After having me guess will-he-or-won't-he, they made it not just 'hints of a possibility' sort of thing, but an actual plot, an actual, well, act - he did turn them in. It wasn't sugar-coated in any way, there were no justifications or attempts to walk around the fact - one of the main character was evil to a couple of the other main characters, no excuses. And it wasn't in a I-turn-to-the-villain-of-the-piece kind of move, either. I'm guessing that in the next episode, he's going to be just as he had been in any other, with the rest of the crew, or maybe only very slightly different - which is exactly what made it so 'strong' to me. And it didn't surprise anybody, either - the signs were there all along. Not only throughout the entire episode (Mal talked about the possibility repeatedly), but throughout the entire run of the former episodes, as well. I mean, Jayne is still the exact same character who thought it was wrong that this village-boy died to save him, and it's the exact same Jayne who has enough and turns the fugitives in, for money - the character didn't change, it was just one flow of the same personality.
And then Mal was scary and caring at the same time, and just when I think his character can't get any better, it does.
I don't know nearly enough about TV and movies - how common is that, how many other shows/movies/stories went all the way like that and had one of their main characters do a really bad thing, while staying, at the bottom line, one of the 'good guys'?
Of course not in the way Angel turns into Angelus (because even though it's the same actor with the same face, the lack of soul makes it, at the bottom line, a different character - which is what enabled him to return later as Angel again). And also not in the way Willow turned evil in S6, because she turned evil, there was a change, she didn't continue with that same evil-turned black-haired veiny self on to S7 - I'm not saying that the seeds to this transformation weren't planted earlier, seasons ago, or that it didn't come directly from the character itself (because I think it did), but that it was considered as a thing that changed by the other characters, and later she was different again and changed back - they didn't stay friends with that same Willow, but with the Willow who once had-been that, if I'm making any sense, and I'm not so sure I am.
But with Jayne it was different - it is exactly the same character, the same personality traits, the same combination of the guy who was staring at the wounded Kaylee in "Serenity" right after he was so extremely rude to her just because it made him laugh. And it was just that same Jayne who turned Simon and River in - there was no sudden revelation, no hidden darkness, it wasn't - to me - at all surprising, and at the same time I couldn't stop thinking the "oh, no, you didn't really do that, did you?". I don't remember who said it, but I'm pretty sure I read it somewhere in a Buffista post, that the best plot line is that which is both surprising and inevitable, the one you couldn't see coming but after the fact you can't see any other way things could have gone - and that was the latter half of this episode. Both with Jayne and with Mal's response.
And, um, to my original question - did any other show do that? Took one of the 'good guys' and have him do a straight-out evil act, while still being one of the 'good guys'? Like I said, I don't have enough background in anything really to support my claim that it's a rare and brave direction to go, because me not-seeing it doesn't really mean that much, so I'm asking the way more experienced you: where else was it done, and how well? T, who watched that episode with me, gave me all sort of options of characters who made mistakes and weren't perfect and didn't do-the-right-thing even though they knew it was the-right-thing, but I can't help but think that it's not the same - that there is a different between avoiding doing something and actively choosing and executing something. Am I making any sort of sense?
I love it when I think the plot is one thing, and then it turns out to be a completely another. This episode started as a hospital-robbery-to-sneak-River story, and ended up being all about Jayne, in several ways. And it was about both, really, and it was tied up in River's first glimpse of hope offered by Simon.
Is there any meaning to the name of the episode? I know that it was the name of the planet where everything took place, but I can't see that as a reason strong enough to name the whole episode after it (I mean, we didn't have episode "Persephone" or anything like that, either). The only Ariels I know are the Israeli prime-minister and the little mermaid, and I can't see how the episode or the name of the planet could refer to any of them... So, again, I ask the more-knowing you, I guess.
I loved the first scene - everything seemed natural, not like a group of actors were told to look like they were dealing with everyday stuff in the characters' lives, but it flowed so naturally - the playing, the kitchen, the table, the sitting together and going from one part of that room to others - it seemed familiar, comfortable, together. Like they really were the same crew.
