Season 1 Episode 13

Heart of Gold

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Unknown on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
763 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


The crew of the Serenity are in for a gunfight when one of Inara's former colleagues asks for their help. The Serenity crew defends a bordello from a gunslinger who got a prostitute pregnant and now intends to collect the child; Mal falls for the bordello's madam.


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  • Heart of Gold

    The good;

    Stonking great battle, some lovely Inara/Mal stuff and sex aplenty for everyone. Small scene but I love the bit where Mal is doing his best John Wayne impression organising the defence of the brothel and then starts to panic when Pateleen goes into labour only to be saved by level-headed Simon (her kid must have the strangest trio of midwives ever).

    The bad;

    Silver foil can't hide the cheapness of the sets. Didn't they think to lock up or put a guard on Serenity overnight? If Jayne can take out the M60 gunner on the back of the hovercraft with his M14 can't he just slot Ranse and then it would all be over? You also wonder that Ranse just hands over his deadly, pride and joy pistol to the first stranger who admires it?

    Best line;

    Nandi;(of the Firefly crew) "If they're got guns and brains that's all I need"

    Inara; "Well they've got guns...."

    Packing heat;

    Too many guns to count but notably Jayne with his M14 and the return of Wash's Colt Cobra .44. Ranse wears a fancy laser pistol which is rare sight for a non-core world. I'm informed that Shepherd's weapon in War Stories was a Goncz GA-9 pistol, great gun enthusiasts on the Xena boards.

    Kinky dinky;

    Inara bursts in on Mal 'handling his weapon'. She prefers his dinky Colt 32 instead (Wash's 'Leave no man behind' gun from War Stories). Mal and Jayne indulge themselves at the bordello with Jayne in particular getting into some hi-jinks with his blonde to judge by his transmission to Mal just before the gunfight.

    Notches on the Serenity bedpost; Mal finally get's some action. Jayne get's so much he might leave the crew in debt to the Madam.

    Inarra;3+1 possible, Atherton.

    Wash; 1-the missus

    Zoe; 1-the hubby


    Jayne; 1-at least 1 Heart of Gold whore and possibly many others

    Mal; 1-Nandi

    Capt subtext;

    Obviously the idea is that Nandi is a substitute for Inara. Does Mal take up with her because she's 'An independent' and not tainted in his eyes with her support for the Alliance? There are also male whores, one wonders are Companions exclusively female or do they also have male members...oh for a different phrasing.

    When Mal shows no interest in her girls Nandi wonders if he's gay? His answer that 'I LEAN towards the womenfolk' is strangely ambiguous. One could speculate that Ranse represents the dark side of Mal himself, you wonder after this ep will Mal continue to use the word whore as an insult?

    How'd they get away with that?

    The scene where Ranse humiliates Chari on the saloon balcony is just unwatchable

    Subverting the Hollywood cliche;

    Having met the villain tough-guy Mal wishes to bravely run away. Jayne the callous womaniser actually likes to snuggle with his hooker. Pateleen shows the father his newborn son and then blows his head off in front of her baby with a .357 Magnum.

    Whedon cliches;

    Devoted siblings, haunted charismatic leading man. Teenage girls with superpowers. Hookers. Babbling insane girls with truth in their madness. Fake cockneys. Misguided religious zealots. Numbered t-shirts. Girls with botanical names (Willow, Saffron, Jasmine). Absent fathers. Clever use of extensive flashbacks. Women in boxes. Misogynists who get what's coming to them.

    Women good/men bad;

    Rans tells the woman pregnant with his child that if necessary "I'll cut it out of you!" He really is just scum, reminds me of Caleb. The scene where Mal compliments him "She's a beauty" and he takes it to mean his sidearm rather than his wife really sums up the character right there.

    Kills; I figure 5 each for Mal, Jayne and Zoe

    Mal; 17-

    Zoe; 17-

    Jayne; 16-

    Wash; 2

    River; 3

    Happy high-class hookers in Space;

    In this case, low class hookers in space. Inara draws a distinction between Companions and whores but seems to have no problem with them. Nandi hints that there was a great mystery surrounding Inara's decision to leave the home of the Companion Guild where she was on track to go far.

    Know the face?

    The beautiful Melinda Clarke is familar to fans of Xena as Valesca and also plays a more exotic Lady of the Night on CSI. Be sure to check her out as the incredible S&M zombie in Return of the Living Dead 3. Looking at her you wonder did she maybe audtion for the role of Inara?


