Sunday, May 10, 2009

Percolated Recap: Dollhouse: A Spy in the House of Love (Episode 109)

Eliza Dushku's talents showcased: An episode-by-episode breakdown:
Episode 1: Her ability to sound business-like.
Episode 2: Her athleticism.
Episode 3: Her singing voice.
Episode 4: Her ability to wear leather pants while delivering meta-Joss.
Episode 5: Her ability to play a blind person and hit us over the head with religion.
Episode 6: Her ability to remind us of Faith without actually being Faith.
Episode 7: Her ability to look constantly confused.
Episode 8: Her ability sound self-righteous.
Episode 9: Her ability to read people.

Okay, okay, okay, so I'm a wee bit late with the Dollhouse recaps. To be perfectly honest, this particular episode is the reason. I don't like talking about shows getting rid of my favourite character. Yes, I admit it, Lawrence Dominic is my favourite character. Victor may be my favourite doll, but sneaky, underhanded, smarter than he looks, excellently played by Reed Diamond, Lawrence Dominic, was so full of depth, surprises and, as we learned in the following episodes, an important part of the ensemble, that here I am, absolutely gutted that he's gone.

On a more random note, I know the title is from a very famous novel, and is an excellent metaphor for Adele, Echo or even Dominic, but it still sounds like the title of a porn film. Wait, considering the author of that novel, she might find that a compliment.

The previouslies remind us of Miss Lonely Hearts who Dr. Fred blamed for Victor's "man reactions." It also reminds us of the really messy Mellie/Paul relationship.

That, by the way, is the only chronological bit we're getting in this episode. The way this is structured is more Memento than standard network television fair. All I can hope is that when the DVD's come out, thus, I'm going to sort things by time line, as opposed to the order shown.

Henceforth, all parts of this episode will be identified not only by location but by storyline: Adelle, Echo, November, Sierra and Victor. No, Dominic doesn't get his own storyline. What he does get is an integral role in four of the five them.

Dollhouse: Echo & Sierra: Epilogue

We get flashes of someone being tortured in the chair. I say tortured because it doesn't matter how many times I watch this, I wind up watching it through my fingers because I'm so horrified. Even when we saw something similar happen to Sierra in the pilot, it wasn't as bad as what's coming.

The flashes are dark. We can only see Topher, the back of Ivy and some random handlers. Other than that, it's all silhouette. Even the dolls can see more than we do but even Sierra's confused as to what's happening (big shock there). Echo explains it to her friend.
"She made a mistake. Now she's sad." This is the closest thing to clunky storytelling in this whole episode because it's bloody obvious that they're talking about Adelle.

Speaking of bloody obvious, the PTB distract me from wondering what's up with Adelle by the gun shot and obvious blood that spreads across the imprinting room's window.

Engagement the Tenth: Twelve Hours Earlier

Oh, I love you title overlay, don't ever leave, me.

While I admire the title overlay, I'm confident a huge portion of the fandom have their tongues fall out of their heads, because Echo is dressed as a dominatrix.
Echo blathers on about it all being about the trust and not the pain, and even offers Boyd a trip to her "dungeon" to prove her point. Um, considering he treats her like he's her father, or at least protective older brother -- ew. That's all I have to say about that.

Boyd gives us more insight into his character in one line during this scene, than every other episode of the season, combined. "That kind of trust always leads to pain." Interesting. Would you like to explain further? Come on, it's not like you're going to get a second season to flesh this out further!

I have to give Boyd credit for playing along, because he makes a joke out of her trusting him to get in the van. She's even go an answer for that one -- it's long, made of leather, and hurts when necessary (even though it isn't about the pain). She offers him her opening after her treatment, which is sort of like offering a lottery ticket that's already been cashed -- no one is getting lucky.

In the parking garage, Echo and Boyd run into Victor and his handler, Ramirez. I'm extremely disappointed by Victor for the first time, ever, in this show because he has a terrible English accent. I mean, like bad elementary school play accent. He's off for his tenth engagement with Miss Lonely Hearts, and the handler can only scoff at "Catherine's" desperation. No, the quotes aren't just wasteful air quotes.

