So the evil man knocked up a hooker, and not only does he want the baby, the hooker wants to keep it for herself. Are they sure this show isn't supposed to be set in an alternate universe? The women all stand around and fret. Nobody will stand up against Rance on this moon. Nobody at all. Who will help these helpless hookers? Who?
Cut to the dining room of Serenity, where Mal is cleaning his gun. So you know we're looking at yet another episode of The A-Team In Space. Inara wanders in and startles him. Tiresome banter chock-full of sexual undercurrent follows. Mal tells her it's not wise to sneak up on a guy when he's handling his weapon. That's as subtle as one of those "Big Johnson" T-shirts. Inara fondles one of his guns (eye-roll) and teases him that the concealable weapons belong on the left side of the table setting. This dialogue is just wretched. Wash comes down and interrupts them to tell them they're getting a distress call. Mal thinks it's for him, but actually, it's for Inara. As she leaves, Mal asks, "This distress wouldn't happen to be taking place in someone's pants, would it?" Inara and I share eye-rolls. She heads off to take the call in her shuttle, as Mal continues fondling his guns. Worst. Intro. Ever.
Credits. Supreme Court Justice Scalia can't take this guy from me. Nyaaaah!
We return to Inara's shuttle, as she's chatting with Nandi through her video phone. Inara says her problem sounds like something the Serenity crew might help with, though she's not sure how well. Nandi starts, "If they've got guns and brains at all…" Inara responds, "They've got guns." Heh. Nandi says payment won't be a problem, what with all the whore money they've got. Nandi also worries that Inara won't help them, because apparently Nandi left the companion guild and Inara was ordered to "shun" her. Inara says the guild can carry a swan's egg across a river of milk on a silk pillow. That's how I translated the Chinese, anyway. They both make bland comments about how surprising it is that they're both out there in the middle of nowhere. Inara promises to get back to her on whether the crew will help. Nandi signs off in Chinese blessing ("My new fall show is already on the air, while yours is just a mid-season replacement. Ha ha!").
And of course, it turns out that Mal was eavesdropping on the conversation. I think I really would have grown to hate Mal if this series had continued. He's just very condescending and patriarchal and gets his back hair up about his own moral code, but has no respect for others. Inara fills him in on the details. Mal makes a comment about a whole house full of "companions." Inara explains that these folks aren't companions -- they're "whores," because they aren't registered with the guild. Remember, folks: Always look for the union label on your hooker. That's how you know you're getting a quality blowjob. Inara offers to pay them with her own money, but Mal won't have it, because, of course, these hookers are of the "noble poor" variety and are therefore deserving of Mal's ersatz noblesse oblige. Inara thanks him, but insists on paying, because she wants to keep things strictly as a "business relationship." She sits over by the monitor as she says this so that she doesn't to make eye contact, lest the UST finally overwhelm them and they fucking do something about it already. Mal says he'll speak to the crew as he leaves.