Season One



     Regular Cast

     Guest Cast



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 Badger

  • 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 amiss.

    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 the planet.

    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.


  • The crew return to Persephone, last visited in Serenity (Part 1), and also have an encounter with Badger, last seen in that episode and refer to his treatment of them during their last encounter.

  • This 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 Serenity (Part 1), 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.


Serenity (Part 1) | Serenity (Part 2) | The Train Job | Bushwhacked | Shindig

Safe | Our Mrs. Reynolds | Jaynestown | Out of Gas | Ariel | War Stories

Trash | The Message | Heart of Gold | Objects in Space

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