Victor, dismisses his handler's comment by outing her as a secret Harlequin reader. That's sort of like outing half the female population, except for the specifics. She wants to be kidnapped by a pirate. Considering the recent press coverage of pirates, that might not be the most PC fantasy at the moment, even if pirates are the true disciples of his noodliness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Echo's imprint must be a follower of the FSM, since she reaches out and touches Ramirez with her noodly appendage. By noodly appendage, I mean whip and then Echo promptly scolds Victor's handler to respect love. Once Echo's alone again with Boyd, she contradicts her earlier statement. "Sometimes, it is about the pain."
Dollhouse: Echo: The Beginning

Echo is wiped and the whole "did I fall asleep" is done, except by Ivy, not by Topher. Ivy delivers it all wrong, making it sound like the dumbass insipid dialogue it is, as opposed to the gentle, caring words they try to make it. Of course, Topher calls out Ivy for this, because all the actives need to hear pleasant things after the wipe. In reality, it would have a lot more weight if Topher didn't add to the unpleasantness by making that annoying buzzer sounds only guys are obsessed with making.

Speaking of unpleasant, Dominic bursts in, and demand Echo leave. Not exactly kind and gentle but since I know this is it for him, I'm grateful for any scene, unpleasant or not. He orders Echo to leave and wants to know why there's a big hold up. I guess there are a lot of actives late for their engagements. Oh no! A lot of people who have to pay for people to be programmed to like them are being kept waiting! It's a national crisis! Or, you know, not.

Topher reminds the head of security that Echo shot up the computer last week, so unless they want dolls suddenly thinking they're Liza Minelli or Carlos the Jackal, things have to be taken pretty slowly.
Adelle interrupts Dominic as he leaves Topher's office, and there's a moment where Dominic totally gives himself away. On shouldn't have a look of disgust on one's face when the woman you're supposed to be happy to sleep with work for appears.
Dollhouse: Adelle: The Beginning

While Dominic and Adelle both openly lie to each other (Dominic by his very existence and Adelle about being called in by Rossum), Echo watches. She also hears that Dominic's being left in charge, and considering the history between Echo and Dominic (the whole trying to kill her thing, and asking to have her sent to the attic, I'm sure are sore points), it explains her weird request later on.

Dollhouse: Echo: Rising Action

As Echo heads to see Dr. Fred, she stops to say hello to November, who is practicing yoga. Just as they finish their conversation -- coming to the stimulating conclusion that Dr. Fred is nice -- November needs to be taken for a Mellie treatment.

I don't share the same opinion of Dr. Fred as the actives do. On the other hand, I'm not programmed to be suckered in by self-righteous bullshit and that's exactly how she comes across in this scene. Boyd's come to check on his charge, wanting to know why dolls have to be sent on engagements that are so rough. She also justifies the dominatrix engagement because they don't send dolls to be a submissive. For heaven's sake, for the most part, these are the world's most expensive prostitutes, justifying that, only to admit the system is flawed is just hypocritical.
I admit, it is weird he asks this now, as she's been in a few of really high risk situations but Dr. Fred's answers make Boyd's tardiness the lesser of the two evils. She defends the use of actives to fulfill deep seeded needs, as if self-control shouldn't be a part of human nature. Anyone who thinks getting everything you want is a good thing for everyone, take a look any suburban high school, or, Paris Hilton.

As Boyd escorts Echo back to the main part of the house, Topher comes running down the stairs, trying to advise Boyd to haul ass out of there, before Topher makes a call to Adelle. What's interesting is that when Topher found a chip that could alter the imprints, which he didn't put in the chair, he automatically assumed it's Boyd. Sorry, Topher, the only one who has been that perceptive about people knowing or doing more than they should, is Dominic.

When Topher hands off the chip to Echo's handler, Neither Topher nor Boyd notice that Echo is watching, and making connections she shouldn't be capable of.
While Topher is going on about how someone could make a cheerleader that kills people, (but not save the world, as that's been done on Heroes), there's a quick shot of the red herring, Ivy. Boyd takes a quick glance at Dr. Fred obviously showing his pick for the spy (not theoriginalspy) and tells Topher not to mention talking to him before calling in the heavy artillery -- also known as Adelle's killer heels.

Topher's not exactly pleased with how things are going to turn out either way because he's expecting one hell of a serious ass-kicking from Dominic, once he does report the discovery of the chip. Yeah, well, that's a bit more prophetic than you realize there, Topher. He's so paranoid about being discovered, he freaks out when he sees Echo wave at Mellie/November. She waves the same way a little kid does in the middle of the school play, except her audience has no idea who the hell Echo is.

