20090411

Dollhouse Episode 9: “I’m keeping my sexy business woman shoes.”

The episode recap once again treats us to the Chef Doll beating the hell out of a known rapist. I honestly can’t get enough of that scene, because it you watch it closely, you realize she curb stomps this dude on the edge of a coffee table. Damn.

Then we get a flashing lights and shadow POV shot of someone being strapped down to something by some people, one of whom is Topher the Tech, actually being useful for once.

Dushku and the Human Gazelle are outside the room where all these flicker bulbs have been installed. Dushku creepily asserts “She made a mistake, now she’s sad.” Next a gunshot and raspberry jam gets on the window.

Then cut to “12 hours earlier,” in the Dollhouse Scooby Van speeding down , where Dushku is describing BDSM in studded leather armor, and quite frankly pulls off an appropriate attitude making it pretty believable.

Harry J. Lennix is sitting across from Dushku as she speaks, completely bemused, trying hard not to laugh because 1. BDSM gear looks rather silly in normal light, no matter how fit you may be or your attitude 2. Dushku is talking all tough, and she is three apples high. 3. She says “I think you need a session in my dungeon so I can show you otherwise.”

Lennix says “Think I’ll pass.” Dushku says “Don’t be so vanilla,” and the spell is broken.

We get back to the Dollhouse Headquarters Puzzle Palace parking garage, where we see Troika doll and his handler getting ready for an engagement with Ms. Lonely Hearts. Troika, with a smooth English accent no less, says his handler has a “secret stash of Bodice Rippers in the van,” and further more wants to be kidnapped by a pirate (and who doesn’t every now and again.)

Dushku says “I know a guy. . .”

Troika’s handler calls Dushku S&M Barbie and says she take her over Smooth English Troika any day. She then makes a crack about Troika’s geriatric princess, and Dushku cracks a whip on her calf and says “It’s love, show some respect.”

Well alrighty then. We’re off to weird start.

Dushku gets wiped, and Topher tries to train his intern to do the post wipe greeting. The Head of Security bursts in and is no mood for Topher’s post-emo banter; and he’s the only character I like less than Topher at this point. The HoS, Mr. Dominic, meets up with Olivia Williams, and she puts him in charge. My land, this will get interesting.

Doc Sexy Scars gives Dushku an exam after a particularly the rough engagement of being a dominatrix, and she and Lennix exchange pleasantries about the weather before getting down to brass tacks and spelling out that the Dollhouse’s primary clientele have sexual desires. And Doc Scars goes on to say that they have a lot of same sex engagements (I mean, duh, what have been saying since episode 1; but it’s nice they finally acknowledge it).

Lennix also asks what happens if the client wants to hold the whip, and Doc Scars says “We don’t send the actives to be submissive,” which makes sense. The actives are investment; the more down time they require for healing, the less time they are making money. Like any other prostitute.

Topher, probably for the first time, actually figures something out and lets Lennix know that he thinks Lennix is a spy. Topher found a chip that allows his imprints to be altered, and tells Lennix he thinks he’s a spy. Lennix says maybe Topher should 1. Not have talked to him before calling Olivia Williams 2. don’t tell a spy you think they should leave.

Mr. Dominic freaks out at the news, and all the while Dushku is watching. I personally think the chip altered her Tabula Rasa imprint to be an intelligence gathering system. How the spy acquires that intelligence is anyone’s guess, but I do know Topher would describe it as involving proteins and acids and how we’re all unpredictable.

Topher tells Dominic he supposed to making sure everyone that works there is on their side; so he looks really jacked up.

Dushku wanders into the imprinting room and says “Everyone’s unhappy today,” scaring the bejesus out of Topher who is already more spooked than a horse on the Fourth of July. Topher actually has a great rant about middle management jackassery and what an idiot Dominic is for being upset that Topher caught the breach rather than prevented the breach.

Dushku says that Topher can make her different so she can help, and then primly sits in the chair.

Roll the depressing opening credits!

Cut to November being imprinted by the intern. Chef Doll is brought back to her apartment and Helo has read Catcher in the Rye several hundred times and has one of those charts that really driven men make with papers and strings. This is actually sort of sad to me to see a man of action be consumed with the theory. Helo really needs a task force.

Chef Doll listens as Helo lays out everything he knows; and he gives her an out. She instead says that one cannot have justice without snuggles, and they’re back together! Yay! Then she goes into a trance and tells Helo that her name is November and she has message from the Dollhouse. Whoa.

Someone has broken their security open pretty wide if they know when and where dolls are going to be.

Great exchange:

HELO: They did this to you?

CHEFDOLL: They did this long before you met me.

Nice little conversation that could be about all kinds of unsavory things.

Helo is pretty much devastated by this news, and hell, who wouldn’t be? If your favorite girl or boy turned out to be a brainwashed automaton sent to spy on you, you’d feel like hell about it.

Chef Doll, in November mode, tells Helo that if tells her anything about the investigation it will get back to the Dollhouse and that if Dollhouse figures out that Helo knows all this, they’ll kill him and they’ll have Chef Doll do it. Ow.

Then I get another Outback Steakhouse commercial, which apparently consists of “Our deals with make our happier than a [Australian person/mammal] (doing) [Australian thing] It’s a bonzer!” If they did this with any other kind of restaurant, I think it’d be really weird. “Paul Chen’s, deals so good you’ll be happier than Wong Fei Hung was when he became master of the Hung Fist!”

