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** Mal only wins (and lives) because Inara interferes as Atherton is about to finish him off. Mal, in a true CombatPragmatist fashion, proves that [[TalkingIsAFreeAction Talking Is ''Not'' A Free Action]] by turning the tables on Atherton, while he's busy.

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** Mal only wins (and lives) because Inara interferes as Atherton is about to finish him off. Mal, in a true CombatPragmatist fashion, proves that [[TalkingIsAFreeAction Talking Is ''Not'' A Free Action]] subverts TalkingIsAFreeAction by turning the tables on Atherton, Atherton while he's busy.



* SimpleYetOpulent: Kaylee's dress is so frilly, that it stands out next to the relatively restrained dresses of the other ladies attending (or outright restrained with Inara's dress).

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* SimpleYetOpulent: Kaylee's dress is so frilly, frilly that it stands out next to the relatively restrained dresses of the other ladies attending (or outright restrained with Inara's dress).

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* FisticuffProvokingComment: Mal goes straight from trying to be polite to Atherton to straight-out punching him in the face the moment the latter disrespects Inara.


* SlutShaming: Murphy gallantly comes to Kaylee's defense when the latter is being snarked at by some rich women... by insulting the ring-leader for her "easiness":

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* SlutShaming: Murphy gallantly comes to Kaylee's defense when the latter is being snarked at by some rich women... by insulting the ring-leader for her "easiness":"easiness" (See GentlemanSnarker above).


-->'''Murphy''': Why, Banning Miller! What a vision you are in your fine dress. It must have taken a dozen slaves a dozen days to get you into that getup. 'Course, your daddy tells me it takes the space of a schoolboy's wink to get you out of it again.

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'''Original airdate:''' November 1, 2002

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** The underlying argument that Mal gives for confronting Atherton; while Mal doesn't respect Inara's work, Atherton doesn't respect ''her''.

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!!![[AC:Recaps]]: [[{{Recap/Firefly}} Index]] | [[{{Recap/FireflyE01Serenity}} 1]] | [[{{Recap/FireflyE02TheTrainJob}} 2]] | [[{{Recap/FireflyE03Bushwhacked}} 3]] | '''4''' | [[{{Recap/FireflyE05Safe}} 5]] | [[{{Recap/FireflyE06OurMrsReynolds}} 6]] | [[{{Recap/FireflyE07Jaynestown}} 7]] | [[{{Recap/FireflyE08OutOfGas}} 8]] | [[{{Recap/FireflyE09Ariel}} 9]] | [[{{Recap/FireflyE10WarStories}} 10]] | [[{{Recap/FireflyE11Trash}} 11]] | [[{{Recap/FireflyE12TheMessage}} 12]] | [[{{Recap/FireflyE13HeartOfGold}} 13]] | [[{{Recap/FireflyE14ObjectsInSpace}} 14]]


* SlutShaming: The CoolOldGuy defends Kaylee from the ritch bitch by alluding to the latter's easiness.

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* SlutShaming: The CoolOldGuy defends Kaylee from Murphy gallantly comes to Kaylee's defense when the ritch bitch latter is being snarked at by alluding to some rich women... by insulting the latter's easiness.ring-leader for her "easiness":
-->'''Murphy''': Why, Banning Miller! What a vision you are in your fine dress. It must have taken a dozen slaves a dozen days to get you into that getup. 'Course, your daddy tells me it takes the space of a schoolboy's wink to get you out of it again.

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* DuelToTheDeath: Mal duels Atherton Wing as a result of Mal decking the aristocrat for essentially calling Inara a whore. Mal wins, and lets Atherton live -- albeit perhaps a bit scratched up.
--> "Mercy is the mark of a great man." *Stabbity!* "I guess I'm just a good man." *Stabbity times two!* "Well, I'm all right."
** Mal only wins (and lives) because Inara interferes as Atherton is about to finish him off. Mal, in a true CombatPragmatist fashion, proves that [[TalkingIsAFreeAction Talking Is ''Not'' A Free Action]] by turning the tables on Atherton, while he's busy.


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* ImpracticallyFancyOutfit: Mal tries to use this to convince Kaylee that the fancy dress she wants would be completely useless to her. His comments just piss everyone off, but the plot does contrive to get her the dress later.