    Any or all of the crew indulging themselves in/deciding to work at the Heart of Gold (Kaylee "I love to make people happy and here that's now my job") plus several where Nandi does decide to take up Mal's offer and flee, her girls/boys setting up their new business on the Serenity itself.

    Missing scenes;

    Reputedly a scene where Ranse's 'praire shrew' wife comes to the Heart of Gold the night before the battle to try to convince Pateleen to just give her the kid, that all the violence can be avoided, that Pateleen can have other children, that she has everything to offer a child and it's the only thing her life is lacking, the only thing she can't do is concieve. Another supposedly has Zoe berating Jayne and Mal for sleeping with the Heart of Gold hookers, saying that no woman would ever act as they did and pointing out that none of the Firefly females took advantage of the male whores. At which point Kaylee looks suddenly guilty and slips quietly out the room...

    Western cliches;

    Storyline is very similar to aspects of Unforgiven, The Magnificent 7 and Young Guns Pt 2. Nandi rather reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich's Cattle Queen of Montanna. Mal does the traditional 'stagecoach jump' from the horse onto Ranse' hovercraft.

    Firefly speak;


    Weak tea=not good

    Back birth=idiot

    Companion=high class courtesan



    Rutting=bloody (or perhaps 'fraking'?)


    Purple belly=officious bureaucrat

    Ta-gow=Oh god!

    Won-gwa-pee= to urinate or defecate





    Wah=what the hell?

    Mah song=quickly


    Nu-shu-quong=nice going


    Sheinou-niou=no good

    Mei, mei=little sister



    Moon brain=inbred?


    Swa-shi=petty, small time


    Roller=tank or armoured vehicle


    Wetware=smuggled organs



    Reminds me off;

    Nandi is very like Tina Turner's character in Mad Max 3. Inara weeping when she discovers Mal has slept with Nandi is similar to Willow's when she finds out Faith has bedded Xander. Mal wishing to meet Ranse before taking him on is reminiscent of the famous Pacino/De Niro scene in Heat.

    Questions and observations;

    Jayne in a hat again, a stetson for the first time. Zoe wants a baby but Wash is reluctant given their precarious lifestyle. Inara actually get's into the fighting, holding a knife to Ranse throat. Nice quip from Mal when Nandi kisses him, he waits to see if he's going to pass out (as with Saffron). How did they know Chari was the traitor?

    Marks out of 10;7 out of 10, a fairly slight story but well told and some nice Mal/Inara stuff

  • An old friend of Inara calls for help; the crew of Serenity spring into action as I search for some reason to keep watching. Poorly acted prostitutes are threatened by unimposing villains on a dreary nondescript world.moreless

    I know, I know... blasphemy - blasphemy... I really love this series, but there are some low points. Upon viewing the DVD collection I found it oddly reassuring to note that my three least favorite episodes were not aired.

    Here's what I liked:

    Oh, I must say, Melinda Clarke (Inara's friend Nandi) IS awf'ly purdy. The segment of her with Mal is one of the few redeeming factors in this episode. There isn't all that much else, except some amusing typical banter and the character development of Zoe and Wash, concerning the state of their marriage - namely the merits of having or not having children

    Here's just a few problems I have with this episode:

    1) The girl in jeopardy because of her pregnancy, Petaline, is played by Tracy Leah Ryan who is either a terrible actress or giving a singularly terrible performance. 2) Yes, whenever we go to an inhospitable place with multiple bad guys we leave our ship and everything on it unattended. 3) Said bad guys look like they'd have a hard time spelling Serenity let alone breaking into it undetected; especially surprising the two people who know the nuts and bolts of the ship the best - Wash and Kaylee.

    4) Obvious loser "arch-villain" with a small army of targets riding horses - why, with having encountered local toughs, the Alliance and the likes of Niska, Mal is so scared of a buffoon exposing his greatest asset - a laser pistol. 5) Picture action oriented folk, versed in the ways of violence, capable of mass mayhem and murder - allowing a mother holding a new-born infant to fire a large caliber pistol less than two feet from his soon to be deaf ears.

    Gotta stop... going nuts... Could go on, but I think I communicated what I think of this episode.moreless
  • Action, action..

