As Wash is gasping at Mal's insult, the door slides open, and the ambiguously evil, ambiguously Eastern European music begins to play. Niska stalks in with his skinhead guards and pulls off Mal's blindfold. Mal mutters something in Chinese. ("Oh, good. We'll be able to escape once Niska chews up all the scenery.") Wash, still blindfolded, demands, "What?"
Back on Serenity, Zoe is taking a collection from everybody on the ship to buy a Hollywood Reporter ad to beg FOX not to cancel the show. And also to offer up a ransom to get Mal and Wash back. Book asks Zoe how she knows Niska won't grab her too when she shows up with the money. Zoe predicts that Niska's twisted code and his obsession with his reputation will cause him to see reason. Inara wonders if reason is something that enters into Niska's mind. After all, when they broke the deal last time, they gave him his money back, so what's his beef? Jayne wanders in to contribute to the fund and suggests that Niska wants revenge for Mal's murder of his pet barbarian. I think Jayne stole Mal's pants. They suddenly look a lot tighter. Not that I'm complaining. First Simon, now Mal. The boys need to lock up their clothes around Jayne. Zoe tells them all that if they don't hear back from her, to take the ship and get out of the quadrant.
Boris is treating Moose and Squirrel to the joys of electro-play, with clamps attached to the chest and such. Mal and Wash act like they're in intense pain. Quit whining, wimps. Some of us have to pay hundreds of dollars to experience this. Niska politely stops the electric shocks every now and then so that the boys can get some dialogue in. What a considerate villain. Mal explains to Wash that he told Zoe not to marry him because of that whole "romance in the workplace" issue. Between shocks, Wash says he thinks Mal has a policy against shipboard relationships because he's projecting his "intimacy issues" on everybody else. I vote that anybody who uses the word "projecting" and "issues" in the same sentence, but doesn't have a legitimate degree in psychology, should be treated the way Wash is right now. Niska seems to agree with me. Suddenly, Mal starts egging Wash on by suggesting that he doesn't think Wash is good enough for Zoe, and implying that he may have slept with her before Wash met her. As this goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that Mal is doing this to Wash to try to keep him distracted from the pain of the torture. Wash insists that he's certain Zoe didn't sleep with Mal. In fact, he theorizes that this whole problem is due to the fact that Zoe wanted to sleep with Mal in the past but never did, and now the whole thing is hanging over them, or some silly nonsense. It's Dumb Excuse #7 that people give for why they cheat on their partners. Wash suggests that it would have been better if Mal had slept with her. Then she'd be over him. Yes, that sounds like the kind of logic you come up with while being tortured. Mal suggests that perhaps he should sleep with Zoe. Wash spits out, "Screw you!" Mal spits back, "Get in line." Clearly he's been to the forums. It's quite a long line. Niska shocks them some more. Wash is losing consciousness, so Mal tries to keep him awake by angrily insisting that he's going to sleep with his wife when he gets back. I don't know why keeping Wash awake would help him. Would Niska continue to electrocute him while he was unconscious? I don't think that would accomplish much.