Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2.08 A Love Supreme

Summary and spoilers

Somewhere out west, Alpha is back, wielding his knife to ‘sucker-slash’ an unwitting man.

In Echo’s isolation cell, she chooses to endure intense headaches rather than tell why she has returned. We see now that DeWitt suspects espionage, and her plan is to torture Echo for information. Her bigger plan is to get Ballard to talk by forcing him to watch Echo’s torture. When that doesn’t work, DeWitt tries jealousy: she sends Echo back into the field for a romantic engagement. Echo doesn’t need to be programmed; she just retrieves the required personality (this is a return engagement), rendering Topher obsolete.

The return engagement is short, as the client (Frank) has been killed by Alpha as a gift to Echo. Alpha has arranged a number of recent engagements, and has killed off a series of Echo’s former love-related clients. The latest client is blown up in full view of Boyd and Ballard, while Alpha stands by, making humorous and sick quips.

Ballard tracks down the final living love client, dumpy computer whiz Joel Miner (as seen in episode 1.6 - Man On The Street). Miner is taken back to the Dollhouse for safekeeping.

DeWitt is getting more brazen about confronting the Langton, Ballard, and Echo ‘cabal’. The cabal is getting more brazen about disobeying her.

Just after Topher clumsily assures Minor that he is safe from Alpha in the Dollhouse, Alpha breaks in and enters DeWitt’s office. He presents her with an envelope filled with photographs of…something. Just don’t assume like I did that they are snaps of his killings. Alpha activates a device that sets all the dolls as attack dogs against their handlers. Then he captures Joel Minor. But this is only a ruse for him to get the real lover of Echo, Ballard. That envelope mentioned earlier contained photos of Echo and Ballard from when they were co-habitating, and Alpha is convinved that Echo loves Ballard.

In his quest to discover what in Ballard’s brain caused him to be chosen by Echo, Alpha kills Ballard. Echo arrives too late to save Ballard, but not too late to beat the crap out of Alpha.


Boyd and Ballard explain to Topher that Echo has retained every personality that was ever implanted on her (including all the ones that Alpha dumped into her). A wipe pushes them back down, but they return. What’s more, Echo can re-surface them as needed.

Dollhouse Quotes

I don’t like seeing her in pain. I looked into her eyes and swore to protect her, same as you, before you. Today, protecting her means not reacting while DeWitt tortures her. So man up!"
- Boyd to Ballard

Topher: [to Boyd] Does she still trust you with her life? And is that because she’s programmed to, or just because you’re a swell guy with a trustworthy brow.
Echo: I’d like to think both.

"I am obsolete! This must be what old people feel like…and Blockbuster."
- Topher, after seeing the new improved Echo

Boyd: Alpha! Do not do this! There’s a part of you that knows this is wrong.
Alpha: There are many parts of me that know that this is wrong – none the care, and six… [laughs] that just find it funny.

"Well..Tally Ho then! In fact, what say we tally your ho’s. How many you got down there these days? A couple of hundred? More? Less?"
- Alpha to DeWitt

"Boyfriend’s dead. You want to snuggle? Too soon?"
- Alpha to Echo

2.07 Meet Jane Doe

Summary and spoilers

Echo is still loose and free, wandering about, attempting to eat apples from a dumpster in Texas. She needs money to buy food but doesn’t know how to get any. When she steals some food to help a starving Hispanic woman, a cop tries to arrest her. He gets a beating for his trouble. The Hispanic woman is arrested.

DeWitt keeps asking Boyd to find Ballard and Echo, but this exchange always seems to be taking place in DeWitt’s office. I think Boyd needs to look outside the Dollhouse, maybe get out into the world and start exploring America state by state.

Flash-forward three months later, and Echo is working as a nurse in a hospital, using knowledge gained from the many personalities she has housed. She has infiltrated the prison as part of her job, and is now treating Galena, the Hispanic woman who was jailed for stealing food. Galena is getting beaten in prison, and Echo plans to find out who is doing it.

Surprisingly, Echo is living with Ballard. Their idea of fun is to have Ballard hide and try to attack Echo. It’s all part of a training plan to re-enter the Dollhouse (and, I assume, liberate the dolls). Ballard is all business, but Echo is attracted to him, and isn’t afraid to tell him about it – and to make her move. The circle of intrigue is completed by the inside man – Boyd – who is also in on the plan. Of course, now Boyd’s nesting at the Dollhouse makes more sense: an inside man has to stay inside. The entire plan could crash if it not done expediently, as Echo’s headaches are increasing; she is deteriorating.

DeWitt, meanwhile, has been demoted to a more basic role of ‘doll pimp’. She is no longer in control of her house and can no longer protect the Dolls.