* CruelMercy: By Persephone's code of dueling, being beaten but surviving is considered a loss of honor through cowardice. Mal didn't seem likely to kill Atherton anyway, but it certainly increases the satisfaction.



* FeeFiFauxPas: All over the place at the shindig. Kaylee chats to nobles who expect to have new people formally introduced (and not with a handshake) and is shunned until an older gentleman brings her to a group of young men to hold court on engineering, Mal doesn't know that colored sashes signify noble rank, and then he accidentally starts an honor duel.



* HonorBeforeReason: Although Mal didn't know he was signing up for a swordfight in the process.

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* HonorBeforeReason: Although Mal didn't know he was signing up for a swordfight in the process.process, walloping a guest at a party where you're trying to make a business contact still wasn't the strictly pragmatic move.


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* WeNeedADistraction: Discussed by the crew when Badger has them at gunpoint. Then River turns up and captivates him by completely dissecting his persona in a Cockney accent while everybody stares, and...
-->'''Jayne:''' [after River leaves] That there was exactly the kind of distraction we coulda used.

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* {{Flynning}}: Atherton does this when he decides to toy with Mal rather than just kill him. Mal does less of it, actually attempting several lunges for Atherton's center of mass (albeit very telegraphed lunges - justified, since Mal has had less than a day's worth of training with a sword).


* AlphaBitch: The RichBitch who insults Kaylee. Quickly shown up by way of CoolOldGuy.

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* AlphaBitch: The RichBitch who insults Kaylee. Quickly shown up by way of CoolOldGuy.



* SlutShaming: The old man defends Kaylee from the ritch bitch by alluding to the latter's easiness.

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* SlutShaming: The old man CoolOldGuy defends Kaylee from the ritch bitch by alluding to the latter's easiness.

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-->'''Kaylee:''' Don't you just love this party? Everything's so fancy, and they have some kind of hot cheese over there!
-->'''Banning:''' It's not as good as last year.
-->'''Kaylee:''' Oh really? What did they have last year?
-->'''Banning:''' ''Standards.''


''Serenity'' arrives at Persephone. Inara chooses from among a number of offers for her Companion services, eventually settling on repeat customer Atherton Wing, who wants her to escort him to a formal ball. While she prepares, Mal and the others go out shopping, but are accosted by the smuggler Badger (who worked with the crew previously, during the pilot). Badger knows of a client, a rich man named Warrick Harrow, who has cargo that needs to be moved offworld but refuses to associate with Badger. Badger's {{plan}} is to have Mal drop in on a dance Harrow will be attending - the same one Inara and Atherton are at.

Mal, along with Kaylee, arrive at the ball, and Mal is able to reach ''Sir'' Warrick Harrow, though he is unable to work out a deal. Inara wanders over and they exchange some small talk, until Atherton comes to pull her away, claiming that since "money changed hands", Inara is his for the night. Mal immediately decks him over the perceived insult; unfortunately for him, under the rules of society on Persephone, this means he must face Atherton, a master duelist, in a sword fight.

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In a dive bar, Inara looks on as Mal and Jayne play a friendly game of holo-pool with a pair of men from another ship, which quickly becomes less friendly when Mal learns they are slavers and retaliates by picking their pockets--setting off a brawl. Cue theme.

''Serenity'' arrives at Persephone. Inara chooses from among a number of offers for her Companion services, eventually settling on repeat customer Atherton Wing, who wants her to escort him to a formal ball. While she prepares, Mal and the others go out shopping, but are accosted by the smuggler Badger (who worked with the crew previously, during [[Recap/FireflyE01Serenity the pilot).pilot]]). Badger knows of a client, a rich man named Warrick Harrow, who has cargo that needs to be moved offworld but refuses to associate with Badger. Badger's {{plan}} is to have Mal drop in on a dance Harrow will be attending - the attending--the same one Inara and Atherton are at.

Mal, along with Kaylee, arrive at the ball, and Mal is able to reach ''Sir'' Warrick Harrow, though he is unable to work out a deal. Inara wanders over and they exchange some small talk, until Atherton comes to pull her away, claiming that since "money changed hands", hands," Inara is his for the night. Mal immediately decks him over the perceived insult; unfortunately for him, under the rules of society on Persephone, this means he must face Atherton, a master duelist, in a sword fight.



