This episode is told through several people’s eyes, like a very famous Japanese movie you’ve probably never seen, but trust me, it’s like that. For the sake of simplicity, we’re going to boil it down to the basics: Eliza Dushku in leather and garters for a dominatrix gig. Spy in the Dollhouse. Everyone under suspicion. It ends with someone being sent to the attic, and someone being shot.
Oh, you need more than that? Come on, I told you about the dominatrix outfit. OK. Fine. Here you go.
[More on Friday (April 10) night's "Dollhouse," titled "Spy in the House of Love," after the break.]
The Dollhouse’s resident super-nerd discovers a bug inside his magic memory-erasing chair just after DeWitt heads out the door to Evil Boss Employee Evaluation Weekend, leaving Dominic in charge. The bug, Topher tells Boyd, enabled someone outside the Dollhouse to mess with the imprints: “I make a cheerleader, they make a cheerleader who shoots people, or an assassin who cheers, I don’t know.” When given the news, Dominic handles it with his usual aplomb, which means lots of shouting and pointing.
The Active sent to spy on our dogged FBI agent, Ballard, is sent back to him. He answers the door with a gun, and basically does his best crazy conspiracy theorist impression for her. Even when you’re right, you can still sound like you need a healthy dose of Thorazine. Then the spy in the Dollhouse breaks through with a pre-recorded message, shattering Ballard’s illusion of his demure girl-next-door Mellie, and informing him he has to keep up the charade, even though he knows his girlfriend is only faking any interest in him until she gets what she wants. As anyone who’s dated an actress can tell you, this isn’t really that unusual.
Sierra is imprinted with super-spy tactics and sent to the NSA to discover the identity of the mole inside the Dollhouse. What follows is a truly awesome sequence featuring spike heels, knockout drugs, retinal-scan contact lenses, and a violent beating. You may now insert your own joke about your last bad date here. Go ahead, we’ll wait.
Done now? OK. So she gets into the NSA building imitating another employee who also wears tiny skirts and skyscraper heels, and then picks up a top-secret document out of a vault with the secret identity of the mole. She’s discovered, but races to the roof where the Dollhouse sends a helicopter to pick her up. I assume there was supposed to be some kind of really amazing escape here, maybe involving her leaping out of the building and into the helicopter, but maybe this episode was running over-budget. Other than that, however, it’s one of the smartest, tightest sequences the show has done yet.
Victor, meanwhile, got out just before Dominic locked the place down, on his way to pleasure some presumably wrinkled old lady with unspeakable sexual acts. Instead, in a very James Bond turn, he gets into an MG and roars off to a beach house, for a secret rendezvous with someone else entirely. As it turns out, he’s DeWitt’s fantasy boy, and she uses him to ease her Evil Boss tensions with a little saber-dueling as foreplay. The whole interlude is drenched in irony, which might even be better than the sex for DeWitt.
Echo, showing unusual initiative for a doll, tells Topher to make her helpful. He imprints her with human lie-detector/world’s greatest detective traits. She questions everyone in the Dollhouse, and we get a few choice tidbits, like the fact that Dr. Saunders has not left the Dollhouse since Alpha went all stabby on her. But Sierra’s break-in yields results first: the spy is Ivy, Topher’s far-from-gruntled lab assistant, because she’s the obvious suspect.
And because she’s the obvious suspect, it turns out that she’s a false lead, planted by the NSA to protect their actual mole – Dominic himself. Man. Just when you think that guy can’t get become any more of a douchebag. Echo figures it out, and Dominic handles this setback by trying to kill everyone in the room.
Turns out he’s supposed to help keep the Dollhouse under wraps – the NSA fears what would happen if the technology gets out in the world. Trying to kill Echo – well, that was apparently just a little side project.
Echo remembers this, even though she’s not supposed to – and then she beats the snot out of Dominic. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. No, really, it couldn’t.
Boyd is made head of security, which means he won’t be looking out for Echo anymore. (What will he do for his weekly torture fix now? Maybe that’s what drove Dominic over the edge.) Echo, for whatever reason, saved the Dollhouse, and eliminated the greatest threat to her life.
But the spotlight this episode belongs to DeWitt. When she questions Dominic, she explains what’s going to happen to him. He’ll have his mind wiped, and even if his bosses come looking for him, he’ll smile happily and tell them everything is peachy-keen – and then get put back in his box. Even though we already know she’s going to cry in Victor’s arms after this moment, she’s totally convincing – and scary.
As Dominic has his brain wiped, he somehow gets a gun and shoots DeWitt – who, seriously now, takes a gunshot wound with only minor redness and irritation. She has her wound patched up without anesthetic, then quits her little trysts with Victor cold turkey. Seriously, she couldn’t be any more badass. It leaves me wondering: what if she’s the actual hero of this show?