[Edit: to be continued. And who else is surprised that a post in completely full, and I'm only up to the first scene?]
I loved how Mal dealt with Jayne and Simon after River's attack on Jayne - he made it very clear to Jayne that there's no talking about leaving anybody behind, backing Simon completely, and only after Jayne had left the room, he turned to Simon and made sure that the safety of the crew was to be protected from any outburst by River, as well. And only after that, after everything was cleaned up, so to speak, and everybody knew what they are expected to do and avoid, did he let himself show concern over River herself, her deteriorating condition, Simon's hardships in trying to help her.
I'm not sure if the editor is responsible for this - the cuts between Simon's explanations and orders on the ship, and between the members of the crew executing their corresponding parts of the plot - going from all of them sitting together near the table to the junkyard with Kaylee and Wash, with Simon's voice still heard over it, and then the conversation between them, back to Simon's voice, and then we move to Jayne, and again and again. It's like the way Simon saw it in his mind's eye when he was planning it all - the way the crew comes together to work as one unit to achieve a goal, each doing their part.
And, again, with the not-sure-it's-the-editing part of it - the teaching of Mal, Zoe and Jayne of the sentences they had to memorize for their medics' costumes, with going between each of them, Simon repeating the words, and they're trying so hard to memorize the long meaningless syllables, and probably looking like every actor trying to memorize a technobabble line, or, what's even more appropriate, a long line in Chinese. And that was woven, again, in the efforts of Wash and Kaylee, to continue this lovely thread from the former paragraph. I liked it so much because it seemed like they were really working together, all of them, as a crew, and because, well, it was probably really that hard to memorize the long words (and, again, the Chinese...).
And then there were the scenes in the hospital, cutting between Mal and Zoe on one line of story to Simon, River and Jayne on the other - is that the editing? Or does somebody else (the director? The script writer?) decides it's going to be a cut back-and-forth sort of line of scenes, and the editor is the one who decides how to execute that, when to jump? Or anything in between? Can I write longer paragraphs that don't have any information in them and only ask questions?
I loved the way they played the memorized medics lines - Simon put so much effort and headache into teaching them to Mal, Zoe and Jayne, and when they got to the hospital it turned out they over-planned and the nurse that welcomed them really didn't care what they had to say. And then Jayne had to say his lines anyway, because, hey, if he worked so very hard in order to do something, he's very well going to do it, regardless of it being unnecessary, or even risky. And then he got one word wrong (no, really! he said 'neural reaction' and all the time Simon was teaching him to say "neural response". I have no idea how come I managed to pay attention to that slight mistake - maybe because I was trying so hard to follow the English, and I was wondering myself what was the exact difference between "reaction" and "response")
Oh, and that lovely bit in which we saw that they have the electric-shock instruments when Simon saved the dying patient, just to repeat the use of them with Zoe and the pompous doctor. Oh, and Mal buying time talking to him, just like he always does to give Zoe a chance to hit the opponent just the way she prefers it to be - it's like it's an old-times tactic of cooperation between them, it was repeated at least once more that I can think of, at the beginning of "The Train Job". Oh, and they had another one of those, in the final scene with Mal and Jayne - Mal pretty much repeated what he said to Simon in the end of "Serenity", about having the guts to confront people in their faces. How much do I love the continuity? The don't-lose-anything-if-you-didn't-notice it but earn-another-layer-if-you-did kind of continuity? Yup, very very much.
Also, it turned out that the problem with running into the angry-and-pompous doctor worked in their favor, at the end, because his card is what got Mal and Zoe inside the medication vault. Yeah, things would probably look easier if they didn't have to walk around the hospital with a fainted doctor in their casket, if they didn't have to be forced to explain themselves and fail, but at the bottom line, they wouldn't have been able to get into the vault without him. I don't think they wouldn't have come up with a plan (probably something similar to what ended up happening - taking out a member of the hospital staff), but I am talking about is the way Mal keeps using everything to his advantage - no matter what happens, he finds a way for it to help him get at his goal (and, therefore, his payment, and his 'keep flying' bottom line). Whatever goes on around him, whether according to plan or not, is looked upon as a chance to improve their chances and getting the upper hand.
