Season 1, Episode 5
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Vern Gillum
Original Airdate: 1 November 2002
Kaylee "Is that him?"
Mal "That's the buffet table."
Kaylee "How will we know unless we question it?"
Mark A. Sheppard as
Edward Atterton as Atherton Wing
Larry Drake as Sir Warrick Harrow
Carl Bresk as Wright
Larry Pennell as Murphy
Michael McMillian as Younger Hopeful
Joshua Grenrock as Porter
Kim Onasch as Banning
Janora McDuffie as Cabott
Casey Piotrowski as Older Farmer
Hunter Cochran as Younger Farmer
Roy Werner as Gentleman
Mal and Jayne are in a bar playing pool with some
ruffians. A fight breaks out, and Mal and Jayne clean house. Inara is
quite amused watching the proceedings.
Back on Serenity, the crew prepares to land on Persephone. ZoŽ
says the planet is starting to feel like a second home. Mal says it's no
home here. There are too many people they need to avoid. They're going
to re-supply, look for work and head on home.
Pre-landing, Inara reviews her video messages, all from people hoping to
enjoy her company during this visit. She takes a call from a man called
Atherton. It seems that he's engaged her services for a few days in
order to attend a ball.
Kaylee, Jayne, Wash, ZoŽ and Mal take in the sights of the city. Mal
seems to become a little sensitive whenever Inara's name comes up. The
group has had enough of Mal's attitude, and leave Mal and Jayne behind.
As soon as they leave, a man points a gun in Mal's direction. It's
Badger who says it's time he and Mal have a conversation.
Badger has an offer for Mal. It seems that a local gent, Warrick Harrow,
has some property he wants to sell off-planet. However, local powers
won't let that happen. Harrow needs a smuggler and Badger is willing to
cut Mal in on it. Why? Mainly because Harrow despises Badger and won't
deal with him.
At an elegant ball, Atherton Wing is introduced with Inara Serra. It's
all very proper and high class. Fawning over Inara, Atherton asks her to
live on Persephone as his personal companion. At that moment, Miss
Kaywinnit Lee Frye and escort are introduced to the ball attendees: Mal
and Kaylee. Mal immediately begins looking for Inara. Kaylee tries to
fit in with the debutantes, without much success.
Mal introduces himself to Sir Warrick Harrow. Atherton comes over and
introduces himself to Warrick during his conversation with Mal. The
tension broils between Mal, Atherton and Inara. Mal asks Atherton for a
dance with his date. During the dance, the Mal and Inara tension reaches
an all-time high. Atherton glares on, searching for a sign of something
Across the hall, Kaylee has found a group she fits in with: the men.
They all talk about spaceships and engines and such.
Atherton cuts into Mal and Inara's dance, saying Inara is his because
money has changed hands. Mal socks Atherton in the face. Atherton says
he accepts Mal's challenge to a duel. It will take place tomorrow
morning. With a sword. Not Mal's weapon of choice.
Back on the ship, Badger spreads the word of Mal's troubles. And he
brought his gang along to make sure they don't leave the ship to rescue
Mal. Badger wouldn't want word of his shady dealings spreading around
Inara offers Mal a backdoor escape from his overnight lodging. He
refuses because he wants to fight. On the ship, the crew tries to plan a
diversion to overpower their guards. Back in Mal's room, Inara tries to
teach him swordsmanship.
The morning comes and so does the duel. Atherton radiates confidence.
Mal cuts Atherton's shirt, but Atherton lands the first piercing, to
Mal's right side. Atherton forces Mal to the ground, and stomps his foot
down on Mal's sword, snapping it at the hilt.
Atherton slowly moves in for the kill. Inara begs Atherton to spare Mal,
saying she'll stay here with him if he does. When Atherton looks over to
her, Mal jumps to his feet and punches him in the face. Mal picks up his
broken sword blade, tosses it into Atherton's chest and lands another
punch, dropping Atherton to the ground. Now Mal looms over for the kill.
However, he decides to spare Atherton's life. After a few small
stabbings, of course.
Impressed with Mal's courage, Warrick agrees to let him smuggle his
cargo. On Serenity, the crew is still planning their diversion
when Mal returns. Warrick's smuggled booty turns out to be cattle.
crew return to Persephone, last visited in
and also have an encounter with Badger, last seen in that episode and
refer to his treatment of them during their last encounter.
is the first time that Mal and Inara intense attraction to each other is
moved into centre stage, but it is not elaborated on until
Heart of Gold.
Kaylee makes a beeline for the strawberries at the banquet table at the
ball. Book brought strawberries aboard in
much to Kaylee’s delight.
At one point, while Mal and Inara are dancing, you
can see Morena Baccarin's microphone slip out of the back of her dress
at the waist.
When ZoŽ and Wash are just finished having sex and
Wash is commenting about how he likes their party better, ZoŽ doesn’t
have her cord necklace on, but later in the commentary for this episode,
costume designer Shawna Trpcic says that ZoŽ's cord necklace is symbolic
of her marriage to Wash and she never takes it off.
In the sword duel scene, the excessive artificial
ground fog/mist makes it appear that a tree is on fire.
(Part 1) | Serenity (Part 2) |
The Train Job |
Our Mrs. Reynolds |
Out of Gas |
The Message |
Heart of Gold |
Objects in Space