20090525

Terminator and Fourth Generation Warfare: Skynet is doomed to lose

Terminator: Salvation imagines, finally, the war with that machine enemy that John Connor has prepared for just about all his life for. A critical complaint was that Christian Bale pretty much played Batman without ears in this role. Well, what’s Batman but a man very damaged by one child-hood incident?

Connor was put through all manner of training by his mother in preparation for the war after Judgment Day, in addition to at least two attempts on his life by Terminators, putting all that training to the test, which Connor of course passed or he wouldn’t be here. Of course Connor is probably going to stop talking about his feelings the moment the first bomb dropped on Judgment Day.

T:S imagines a never-ending conflict through time and space in which an coldly calculating machine attempts to wipe out an insurgency by. . . sending back it’s toughest operators before the war even starts to kill the potentially toughest people before they are tough. More on the flaws in that plan later.

But first Skynet's worst plan is Marcus Wright, a character who is apparently supposed to be the ultimate sleeper agent, built at some point in the past and unleashed on an unsuspecting world in 2018, eleven years before a Terminator is first sent back to kill Sarah Connor. Apparently, Wright was cyborgified sometime in the past and kept on ice somewhere until he was necessary. At the end of the film, Marcus gives up his heart so that John Connor may live, probably because of the messiah-like fervor that now surrounds a man who has not only become the voice of the resistance, but is now (thanks to Skynet’s above average immediate strategic response) probably one of the most senior leaders of the American resistance.

As Reese said in the first film, sending a terminator back in time was an act of “desperation,” if computers can be said to be desperate. Making a half-man half machine from a pre-existing person seems not only desperate but exceedingly foolish. Even if you do successfully make the Six-Million Dollar Sleeper Agent, it’s an even bigger gamble than time traveling robot assassins with human skin. After all that, Skynet once again found a way to make Connor even harder to kill as Wright insists on giving up his heart.

Skynet, as an opposing force, has some other major flaws. First of all, when it sends a Terminator back in time, it runs a very, very high risk of giving up a ton of intelligence about it’s capabilities not just to the enemy, but to an enemy that does not yet know it’s an enemy, losing the element of surprise. Would you declare a war nearly thirty years before you even attack? Another problem with this sort of retroactive assault technique is that anyone who survives it is completely prepared for coming war, so essentially Skynet has potentially set its own self up for failure each time one of these Terminators goes back in time.

This is a supposedly self-aware super computer; at what point does it realize that trying to kill John Connor, something it has been doing for about a decade or so since it caused Judgment Day, is a wasted effort, as John Connor has been preparing and training for nearly 30 years to, at the very least, not be killed. Each time Skynet would send a Terminator back, John Connor would defeat it, and perhaps even gather intelligence on it and train just a little bit harder for the next threat.

Finally, does Skynet know anything about guerrilla warfare? It caused a world wide nuclear catastrophe, which while trimming the numbers of humanity significantly also has the side effect of only leaving the resilient, the tough and absurdly lucky behind. Skynet has pretty much ensured, having apparently never read Sun-Tzu (“Throw your troops into situations where there is no escape, where they will die before surrendering,”), not only that the enemy is harder than coffin nails, but will fight to the death.

While it’s never mentioned precisely how many humans are left after Judgment Day, if Skynet could just be a little bit more patient, it could have used population bottlenecking if the numbers were low enough. The lack of wide spread health care support could also spread common diseases, like wildfire.

However, the humans had enough man-power to provide close air support with A-1o Warthog aircraft, which suggests many of the survivors are not only hearty they are also military and fairly abundant.

Let’s say the population decimation is even world wide, for the sake of argument. Skynet is based in the United States; and it’s forces, while never tiring, are probably spread thin just dealing with the American insurgents. It may have just crossed the ocean at the time of the film, and probably isn’t doing very well, since it doesn’t matter how super a computer you are, in the mountains of Afghanistan you are just another empire making life difficult for some of the toughest farmers the world has even known.

Finally Skynet was commissioned by the U.S. Air Force, which apparently designed it's trillion dollar war fighting computer to fight the villains of the 1940's, so essentially short-sightedness and poor design and planning will probably be the salvation of Humanity.

20090510

Doll House Episode 12: Was orignally 90 minutes.

Previously on Dollhouse: Shit. Went. Down.

Picking up right where last week left off, Doc Sexy Scars is running around saying she needs help.

Harry J. Lennix says the horse has left the barn, Olivia Williams barks some orders, and things are off to a great start.

Topher the Tech informs us that Dushku’s tracking strip has been removed, and bio-links have been severed. In layman’s terms they can’t find her with computers.