Boyd sends Echo off to be, well, does it really matter? Really, just fill in one of the following: swimming, yoga, shower, art class, running, being your best, and you've got the right answer. Boyd sends Topher off for a much more unpleasant job, calling Adelle.

While at bonsai pruning class, Echo more than proves the whole "Needs" experiment did bupkiss for her, as she's still paying more attention than any doll in her Quaker state should. As for what she sees this time, it's anger Topher was expecting, but without the ass-kicking. I'm actually highly disappointed. I think some of the not as exciting moments in this show would be vastly improved by someone beating up Topher.
Dominic puts the entire Dollhouse in lock down, he pulls Sierra aside and turns her into Sydney Bristow, and continues bullying Topher, all under the watchful eye of Echo.
Echo clearly does not feel the same way about Topher I do, as once Sierra and Dominic head upstairs (with Sierra giving the really awesome suggestion of killing Topher I totally second that) she goes in to comfort him. She comments on how everyone is in a bad mood.

Topher's response to this is really irritating, considering he nailed Ivy earlier for not sounding sincere to an active. "Somebody put their tiny little thinking cap on today." At no point does it occur to Topher that she shouldn't be able to make those sorts of connections. I've theorized before that Topher sort of sucks at his job, and this is yet another piece of evidence supporting my theory. Instead of noticing what should be impossible, he's wallowing in his own self-pity.

Oh yes, and Topher adds even more evidence to prove how oblivious he is, as he calls Dominic a "middle-management hack." That's the problem with being so smart, Topher, you don't expect people to out smart you. Not only is he outsmarted by Dominic, but also by Echo in her Quaker state, who makes a valid point that of course she would want to help Topher because she's programmed that way.

Completely dismissing Echo's assistance, Echo replies, "You make people different. You can make me help." For a doll with the personality of bland oatmeal, she's just proved she's more intuitive than a person whose personality wasn't sucked out of him.
Creepy music box title sequence.

Dollhouse: November: The Beginning

November is turned back into Mellie. This is done by Ivy, not by Topher, and I have to say, the first time I watched this episode, I hoped the training of Ivy was all leading up to Topher being a spy and being replaced. No such luck.

As Ivy checks to make sure Mellie is all Mellie and not November, Mellie heads out and we see her version of the Echo waving at November scene from earlier. Here, we discover Ivy is just as good at the job as Topher, because even she screws up a little. Somewhere, in the back of her memory, Mellie/November knows she should recognize Echo. Not that this is a drawback for Ivy. She's as good as Topher at the job and nowhere near as annoying.

Not exactly getting the homecoming she deserves, Mellie is greeted by Paul, who is pointing a gun at her head.
She points out he's being a paranoid ass, only to be dragged into his apartment as it isn't safe in the hallway. Immediately, he starts going on about his place being bugged and how he wants to search her apartment. You know, I care so little about Paul and his unchanging expression of anger, that I can't even be impressed that he's not really that paranoid.

Paul's jumping in on a trend. Chuck has his Tron poster of connections. Charlie Crews has his conspiracy wall and now Agent Paul Ballard has something of his own.
He's learned that the Dollhouse is connected up the wazoo, and is underground. He means as in actually under the ground, not supersekrit organization.

While Paul is explaining the MODS, Mellie stands there wondering why Paul hasn't noticed the obvious.
She's wants to be with him, despite his doing the one considerate thing he's done since her return -- offering her a chance to get out now -- and keep him grounded. Unfortunately, that doesn't last as the second he gets her into the bedroom, it's like someone said "There are three flowers in a vase. The third flower is blue." Unlike yellow or green, that third blue flower means to confess all, her being a doll, a spy in the Dollhouse, and how that spy believes he's about to be caught.
The only real clue in the message is telling Paul that he's got to investigate why it exists. Not to deal in fantasy, but what it it's underlying purpose. I know it makes it more dramatic and all, but why Dominic just doesn't send all the information -- Rossum, get him the the hell out of the Dollhouse, and that it's okay if Topher is killed in the process, I don't understand.

What gives me hope, despite the end of the episode, is that at the end of the message, November tells Paul, "We will find other ways to contact you." I hope so.

