“A Spy in the House of Love”
Written by Andrew Chambliss
Directed by David Solomon
While Topher is repairing the imprint chair from the bullets Echo fired into it last time, he discovers the chip a spy has been using to alter imprints, which is how the spy got a message to Paul in “Man on the Street.” The story takes turns with various dolls. First, we see Echo overhearing lots of conversations about the spy, and then we have November returning to her apartment as Mellie. She and Ballard are about to sleep together when she switches to info mode and tells him that Mellie is a doll and that he needs to keep investigating the Dollhouse and not to let on to Mellie that anything’s wrong. Next, we get Sierra’s imprint, whose assignment is to retrieve a classified file from a high security facility. Next, Victor, who’s off to see Miss Lonely Hearts for the tenth time. And she is actually Adelle! For her, he’s an Englishman named Roger. They talk about the stress of her work, they fence, and then they have sex. She wishes so badly that he was real. The next day, she comes back to the bedroom, dressed for work and crying. Finally, we come back around to the imprint Topher gives Echo after she asks him to make her someone who can help him catch the spy. Sierra’s file comes back that the spy is Ivy, but Echo figures out it’s really Dominic. He’s an NSA agent, working to keep the Dollhouse’s technology contained. Adelle has him sent to the attic, but he shoots Adelle in the side in the process. She shrugs it off like it’s nothing. Adelle promotes Boyd to Dominic’s job and Echo gets a new handler, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to go well.
I really like the modular approach to the story. Instead of getting chronological snippets from each character’s plotline, we get one whole plotline at a time, with occasional glimpses of the others from the current storyline’s perspective, with the stakes and the revelations getting increasingly more significant with each story. It’s fascinating, and probably more effective than if it had been linear. What’s also interesting is that each story is almost more about one of the non-doll characters than it is about the dolls themselves, even though they’re the ones the story follows. Echo’s imprint is about Topher. Sierra’s imprint is about Dominic. Victor’s imprint is about Adelle. It’s great. One thing I don’t understand, though, is that Dominic was the one getting info to Paul. How was that supposed to be keeping the Dollhouse protected? He gave Paul a clearer idea of where he needed to look than anything else did.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Saunders continues to get more mysterious. It was only hinted at last time that she has some kind of agoraphobia, but now we’re pushing a little harder at it. She’s bound to get an episode that focuses on her soon.
Echo wants to help, and she wants people to be happy. She thinks in very simple terms. What the Dollhouse is doing might be super messed up, but that’s too complicated for Echo. All that matters to her is that the people she interacts with are happy and safe, and she always does what she can to ensure that. Adelle assumes Echo exposed Dominic as an act of self-preservation, but if she’d been watching her more closely, she’d know that Echo only thinks about protecting herself once she’s sure everyone else is safe. She didn’t beg Dominic for her own life; she asked him what he was going to do to Topher and Ivy.
Adelle is a bit of a contradiction. (But the kind that makes her more interesting.) She believes the Dollhouse is doing something good, but she also believes that its clients, herself included, are “pathetic, self-deluding souls.” She definitely cared more about Dominic than she was willing to admit, or she wouldn’t have been so angry when she ordered him wiped for the Attic. I think she feels she got too close, which is why she decided to stop seeing “Roger” at the same time that she sent Dominic to the attic. She’s extremely guarded about anything that makes her vulnerable, which is why she barely flinches at that gunshot wound.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.