And then we cut to the sex. Nandi straddles Mal in bed, the sheet taped to the small of her back so her ass doesn't show, which, as we all know, is what women normally do when they're in this position. A violin and guitar play as they kiss and squeeze and kiss and thrust and squeeze. For some reason, the music sounds rather melancholy, like we're supposed to feel sad that Mal's sleeping with Nandi and not Inara. Well, I don't. If she's not going to actually say anything, this is what she gets.
Somewhere else on the moon, Rance is hanging out in front of a burning torch. He comments to nobody in particular that Nandi has found herself "a champion." Ah, it turns out that Rance has a mole. Or perhaps a "moll" would be more appropriate? The whore who was serving as Petaline's escort when she first met Simon is feeding information to Rance about the crew. After she gives him the details, we cut around to see that Rance has got a mob gathered. Oh, that explains the torches. You can't have a mob without torches, even if the point of the mob is to have somebody to give a big speech to about the evil whore who won't give you your baby. Which he does. He gives a rambling, incomprehensible speech about how those whores have no respect for decency or their role in Rance's crazy world and are holding his child hostage. The crowd murmurs assent. He goes off on his misogynistic rant about what role women are supposed to play for men. And to prove it, Rance orders the traitor whore to get on her knees and give him a blowjob. In front of the mob. The other men shout their support, because -- hey! Free live porn!
Act break. It's morning when we return. Mal is sleeping next to Nandi. Nandi awakens and smiles for some reason. Then we cut out to the hall, as Mal leaves while getting dressed. So of course he runs into Inara in the hallway. And of course there's a lot of stammering and stuttering, and Mal tries to pretend that they didn't have sex, while Inara insists that it's a good thing that Mal had sex with Nandi, because Nandi's a friend and deserves to be comforted in this time of crisis. As Mal continues to stammer, Inara says, "One of the advantages of not being puritanical about sex is not feeling embarrassed afterward. You should look into that." Oh, please. Don't expect me to believe that Inara hasn't ever had to experience the walk of shame. It has nothing to do with Puritanism and everything to do with having low standards. Mal says he didn't want Inara to think he was taking advantage of Nandi. Inara doesn't see a problem. Mal says he's glad Inara is okay, than corrects himself to wonder why Inara wouldn't be okay, because, you know, they're totally not interested in each other or anything. Inara says she's not entirely okay: "I'm a little appalled at her taste."