When the Mellie imprint takes back over, she has no idea what's just occurred, probably because Paul would be wearing the same angry expression whether or not she was confessing to being a doll, or getting him off.

Dollhouse: Sierra: The Beginning

Back to earlier, where Echo watched Sierra become my favourite imprint of the episode. This time, we here what went on in Topher's lab which includes Dominic not being able to contact Adelle -- or even get a read off her cell phone. It's when Topher tell him to think happy thoughts," does Dominic attack him. Wow, he was totally justified in doing that, wasn't he. Considering Topher admits that anyone wandering around the Dollhouse can play in his lab willy-nilly I wonder why this boy genius is still employed.
I laugh when Dominic describes what's going to happen to Topher when Adelle finds out about the security breach. First, her wrath is going to hit Dominic (more prophetic words were never spoken), then Dominic will take it out on Topher.
Oh, I should mention why Sierra's imprint is my favourite one. We still get that line about having Topher killed.

The whole propose of Sierra's imprint is to break into the NSA and find out who has been leaving technology in the chair. The problem is, Topher was only able to break the inscription for the internal network. I have to admit, as much as I hoped it was Topher who was the double agent, this is the moment I started to suspect Dominic. Why? If Topher was able to break the inscription for the internal network, wouldn't he have had to do that using an external computer?

Yeah, the logic flaw and all lack of Sierra talking to Topher to confirm Dominic's version of events, is what made me go oh hell no, in the back of my brain.

Even though it's a tough job, all Sierra wants is for everyone to appreciate how awesome she is when she completes it.
NSA Mission: Sierra: The Middle

Sierra sits next to some NSA employee whose name
Ms. Sato, which just brings to mind another, awesome woman whose last name is Sato. Things for both Ms. Satos end in a similar fashion.
Once Ms. Sato is deceased, Sierra steals her ID card and takes a picture of her eye, to make sure she'll get an all-access pass to the NSA. Everything runs quite smoothly for Sierra, but not so much for me, when I get a good look at the dead NSA employee's name.
When Sierra gets on the elevator, a man on a cell phone is exiting. Unlike most extras, who mumble in the background, this one clearly says "Don't worry. It's taken care of." And the first time I watched this, I completely missed that this was Dominic's one chance at making sure he wasn't discovered.

The technology in this storyline is made of awesome because the camera Sierra used also made a contact, to allow her to pass the iris scan. How cool is that?

The guard outside the file room states the rules. It much like the rules I had to follow when I was in the Library and Archives of Canada doing some research: nothing in or out of the place and some serious security.

Considering how cool the technology is thus far, I'm highly disappointed at the actual file.
Sierra picks off the sticker and tries to make her way back through security, only to have it go off on her. I guess the NSA is a lot more serious about office supply theft than anywhere else, if they protect their overhead sheets like that. This means she has to knock out the guard, and then mutters after stepping into the elevator"Mousad doesn't even double tag." I guess the Israelis don't take office supply theft as seriously.

The alarm has now gone off through the building, as Sierra escapes to the other Tosh's office.
She has just seconds to read what's on the overhead sheet, and the false info that the spy is Ivy, before a guard tells her she has to vacate the office.
She tries to escape up the stairwell, but has to head downstairs. All she can hope for now is that the extraction team is as good at their job as Sierra's imprint is. Luckily, the NSA security is inflicted with television aim -- a phrase which here means -- completely misses even though she's practically a sitting (well, running) duck.

Miss Lonely Heart Engagement: Victor: The Beginning

It's twelve hours before the main action of episode began. Victor awakens as Roger and, for the first time ever, if this episode were run in chronological order, truly disappoints me.
As "Roger" heads off to see Miss Lonely Hearts, Ivy arrives. As if we needed more proof she was a red herring, Topher accuses her of messing with something, because the machinery is running so slowly. That's not exactly the way I would treat someone who brought me my juice boxes. That is, if I still drank out of juice boxes because I was 12.

Roger/Victor chastises Topher for being mean to Ivy, because Roger/Victor thinks she likes him. Topher's expression mirrors mine.
We get a quick replay of the Echo as a dominatrix scene in the parking garage. I wish they'd replayed the whipping part.

