In Nandi's "office" or whatever, she's explaining the details about Rance and Petaline. She's not sure if Rance is really the father of Petaline's baby. Regardless, she thinks Rance would be a horrible father and shouldn't have it. She says, "His barren prairie shrew can't bear him an heir, so he takes it into his head to pull it out of us." I'm sorry, what? What? This is all because his wife is infertile? It's 500 freaking years in the future, and he has to force a hooker to have his baby? Artificial insemination? Surrogate mothers? Hello? Hello? Do these people truly expect me to believe that a man who is powerful enough to rule an entire moon doesn't have access to fertility technology? Good god. Awful. Nandi further explains that Rance has enough money to build an advanced city, but he hoards all the money and technology so he can play cowboy. That makes the plot even more idiotic. She says he's turned this moon into a "theme park," because all this dusty Western stuff is somehow different from all the dusty Western stuff on all the other moons they've been on. Mal says he wants to meet Rance, so he can "size him up." Nandi tells him he's sure to be at "the theater" tonight. He asks Inara if she can "stoop to being on [his] arm." Inara responds, "Will you wash it first?" And don't forget to spray on some UST, by Calvin Klein.
We cut to the theater, where a man is narrating some sort of shadow puppet show about how the Earth got all "used up" in Chinese. ("It all started when an oil man bought the U.S. presidency…") Mal and Inara (in "fancible" attire) wander up to Rance as he's talking to some other people about how he forced some guy into a shotgun wedding. Mal looks down and notices a strange metal gun on Rance's hip. There's a severe-looking woman sitting next to him, because, of course, god forbid sensual, loving women ever have fertility problems. Mal laughs a little too loudly at Rance's story and then praises his "old-fashioned values." Rance doesn't know who Mal is, of course. Mal introduces himself and compliments Rance's gun. Rance allows Mal to hold it, so that he can explain all the features to us. It's a very high-tech laser gun, which Mal observes is actually illegal for Rance to own. There's some blather from Rance and his wife about how it's okay for him to bend the law in order to protect his "family." The actor playing Rance is kind of hot. I'm just saying. Shut up. Mal makes some more chitchat, compliments Rance's wife, and takes his leave with Inara. After Mal leaves, Rance pulls a silver tampon out of his pocket and starts talking into it. Oh, it's a communicator of some sort.
Outside, Inara asks Mal what the plan is now. Mal says the plan is to pack everything up and "get the hell off this rock as fast as we can."