They return to the ship, and everybody gathers around for the 411. Zoe recaps the torture and hands the earlobe over to Simon to keep on ice. In a Blair Witch Project moment, Simon unfolds the hankie, and Kaylee and Inara recoil at the sight of the ear. Jayne says something lengthy in Chinese. ("Does this mean we have to go running through the woods?") Zoe insists that they're going to get Mal back. Jayne snarks, "What are you gonna do, clone him?" Simon looks over the cut and determines that the ear can be attached with the right equipment.
Back to Moose, sans Squirrel. Niska asks if Mal's familiar with the works of Shan Yu, just in case you had forgotten about tonight's theme. I know that with all the lesbianism and BDSM, you might have concluded that tonight's episode is about things Jerry Falwell hates, but that's not it. It's about how a crisis determines a man's real character. Yeah, I know it sounds like something oily stockbrokers say. I didn't come up with the theme. Anyway, Niska blathers about how he's learning who Mal really is, and points out that Mal is a rather extraordinary man. But, he adds, this is not a time for extraordinary men: "Theees eees beeezneeess, not vore. Heroics are unseeeemly. Zey complicate things." For Mal, Niska pulls out a special torture toy. I always save mine for the right guy, too. It's some sort of suction cup Princess Bride torture thing. He caresses the toy and describes it as "very precious." Mal responds, "And they say people don't look like their pets." What the hell does that mean? First of all, people are always saying that people do look like their pets. Second of all, what? I suppose I shouldn't be expecting much in the way of snappy comebacks from a torture victim who just had his ear cut off. Niska anvils another "meeting the real you" comment as a skinhead attaches the suction cup to the center of Mal's chest. Three needles pop out of the sides and connect to Mal's chest, and he starts to scream as the blood vessels in his chest start to pulse. Icky. Of course, we have no idea what it's doing or anything. Perhaps it's filling his blood vessels with Pepsi Blue?
Back on Serenity Zoe is teaching Wash how to be a bad-ass mother by loading him up with guns, knives, and grenades. Jayne watches in the background while eating an apple (lasciviously), and warns them both that they're technically committing suicide by trying to mount a "two-man" assault on Badenov's secret headquarters. Wash points out that, technically, it's a man and a woman. Oh, that'll work out fine, then. Zoe insists that the villains won't be expecting an assault. "Right," Jayne agrees, "'cause they ain't insane!" Kaylee comes in to tell them that Inara hasn't had any luck getting any help from Councilor Sappho. They didn't show that part because there was no GIRL-ON-GIRL ACTION, so who cares? Kaylee asks what's going on. Zoe explains about the crazy rescue. Kaylee asks Jayne, "Can they do that?" Jayne: "No." Wash repeats that hoary old motto that Dubya adapted to try to convince us he cares about education: "Leave no man behind." Jayne: "Suicide."