom he betrayed.
- Zachary Kranzler as Fess Higgins, Inara's client who tries to prove his worth to his father.
- 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.
- Rhonda V. Wilcox; 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 (2003-12-09). The Complete Series: Commentary for "Serenity" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Jaynestown|