[Review] Dollhouse 1.09 Spy in the House of Love

Writer:Andrew Chambliss
Director:David Solomon
Actors:Eliza Dushku, Tahmoh Penikett, Olivia Williams, Fran Kranz, Harry J. Lennix, Enver Gjokaj, Dichen Lachman, Reed Diamond, Miracle Laurie, Amy Acker
Guest:Valerie Cruz, Liza Lapira, Tim Chiou

When a traitor is discovered inside the Dollhouse Echo and Sierra are programmed as Spy hunters to uncover the culprit. Meanwhile, Ballard receives surprising news from Mellie, and Adelle harbors a secret.

My Thoughts:

Two thoughts that have nothing to do with the content of the actual episode spring to mind first; LT. Murphy! I expected her to start bitching out Dresden at any moment, followed up my some banter filled with heavy UST. However, Dresden wasn't in site, there was no magic to be found in this episode, and she's working for a shady-at-best organization. This isn't my Karrin Connie Murphy. *sniff*

Second thought; House of Love? Really now. W&H is the House of Pain/Death, and Dollhouse gets House of Love? Please, the only difference between Dollhouse and W&H, IMO, is a regrettable lack of demons and W&H is more honest about how not-white hat they are. eta: I guess we could give them House of Love because of the Paul/Mellie scene. Shall we move on to the actual episode now?

The use of different points of view, and therefor jumping around in time usually annoys the hell out of me because it's usually fucked up. This time, while it wasn't smooth and perfect, it wasn't totally fucked up. If I paid attention, I could tell what happened when.

Now, I have a question about the 'wipe' scene at the beginning. Is this supposed to be a different kind of wipe than we saw Sierra going through? Because, if not, then why all the darkness in the room? Oh, maybe it's because the equipment is not up to par since Caroline shot it. Maybe we aren't supposed to question it. Another question about the wipe scene; am I to assume that Sierra is having some sort of bleed through or something? because no other dolls noticed what was going on in the room above them, but she did and asked Echo about it. It's either that, or they just really needed someone for Echo to answer with an try and throw us off the trail with the use of 'she'.

While the dominatrix look was unnecessary, it did lead to a good and interesting exchange between Boyd and Echo. I like how they bring up the trust between these two. Echo saying that Boyd can trust her and again saying [if not directly] that she trusts him. It's the one non-squicky relationship we've got going on in this show. It's got a nice father and daughter vibe to it, and Boyd is my favorite character. I did a little sniffle when they broke up Echo and Boyd. That's just not right. However, give that DeWitt could see Echo looking at Boyd [I'm assuming since she was right there beside him and had given him a look when Echo hesitate saying she trusted her new handler with her life] it would seem that they're still going to be close.

Let me just say how happy I am that we're back to Echo and no more of the Caroline bullshit, at least for now. Caroline is an idiot, Echo is evolving and growing. Plus, in this episode, she proves that she's more aware of what's really going on than she lets on. It might be a hold-over from last episode where Caroline confronted Topher about how he makes people different. Still, I like that Echo took charge, told Topher to make her into someone that could help, and then actually saved the day. This is a woman I could get behind. Still squicked about the idea of the Dollhouse, but in a story of nothing but shades of morally grey, I'll take what I can get. I also enjoy that when Topher imprinted her, he seemed to have imprinted her with the full knowledge that she's a doll. Makes you wonder why he'd do that. However, it did give us that nice moment where Echo confronts Dominic and tells him that she's not broken.

Speaking of women I like to see in this show, we have DeWitt. I know I said last review that I wanted to smack the smug look off her face, but today she's all snarky and funny. The fact that she's hiring Victor makes her a bit pathetic, but I choose to see that as depth to her character. She's not a card-board cut out of the evil woman in charge trying to play off like she's doing good with her little human trafficking/whore house scheme. She's a pathetic and lonely woman, hiding behind a mostly emotionless wall who is trying to play off like she's doing good with her little human trafficking/whore house scheme. It's a subtle difference that is appreciated by me. I also like that she tells Roger/Victor that the Dollhouse clients, and thereby she as well, are pathetic. I like that she's that self aware.

I'm going to assume that when Dominic shot her, it just kinda grazed her and didn't actually go through her. Otherwise, I'd be calling bullshit on that.

