This was a little different than the last two issues.
I thought Jeanty did a good job on #1 and #2 but his art isn't to my taste for a good portion of this issue. I do like the attention to detail he has on things that give insight on the character like the way Inara sits against Mal and he hold her. The faces slip out of actor likeness and are a little awkward in places. This stood out for me the most in Rivers' nightmare/memory/vision when she hugs a younger Simon--I didn't realize who it was or the fact it was when they were younger until I noticed how little she was on the next page.
As far as the writing goes I really think some of the problems I found in this issue wouldn't exist if it was a longer series. Scenes change without feeling completed and there's no continuity from the end of last issue. The latter could be a misunderstanding between writer and artist but it stuck out. Last issue ended showing the crew before Jubal Early revealed he was on the ship. Baby Emma was with Simon and Kaylee (who were both in states of undress.) Emma is suddenly in Mals' room in Inaras' care while Jubal takes out Simon. But the real scene whiplash for me was the build up to Jubals' return getting shot down without ever reaching that level of fear his last appearance brought. He's a very unhinged guy that pretty much single handedly took over the ship to get to River. The whole issue could have been devoted to what he does to the crew.
But we don't see what he does to the rebel leader, two characters are locked in their rooms off stage and he gets take down quickly after that. Believe me I'm happy that it's Kaylee that got him since he scared the hell out of her with his rape threat. But the attempt to look tough by threatening to torture him didn't work for me. I never believed it and I'm surprised he did. This might have to do with the writing but the dazed grin she has as she walks away didn't help. I suppose it might be a detail that works better with the actor performing it though.
Then there's the mention to the others the Alliance tested on that are like River which gives off a "slayer army" vibe. A smaller bit that nevertheless felt wrong was Jayne muttering under his breath that his attempts to impress the rebel leader were dumb. Jayne hasn't been shown dwelling on such things and it seems odd that he'd even realize why what he said didn't impress her. It's the type of thing that would have benefited from him talking to someone else who'd point this out. I'll let his "faith" in Mal slide since Jayne knows her mission is to get Mal to lead a rebellion so I'd see him talking the captain up.
I like the dedication to Zoe that Mal shows and her own faith that she'll get out of the prison they tossed her in. That feels like the Firefly/Serenity I know. The reveal at the end I honestly didn't get for a few minutes because I didn't recognize the Operative. That said it is a good cliffhanger and I hope that plotline works out. So far this is the weakest issue of the bunch but I'm seeing this mini series through.