Roger and Ramirez arrive at an old woman's house, who Ramirez believes is Miss Lonely Hearts. Roger's brought the elderly woman flower, and then walks out her back door to an awaiting expensive car. I would tell you what type of car it is, but I need to be honest. I don't watch Top Gear for the cars, and I don't really think Clarkson, Hammond or May have taught me anything useful other than the fact Richard Hammond is really, really short and the Stig pwns everyone. Wait, that's not particularly useful, is it? Okay, maybe the Stig part is.
I admit, I was shocked about the real identity of Miss Lonely Hearts: Adelle, who calls herself Catherine to make sure "Roger" doesn't accidentally blurt it out. It's my first piece of evidence that perhaps Adelle and Dominic weren't having hatesex like two angry rabbits and how could no one, absolutely no one notice one extremely obvious fact.
While Adelle kisses her doll, and I admire her amazing dress, her phone rings. It surprises me a little, because unless 12 hours have passed since she's left the office, this is a little early for Topher to be calling to report the security breach. Since Topher may be calling for something urgent or that his sweater is itchy. Again, stupid character quirks like this do not endear him further to me. Poor Adelle, have a guy show you his drawer of inappropriate starches, (which I still should be a euphemism) and now he thinks he needs to share everything.

Roger obviously thinks Topher as much of a douche as I do, since he tosses the very slippery phone over the railing, explaining why Dominic couldn't get a hold of her later.

She's depressed about how things have been going at work. Once upon a time she did honourable work, and now, the only person she can talk to about her troubles is an active who thinks the idea of actives is weird.
Of course, what else is a couple going to do after not seeing one another for a while but, fence? There's a sword joke in here but damned if I can find it. The whole scene, where Adelle works out her issues by not only letting her competitive side out, but also injuring Victor and then letting him beat her in the match, could be psychoanalyzed for pages and pages. Instead, I'm just going to sum it up by making a reference back to Victor's handler.
Cue the sex.

Afterward, Roger makes a comment about how he would order two "Catherine's" for when one was in the shop. Not that he's actually going to become a client, because, well, Adelle says it best.
Adelle comments that it's ironic that Roger is one of the most real people she's ever met. Roger responds by saying that's not irony. Sorry, Roger, if you understood the whole scope of that comment, yes, it is.

Oh, and Adelle has some weird ideas about relationships always being about hiding things. Well, I guess if you run a huge, and illegal organization, you would view the world that way.

Thus begins what every client wants from the Dollhouse, the fantasy. Roger suggests they run away and buy a little bar. This appeals to Adelle because she'd like a life without cell phones or clocks or sexy business woman shoes. Roger challenges her on the last part. So would most men.

Adelle realizes she's falling victim to her the fantasy she sells all her clients and Roger doesn't understand why everything they dream of can't happen.
"Catherine's": Victor: The Middle

Later, after, we can assume, a lot more sex, Roger is alone in bed. Moments later, Adelle walks in, complete with sexy business woman shoes. He's heard someone in the house, but she can't explain what has happened. Instead, all she can do is cry.
Dollhouse: Echo: The Middle

Technically, I don't consider this an engagement, except Echo's now programmed as what Sydney Bristow would be like if she worked for the Lightman Group.

All she needs is access to the mainframe, personnel files and clothes to catch the spy. Why the clothes -- well, one wouldn't want to catch a spy and not be appropriately dressed. There is a Spy vs. Spy standard to live up to.
Dominic is a little take aback, since Sierra's on the job and the whole idea of Echo thinking is a little disconcerting.
With a mix of reading body language, advanced interrogation techniques and Sherlock Holmes in the imprint, poor Dominic could do nothing, other than play along -- and get caught. Well, not after having a moment of enjoyment when Echo demands to talk to Topher first. Her reasoning is sound because since the spy hid under his nose, he's either "dangerously incompetent" or covering up something.
We get a bit of Topher's back history, as if I care, but I'll record it anyway. He joined the Dollhouse strictly for scientific reasons -- note the morality never came into it. He wants to remind everyone that he's "sort of a genius." Both Dominic and I roll our eyes at Topher's ego.
Plus, it's not like he can kill us with his brain or anything.