I liked the way the hospital looked all clean and severe and with clean-cut lines and no mess and no decorations - it was functional, efficient, with lots of white, just like I would imagine a good rich hospital. I liked the way it looked like today's hospitals, but with slight changes - the same 'air', just some little different details.
Also, I liked the imaging whatever-it-was that River was put into - I have no idea what kind of a technique it was supposed to represent, but it was enough for an ignorant like me to think 'look, medical imaging', with the skeleton and the brain holographic images over River's body, and the 3D aspects of it, with Simon moving it with his hands (like a version of what they had in "Minority Report", which I liked as well, so I'm seeing a trend here). I liked it that they didn't try to explain anything with pseudo-scientific words, just 'this is what Simon wanted to see, he understands it, no matter how much you don't, you're not living in any sort of future, get over it, it looks cool'.
There was a double crossing here - with Jayne playing against Simon and River and handing them in to the police, and the policeman playing Jayne and arresting him, as well. But, the funny thing to me is that, had the double betrayal hadn't happened, had Jayne not been crossed as well, the chances of Simon and River to be rescued from this trouble were dramatically smaller. Without Jayne jumping down to save, well, himself, he wouldn't have saved the others, and he wouldn't have any need to save himself had the policeman not put him in trouble, as well. Am I making any sense? What pretty much saved Simon and River was that Jayne was stupid on both sides - to turn them over, and to do that in a way that made him a target, as well. It's like, on a way, how a double minus becomes a plus, at least in some cases. Or, in a badly-translated Hebrew phrase, "the work of the just is done by others", but not exactly.
Jayne seemed troubled by what Simon indicated was done to River (they opened her skull, they cut into her brain) - that cruel selfish thug who just gave them in to the police, knowing full well that it couldn't end well for them, was still horrified at that cold procedure, having no regards to the fact that it's a person on the other end of the scale, not just a scientific experiment or an obstacle. He may deeply dislike Simon and River, thinks they're only bringing troubles and annoyances and risks, but he still sees them as people who do that thing, not as just dust that should be wiped of his feet. He's angry at River for hurting him, he's out of his way to insult Simon at every chance - they are people to him. It's not like that with the way the academy has treated River.
It's like with the different styles of fighting, with Jayne and with the blue-gloved meanies. He fought with his fists, his hands got bloody, he fought the person who was in front of him, he faced that person and that dead soldier knew he was fighting with a deadly enemy and that this man was going to kill him. The blue-gloved men simply took out that little weapon of them, completely innocent-looking, small and thin. They didn't make any threats, they didn't even let the people in front of them any sort of warning - they were in touch with the items they came to procure, so they had to be eliminated, just like the door on their chase after the fugitives had to be removed so that they can continue to walk. There was no difference.
That lack of personality, of attention to the human beings in front of them, regardless as to who these people were and what coincidence brought them to be a part of this mess, is probably the scariest thing about them. I can understand why Jayne did what he did, I can throw large paragraphs at that and even if not agree with him, see where he was coming from and what were his feelings (yeah, I do know that he's a fictional character, OK?). There's nothing I can relate to in the blue-gloved men, nothing I can follow, no human-ness that I can relate to in any way. But they are still people, human beings themselves, and that's the scariest part.
I really liked the explanation (or this side of the beginning of it) of what was done to River - she can't push anything back, she has to feel everything that goes on around her, everything is an input, everything has to surface up and not be put to rest. It follows so well with the way she behaved all throughout the former episodes - she received information from every little bit that was going on around her, seeming psychic in a way, but simply being extremely highly aware of whatever was going on, couldn't not be aware of it. And she felt it all, she couldn't block those feelings - and who wouldn't be at least a bit unnerved if they can't stop-from-dealing with things for just a little while? It must be so exhausting, so confusing.
