Previously: Mal and Saffron "teamed up" to steal a valuable laser gun prototype, and then Saffron got dumped in a number of figurative and literal ways.
We open with a sci-fi shot of the exterior of some space outpost. Firefly adds its own spin to the future of advertising and marketing, as we see gigantic monitors playing ads attached to the outside of the station. They look cool, but I don't imagine they're a particularly effective form of advertising, unless you're really desperate to reach the "ship pilot and people who just happen to be looking out a porthole" demographic.
Inside the station, it is, of course, dusty and vaguely ethnic, as are most non-Alliance-dominated facilities. Maybe the Alliance has all the janitors as well as the bellboys? We're in some sort of space bazaar, and the cameramen escort us through a crowd of eclectic people who look like they were all dressed by a computer program that still needs a little debugging. The camera finally lands on a man who's one part carnival barker, one part Art Bell, and all parts ridiculously clad. He's wearing a knee-length ratty fur coat and one of those curvy top hats guys like Alice Cooper favor. I don't know what they're called. I'm a recapper, not a haberdasher. He's also got a little skull on the back brim of the hat. At some angles, the guy looks like Tim Curry; at other angles, he looks absolutely nothing like him. Freaky. Anyway, he's trying to convince passersby to step inside his "tent" to see proof of alien life. The Alliance doesn't want you to see it! They don't want you to know about the aliens! I find it amusing that this tactic could still work, given that humans are now in the position to actually find out whether or not there are aliens out there. But I really can imagine the conspiracy continuing -- see, they're hiding in the next galaxy. They're zipping over with their stargate technology to do experiments on us. And then when humans develop technology to get to that galaxy and find nothing there either, they'll be all, "No, they're in that galaxy over there. No, wait -- they live inside a black hole! That's it!"
Anyway, we cut inside the tent, where Simon and Kaylee are staring at something we can't see. Simon's mouth is hanging open. Have you all noticed what a huge mouth Sean Maher has? He could probably stick several billiard balls in there. Anyway, Simon finally says, "Yep, it's a cow fetus." We see what they're looking at -- a fleshy mass in a specimen jar -- and Kaylee points out that it has more legs than most cows. Simon says it's mutated. No doubt a result of all those bovine growth hormones. (Note to agricultural industrial complex attack lawyers: That was a joke.) Kaylee is still skeptical. Simon says the fetus is upside-down. She bends her head sideways and immediately says, "Oh, yeah." She's lying. She doesn't see the cow. Simon notes that he's "out twelve bits" (whatever) and observes, "I really know how to show a girl a disgusting time." Kaylee, in typical fashion, is upbeat, even in the nonexistent face of an aborted mutant calf, and says that it's "sweet" because, even though the mass of flesh never saw the light of day, "now it's in show business." Well, it's doing better than 99 percent of all reality show participants. Simon tells Kaylee that she's always finding the bright side of everything. I know, but I like her anyway. Kaylee is charmed by the flattery and mentions that they have the booth to themselves for five minutes. Flustered at the idea of making out with a girl, Simon points out that the dead mutant cow is watching. Kaylee dismisses the cow and begs Simon to tell her more great things about her. He tells her she's great with machines, says what she thinks, and has nice eyes, and he concludes with, "Plus, every other girl I know is either married, professional, or closely related to me, so more or less, you're literally the only girl in the world." Predictably, Kaylee doesn't respond well to being told that Simon's interest in her is partially because she's the only item on the menu. Subconsciously self-sabotaging dates with girls? What is that -- step three in the lengthy coming-out process? I'm still thinking Simon would prefer to eat at a different restaurant. Kaylee seems to think Simon had women throwing themselves at him when he was a doctor on Osiris (probably for fashion and hair advice), but now he's stuck with her at the "bottom of the barrel." Simon looks confused and flustered as Kaylee stomps off, muttering in Chinese. ("I wish he'd look at me the way he looks at Mal.")
Zoe and Wash enter as Kaylee leaves. Wash declares, "Oh my God! It's grotesque! Oh, and there's something in a jar." I rolled my eyes, and then I realized that's exactly the kind of comment I would make. Zoe asks Simon if he scared Kaylee away again. Simon says, "This may come as a shock, but I'm actually not very good at talking to girls." Snerk. Hee. Really? Zoe asks, "Why? Is there somebody out there you're actually good at talking to?" Well, he seemed to get through to Jayne in "Trash," didn't he? You just have to have the right tools -- in Jayne's case, a touch of bondage. Wash lies to the aborted mutant calf that humans are a peaceful race and they must all "live together."