The interview with Ivy is much more hilarious. She's frustrated that all she seems to do is get Topher snacks. Her talents "go beyond asking him if he wants chocolate ship or oatmeal." She also knows how to take apart the imprint equipment without Topher knowing.
Echo reassures her that she's only looking for Ivy's feelings on the Dollhouse. Speaking of feelings on the Dollhouse, Boyd's are particularly interesting. "We're pimps and killers, but in a philanthropic way." There's a philanthropic way of being a pimp and a killer? Oh, the philosopher's heads would explode with that one. Boyd's interview is remarkably short because some of the old imprinting -- the trusting of Boyd, has made it through to the surface. Yet again, more proof that Topher sucks at his job.

Really, there's a bloody avalanche of evidence of proof at this point. Sure, Boyd said earlier that he wasn't the spy, but really, leaving Echo with that trust does take away from from the impartiality of the investigation.

Recapper's admission: This is where I've been stuck in this recap for a while. It's not writer's bloc. Nope, it's a flat refusal to accept what's about to happen. I'm a bit infamous for it. Hell, it took me two years to finally watch the last episode of Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, because, somehow, that made his exit not real. Now, I'm finding myself with the same problem with this recap. Now back to the regularly scheduled recap.

The next interview is with Dr. Fred. Not surprisingly, she hasn't left the Dollhouse in donkey's years. Dr. Fred claims it's due to dedication, but really, there's more to her we just haven't learned yet. She doesn't have any friends, is way too supportive of the Dollhouse, without any rational reason, and, well, okay, maybe I'm looking for excuses.
A call to Dominic's cell ends the interview early. He's quite smug because Sierra's got the name of the red herring mole, and thus the scapegoating of Ivy begins. She insists she's innocent, while Dominic insists she'll have one hell of a time, literally, in the attic. So, what is this attic that we keep hearing about?
Topher is the one to give us the explanation. It's a "mental suck" where every thought is on the tip of your brain, but can't quite be brought to fruition. So, the attic is like me until I've had three cups of coffee in the morning? That's it?

Echo cuts off the whole interrogation by asking Dominic how long he's worked for the NSA. She's not wrong, but her logic is horrifically flawed. Sure, Ivy's "language language" is saying she's innocent, but Dominic's body language is a litte too common to actually say HELLO THERE! I WORK FOR THE NSA.

Echo goes on to explain that when the call came in about the spy's identity, everyone else got tense, whereas Dominic got "loose." Attributing that to relief, Echo clearly wasn't imprinted with the entire history of Echo and Dominic, other wise she'd know that he'd show relief whenever he gets one over on her.

Unfortunately, the phone logs -- as the one place that did have telephone access was Adelle's office -- do prove that Dominic is the spy. I curse him for a second for being so sloppy. Like the didn't have some sort of secret cell phone to use. He works for the NSA, for heaven's sake!

She also claims to have seen him unsnap his holster twenty seconds before. Having gone over the scene frame by frame, five seconds on either side of that 20 second claim, I'd like to call foul on that one. Sure, his left arm moves slightly, but his holster is on the right side. In the days of HDTV, don't make claims that can be disproved by watch on demand!
It's sort of difficult to recap a fight scene, because it's all action and something can get lost in the translation. So let's just phrase it this way -- while Ivy and Topher hide behind the couch, Dominic is suddenly inflicted with television aim. Television aim is where the bad guy, who otherwaise should be a great shot, somehow misses the target, even though the target doesn't have a lot of space to hide in.

He breaks one of the cardinal rules of engagements we learned in the pilot episode: don't tell the active they're a doll. In Echo's case, Dominic touches another nerve, her belief that she's not a broken doll.
I'm taken out of the drama for a moment, not by the fight, which is extremely vicious, with a lot of noises I don't think a body should naturally make, nor the pleasing idea that Topher might become collateral damage. It's not any of those and it's not even Topher trying to add some comic relief by saying he's already helped Echo by imprinting her with kung fu skills, because TPTB seem to think Topher is funnier than he is.

Nope, what gets me is the broken glass and the painfully obvious prop shanks that conveniently lying exactly where they could easily be picked up. It was so choreographed, particularly on Echo's part, that I cringed at that way more than their attempts to dislocate each others' joints.
This time, Dominic wants to make sure Echo is dead, as he has good cause to believe she's dangerous, that she's "another Alpha waiting to happen." As if to prove his point, and give more evidence to the very thick file of Topher's failures, Echo flashes back to Dominic trying to kill her. Please note that she doesn't flashback to his hilarious apology. This makes me rather sad. We could have a genuinely appropriate random kitten reference.