In the morning, Mal and Atherton, accompanied by Inara and Harrow, face off at the dueling grounds. They fight, appearing to be evenly matched, until Atherton reveals he is merely toying with Mal, and easily injures and then disarms the captain. Inara pleads with Atherton to spare Mal, saying she will stay with Atherton if he does. Mal uses the distraction to disarm Atherton and punches him, then recovers Atherton's sword. Mal spares Atherton and leaves with Inara and Harrow. Atherton claims he will use his influence to ruin Inara's reputation, but Inara counters by placing a Black Mark on him in the client registry, which has the effect of putting him on the Companion blacklist; meanwhile Harrow, impressed by Mal's commitment, offers him the cargo job. Mal and Inara arrive back at ''Serenity'' and Badger promptly leaves, with the crew claiming they were "just about to spring into action".

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In the morning, Mal and Atherton, accompanied by Inara and Harrow, face off at the dueling grounds. They fight, appearing to be evenly matched, until Atherton reveals he is merely toying with Mal, and easily injures and then disarms the captain. Inara pleads with Atherton to spare Mal, saying she will stay with Atherton if he does. Mal uses the distraction to disarm Atherton and punches him, then recovers Atherton's sword. Mal spares Atherton and leaves with Inara and Harrow. Atherton claims he will use his influence to ruin Inara's reputation, but Inara counters by placing a Black Mark on him in the client registry, which has the effect of putting him on the Companion blacklist; meanwhile Harrow, impressed by Mal's commitment, offers him the cargo job. Mal and Inara arrive back at ''Serenity'' and Badger promptly leaves, with the crew claiming they were "just about to spring into action".
action."






!!Tropes

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!!Tropes!!Tropes in this episode:



-->'''Kaylee:''' These girls have the most beautiful dresses. ''(gestures at her dress)'' And so do I! How about that?

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-->'''Kaylee:''' These girls have the most beautiful dresses. ''(gestures ''[gestures at her dress)'' dress]'' And so do I! How about that?



* BreakingLecture: River delivers an unsettling one to Badger.
* CombatPragmatist: Mal's victory over Atherton involves [[ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks a thrown sword blade]] and a punch to the gut; in an ''honor duel''.

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* BreakingLecture: River delivers an unsettling one to Badger.
Badger, in his own Cockney accent, no less.
* CombatPragmatist: Mal's victory over Atherton involves [[ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks a thrown sword blade]] and a punch to the gut; gut, in an ''honor duel''.



* DancesAndBalls

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* DancesAndBallsDancesAndBalls: Mal [[BlackTieInfiltration infiltrates]] a ball to look for a smuggling contact, and happens to bump into Inara, since it's the only event worth attending on the whole planet.



--->'''Distinguished Old Man:''' Why, Banning Miller! What a vision you are in your fine dress. It must have taken a dozen slaves a dozen days just to get you into that getup. 'Course, your daddy tells me it takes [[SlutShaming the space of a schoolboy's wink to get you ''out'' of it again]].

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--->'''Distinguished Old Man:''' Why, Banning Miller! What a vision you are in your fine dress. It must have taken a dozen slaves a dozen days just to get you into that getup. 'Course, your daddy tells me it takes [[SlutShaming the space of a schoolboy's wink to get you ''out'' you]] ''[[SlutShaming out]]'' [[SlutShaming of it again]].



* ModelingPoses: Tthe crew are in the shopping district in a town. Kayle admires the frilly dresses in the windows, which are worn by [[FashionModel live mannequins]] who move between different poses every few seconds.

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* ModelingPoses: Tthe The crew are in the shopping district in a town. Kayle admires the frilly dresses in the windows, which are worn by [[FashionModel live mannequins]] who move between different poses every few seconds.



* SheCleansUpNicely: Kaylee.

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* SheCleansUpNicely: Kaylee.Kaylee looks adorable in a pink frilly dress with (for once) a clean face and hair.


* PimpedOutDress:

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* ModelingPoses: Tthe crew are in the shopping district in a town. Kayle admires the frilly dresses in the windows, which are worn by [[FashionModel live mannequins]] who move between different poses every few seconds.
* PimpedOutDress: Most of the dresses at the party are loaded with frills and ruffles.

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