- How about the end of the pilot?
- Mal putting down the Fed who had River at gunpoint with one shot to the head. Without even breaking stride.
- What makes this even better is that he had no prior warning that the Fed had escaped. Without even questioning what was going on he just pulled the trigger.
- Which is why I am a proud owner of a Mal Shot First t-shirt.
- Oh, he had some warning. He hears a shot go off inside his ship (Dobson fired a round just before the whole standoff started), walks in, sees Dobson with a hostage... 2 + 2 = BANG. Pure and simple.
- Mal kicking Crow right through the engine after hearing him promise to hunt him down and kill him. One thing you can say about Mal: you don't threaten him, and you don't threaten his crew.
"...darn." (smiles and kicks Crow into the engine)
- To make it even better, he just repeats exactly what he said earlier to Crow to the next henchman with a straight face.
- And the nekkid scenes at the beginning and end of "Trash". That grin!
Mal: Yep...that went well.
- The end of the duel in "Shindig" was made of awesome and lol. "Ahh, I'm all right."
- "It would be humiliating, having to lie there while the better man refuses to spill your blood. Mercy is the mark of a great man." *stab* "Guess I'm just a good man." *stab* "Well, I'm all right."
- "You know, you didn't have to wound that man." "Yeah, I know. It was just funny."
- "I got stabbed! Right here!"
- "You'll have to rely on your winning personality to get women. God help you."
- How about Lord Warrick himself, volunteering to be Mal's dueling second, meaning HE has to fight Atherton (a man he knows to be a bad-ass swordsman and killer) if Mal chickens out.
- Mal standing up for Inara's honor by punching Atherton Wing in the face also counts.
- A couple minutes after being tortured to death and revived, Mal stabs his foe in the chest.
- With the same thing that killed him!
- "Looks like business isn't running so much as crawling away. You want to meet the real me now?"
- This has a funny (perhaps tongue in cheek) moment of disagreement between Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk during the commentary.
Nathan: Yeah, I want to go back and do that again.
Alan: That scene, that moment? Really? I thought it was just swell!
Nathan: You see, that's where we differ.
- Mal definitively sealed his Determinator status in "Out of Gas," when the salvagers shoot him in the stomach. That just makes Mal angrier. He follows that up with trudging through the ship, shooting himself in the heart with a giant needle of adrenaline, then repairing the ship, before walking back through Serenity and finally collapsing from blood loss on the bridge. Now that is pretty damn awesome.
- "Our Mrs. Reynolds." Summed up by one simple line:
"Now, you can luxuriate in a nice jail cell, but if your hand touches metal, I swear by my pretty floral bonnet I will end you."
- Also, "If you turn on ANY of my crew, YOU TURN ON ME!" Jayne is lucky to be alive after Ariel.
- Mal's face when he tells Jayne "You did it to me" is a CMOA and terrifying all rolled into one. The Crowning Moment of Awesome is (1) Jayne honestly wouldn't intentionally doublecross Mal, because Mal is pretty much the only person he respects in the universe, and (2) Mal's commitment to loyalty and his True Companions is just that strong.
- While Mal has many badass moments, they point to different qualities. While his decisive resolution to River being held at gunpoint establishes his bona fides as a gunslinger, I have to say the best moments with Mal are the ones that play to his most central trait of leadership. The "Jayne, walk away from this table" scene from Serenity and making Wash leave his dying(?) wife's side in Out of Gas show that he has a surpassing will to him that commands respect and loyalty. Getting that quality to the screen and to the viewers? Awesome.
- In the aforementioned scene, when Mal makes Wash leave the infirmary? Apparently he is so threatening that Jayne of all people, gets a cautious look on his face and backs off!
- At the end of "Safe" when he and Zoe arrive in the nick of time.
"Cut her down."
"The girl is a witch!"
"Yeah, but she's our witch." [KA-CHINK!
] "Now cut her the hell down."
- According to Nathan Fillion's commentary, his personal CMoA for Mal came at the end of the pilot, when Mal just shoots Patience's horse:
Mal: "Now I did a job, and got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention a few unkind words as regard to my character, so let me make this abundantly clear: I do the job. And then I get paid. Go run your little world."
- From The Message: A flashback to the Battle of Du-Khang. Zoe sneaks up behind an enemy who's got Tracey at gunpoint and opens him like a letter.
Tracey: I didn't even hear you.
- The scene in Heart of Gold where he chases down Rance Burgess after he shoots Nandy. He runs outside, shoots one of Burgess's guys, jumps on his horse, and rides off after Burgess. The scene ends with Mal holding him at gunpoint before knocking him out and dragging him back for his execution.
- Kicking Jubal Early into space in "Objects In Space".