Elsewhere, Mal and Inara wander down UST Alley. It seems that Mal's having a tough time unloading the Lassiter, what with it being an exceedingly famous stolen artifact and all. Inara wants to get involved, because she "knows people" who could buy it. Mal doesn't want Inara getting into his line of work or "jeopardizing [her] career" by helping them fence stuff. See, her job (besides the UST) is to be the Deus Sex Machina, showing up at the end of the episode to help get them out of whatever trouble they've gotten themselves into (See also: "Jaynestown," "War Stories," and "Trash"). Inara is confused, because Mal hates that she's a whore, but he doesn't want her to be a crook, either. No, Inara, Mal wants you to be a pretty porcelain princess who never does anything naughty, ever, and lives in a glass display case. In other words, he's an idiot. People acting like idiots is the theme of this episode. ["'This' episode?" -- Sars]
Mal and Inara arrive at some postal station to see if the plot they had Planet Expressed over has been delivered. It has. Mal makes some small-talk with the Postmaster Generic, who seems to know him, as he signs for the goods. Book and River wander over, each holding what appears to be a miniature fishing pole. Except instead of a hook and lure, it has a giant gob of ice cream dangling there. Yes, of course. Over the passing of 500 years, folks figured out that an edible cone structure or paper bowl was just wasn't an efficient way to serve ice cream. What would be a better way to serve something that both melts and is very sticky? I know! Let's dangle it from a string so it can drip all over the place. Wouldn't that be great? And if that doesn't work out, we'll have wild space monkeys fling the ice cream at people. They'll love it! I don't know why I'm getting so worked up about something so minor, but it's an issue that's endemic to a lot of mediocre sci-fi -- changing something that doesn't need to be changed just for the purpose of making the future look different from the present. Plus, anybody who's been to the mall knows that the Dippin' Dots is the future of ice cream. River unsuccessfully tries to lick from the dangling ball, and declares, "My food is problematic." That's the smartest thing she's said this whole series. Jayne happens by with some cases of weapons-related stuff he bought, and mentions that genius River doesn't know how to eat an "ice planet." Oh, how very Jetsons of them.
Behind them, the Postmaster Generic has pushed out a giant crate, which was sent to Zoe and Mal. Mal doesn't know what it is, and says they hadn't ordered any parts. There's also a smaller box for Jayne. Book suggests they all back slowly away from any package for Jayne. Yes, those panties from all his female admirers may have been packed in a little tightly and could burst open all over the place at any moment. Oh, I don't think that's what Book meant. It turns out the package is from Jayne's mother, so I'm wrong, too. Or at least, I certainly hope so. As Jayne slowly and awkwardly reads the letter from his mom, Inara wanders over to Kaylee and asks her if aliens walk among them. She responds, "Yes. One of 'em's a doctor." He's from Planet Fabuloso IV. From the reading of Jayne's letter, we learn that he's been sending money home to his parents (awww) to help treat a sick relative (awww). Also, his family sounds exceedingly normal, which is an amusing irony for Mutant Enemy. As Mal and Zoe work to open the giant crate they've been shipped, Jayne opens his box to find an orange and yellow knitted cap. It has ear flaps and a cute little pom-pom on the top. Aw. My grandmother sends me the tackiest knitted blankets, but I still use them, because they're so warm. Although I'm going to have a hard time explaining to a partner why I have one orange blanket and one red, white, and blue blanket. Jayne puts the hat on and asks everybody how it looks. Kaylee thinks it's cute, of course. If she thinks aborted mutant cows are cute, surely she'll go for the hat. Wash declares that anybody who sees Jayne wearing that hat will know he's a guy who's not afraid of anything. Jayne, of course, misses the subtext of the comment.