Echo has an impressive plan to break Galena out of the hospital. She injects her with an agent to slow her heartbeat dramatically, then blames the guards beatings for her death. Echo agrees to ‘dispose’ of the body at the hospital. The plan goes awry when it takes too long to get out and Galena resurrects. Echo then has to call on all of her embedded knowledge to beat up guards and pick a lock with the underwire from her bra. Ballard shows up to ensure that the women get away cleanly.

Topher has created a device that can remotely treat an active from with 50 yards. In his spare time, he has figured out Rossum’s bigger plan: to create a technology that can remotely program anyone – even if they do not have the Doll architecture. (You may recall that we had a glimpse of this future in Epitaph One). Topher has figured out how to do it. He shows the plans to DeWitt. She makes him promise never to show the plans to anyone. Then she steals them and gives them to Harding. She does it to get her house back – and it works.


Olivia Williams (Adele DeWitt) is strikingly effective in this episode. I love the way she played the role of the demoted one – and the way she immediately snapped back into ‘power bitch’ mode when the opportunity presented itself. It was a nice touch that while she was demoted, her posture drooped, her shoulders sagged, and she wore a pale shade of lipstick – but when she was back in control, she strutted like a Queen, and her signature lip gloss was back in place.

Ballard and Echo are back in the Dollhouse, and there is about to be a battle for control between DeWitt and Echo. It starts immediately, with DeWitt denying Echo her necessary treatment, and instead putting her in isolation to see how much more she can take.

Memorable Moments

After Echo propositions Ballard, in the next scene, Ballard removes his shirt and walks up to her – and they start fight training!

Dollhouse Quotes

Ballard: The Dollhouse made you fall in love over and over – you told me that.
Echo: They also made me aggressively sexual, and phenomenally creative in bed.
Ballard: Now that’s just cruel.

Harding: Well…this is a great occasion. Shall we celebrate?
DeWitt: There’s no smoking in my office.

Topher: You are the coldest bitch on this planet.
DeWitt: [slaps Topher] That is the last time you will ever speak to me like that – or at all until you are spoken to.

2.06 The Left Hand

Summary and spoilers

Bennett resumes her torture of Echo. When Echo asks why, Bennett responds with more neural treatments – but she also promises that when they get to the ‘why’, "…that’s when things get really bad." Bennett says Echo damaged her arm – she still wears it in a dark sling – and she makes Echo relive Bennett’s memory of the incident.

Cindy explains very carefully to Perrin how they took a spoiled brat with no ambition and no future – in fact, with a whole lot of ‘no’ except for his pedigree - and created a righteous, successful senator. She also takes the opportunity to tell him exactly how much she despises him.

Meanwhile, DeWitt and Topher have arrived. The plan is to examine Echo and, more importantly, do a brain scan of Perrin to get info on Rossum’s plan. Bennett drugs Echo, so Topher is unable to ascertain what she has been experiencing. Bennett’s boss tries to turn DeWitt away, but DeWitt manhandles him into submission.

Bennett lets Perrin and Echo go, then self-inflicts to make it look like she was bashed. Echo and Perrin takes turns cutting into their necks with a steak knife to remove their embedded GPS tags.

Working together in their web of mutual admiration, Topher and Bennett come up with a way to remotely put Perrin and Echo to sleep. With his eyes on the original prize, Topher manages to convince them that he needs Perrin’s brain map to do this. But Bennett is smarter – and more evil – than that. She discovers Topher’s hacking, then programs Perrin as an assassin to exact revenge on Echo (Echo as Caroline supposedly left Bennett trapped under a pillar during a raid).

Topher knocks Bennett out, then works with Topher/Victor to shut down Perrin before he kills Echo. They are too late to save Cindy; Perrin strangles her.

Perrin’s full purpose now becomes clear. He completely exonerates Rossum and implicates other, unrelated companies in his wife’s death and in a plot to vilify Rossum. Now Perrin can make laws specifically to protect Rossum.

Meanwhile, Madeline has been recaptured by Bennett’s ‘Dollhouse’, and she is about to undergo some Bennett-supervised ‘treatments’.

Echo is still out there, uncaptured, with DeWitt very interested in finding her and bringing her back.

Memorable Moments

Victor’s hilarious imitation of Topher

Dollhouse Quotes

"I can’t stand you – having to be your wife. Letting your touch me. Pretending that when it doesn’t disgust me, it doesn’t bore me. That has been…really hard."
- Cindy Perrin to Daniel Perrin, just before his treatment

Bennett: How do you work it – the disrupter?
Topher: How did you know it was called that?
Bennett: What else would you call it?

Topher 1: Dude, she has a dead arm.
Topher/Victor: Like dead, like in a sling with a glove?
Topher 1: Imagine John Cassavettes in The Fury as a hot chick.
Topher/Victor: Which you know I often have!

Bennett: You hacked into my system…stole Perrin’s brain map.
Topher: You tried to kill Echo.
Bennett: So we’re even?

Topher: Shut up and work.
Topher/Victor: I’m already working! I wouldn’t hold your breath on the shutting up.