It reminded me a bit, though I understand it's not what they meant, of Buffy in "Earshot", when she couldn't shut down anybody's thoughts and was nearly driven mad by it - if a person is not only highly sensitive to what is going on around them, but also unable to let this sensitivity rest, to shut his attention's eyes closed and let them rest and not stare into the light all the time, how could they not lose a little bit of their coherence, of their linearity of thought? And everything River says does makes sense - sometimes only after the fact, when the other characters notice the things she noticed first, sometimes when some sort of 'translation' is found between her images and the more everyday words that are used to describe everything (and, yup, I loved the way it was done with Dru, as well).
I love the whole thread of sleep that follows River's storyline - she has nightmares whenever she tries to sleep, she had to physically be put to sleep in order to sneak her into the hospital, her 'real' personality, so to speak, is asleep in the sense that the things done to her in the academy moved to the front and pushed everything else back. And Simon trying to wake her up, to return her to the way she was, looking for a way.
[Edit: this is going to take a few more posts]
I love it that they have no problem in continuing the story, not staying with it on the same level all the time. I mean, they could just leave River in her state, after they've created and established it (and it's not like they didn't already have a lot to go with only exploring her past). But instead they're actually trying to tell a long-arc story, of Simon's attempts to help her, of her steps towards returning to herself. And I bet we're going to see some results in the episodes that are left - I'm sure something, at least, no matter how small, would be different. I love it that they don't freeze on their spot, but instead explore the world that they build. Will it be different than what they started with? Probably. But just like with BtVS and the end of high school, or AtS and becoming a part of W&H, I love it that they're not afraid to try.
And I'm sure we haven't seen anything close to the end of the relationship between Simon and Jayne, either - I have no idea how they're going to play it: Will Simon guess that Jayne is not the jumping-to-the-rescue crewmember he now thinks he is? Will Jayne become angrier at Simon and River, for spoiling his relationship with Mal? Will Mal trust Jayne again? To what length? I'm sure there are going to be results, I'm sure nothing is going to disappear under the rug (um, no, there are no rugs on the ship, are there? So, inside that hole where they hide the crates of the stolen goods, that's probably a better comparison). And I love it that the story continues and grows, that there are always consequences.
Jayne's actor is simply wonderful. He can express so much with so few words - the uneasiness he felt when sitting and waiting for Mal and Zoe to be away enough for him to contact the feds, the confusion, the anger, the selfishness. And then the dawning understanding with the policemen, that he was played at just like he tried to play Simon and River. The deep confusion when they tried to rescue themselves - he was trying to lead the way, but kept following River, instead, while still not trusting her judgment for a second. And the tingle of decency he had left, to feel uncomfortable when Simon thanked him as their savior. And, of course, his final conversation with Mal - again, he expressed so much with so little. He doesn't have the fluid, fast face of Wash, for example, or the nuances in Mal's face, with the levels-upon-levels of emotions and thoughts residing together, but with such a small variety of expressions, with such subtle changes, he delivers so much.
Now, I don't know anything about acting, no way to determine the quality of it based upon anything, really. The only criteria I have for the quality of acting is whether I believe what I watch (of course, while knowing it's fictional). And I totally believe that Jayne is the thug who is selfish enough to rat on the fugitives, but still has the spark of self-respect to ask the man he holds above all other people to not tell anybody else about that downfall of him, to be ashamed of what he has done. I am also pretty sure that the actor is nothing like that (he probably has to be a pretty sensitive person, in order to communicate so much, and I always think that the people who portray the dimmest characters have to be at the most highly intelligent end of the spectrum), which makes it even more impressive.
I'm afraid I'm repeating myself a bit, but when Jayne made that call to the police, I so very much expected it to be some sort of a part-of-the-scheme plot point, that it was all done on purpose and pre-planned by Simon. Even wanted it to be this way, somehow, just so that it would be, well, easier, I guess. Not that it's not a much more interesting story the way they actually did it - maybe less interesting in the terms of 'plotting a really complicated scheme of "Mission Impossible" like proportions, but way more interesting in terms of the characters, their relationships and emotions. And, well, I'm gradually getting the sense that these are the things that hook me most of all.