    Ok.. I do not know - maybe this episode was most like a western and mostly it was all leading to that big shooting what seemed to be the most important thing on the episode.. but somehow you would want more.. Ok, then they had the triangle - Mal, Inara and Nandi.. a lot of drama what all lead into end to Inara's leaving.

    So, I do not know - I think we have had that kind of action a lot and you expect more on character level and whatever was going on between Mal and Inara, it did not do it for me. So, I felt like something was missing.. but it was good episode.moreless
  • A different but very intriguing episode, Heart of Gold takes us into a more personal battle where Mal has to decide between what is easy, and what is right.

    Heart of Gold is an incredibly special and fascinating episode. It brings to the series a new and emotional level of character development and is a stand alone episode unlike anything else we have previously seen.

    As I have mentioned before, Firefly is an accepting and non-judgmental show. It tackles heavy issues: religion and the clergy, prostitution, marriage, gender issues etc etc but they are handled in a funny, tender and genuine way where you feel comfortable no matter what the topic. This is a huge strength. Many shows attempt to do this but end up with the viewer feeling awkward, or like the show has led you down an overly-cheesy and ultimately unrewarding path. Firefly is the opposite.

    This episode centered around the baby of a prostitute, which you would think is an unusual topic. It becomes a battle of good versus evil, of what is right, versus what is easy. In this sense this is quite an epic episode, with some big questions being debated, not to mention our emotional struggle with the not-quite romance between Mal and Inara.

    Melinda Clarke plays Nandy, our Mistress of the Heart of Gold, and I am a fan of Melinda from way back. I first saw Melinda when she played the evil Amazon, Velasca in Xena and she was great in that. I've since seen her play another prostitute, this time in CSI, also a great performance. She has a great on-screen presence, and you can't help but admire her strength as a woman and love for her 'girls'. As a love interest for Mal, I thought she was a perfect choice, and this is saying something given my feelings for Mal!!!

    I thought there were only a couple of flaws in this episode. One was the lack of focus on our enemy. The way the episode glossed over the evil creature, I thought it was a waste. As a woman-hating, God-fearing maniac, I thought he could have really been played up a little more.

    The only other flaw was the lack of use of our crew in the battle. Mal seemed to win the fight almost single handed, which is a shame, because I love to see our crew working in sync to defeat an enemy.

    Otherwise, I loved the episode. I thought the way the tension between Mal and Inara was brought to a head was very well done. As a viewer, you know you are never going to get any sort of satisfaction in terms of their relationship - it is just too convenient a couple to go there. But it is nice to see the tension, and the actors have some great chemistry. You can believe that Mal probably sees Inara as way out of his league, and like a typical male, uses rude comments and bullying techniques to display his affection for her. For Inara, any relationship would be a complication (which we know she hates) and as a companion, I can see her not doing anything to jeopardize her career. It is a confusing situation, but it is handled well in this episode.

    So, we are very nearly at the end. One more episode to go, and then the movie... how did it come about so fast? Firefly will always be an important series for those of us lucky enough to have stumbled upon it (or know someone who stumbled upon it for us). So, in the next reviews, the journey ends.moreless
  • “complication” phase of the first season

    Like the two previous episodes, it’s interesting to look at how the final edit compares to the shooting script. Unlike the aired episodes, the three unaired episodes never received a post-viewing transcription by fans; instead, the fans were later treated to the somewhat final versions of the scripts used to produce the episodes. It was only after the DVDs were released that the fans got to see the final cut of each episode.

