Heart Of Gold

Episode Report Card
Shack: C | 6 USERS: C-
Gunfight At The Ho K Corral

Inside, Rance discovers that Petaline's baby is indeed his. A tense chord plays, as if there was actually a chance that the baby wouldn't be his and the episode would end thirty minutes early.

When we return from the commercial break that will never be, Mal is back at the whorehouse, explaining his "Run away! Run away!" plan to the crew and the whores. He believes they're outgunned, and also that Rance isn't exactly the type of guy who will give up if he's turned away once, since he thinks whatever loopy thing he's doing is "right by God." Mal doesn't think his crew would be able to permanently keep Rance and his men away. Nandi says she understands -- Mal wants to protect his crew, and this isn't his fight. But Mal didn't mean he and his crew were just going to leave; he wants to take Nandi and her jiggly, giggly friends with them. Because, once again, normal, reasonable behavior would cut the episode short, Nandi has to be stubborn and refuse to leave. One of my (many, many, many) pet peeves about writing, besides conflict that develops because characters don't talk to each other like normal people, is conflict that develops because of pointless stubbornness. Nandi gives some lengthy speech about how she built this den of sin with her own two hands blah blah blah entrepreneur-cakes. Honey, it's a whorehouse, not the Cathedral at Notre Dame. It's nice and all, but the man in charge threatened to gut one of your employees. Take the hint. Go. Oh, and "Heart of Gold" is actually the name of the whorehouse. See, it's not a cliché if we incorporate it into the episode somehow, right?

Mal, of course, is charmed by Nandi's potentially suicidal stubbornness. And so, apparently, is the rest of the crew. Jayne, hanging out with his latest best friend that isn't a gun, suggests that Rance won't be expecting a fight, so maybe they can surprise him. Zoe describes putting together a multi-shift watch in terms Wash pretends to understand, but doesn't. Book makes a comment about being good with a hammer, leading to the obligatory, tired reference to Jesus being a carpenter. Shut up, Book. Mal thinks that Rance and his men might try to "burn" them all out of the house in order to save ammo. That doesn't seem to make much sense if Rance has some sort of cowboy fetish (well, more of a cowboy fetish). It turns out this is just an excuse to give Kaylee something to do -- fiddle with their well and Serenity in some inexplicable fashion in order to deal with any fires. River suddenly declares, "It's starting." Mal, of course, thinks she's referring to their idiotic strategy, but actually she's being psychic again. Over on a sofa, Petaline suddenly goes into labor. Mal does the obligatory "helpless man panicking in the face of a woman giving birth" song and dance around the room, but Simon temporarily takes over and ushers Petaline out. Mal orders everybody else to get to work preparing for Rance and his men.

It's fun to imagine this next part with the theme song to The A-Team playing in your head. Crew members hammer boards to walls and such to fortify themselves from attack. Zoe and Wash set up some sort of tripwire outside. Jayne and Zoe load their weapons. Petaline huffs and screams. Nandi looks concerned. She's probably wondering if they can continue to use the room for whorin' after a baby was born in it.

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