I remember that when watching "Innocence", my sister responded the exact same way ("No, he's just playing as evil, he did something to himself so that the judge wouldn't be able to kill him, he did it on purpose, and once the judge is beaten, he's going to return to being himself, no, really"), only, well, stronger. And I loved the way all of Jayne's responses before that could be interpreted as just uneasiness as to his part of the job - memorizing difficult lines, being in charge of his least favorite members of the crew and the like. But upon re-watch I'm sure it's going to scream at me how silly I am for not noticing it before. I mean, he was alone on the planet's surface, able to contact the police seventeen times before getting back to the ship! And Mal couldn't stop warning him from doing just that! (Um, so why did he leave him alone with Simon and River? OK, I get it, so that we get a good story and that amazing final scene. I'm willing to look over plot points for a lot less than that).
The fight scene was really hard for me to watch - in fact, there were seconds that I was so thankful for the background music, despite it being so suspenseful itself - it covered most of the noises of the fight, and I think I wouldn't have been able to take it had the music not hid some aspects of it from me. In fact, I think some of the sounds of the fighting were deliberately muffled, silenced, and only several of them were heard. It both made it more far-away, one sense getting less input from it, and stronger and closer and more up-and-personal, because I couldn't stop watching. It was so real, so down-and-dirty, so 'this is how it is when a man wants to hurt another man, and they don't see any other way out'.
[Edit: I had no idea I h ad so much to say]
Jayne's knuckles had blood on them, the soldier bit them, and he repeatedly hit him even after he didn't have to show so much strength, so much anger. And I could see them panting, fighting not only for control, but also for simple air. It was completely chilling. But, like I've mentioned before, not as chilling as the blue-gloved men. The difference between the cold detachment and the dirty honest fight with the hands and the pain and the human physicality only made both scenes stronger, for me.
Oh, and Simon didn't kill the soldier, he used his medical knowledge to render him unconscious. Jayne killed 'his', but the scary blue-gloved men were the ones who killed the soldiers Simon faced.
I loved Simon being the mastermind behind the plan - we're constantly told that he's a smart one, and there's a different between 'books' smart and 'world & actions in it' smart. He was always told to be the first, now he's proving he's also the second. He worked through each and every detail before coming to Mal and the others - he didn't leave anything unplanned, didn't leave anything for the others to improvise, he covered all the bases.
I also liked Simon's dropping everything to help the dying patient, and not only because of River's fuss. It really was the most natural thing for him to do. Simon's competence at treating the patient - I loved the reminder that he is indeed very good at what he used to do, that his lack of ability to help River is not due to his lack of talent or knowledge, that he really is stuck at a place where his talents are going to waste (by his own choice). Right after River's nearly attentionless line of "This is where you should be", when he explained to her about the hospital, showing that when she remembers, she knows his sacrifice for her, too. And then he rushed to the patient and was all professional and competent and full of confidence, saved his life, took the time to scold the doctor who made a fatal mistake and gave a wrong treatment, not bothering to sugar-coat anything, all that time ignoring everybody else's questions about him, being completely in his element and knowing exactly what is the best thing to do. And after reprimanding the doctor (in the middle of everything, when he knows they're in such a hurry), and only then, he went back to River and Jayne, still ignoring everything else.
I loved the way Simon stood up to that fed. His worst nightmare has just happened, and he was the one who brought it upon himself because it was his plan that got him and River on that planet, and he still had enough clarity in his mind to not only assess the situation, but also to act upon his assumptions and defy the scary big policeman in front of him, in order to try and find out what is going on. Also, I'm not sure whether the Simon who first boarded the "Serenity" wouldn't have been able to do that, or maybe not in that quiet tone and that upright way of standing. Maybe his experience with the endless confrontations with Jayne was somehow beneficial, in a way? But I also think that he had had this strength in his character from the get-go, even if less ways to put it out, to radiate it.
I don't think that every story has to have all 10 characters in it all the time (yup, I'm counting "Serenity" as a character, too. I'm a little insane, perhaps, but that's the way I see it, and I don't care what that part in my brain that is warning me to behave is saying). There were episodes in which River had no lines at all, and that was OK, by me, too, in her lingering presence and her just being there and being a part of the crew.