Eventually, Echo gets the upper hand, and, as she dangles Dominic out of the only window in LA that obviously wasn't retrofitted for earthquakes because it broke far too easily, she insists, "I'm not broken."
"Catherine's": Adelle: The Middle

For some reason, Adelle's interior designer thought it would be a great idea to have an inlay of hardwood (or, lets face it, laminate) flooring in the middle of her carpet. I guess the idea was if Adelle ever needed to interrogate someone, she could use her sexy business woman shoes to make that intimidating click to better set the scene that she is a woman of power, and that her victim had better fear her.
"I trusted you with a gift, Mr. Dominic," Adelle begins.

"The Dollhouse is not a gift," Dominic retorts. Um, Dominic, I think she might've been talking about the hatesex. Considering we've already seen her fall apart after this scene (because Roger's upstairs, not asking any questions at this very moment), there's more too her reaction than just feeling bamboozled.

Now that he no longer has to hide his feelings, Dominic's disdain for the Dollhouse and his mission is quite evident. What's interesting is that his mission wasn't to destroy the Dollhouse, but to keep it in line, which, Adelle's refuses to admit, is exactly what he's done, no matter what his intentions. Since Adelle has weird lapses of naivete, it's quite the possibility. Echo once told Adelle that her "unbearable truth" is that she's isn't that important and boy, is Echo wrong in this assessment. Instead, the truth is that Adelle, as shown through this whole episode, doesn't have everything as together as she pretends.

He insists the techonology has to be tightly controlled, otherwise it would become a mad, mad, mad, mad world out there. "By a clandestine organization with little government oversight?" Adelle yells at him. Yup, she's definitely lost her temper as she isn't thinking about what she's actually saying. Even Dominic points out how naive she is, but he doesn't say what is really aching to be said.
There's an odd power dynamic, because even though Dominic's the one tied to the chair, and Echo and Adelle are standing there looking all authoritative, it really is the victim controlling everything. He tries to make her see her own flaws. She believed, for three years, in Lawrence Dominic, and he wasn't what she expected. He tries to make the same connection to the Dollhouse, which is less than effective, either because it's actually a non-sequitor and flawed argumentation, or because she still needs to hold on to believing in something, and the Dollhouse is it. She orders that Dominic be interrogated and then prepped for the attic.
Again, just like it was Dominic who figured out there were echoes in Echo, he's figured out that Adelle isn't quite as convinced of the plan as she makes out to be. He tries to appeal to her as a person (failure) and then to her fear of the Dollhouse being exposed. If he disappears, then the NSA might just poke around asking questions. This also fails, because, no matter how crappy Topher is at his job, he can always program Dominic to at least say the words "everything's fine." Really, in his concern for his own life, he's forgotten one important fact.
Adelle taunts him a little, asking if he thought she'd show some sort of emotion. At the moment, she isn't showing him anything other than a woman wearing the appropriate shoes, but just seconds ago, she did show him just that. She even tries to convince everyone, even herself, that she doesn't care, "3 years by my side. I think you'd know me better than that."

The really odd thing is, I think he does, which is why he tried appealing to her as a person.

Thus, as Adelle heads off to cry in Roger/Victor's arms, Dominic, escorted by Echo, is taken back to the Dollhouse.

Van: Echo: The End

Dominic faces what's going to happen in an odd fashion. He is bemused. He's bemused because he's the only one in the whole damn Dollhouse who sees Echo for what she really is.
Since Dominic's about to be erased, now there won't be a soul in there who will expect what's coming and that is what is eventually going to bring down the Dollhouse. Since it was his mission to protect the Dollhouse, Echo has been, and always will be a threat to it. Thus both his undercover mission, and his role as security chief required him to protect the Dollhouse at all costs, no wonder he's been gunning for Echo all along.

Dollhouse: Adelle: The Horrific Denoument

In what has to be the worst thing I have
ever, ever, seen on TV, Dominic's prepared for the attic. It's not that bloody. It's not actually that violent. What it captures, is fear. Thus, imagine this: a dark room, lit only by electric flashes and technology. You're being held down by your former coworkers, strapped to a contraption that will remove a good portion of you, from your body.