    The cuts are somewhat more noticeable in this episode, largely because the final version lacks a certain cohesion. Some of the small moments, the ones that are supposed to touch on the depth of the previous episodes, are missing completely. The result is an episode that doesn’t come together nearly as well as episodes like “Out of Gas” or “War Stories”. As many others have noted since the shooting script was released, the episode is almost entirely designed to use the tension between Mal and Inara against them. This is typical Joss: bring characters closer together and then rip their hearts out (sometimes literally). In this instance, the effect would have been rather interesting to see, considering that much of the early part of the season was devoted to constructing Mal as a man dependent on a handful of civilizing influences. Paramount among them was Inara and her ability to undermine his dislike of “complications”. The tension between Mal and Inara has never been hidden from the audience. Their interplay has always been one of unspoken (and sometimes unacknowledged) approach to something deeper. Mal sees Inara as someone who can make him believe in love again, and because of that idealistic inner picture of her, he despises the thought of others using her as an object, no matter how much it might help him in the end. Inara, on the other hand, has never revealed her true agenda. Inara is a character of contradictions. She puts forward a front of absolute respectability. She sided with the Alliance, and she looks down on the kind of life that Mal has decided to lead. But this episode reveals something very important about Inara. Her reasons for leaving the temple on Sihnon are unknown, but she gave up the chance to take on a highly prized and respected position among Companions to pursue her current lifestyle. She didn’t break from the Guild, but that could have been a matter of practicality. So what was she looking for when she left House Madrassa? A life less complicated? There’s plenty of opportunity for story within those boundaries, and by setting them in a convenient love triangle with Nandi, the writers seem to suggest that the situation is going to get more than a little strained. Indeed, it does, but the plot itself gets in the way of the best moments. Add to that an oddly inconsistent performance by Melinda Clarke, and the episode stumbles more often than it succeeds. Part of the problem is the premise itself. Burgess never comes across as a credible or memorable villain. He’s simple a means to an end, for all that violence. A credible threat needs to be applied to the Heart of Gold, or the standoff there won’t make sense. And apparently, in the minds of the writing staff, the standoff was necessary to throw Mal and Inara in close quarters with Nandi and her girls. It’s hard not to think that there could have been a better way to accomplish that goal. The centerpiece of Burgess’ fighting force is a hovercraft that looks like it was put together from one of those cheesy ads in the back of “Popular Science”. The whole episode looks like it’s been filmed in someone backyard after a couple days of preparation and a whole lot of tinfoil. This is easily the worst looking episode of the series, and while the whole tone is deliberately rustic (complete with dialogue to make sense of it), it just doesn’t work as well as it does on paper. It didn’t have to be that way. One read of the shooting script reveals a story that could have had a lot more resonance for the characters. The problem is that the script leaves more than enough to the fans’ imagination. The result is an episode that looks less impressive than one would expect. The women aren’t quite so beautiful, the threat of Burgess isn’t so overwhelming, and some of the guest performances are lacking the gravitas of previous episodes. One gets the unfortunate feeling that this was an episode forced to live on a budget because of demands from the network. As usual, it’s the regulars that shine. The first good scene of the episode is between Mal and Inara, as one would expect. The two dance around each other like they were born to it. Just as Inara lets Mal get away with calling her a whore far too often, Inara takes equal delight in constantly calling Mal a petty crook. It’s a nice tie-in to their argument in “Trash” as well, but there’s a certain comfortable nature to the verbal sparring. Each of them sees something better in the other, and they constantly remind each other of that fact. What’s interesting is that Inara displays the same level of weary affection for the entire crew when talking with Nandi. She doesn’t talk about them as if they were associates; she talks as if they were family. She doesn’t even give Mal an attitude for listening in, as if it were completely normal. This is clearly different than the situation earlier in the season, where Inara insisted on her privacy. At the same time, she’s aware of the fact, perhaps belatedly, that she has crossed over a line. Mal is willing to take on a rather dangerous job with no payment on her behalf, and she didn’t even have to ask. The detachment that she had been trying to maintain has eroded on both sides. Inara’s reaction is not necessarily hard to predict. As hinted at in earlier episodes, long-term relationships for Companions are somewhat frowned upon, and so she tries very hard to maintain the detachment necessary to justify her continued presence on Serenity. The problem is that Mal has chosen to trust a very select few, and as such, they have become as important to his mental health as Serenity. They are, in many respects, his extended family. That’s why Jayne’s betrayal hit him so hard, and why he tolerates those who might otherwise annoy him to no end. When Inara pulls away, she slips out of the role that Mal has granted her. He wants her to be the mother figure for the crew, just as he is the father figure, and that has implications that he’s still trying to work out. When the crew is given the option to stay on Serenity, the staging of the scene is a little awkward. This is a crew that has gone through a lot together, so why does Zoe talk to them as if there’s still some doubt as to loyalties? A lot of scenes appear to be out of synch with the overall continuity, which is hard to understand. In many respects, it’s a question of direction and tone, but sometimes the scenes themselves are written as if the characters have only known each other for weeks. When the crew enters the Heart of Gold, there’s precious little time taken to introducing the audience to anyone or giving them a good look at their surroundings. The story rushes right past that part, and it steals something away from the suspension of disbelief. Even the scene between Mal, Inara, and Nandi is somewhat rushed and lacking in true depth. Part of the problem, as already mentioned, is Melinda Clarke. She’s good with the more seductive or active scenes, but the smaller moments don’t reveal much chemistry, especially between Nandi and Inara. Since those scenes are critical to the story, it leaves the audience wanting. That scene does, however, leave Nandi with the impression that Mal wants Inara and bristles at the fact that Inara puts him at arm’s length. But it’s a little hard to imagine that Nandi would miss the rather obvious fact that Mal’s comment about the “businesslike relationship” cuts Inara just as deeply. It puts to question Nandi’s later claim that she was unaware of Inara’s feelings. One thing that is far better in the script than the final product is the interaction between the crew and the whores. Nandi gets to be a lot more bemused with Jayne than the audience gets to see, for instance. Jayne’s antics are more or less translated from page to screen with minimal cuts, which is odd, since Jayne’s material is far more crude than the character development that was removed. Kaylee’s comments about the “boy-whores” seems to say that she and Simon aren’t even close to being together. Granted, they would never