Book was completely absent from the episode (with an explanation). I actually liked it that they figured he had no part on this episode, so instead of having him just stand around some scenes and say a couple of exposition lines, they were willing to trust the audience enough in not having him at all in the episode. I liked it that they gave an explanation that told about him having a life of his own, not connected to the lives of the members of the crew and what he is going through with them (I always like it when I get the feeling that the characters and the story are richer in the creators' heads than they are in what I eventually get to see in front of me).
Inara was seen very briefly, too, only for a couple of lines at the beginning and the end of the episode, and it was OK in the same sense that Book's absence was OK, for me - her (tiny) storyline gave the reason for the shabby ship to be in the rich and not-usually-on-her-route planet, it gave them the timeline for how long they're staying, it - again, like with Book - prevented her from just hanging around being pretty and not much else, which would have been a shame.
We didn't get that much of Zoe, either, other than her reluctance to go on board the planet, it being all full with feds and regulations, despite Wash's constant attempts to convince her, that lovely scene at the beginning, where the vast difference between Inara and probably most of the crew was seen - she talked about museums and restaurants, Wash thought it was completely boring, and even Simon tried to offer some other forms of fun (hmm, now that I'm typing it out loud, it seems that Inara got more attention that I thought, even if just by this little exchange while she was playing with Kaylee, and did I mention already how much I like their relationship?). And with that I guess I mean that we didn't see anything new, that most of what we've seen of Zoe are things we've already seen - her banter with Mal, his total trust of her, the way they read each other so fast that it seems like they know what the other thinks right when the thought pops into their head (and the way Wash, Zoe's husband, seems to be out of that loop whenever she communicates with Mal), her strength and confidence.
[Edit to indicate I'm nuts]
I loved it that neither her nor Mal could memorize the medic lines easily, that they had to work on it and make mistakes and even behave a bit like pupils in a class trying to please the teacher, and that's such a rare place for Simon to be, in a place where he is the one somebody else, anybody, is trying to please.
I love Kaylee's relationships with everybody - I love it that she has a relationship with every single member of the crew (and possibly the deepest one with the ship, after Mal's). I like her enthusiasm for life, for experiences (she wants to get to really visit the planet), and that she's willing to shove it aside the minute she finds a piece of technology that she likes (and I think, but I'm not sure, that one of the junk-parts she picks up in joy is something she later uses on the building of the medic-ship). I loved the way she told Inara what went on during her absence - so matter-of-fact, this-is-everyday-life, soon-everybody-is-going-to-be-home-and-we'll-have-supper-together. They way she slid into every part of the job they gave her, naturally, flowingly (is that a word?), completely sure of her abilities, not panicking in the face of difficulty.
Oh, and I love Wash's richness of expressions, more and more - he doesn't seem to be afraid to look goofy or childish, he just seems to let everything he feels flow out through his face and every other part of his body, waving his hands, jumping, and of course his facial expressions. It's not like he doesn't talk a lot, probably the wittiest crew-member that he is, it's just that he can express so much even without all those words, just by being there, all in the emotion, with all of it crossing his face and his body.
At first, until the very end, it seemed like Mal was somewhat in the background during the episode, definitely when compared to his usual being-in-the-center-of-things. He didn't plan the job, he only executed the 'payment' part of it, Simon gave all the instructions. But if anybody knew what was going on, it was him - I mean, he even warned Jayne not to cause trouble, when Jayne could still back out of his deal-with-the-devil! And he was the only one sharp enough to both realize, on time, that something was wrong, go in to try and fix things, and read Jayne's reaction when they were back on the ship, with Simon's joyous face looking up at him, and realize exactly what had happened. And then he responded, immediately. He seemed all casual conversation-making for a minute, and then hitting Jayne with the screw-driver, in an instant.