Williams says she wants to know what her imprint is, and hell, don’t we all? Topher says he’s looking, Williams says to keep looking.

Then Doc Sexy Scars tells Topher, in a grave tone, “He asked me if I always wanted to be a doctor,” giving a little more credence to the theory that the Doc is a doll as well.

Topher is a little taken aback. “Who could fathom the mind of a crazy person?”

“The one who made him crazy, maybe?” The Doc says.

And we are on the road, Alpha Tyduk asks Echo is she likes her new togs (which is a REALLY slangy thing to say, but it works), and is speaking like Deniro in Cape Fear. . . and so is Dushku.

I’m a little miffed that whenever they want to portray some sort of Bonnie/Clyde thing that have some sort of uneducated accent. I guarantee you educated people have done some jacked up things, but one has to wonder if regional attitudes affect the way things are jacked up.

I digress.

Alpha Tyduk is really crazy. Like arguing with himself crazy. Dushku has been implanted with some sort of street kid whom Alpha says was “13. Already a woman.”

Whoa, creepy. There’s some really great dialogue here about how maybe they actually never knew each other, maybe they were just programmed with each other. Why one would program a pair of dangerous criminals I can’t be sure, but whatever.

Apparently they robbed a clothing store, and Dushku unleashes her drawl on the clerk they took hostage, and they drive and snuggle.

Roll the opening credits!

It says “A Few Years Ago. . .” Which makes me wonder how long Dushku has been a doll. Like she turned 18 and signed up? Makes sense within the timeline.

So they really did imprint paranoid criminal personalities into the actives. Very stupid, I’m sorry.

Alpha Tyduk is/has tortured a dude while a sweet young thing, presumably Dushku, swings her hips in front of a Super Trooper light to the crooning of Roy Orbison. Damn can she move.

Apparently these two spotted the vans following them, and are sure that Poor Schmuck #42 is working for them. Alpha Tyduk insists on the truth. So he tells him. They’re not real. They have clearly programmed Micky and Malory for this rich idiot who some how had this fantasy about a crime spree with two crazy people.

Were I in a management position at the Dollhouse, I would probably have told this dude to keep his money.

Alpha Tyduk calls his girl, Crystal over, and it’s the Doc. Wholly unscarred. (Good call, by the way.) She is wearing much less than she usually wears and it is some where between scalding hot and shamefully voyeuristic.

The dollhouse is closing in, and then we are treated to a creepy sequence that combines elements of torture, lap dancing and a manage et trois. That’s just really nasty. Doc is having way too much fun. It’s nice to see her enjoying herself, but lord is that unpleasant to watch.

Dollhouse breaks down the door before the climax (in several senses of the word, these are thrill killers, after all) and yes, the doll’s name is Whiskey.

ASIDE: Apparently there was supposed to be way more dolls in this show, an example would be Tango, who would be the older woman type. Makes a lot of sense, because if you have a monopoly on something, the more niche markets you cater to, the more profit you are more or less guaranteed. In terms of a story, it’s rather a shame that has turned into another show about tiny brunettes.

Present Day, Dollhouse Puzzle Palace Headquarters: Williams has had Helo just kinda chilling in her office while they controlled the chaos, and when they return, she has Lennix take the cuffs off she has everyone else except Lennix leave the room.

She summarizes the parts of the previous episodes Helo wasn’t around for and says “The Alpha Situation was an unfortunate technological anomaly.”

Helo is a like “What have you people done?”

And Williams, who has admitted at least once about feeling guilty about her job, is all self righteous as all hell at Helo, openly saying she wanted the smirk wiped off his face when she tells him Alpha has Dushku. Helo pretty much says frak your couch to what she’s planning, but the building is on lockdown and surrounded by about a company of federal police.

Helo says he can make it go away when he sees his old professional nemesis Romo Lamkin or whatever his name is. He outside and up to him and says there’s no bomb and they’re standing on the dollhouse. The nemesis says “False alarm” and everybody rolls out.

Nice.

The Doc has sewn up Victor, and he now has a nasty Glasgow smile, and knows he’ll never be his best again. Victor asks the Doc how he can be his best, and the Doc says it’s no longer possible.

“You’re ugly now, you’re disgusting. All you can hope for now is pity.” She says. Naturally, it’s even worse because we know she’s talking about herself.

(There’s been a lot of disfiguring going on lately on network TV. Last weeks lie to me involved women’s eyes being carved out, after, I might add, sexual assault. I think the difference is they use more metaphors on Dollhouse.)

We flash back again and meet the real Doc Saunders, who reminds me of a small town pediatrician, rather than say, a medical doctor who balances “Do No Harm” with the weird moral grayness of the dollhouse.

