Cut to Kaylee's interview, where she rants humorously for about a minute about the various flaws in the Alliance's exhaust design. Matt just stares at her, at a loss for words.
Back to Wash. He says, "Have you seen what [Zoe] wears? Fuggedaboutit. Have you ever been with a warrior woman?" No, I think it's safe to say that Matt has not been with a warrior woman. Or a submissive woman. Or a woman.
Cut to Jayne, just sitting there with his sleeveless shirt and his arms crossed, showing off his biceps and saying nothing. Matt seems infinitely more interested in this development than he was in Wash's description of Zoe. I'm just saying. We see soldiers searching through Jayne's room, which is chock full of weapons. Jayne continues to sit, saying nothing, his posture suggesting that he knows that Matt would become his bitch at a snap of his fingers. As would the rest of us. Well, some of us. Well, me. I do find it interesting that, despite his bitching about the siblings, given the opportunity to cash in on River and Simon -- and with the likely possibility that the rest of the crew wouldn't even find out he was responsible -- Jayne doesn't even blink. Either he's not nearly as mercenary as he'd have us believe, or it's just bad writing. I can't quite be sure yet.
Cut to Book. As with Inara, Matt thinks it's odd that these "pirates" would have a preacher on board. Book blathers on how things are a little less clear away from the central core out on these hinterplanets, and the "rules are a might bit fuzzier." That explained absolutely nothing. Matt brings up Simon and River. They were last seen on Persephone, which could be a planet, a space station, a ship, or the actual woman, for all we know. Anyway, they were seen boarding a firefly-class ship around the same time that Book joined the crew of Serenity. Book plays it off as coincidence. Matt warns him that if the siblings are on the ship, they'll find them.
Soldiers continue to search the ship. Are Simon and River underneath the placemats on the common table? No, they're not. Darn it. I thought for sure they'd be there. We pan back through a window on the ship to see that Simon and River are in spacesuits, clinging to the back of the ship, on the side facing away from the Alliance vessel. We pan all the way back to take in the sheer size of the ship. I think we have a new TWoP record -- an anvil the size of a moon. The Alliance ship looks like somebody took a gigantic boomerang and stuck five skyscrapers on top. See, because the city represents civilization. Do you get it? Do you? You do? Okay then. We pull back to Simon and River. Simon looks over to River. River is looking over her shoulder and smiling with joy. Simon cranes his head around to see what River's looking at. Stars. Lots of stars. It scares Simon, and he turns his face back to the ship, but River loves it. Aww. Cute moment.
Back on the ship, Matt heads in to interrogate Mal. Mal asks if they've seen what happened on the cargo ship. They have. Mal suggests that they not even tow it back -- just destroy it there. Matt says they're not going to destroy it, because it's evidence. Mal snarks that Matt wouldn't want to break the rules. He bitches when the Alliance doesn't try to help people, and he bitches when it does. I wonder if Mal truly wants to be independent at all, or if he just wants to be able to complain about the service. He theorizes that this is Matt's first excursion out to the hinterplanets. Matt responds with a sniff. He observes that Mal has a very loyal crew, and backgrounds that he has a history of inspiring loyalty in his followers. I hope this doesn't turn into a thing where everybody says how inspirational Mal is, but he never actually does anything recognizably inspirational. He's not particularly charismatic as it stands. Matt calls Mal "Sergeant." Mal says he's not a sergeant anymore because the war is over. Matt observes (accurately) that for some folks, the war will never be over. Just like our Civil War. Drink! More exposition. We find out the reason the ship is named Serenity. One of the last fights between the Alliance and the Independents was called the Battle of Serenity Valley. The Independents suffered a crushing defeat. Mal was there. Supposedly, this loss turned the tide of the war against the Independents. Matt wonders why Mal would name his ship after that battle, considering that he was on the "wrong" side. Mal observes that he was on the "losing" side. He's still not sure he was on the wrong side.