After a CGI shot of Serenity and Officer Evil!'s ship on any icy butte, we cut back inside the cargo bay as Officer Evil! and his evil crew board, guns at the ready. Right as they enter, Jayne cocks his rifle from one catwalk. They turn their guns to him. Then Tracey calls to them from another catwalk to tell them "[he] broke their junk." Mal's over there, and he's armed, too. Officer Evil! gets on his best threatening voice, warning them that they're all getting in even deeper trouble and a search of the ship will probably uncover more illegal gains. But then Book walks out from behind some cargo to tell Officer Evil! he's not going to be taking anybody in today. Officer Evil! threatens some more. Book asks him why they never called for back-up from the nearby Alliance station. Book recognizes the symbols of Officer Evil!'s rank and says that he's about eight sectors away from his jurisdiction. He theorizes that this is not a legitimate federal pursuit, and doubts anybody would even know or care if they took the evil trio down right now. Officer Evil! looks around, sees that he probably wouldn't win a gunfight, declares, "He's damaged goods anyhow," spits on the floor, and leaves with his men. As he leaves, Officer Evil! tells Jayne his hat makes him look like an idiot, because this episode is stupid, but not quite stupid enough yet.
So that was the big plan? The big plan was to tell Officer Evil! they know he's not really authorized to do this? At first I was angry that they didn't just tell him as soon as they found out and threaten to contact the Alliance base, but then I realized that it wouldn't necessarily stop him from shooting them out of the sky. Also, they probably don't want the Alliance snooping around Serenity. But then I just realized that there's nothing to stop him from shooting them to pieces once he gets back to his ship, and these people are witnesses who know he's engaging in illegal activities, but he doesn't. Because this episode is insanely dumb.
And now, of course, as Tracey lies on the floor, dying, he finds out what this plan was. The plan that Mal refused to tell him, choosing instead to lecture him repeatedly like a small child. I just realized that Mal nearly got Wash killed because he'd rather give angry speeches than tell these people what the fuck is going on. Mal is stupid. Actually, the writing was stupid, because their failure to let the viewers in on Mal and Book's full plan was the only way they could wring dramatic conflict out of this final act. Actually, that's not true either. There are probably a dozen other ways they could have worked this plot out that didn't involve people behaving like morons, but this show has gotten so wrapped up in secret plans and Mal's patriarchal condescension. And there's still no explanation as to what purpose these super-organs were for. It was just a pointless McGuffin to serve as a jumping-off point for the conflict. It didn't matter. Tracey could have had dilithium crystals up his rectum and Officer Evil! could have been trying to get them back for all it mattered.