We cut to a montage of Matt interrogating the prisoners, interspersed with scenes of soldiers searching their rooms. That's a rather clever storytelling trick that I actually like. See, I'm not all hate. First up is Inara. Tellingly, the soldiers simply give her shuttle a look-over and try not to disturb anything. In some generic sci-fi conference room, Matt asks Inara how long she's been traveling with the others. Nearly a year. She asks why that's important. Matt explains that because the original pilot was rejected and moved to later in the season, it's now his job to draw out some of that misplaced background exposition. He says he's trying to figure out a woman with such "stature" as Inara's would fall in with "these types." Didn't she just have this conversation with Book last week? She explains that traveling with the crew allows her to "expand [her] client base," while having an official companion on board allows Mal access to business opportunities he might not otherwise get. I have about twenty different issues with the whole respected space hooker and companion thing, but I'm going to wait until Inara gets an actual plot before I truly vent all my problems with it.
Matt asks her, "And you love him?" Wha? Are we moving forward with the romantic tension already? Oh wait, this was an attempt at a "clever" transition. Now we're interviewing Zoe. Matt is asking her if she loves Wash. Like myself, Zoe wonders what the relevance of that question is. Matt exposits that Wash and Zoe first met through Mal. Apparently Zoe was already working with Mal when he went looking for a pilot and found Wash. Zoe says, "Things seemed to work out." Does Matt think that marital strife may have contributed to the mass murder of a bunch of settlers? This exposition disguised as interrogation is truly awful. Matt asks Zoe if she fought with Mal during "the war." Zoe: "I fought with a lot of people during the war." Matt: "And your husband?" Zoe: "Fight with him sometimes, too." Heh. Matt asks why Zoe doesn't want to talk about her marriage. Listen, buddy, just because you were everybody's confidante back on Melrose Place as an excuse to give you screen time, but no actual plot, doesn't mean that these people are interested in participating. Zoe insists that she and Wash are both very private people.