It was such a strong scene - every line in it was so meaningful, so much happened so fast, it was like a whole mini-episode at the end of an already wonderful episode. I think my breath was held for the entire conversation, it was so engaging. Jayne having what is probably one of the most honest conversations he's ever been forced to had, while not even being in the same room with the person he was talking to, unable to hear him without a technological aid, and not always able to see his face. And the way both actors expressed such a range of emotions, or feelings, in such intensity, while most of the time only part of their faces was visible, the mouth or the eyes or from the side, and sometimes their hands alone.
From the double meaning in Mal's line regarding "pay day", and the way we knew that Jayne only had a really short time because Wash indicated they're going to be out of the atmosphere in five minutes, throughout the friendly banter between Mal and Jayne, with Simon's gratitude, all full of wonder and awe, and Jayne's use of Mal's form of speech "you're part of my crew". And then Mal rushing everybody out ('you've got jobs to do'), timing his confrontation with Jayne so that it can still take place while they haven't left the atmosphere yet. And then the explosion of anger in Mal's face after he so surprisingly hits Jayne (and can I gush anymore about how I believe pretty much every emotion I see on the face of the actor who portrays Mal?). He motions Jayne to the radio with his finger, his face are not even seen. He gives Jayne a chance to admit what he had done, and when Jayne lies up excuses, he flats out goes along with the truth, that Jayne turned them in. Jayne tries to deny, to convince Mal that he didn't do it. When that fails, he turns to the human and honor-full part of Mal's heart ('that's no way for a man to die'), but that doesn't help either. Mal's only harsher on calling him a betrayer after that. So Jayne apologizes, and Mal shoves it back in his face, because he had just said that he'd never do such a thing. And then Jayne's back is enough at the wall for him to actually be truthful, and although he doesn't really admit, in saying it out loud, what he has done, he gives his reason, his real reason - the money was too good. But he is still trying to smooth it out with Mal, he still doesn't understand - he says that it's not like he turned Mal himself in, only other people. He really can't see the meaning of what he has done, not the way that is important to his survival right now, Mal's point of view (whether he accepts it or not). And only after Mal spells it out, that doing something to a member of his crew, to a member of this little family, this little world he has build to himself and he's holding with all he has in the world to keep alive and together and flying - only then does Jayne at least begin to realize that. And it shows in his response - he doesn't apologize anymore. He accepts it that to Mal he did the unforgivable, that he's not hitting and fighting his way out of this one. And he relates to what Mal had said, by asking him to not let the other members of the crew know the truth.
[Edit: with that amazing final scene, it's really like two episodes long, you know? or at least 1.5]
Maybe Mal knows, and his respect is lost forever, but at least some part of his place in that crew he tried to undo will be kept by having them think he's still a part of it, even after his death (and, maybe through that, in Mal's opinion, since he's the focus of the crew?). And that recognition in the importance of that sense of togetherness is exactly what stops Mal from answering, and after hearing that, he closes the air-lock and spares Jayne. Not letting him out of that room, mind you - he's leaving him to think strong and hard about all that just happened, with no means of connection to the other parts of the ship (unless they use the same radios).
Would Mal have killed him? I honestly don't know. And I absolutely love it that I don't know. I mean, Jayne, just as Simon and River, is also a part of his crew, with all the meaning that comes along with that. Mal only pressed the button to close the air-lock when Jayne asked him to tell some story to the others to explain why he's dead, only when Jayne - well, not regretted what he has done, not really - but a bit more than regretted being caught, if I'm making any sense. I think he honestly didn't understand the way Mal would see selling River and Simon out - he didn't understand that Mal take it so personally, like he was being turned over, he still doesn't understand the meaning of the crew and its being safe and together, and how important, pivotal, it is to Mal. So I don't think he regretted turning River and Simon, I think he still wishes them gone. But he regrets hurting Mal. Does it mean that Jayne would have preferred it if he could somehow make River and Simon go away without Mal knowing it's his responsibility? Maybe. Maybe. Or maybe he may think that because it's important to Mal he's going to be forced to respect it as well, in order to get the appreciation from pretty much the only person who matters to him more than money (or 'not enough money'). Maybe. And I love that 'maybe' line, I love it that I'm not sure what a fictional character thinks and how it may react. It's so rare (in the little TV that I get to watch, I admit it again).