really get together during the course of the series, but in the previous episode, Simon and Tracey were both vying for Kaylee’s affections (in a certain sense). In the next episode, Simon and Kaylee are very friendly with each other. It’s another example of how the writing didn’t quite mesh. Then again, it gives Kaylee and Wash a chance to interact, which is a real treat. Another aspect that was cut down to the bare minimum is the concept of the religious prostitutes, Emma and Lucy. There are a number of scenes in the shooting script that make it a legitimate subplot, but they were never realized in the final version. That’s unfortunate, because this is a chance to show how Book has changed since joining the crew. In “Serenity”, Book wasn’t sure how to deal with Inara and her profession; it made him very uncomfortable. While he’s still wary with Emma and Lucy, he’s not nearly so conflicted. That’s character development, and it’s too bad it never really came together. In the script, there’s an entire scene between Mal and Inara where they engage in some mutually rewarding banter, reminding the audience that they so have a relationship of sorts…and it was, of course, cut from the final version. Additionally, the “puppet show” was the story of Earth-That-Was, which is all but absent from the final cut. The verbal jousting between Mal and Burgess is supposed to give the audience the impression that Burgess sees his little playground as doing the right thing by God. But the script also drives home the fact that Belinda, his wife, is guiding his hand. One scene that works very well is Mal’s attempt to convince Nandi that leaving is the right move. Up to that point, Nandi is just a friend of Inara’s. But when Nandi refuses to leave, Mal identifies with that kind of spirit. It’s very similar to the kind of spirit that the Independents had to have shown, and that Mal continues to hang onto. But then it becomes another scene where Mal calls on the crew to join in or opt out, and people start acting inconsistent. Wash acts as he should, with this episode coming after “War Stories”, but Book’s comments just seem strange for someone who’s been with the crew and Mal for so long. In fact, “War Stories” established Book as a man with experience with firearms and the use thereof; why the sudden focus on his abilities as a “carpenter”? Is it simply to reinforce his role as a Shepherd? One of the important scenes is between Zoe and Wash. It’s revealed that Zoe has been nagging Wash about having children for quite some time, and Wash has been a bit of a pragmatist on the subject. Considering what he went through in “War Stories”, Wash has a very good set of reasons against becoming a parent. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that Wash and Zoe are happy and probably more stable than they have ever been. Joss never lets that last very long, and it usually ends in someone dying. Had the series continued, would Zoe or Wash been the first loss for the crew? When Mal and Nandi discuss their preparations, it feels like nothing less than foreplay. Nandi seems to cover all the bases with Mal first (there’s a nice show of how Mal isn’t bothered by questions of homosexuality, in a particularly obvious moment), and it’s very clear that Nandi is wondering if he’s been holding out for her. But before that can happen, she needs to understand where Mal stands with Inara. She sees how similar Mal and Inara are to one another, and her training as a Companion tells her what that ought to lead to: love or the equal but opposite hatred. With all that training and observational skill, how could she miss the fact that Inara loves Mal as much as he loves her? But just as important is the fact that Nandi and Inara are not very different. Nandi eventually found the Companion way too restricting, and she left to find a place where she could apply similar principles in a more balanced and self-empowering. Nandi doesn’t see prostitution as degrading, obviously; she seems to see it as a legitimate means of exerting feminine power over a man. How far along the same path has Inara gone, and is her resistance towards a relationship with Mal a part of a more general resistance to break away from her comfort zone? Nandi’s not a total fool. She knows, on some level, that she’s a temporary replacement in Mal’s eyes. Her comment about not being Inara seems more designed for the audience than for Mal. That said, there’s a good reason for it. She doesn’t want Mal to hold back, because he needs to not hold back. It needs to be a matter of her giving comfort and solace to him, and him giving her a chance to release some tension and forget about what’s coming, if only for a little while. This is in direct contrast with Burgess and his view of prostitutes and women in general. His scene with Chari is not a mutual moment of giving. It’s outright humiliation and exploitation. It says a lot about Burgess, but it also says a lot about the writers. A lot of people would see any level of prostitution as being a matter of exploitation on any level. The writers seem to be drawing a distinction, perhaps to reinforce the fact that Inara’s role as a post-modern courtesan is not the same as the everyday streetwalker. Inevitably, Mal’s decision to sleep with Nandi cuts Inara to the core. It’s not like this is someone from Mal’s world; Nandi is, in essence, only a stone’s throw away from where Inara is standing, psychologically. Inara knows that it could and should have been her, given who Mal ultimately chose. For some odd reason, it takes Inara’s reaction for Nandi to make a simple observation that the entire audience made during the pilot! The assault on the Heart of Gold is fairly standard, and some of the elements are remarkably poor. The hovercraft is pathetic on all levels, as is the use of a laser; the series would have been better without either. It’s not clear how Burgess’ men managed to board Serenity, either. And what’s with the present-day shipping trailer in the background when Burgess comes walking in the back door? And as mentioned before, why did Book, when of the better shots among the crew, avoid staging a defense with a good sniper rifle? As one might have predicted, Nandi dies in the process, having served her purpose, driving a wedge between Mal and Inara. Mal gets to have his revenge on Burgess by chasing down that hovercraft with a horse (!), and there’s even a passing of the torch as Petaline, the intended victim, takes Nandi’s place as the empowered madam. It’s mildly satisfying that Burgess gets shot in the head, but by that point, there’s no compelling reason to care. Burgess simply isn’t an interesting villain. Coming right on the heels of “The Message” (at least on DVD), the funeral scene is less than impressive. It’s also a lot shorter than in the shooting script, where the description suggests a far more extensive and emotional scene. As written, it was meant to suggest that Inara was beginning to distance herself from the crew. This is nearing the end of what would be considered the “complication” phase of the first season. Inara’s decision to leave is more about her own character and slowly unraveling the mystery of her decision to leave the Core and join Mal’s crew, but with none of that realized, it seems like the end of the journey instead of the beginning. As Inara says, it would be easy for her to fall into the family role that Mal is offering her, whether he’s aware of it or not. But that would require an equal commitment from her, which she has been trying to avoid. Her decision to leave is fairly logical, even if this episode wasn’t necessarily the best way to get it done.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • If you're watching closely, when Rance Burgess is delivering his sinister speech to rally his men, you can see that one of the cutaway shots of the onlookers is actually played backwards. Keep your eyes peeled, you can see the fire on one guy's torch is flowing backwards when they tilt up to show him.

