The Operative pulls his huge sword, and Mal pulls...a tiny screwdriver. It's a tiny visual joke on the way to a vicious fight, this way and that on the broadcast platform, before the Operative stabs him (outside the frame, because if we saw him get stabbed as bad as he just did, we'd assume he was dead). "Do you know what your sin is, Mal?" Mal smiles. "Aw hell. I'm a fan of all seven." And Joss makes an interesting point here, which is that this is a literal response, and not a quip: "sin" as a concept is meaningless when the defining authority is as crazy -- and as demonstrably evil by the categorical imperative -- as the Operative and his bosses.
But even then, there's a higher point, which is that "sin," in the sense that the Operative means, and means to enforce here as he did in the beginning, is in itself the most sinful concept imaginable. Imposing their lack, through Pax, through legislation, through signing subjective moral concepts into law, circumvents God's plan entirely, and means taking on God's role and making of oneself an idol. It perverts religion and politics, and all of us love one more than the other. Without pride and the choices it presents, there can be no faith: no assertion that one's relationship with God, against all reason, is imperative and real. Without envy, there is no hope, no comparison, no competition, no dissatisfaction, no reason to try, to succeed. Without gluttony, in a world where greed is eliminated, there is no way to choose charity. Without lust, we all die, and without acknowledgement of lust's universality, there is no fortitude. Without anger, without the holy anger of the proletariat, of the people against the unlawful, there can be no justice. Without greed or sloth, there is no moderation, no temperance or prudence -- we are unable to look at ourselves critically and see long-term v. short-term effects. We stop growing them when the state mandates these lacks, takes away these choices: we all go to sleep. And we don't wake up. And Oceania keeps fighting, and the signal is silenced.
I think I just became a fucking Libertarian. And possibly a Christian. In other news, the Operative gets a screwdriver through the leg. "But right now?" Mal wraps his hands around the screwdriver, driving down: "I'm going to have to go with Wrath." Word.
Jayne listens to the battle outside, the howling and crunching beyond the now-locked door. Again, Ariel is sent to do the work of a man, against demons, impossible odds, while we rest easy. "You suppose he got through? Do you think Mal got the word out?" Zoe, still dead in her heart: "He got through. I know he got through." She's not speaking belief, she's speaking truth. She's talking about their Captain.