Oh, and one more thing - Mal just putting his arm around Kaylee and hugging her to himself once they're back - such a big-brother genuine love-gesture, so natural and as if he didn't even think about it. It was just like the kiss he planted on her forehead in "Our Mrs. Reynolds". I just love the way it looked like the most obvious express-the-way-I-feel thing to do, in both cases. And I love it that there are hugs and kisses on TV which are, just like in life, not about romantic attraction, but about expressing a wider variety of emotions as well. I absolutely loved that moment - it was a little thing, on the side of the screen, unconnected to anything that went on in that moment in terms of plot and verbal conversation, and that was what made it even lovelier, in my eyes. Because it wasn't the "look at us! We interact! Even without words!" sort of pay-attention-to-me sort of movement, because it seemed like it was completely natural, like no thought was put into it at all.
My beloved 'not-little moments' list: Zoe's lighter less-uniform-like clothes at the beginning of the episode. Jayne licking his knife - they may be all sitting and sparring together, but he's still a scary-scary man. Jayne threatening Mal with River's next victim , and choosing to name Kaylee and Inara, to max Mal's worries with concern to his two favorite most-fragile members of the crew (he's got his sparks of wisdom and sharp attention to what is going on). Playing with the horseshoes - I always like the combination of old and new, and, I mean, if in these days people are still playing games that are completely not high-tech, why not continue with it? Kaylee making sure the hospital wouldn't miss the stolen medicines. Simon snatching back the samples he gave the crew to look at, politely and easily from everybody else, not so much from Jayne. Everybody raising their hands when Simon says somebody has to go to the planet for a part of the job (well, not all 9 crew-members sort of 'everybody', just Kaylee and Wash (with a great eager expression) and Jayne, but still), and Zoe's expression to Mal upon seeing that. Zoe pressing her palms to each other when trying to memorize her medic lines - such a real gesture. Jayne doing the gentle forgery work with his big scary knife. River rapidly saying, without any 'big' words from Simon, the long medical words that Mal, Zoe and Jayne worked so hard to try and memorize (and, I dare to guess that it was just as tricky for the actress to memorize them as it was for the characters to learn them). The single tear in River's eye when Simon put her to sleep (she didn't want to do it, then agreed to, because Simon asked her, but still felt it was not as OK as Simon did). River's smile when Simon saved the patient (even though I'm not sure she was able to see anything he was doing from back there, which makes her awareness even more sharp to be able to notice Simon's actions and their results from such a distance). Mal writing on his arm the names of the medicines he wanted to steal. Jayne reaching out to touch the image of the brain over River's head - and Simon stopping him fiercely, even though he's no match for him physically. Zoe and Wash kissing when they think the mission is over. Simon calling the ship 'home' completely naturally, when he says they're almost back there. Jayne following River (and Simon) even though he keeps saying that he thinks they're going the wrong way. River going the right way (right to the door where Mal and Zoe are). Mal's tilt of the head when he shoots the door to find Simon, River and Jayne - hurrying them up to come along already and stop lagging. Simon's expression when he said that Jayne was wonderful.
[Edit: the last sentence of that paragraph was cut! Really!]
River drawing Babushkas - I'm not entirely sure why, but the fact that this is what she was drawing, the little person inside that's hidden inside a bigger shell.
And the best part in waiting to watch another episode? I can't wait to see how they play it further (if they get enough episodes to play it further, sigh) - the development of Jayne's relationships with Mal, Simon, River, the rest of the crew. How much is he going to take Mal's words into heart? Is he going to act according to them, at least up to the point that it seems to others that he cares (like that line in "Out of Gas", where he tries to convince Mal that he would have come back for him, either)? And River - will Simon find some way to make things even a little easier and more coherent for her? And then what? I guess I'll see. And I can't wait.
I, am, however, quite nuts. And aware of that.
[Edited to note that, still, what I have written on "Out of Gas" was longer, and that was still the episode of "Firefly" that resonated the most with me]