    • As Mal dives from the roof, one of Burgess' men shoots at him with his horse facing Mal dead on. Mal lands and does a forward roll, and now the horse is standing at right angles. Why would you move a horse while shooting at an armed, moving target?

    • We know Book knows his guns better than he should, yet in this episode he's only armed with a hose. We know from "War Stories" that he's not averse to taking up arms if needed. River, with her blind-shooting ability, also seems underutilised.

    • When Burgess walks out of the room with the baby, you can clearly see he's holding a doll in one shot

  • QUOTES (28)

    • Mal: You know, not altogether wise, sneakin' up on a fella when he's handling his weapon.
      Inara: I'm sure I've heard that said. But perhaps the dining area isn't the place for this sort of thing.

    • Inara: In that case, every well-bred petty crook knows the small concealable weapons always go to the far left of the place setting.

    • Wash: Well, it's for her.
      : Huh?
      Wash: The call's for Inara.
      Inara: I'll take it in my shuttle.
      Wash: All right. I'll send it back there to you.
      Mal: This distress wouldn't happen to be taking place in someone's pants, would it?

    • Inara: It sounds like something this crew can handle. I can't guarantee they'll handle it particularly well, but...
      Nandi: If they've got guns and brains at all...
      Inara: They've got guns.

    • Inara: I suppose you heard most of that?
      Mal: Only 'cause I was eavesdropping.

