Serenity docks, and everybody heads out the cargo door. Mal says he thinks it won't take too long. He tells Wash to fuel up and grab supplies. He heads back into the ship as Kaylee aftshadows to Mal that she could really use a new compression coil. Mal overrules her. He orders Kaylee to find them some passengers who can pay. Kaylee aftshadows some more that if the coil busts, they'll be dead in space. Mal says that it better not bust, then. He's totally going to be kicking himself six episodes ago. Mal heads off with Zoe and Jayne. Wash drives out of the cargo bay in the ATV and says something lengthy to Zoe in Chinese. ("Be sure to mail all those postcards to Les Moonves.") Zoe promises that they will.
Crowd scenes. There's a sign labeled "Good Dogs!" next to a barbecue. Ah, there's nothing like a good poor-foreigners-eat-dogs joke. Book wanders through the crowd with his luggage. Feel free to pretend that you don't know who he is if it makes you feel better. Some guy walks up to Book and calls him "Grandpa." He realizes that Book is looking for a ship (that luggage must have given him away). The guy gives him a spiel about how cheap and wonderful his ship is. Book regards the guy's ship, but tells him that he's not a grandpa and wanders back on through the crowd.
Mal, Zoe, and Jayne head down a dark alley and eventually make their way into Badger's lair. Badger checks out some girl's teeth, determines that they're okay, and has some men drag the girl away, no doubt to film a toothpaste commercial. Badger tells Mal that he's late. Mal points out that they're actually two hours early, and theorizes that Badger's pissy attitude indicates that something has gone wrong. It turns out that they're not late, so much as "too late." The bulletin warning folks about the ship and the cargo has hit Persephone. Badger holds up a newspaper with moving text and tickers on it to remind us about the whole future thing. Mal says that they didn't ID exactly which ship it was, so it doesn't lead back to him. Badger spills the news that Mal didn't want to tell the others -- all the cargo is stamped Alliance property, which I'm guessing makes it trackable. And wouldn't they be expecting this to be stamped Alliance property? If the Alliance is some looming, omnipresent, repressive regime, wouldn't they claim dominion over most things of value? Mal points out that they didn't pick the cargo. Doesn't matter. Badger declares that the deal is off. Jayne gets pissy and starts to draw his weapon on Badger, but six henchmen pull out arms of their own. Mal says that he knows that Badger could still sell the cargo, so he wonders if something else isn't going on. Badger makes some lengthy speech about Mal's role in the war to give us some more exposition that we already know. He blathers on about how Mal looks down on him, but Badger's really better than Mal, and this is all aftshadowing of their conversations in "Shindig." He tells Mal to try to unload the goods on one of the hinterplanets. As they leave, Mal says, "The wheel never stops turning, Badger." Badger responds, "That only matters to the people on the rim." Ah, Badger. An uncaring network and poor ratings have denied him his eventual comeuppance.