Back to the show; Mr. Dominic is being his usual self and Dewitt’s GPS isn’t working. Gazelle has apparently been imprinted with a Bad-ass. Gazelle’s mission involves some nifty spy things that’s actually much better written than the last “caper” episode. She replaces an employee on the train with a nifty syringe pen. (MARC riders, take note!)

The Gazelle shows up the room where they store the computer from Chuck. She swipes a tiny clear piece of plastic and rolls out. Security alarms go off as she exits, and the guard wands her. Wait for it. . . wait for it. . . she stands perfectly still until he puts the wand under her shoulder and then she takes out with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it speed. Nice.

Time to go!

She runs around the building a lot; and you know what? Kudos to who ever thought to actually show the high heels hitting the linoleum. We just don’t see that. Security staff catches up to her and fires their submachine guns because whatever she’s got, it is so important they’ll risk loosing another high clearance employee to stray bullets. She’s got a chopper on the way. . . but commercial!

And back, we’re on Victor’s mission for the day. He gives some roses to a very matronly lady and then goes out back and gets in a very nice English sports car and drives to a very nice house on the coast to meet with . . . Olivia Williams.

Haw damn.

Victor, implanted with Patrick McNee and little bit of James Bond, does a scene that’s filmed like an old movie where they can’t kiss for more than three seconds, and Williams says she used to work in a lab that made spare organs from stem cells, and says could talk about that in good conscience. (What the hell’s that supposed to mean, Dollhouse writers?). She seems moody and depressed so Smooth Troika suggested they take it elsewhere.

That where is, in fact a nice indoor fencing gym/lounge, where they proceed to duel. That just really damned hot, in what appears to be snake skinned fencing vests no less. Williams then cuts Smooth Troika; who decides to take the kid gloves right the hell off, and they wreck furniture and he disarms her and then they kiss. It’s actually a very well done scene as analogue to sex.

Then they actually have sex, because we just can’t be subtle these days. They have a very weird conversation where Smooth Troika, not knowing he is a doll but implanted with a personality that knows a decent amount about it, talks about why he wouldn’t want a doll.

Williams also has one of the darkest lines in the show: “Everyone has their first date, and the object is about hiding your flaws, and then you’re in a relationship and it’s about hiding your disappointments then once your married it’s about hiding your sins.”

Smooth Troika suggest they run away together, Williams says they wouldn’t own clocks or computers or sexy business woman shoes. It’s really sad because we know it can’t happen, and Williams realizes this a second after we do.

They fall asleep, then Troika wakes up alone; and Williams comes in and starts crying.

Commerical: Cisco apparently has technology that allows people all over the country to make fools of themselves at the same time.

Cut back to Dushku’s implanting. She is now a super lie detector (which means she’s implanted with Tim Roths’ character from Lie to Me*) who actually wants to interrogate Topher. Topher insists he found the spy, and therefore can’t be the spy.

Dushku says he’s either dangerously incompetent or trying to cover his tracks. I vote for the second one. And now it’s time for an interview montage!

Topher’s intern is pretty bitter.

Lennix says “We’re pimps and killers, but in a philanthropic way.” Dushku trusts Lennix implicitly, so the entire thing is worthless.

Doc Scars apparently doesn’t leave the office much.

Topher’s intern is supposedly the spy; and Mr. Dominic is damn sure of it. Dushku is damned sure Dominic works for the NSA and makes a fairly convincing or totally circumstantial, case of it until she says he apparently called the NSA. Dominic goes on and says calls shenanigans. Dushku says, yeah, it’s all not quite right except for one last thing: “20 seconds ago your unsnapped your holster.”

READY! FIGHT! Dushku owns Dominic, who let’s face it, is a gunman first and more of a brawler than an artist. Whilst fighting they discuss Dominic’s plan to maintain his cover in the Dollhouse, which means . . he’s been feeding Helo?

They scuffle some more, he puts her through a coffee table, and then picks her up by her hair (which always this thing that proves a male character in anything is incurably misogynistic to me). Dushku puts Dominic almost out a window and says “I’m not broken.”

She then brings Dominic before Williams; who is very quite British in her anger. Dominic says he was assigned to help sustain the Dollhouse, making Ballards earlier theory spot on. Dominic also says that if Rossum lets Dollhouse technology get out of control, it would be extremely bad.

Dominic gets sent up the Attic, but before he tells Dushku “One day you’ll be erasing them, and they won’t even see it coming.”

Then they tape a foam rubber block in his mouth and we’re back at the opening sequence, which looks even more like torture because now he can hear muted screaming. Just in case you start to sympathize with these philanthropic pimps, remember they torture people effectively to death.

Dominic pulls a gun from somewhere and shoots Olivia Williams, who doesn’t really care all that much. Doc Sexy Scars patches her up, with no anesthetic.

Lennix gets promoted and Dushku gets a new hanlder. Roll Credits!

SUMMARY:

-So if Dominic was the mole; but not who was feeding Ballard information, it’s possibly Topher’s intern is a spy, but not the one they were looking for.

-The narrative flow of this episode was completely great.

-Running in high healed shoes. Usually the way this is done is the show the shoes being put on and then they’ll only show the shoes again when the person in them is standing still. Then they’ll show the person moving from the waist up, but this little bit extra really added some intensity to the action.

-Lots of nice twists this episode; smoother than last week. It was a very insular episode, and I liked that. Scumbag of the week really isn’t a good direction for this show; a stance which I’m not going to budge on.

-No anesthetic getting sewn up, rockin' ab muscles, cool under pressure and can handle a sword. The only possible way Olivia Williams character is single is she's a work-a-holic.

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