Mal wanders in to grab an apple and tell them all that they're twenty thousand miles from their final drug drop. They've made scads of dough from Simon's scheme. Wash mutters to Zoe that they could have made even more. Mal turns to Wash and tells him that some idea he had was good, but explains that "eliminating the middleman" can be a risky proposition. I don't know what this idea was yet, but I'm already sure that any plan that involves Mal trying to sell drugs directly to the sick people would be doomed to fail. One cough and he'd be giving them away by the case.
We cut to a shot of Serenity landing on a dusty planet, then to Wash, as he starts an argument on the bridge with Zoe. It seems that Wash asked Zoe to tell Mal about his plan, and she told him she never got around to asking. He theorizes that Zoe told Mal about the plan, Mal discounted it out of hand, and Zoe immediately folded and never gave it another thought. Yes, that sounds just like Zoe. And also, why couldn't Wash tell Mal himself? It's not like Mal's the CEO of Daimler-Chrysler, and Wash installs headlights on the production line while staring longingly at the suggestion box. Zoe says that she didn't want to upset Wash with the truth. Wash wants to know what Zoe thought of the plan -- to contact the doctors and sell the drugs directly to them. Oh, that sounds like a great plan. If your plan is to get caught in an Alliance ambush. Rather than saying what she thinks, Zoe responds that Mal is afraid that it will get back to the wrong people and they risk the chance to get caught. See? I was right. Of course, Wash immediately zeroes in on Zoe hiding behind Mal's explanation. Why she does this, I have no idea. It's not like she's afraid to speak her mind in other circumstances. Oh, right -- we need the internal conflict. Wash angrily spits out something in Chinese ("Devil Bunny wants a ham") and points out that he wanted to know what Zoe thought, not Mal. Zoe says that she tends to agree with Mal. Wash spits out, "Tend to or have to?" He goes on some lengthy diatribe about how Mal and Zoe are all buddy-buddy because of the war, and asks her if she could have an opinion of her own. She frowns at him and tells him that he's losing the moral high ground here. Wash snarks back that he's sure that Zoe and Mal will seize it and fortify it blah blah blah warcakes. Zoe's had enough and angrily insists to Wash that she thought the plan was too risky. Wash insists, "Then tell me. I am a large, semi-muscular man. I can take it. Don't hide behind Mal 'cause you know he'll shoot it down for you." Zoe responds, "Right, because what this marriage needs is one more shouting match." Wash shoots back, "What this marriage needs is one less husband. Right now is kind of crowded." Then he stomps out. What I need is a translation. They've had one poorly written fight on the show thus far. And this will make number two. This conflict would work if Zoe and Wash's relationship were relatively fresh. But they've been together and married for a couple of years. I have a really hard time believing that this is just coming up now. And Zoe hasn't been shown to be coy about her opinions to either Wash or Mal, so this is a personality shift for the sake of conflict, and I hate that with a passion. But still, Alan and Gina did a good job with the acting.