Claire, my morally grey girl! She does the same thing DeWitt does with the whole pretending they're doing something good, but I like the way she does it better. I could just be biased because it's Amy Acker. Yeah, I'll admit to that one. However, at least Claire admits there are flaws in the system, I'd just really like to know what she thinks those flaws are, since she says basically, she sees a different flaw than Boyd. I also love the subtle looks and such that Echo gives her. Great work on Eliza's part, IMO. I only really like Eliza on this show anymore when she's playing Echo for some reason.

About the interaction between Claire and Echo, that interrogation scene either is saying to me that Claire is a doll, or the mole. Or both. For me, it's the look on Claire's face when Echo asks if she has any friends outside of work. Though, that confusion really wouldn't work if she's a non-doll type mole. Unless I'm mis-interpreting it and it's not a look of confusion.

Okay, Topher seems determined that I start to like him. ["Or an assassin that does cheers."] I loved his coming up to warn Boyd that he was about to call DeWitt about the chip in the chair. I think he has a bit of a man crush on Boyd. It's understandable. [You think I'm the spy." "Not in a bad way."] I love the way Boyd took charge in the scene. It had the same tone of voice/inflection telling Topher that he should call DeWitt as he did when he told Echo that she should go to art class. It's a very benign authority figure voice that you want to listen to. Have I mentioned I love Boyd? Back to Topher. ["Did I just lose an argument to a doll?"] You have to wonder if, when Echo talked about how he made people different, if he was having a minor flashback to what happened last episode. The look on his face could be interpreted as such.

Now, when we see November/Mellie looking at Echo and asking where she knows her from, I get a bit confused. Are we supposed to assume that either she can't see Echo clearly, or that they have some sort of block set up in the Mellie imprint so that she doesn't recognize anyone in the dollhouse since they know she'll probably see images of other dolls, and they probably know she saw Victor at Ballard's door? Is this one of those things I'm supposed to hand wave? I'm assuming not since they went the trouble of writing and shooting a scene where Echo waves to her and she sees her and either vaguely recognizes her or thinks some weird stranger is waving at her.

Mellie... I knew Ballard would have to find out she was a doll at some point, I just didn't see it happening like that. Wow, that had to have been like a sucker-punch to the gut. Of course, he should have twigged onto the fact that something was up with her when she didn't run for safety at the sight of him drawing a weapon on her or his Wall of Crazy. And then to have to go on and pretend he's not sleeping with a doll, he isn't doing basically the same thing that he detests the Dollhouse clients for? That boy ain't ever going to get out of Crazytown! Now, I have yet another question. I know she said that the Dollhouse was likely to discover they've been altering the imprints, but does she say 'Our person inside has been captured' or 'If our person inside has been captured'? Because, if it's the first, then they're either lying, or they assumed the person would be captured by the time that Mellie/November delivered the message. More on the mole talking to Ballard later.

Now let's talk about the utter ridiculousness that was Sierra's assignment. I can only assume that the flaws in the logic of it all were there to clue us into the fact that it was a set up and they knew she was coming. Otherwise, I call bullshit on her being able to impersonate that employee and fool anybody. And why the fuck didn't she ditch those heals when she tried to run? What good did taking off the wig do? And why didn't she wait until she got back to the Dollhouse to try and read the file? Unless the Dollhouse doesn't have the tech to read it. But, wait, they did. This mission gets a big ol' fail from me.

Some people believe that Dominic was the only mole, let me tell you why i don't believe that. The mole that is in contact with Ballard is actually trying to get him to investigate and expose/bring down the dollhouse, or at least help them do it. Dominic, on the other hand, was sent by the NSA to protect the Dollhouse from itself so that they could sweep in at a later date and snatch it up for themselves. Therefor, there's another mole, working [possibly] independently and for someone else.


Making a Loud Noise Until Rescued

"I thought," said Piglet earnestly, "that if Eeyore stood at the bottom of the tree, and if Pooh stood on Eeyore's back, and if I stood on Pooh's shoulders----"

"And if Eeyore's back snapped suddenly, then we could all laugh. Ha ha! Amusing in a quiet way," said Eeyore, "but not really helpful."

"Well," said Piglet meekly, "I thought----"

"Would it break your back, Eeyore?" asked Pooh, very much surprised.

"That's what would be so interesting, Pooh. Not being quite sure till afterwards."

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October 2011