    • Book: These people need assistance. The benefit wouldn't necessarily be for you.
      Jayne: That's what I'm sayin'.
      Zoe: No one us gonna force you to go, Jayne. As has been stated, this job is strictly speculative.
      Jayne: Don't know these folks. Don't much care to.
      Mal: They're whores.
      Jayne: I'm in.

    • Jayne: That's the whorehouse?
      Inara: Yes.
      Jayne: How come it looks like a frozen dinner pack?
      Kaylee: Solar sheeting. Cheap power.
      Jayne: Hope the whores are prettier than the house.

    • Inara: Nandi, this is Malcolm Reynolds.
      Nandi: I appreciate your coming.
      Mal: Well, any friend of Inara's is a strictly businesslike relationship of mine.

    • Mal: This is my first mate, Zoe. I'll introduce you to the rest in a bit. They're good folk.
      Jayne: Can I start getting sexed already?
      Mal: Well, that one's kind of horrific.

    • Jayne: My John Thomas is about to pop off and fly about the room, there's so much tasty in here.
      Wash: Would be you'd get your most poetical about your pecker.

    • Kaylee: They got boy whores. Isn't that thoughtful?

    • Kaylee: Wash, tell me I'm pretty.
      Wash: Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion.
      Kaylee: 'Cause I'm pretty?
      Wash: 'Cause you're pretty.

    • Book: I'm fair handy with a hammer, Captain.
      Mal: That so, Shepherd?
      Book: Been following the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now.

    • Mal: Well, lady, I must say... you're my kind of stupid.

    • Mal: Inara, think you can stoop to being on my arm?
      Inara: Will you wash it first?

    • Wash: Well, I'm not sure now is the best time to bring a tiny little helpless person into our lives.
      Zoe: That excuse is getting a little worn, honey.
      Wash: It's not an excuse, dear. It's objective assessment. I can't help that it stays relevant.
      Zoe: I don't give a good gorram about relevant, Wash, or objective. And I ain't so afraid of losing something that I ain't gonna try to have it. You and I would make one beautiful baby. And I wanna meet that child one day. Period.

    • Inara: How many babies have you actually delivered?
      Simon: As the primary? This would be the first. You?
      Inara: My first too.
      River: Mine too.

    • Nandi: You not sly, are you? 'Cause I got my boys.
      Mal: Sly? No. I lean towards womenfolk. Just... one thing at a time. Never liked complications.

    • Mal: (hitting on Nandi) Um, Miss Nandi, I have a confession to make.
      Nandi: Maybe I should get the Shepherd?
      Mal: Well, I ain't sinned yet. I'd feel a little more than awkward if he were here when I did.

    • (Mal and Nandi kiss)
      Nandi: You okay with this?
      Mal: I'm just waiting to see if I pass out...Long story.

    • Nandi: So my child, how long has it been since your last confession?
      Mal: Longer than I'd care to say.
      Nandi: You gonna remember where everything goes?
      Mal: Let's just say I plan to take it real slow.

    • Mal: Well, I just didn't want you thinkin'... that I was taking advantage of your friend.
      Inara: She's well worth taking advantage of. I sincerely hope you did.
      Mal: So, you're okay. Well, yeah--why wouldn't you be?
      Inara: I wouldn't say I'm entirely okay. I'm a little appalled at her taste.

    • Jayne: Oh, now, girl, that is just plain dirty.
      Mal: Jayne, you are aware your radio's transmittin'? Cause I don't feel particularly girlish or dirty at the moment.

    • Kaylee: Malcolm seem a little funny to you at breakfast this morning?
      Wash: Come on, Kaylee. We all know I'm the funny one.

    • Mal: You ladies and gentlemen all locked and loaded?
      Lucy: Yes, sir.
      Mal: Good. Remember, shoot the man, not the horse. A dead horse is cover. A live horse, great pile of panic.

    • Mal: Jayne, I do believe that's our first hurdle. Think you might...
      Jayne: (kills the machinegunner) I think I might, Captain.

    • (River watches Petaline in labor)
      River: Who do you think is in there?

    • Inara: (referring to Nandi) I'm glad you were with her, her last night. I am.
      Mal: Yeah, well, I ain't. Hell, wish I never met her... then I wouldn't have failed her.
      Inara: That wasn't the way of it.
      Mal: That's a kindness. But nothin' you say will convince me different.

  • NOTES (2)