Your coworkers, in this case, the handlers, are holding you down not only to complete whatever dastardly thing is being done to your muscles and your mind, but also as a warning. It's a "here but for the grace," moment.

Since the a good portion of the scene is seen from Dominic's point of view, it makes it even more poignant. Well, poignant and painful to watch because he spends most of it screaming, and I can't help but empathize when seeing it filmed like this.

All the while, Adelle watches. The first time I saw this, I was close to begging for some relief and I was, up until this scene, happily sitting on my couch, petting a puppy. Next thing I knew, the puppy was hiding under the couch, and I forgot the fictional people on the TV can't hear me when I talk to them. When I say talk, I mean make noises like I'm in pain.

In fact, it took me several viewings to see the whole scene. Not in one sitting, mind you, as I've yet to watch is straight through without having to look away. If the director was going for a mood of horrific, he succeeded. That's also why there aren't any screencaps. I'm not inflicting this horror on others, and believe me, there is nothing funny I can say.

And no, the brief break when we see Echo and Sierra's epilogue from earlier does not make it any better.

In what has to be the most surprising moment, which I only caught watching this scene for the third time, is when Dominic manages to get a hold of one of handlers' guns. Instead of trying to shoot at the handlers, or Adelle, he points it at his own head. When the handlers try to wrestle the gun away, it goes off, telling us who was shot at the beginning, which was the end, even though -- whatever.

The bullet hits Adelle's side, and as she gasps in pain, the only time she even flinches throughout this scene. She refuses Boyd's assistance, and finishes watching as Dominic is prepped for the attic. By the way, I think prepped for the attic is going to be my new bar for the world's suckiest thing, ever. Think you're having a bad day? At least you're not being prepped for the attic.

Moments before Dominic's treatment, for lack of a better word, he looks at Adelle. It's not a look of pleading, more resignation. Once the chair is turned on and the screaming continues, I go back to shielding my eyes. When the screams stop, and I can look again, Lawrence Dominic's body is relaxing. It's all over but seriously, this scene gave me nightmares.

Besides the fact I will never, ever, watch this scene again because it's way too creepy for words, I'm really left with more questions than answers. Once Adelle leaves the room, she leans against the railing, in pain. I'm assuming both mental and physical because no one is that vindictive to another human unless some serious emotions are involved.

The first question comes out in Topher's hand. He's holding the wedge which he calls the "unabridged Lawrence Dominic."

The next question is she she doesn't immediately run to Dr. Fred to have the gaping bullet wound in her side dealth with. I say gaping, as I assume all bullet wounds are gaping. I'm going to guess this level of pain is her atonement, but I can't really feel for her right now, having just had to recap the most painful scene I've ever recapped.

The final question is about Echo. Since it was her idea to be imprinted, and she, as Adelle puts it "took our her biggest threat" because Dominic was the only bloody one to see that Echo was going to be a problem. What's weird is that Adelle doesn't worry about Echo evolving because she "saved the Dollhouse." Considering Dominic insisted he was just making sure it didn't go to hell in a handbasket, the last question is the most interesting for me.
Adelle does learn something from this and chooses to have Roger shelved, permanently. At least, I hope it's because she realized how she was putting the Dollhouse in danger by heading off on those trysts as Catherine, and not just another bizarre form of penance.

Dollhouse: Adelle & Victor: The Conclusion

While getting patched up, Adelle refuses to admit that she's hurting, either physically or emotinally. She won't admit to losing anything she can't live without, whether that be her right hand man, or something else.
As if to make a show of how quickly she can move on, Boyd arrives and reports on the new security checks of everyone who works in the Dollhouse. She immediately promotes him to Dominic's old job, despite his refusals. He wants to stay with Echo, to take care of her, but Adelle insists that it's Echo, who is taking care of them.

Dollhouse: Echo: A New Beginning

As Echo is imprinted to her new handler, Travis, who is clearly nowhere near as concerned about her well-being as Boyd, she again veers off script. Instead of immediately answering the question of trust with the correct answer, "with my life," she pauses and looks at Boyd first, before replying.

It's eerily similar to what just happened in the scene I never want to think about again. Through the chair, important connections are broken, whether it's accompanied by screaming or very queitly. Afterward, those in the chair are unaware of their losses, but it's completely different for those watching.

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