Apparently Whiskey used to be the most popular girl at the doll house, and probably the cutest until Dushku came along.

Ah. So this back is to Echo’s first day. Williams is showing her around, Alpha is looking hungry while Dushku takes in the dormitory and we find out that a dollhouse contract is five years.

Back to the present, Helo says the memory erasure chair is where they steal people’s souls. Topher is unhappy about having a second tall morally judgmental man in his office.

Williams tells Topher to suck it up and drive on, and the start loading the dolls with a series of programs that is probably “Crack team of forensic super ninjas” or something. Well that’s what I’d do.

Meanwhile, Alpha is battling it out with several personalities, one of which is a snotty British dude, the other is a edneck serial killer, and another is very likely Alan Tyduk. Apparently he’s been stealing people’s personalities and uploading them. . .

During the upload, Sierra the Human Gazelle starts flirting with Helo; which makes him deeply uncomfortable, funny because at 6’2”, he’s a full head taller than she is and he’s squirming because, well let’s face it, Helo has a Knight in Shining Armor Complex, and knights apparently don’t indulge in pleasures of the flesh (except all the goddamned time, man, like have you ever sat down and read those legends?).

Then chef doll gets implanted as her partner and tells the Gazelle to “stop molesting the furniture.” Helo is all kinds of out of sorts, because that either made no sense at all or she just called Helo all kinds of stupid.

Alpha apparently has 48 personalities bouncing around in there, and when he snapped he smashed his original personalities. Then he uploads Caroline into the store clerks’ body and commences with the psychological torture. Then he tells Dushku she needs to let go of being Caroline and embrace her inner. . . crazy person?

Then another flashback. Alpha is working on his Bonzai tree, and Whiskey is about to get sent out again, when Alpha says she should let Echo be number 1. Then he slashes her face.

Topher, looking rather dapper actually, is told to figure out what went wrong and then stuff Alpha in the attic.

And as near as I can tell, the creation of Alpha was due more to dollhouse staff incompetence than anything else.

In the present, Helo tells Williams and Lennix he needs to know who Alpha was. Well, yeah, obviously. Topher thinks it’s bullshit; but I really think the entire time he’s been covering his own mistake which, essentially made Alpha the greatest threat to the dollhouse imaginable.

Speaking of which, so apparently Alpha is going to upload Dushku with a bunch of personalities so she’s the super-killing machine that Alpha is.

Now, the moment I realize he’s going to do this I know for a fact she’s is going fuck Alpha up. Look back at every personality they’ve ever loaded into Echo; all of them have been based on protection or guardianship or something, hell, even a dominatrix is a form protection when you think about it.

Alpha pushes the button, uploads Dushku, and Dushku hits Alpha with an iron pole. Nice.

Helo finds out that Alpha’s real/original name Carl William Craft. “Three names. Always ominus.” He quips.

Apparently he and several others like were furnished by the Department of Corrections, though she doesn’t specify which state, so I’m going to assume California.

So, now we find out the doll house is experimenting on prisoners, which further suggests just how dangerously retarded their management is. Much as Williams can think on her feet, I think there was some idiot in charge before her. Probably one of those cats that insists on being called “sir,” but was never in the military.

Helo says Alpha was evolving into serial killer. He had a murder kit in his car (Home Depot, 29.99), and Lennix is pretty livid about the whole prisoner thing, being an ex-cop an all, I’m sure he believes in rehabilitation. Helo is about ready to roll out, and so is Lennix.

What’s really funny here is that we also have the two other dolls imprinted as bounty hunters, and these two dudes going after the same thing. The two dolls combined weight would be about half of Helo by himself.

Meanwhile, in a place the show itself described as “A lair. . . an evil lair!” Alpha isn’t clear on what just happened (“Dushku done SCHOOLED you, son-son!”), and Dushku is pretty much a super hero. Funny twist that it's the villain creating his own antagonist for once.

As I had anticipated, the Omega experiment has failed miserably because the Echo character is now a supreme moral being, however she’s also started to buy Alpha’s line about how Caroline left Echo to do or be whatever. They fight! This weeks fight is over kind of quick as Dushku graps Alpha with her feet and throws to the ground like a rag doll.

Meanwhile Helo and Lennix are walking into some building somewhere, and Helo, not one for small talk (“So what kind of protein to you use? Like Whey, or eggs or what? What’s your lifting schedule like?”), muses how Lennix fell in the doll house. They’ve tracked down Alpha’s first victim, who is probably a total bad-ass now, let’s face it.

Lennix is concerned that Carl Craft may have nothing to do with Alpha anymore, until they see the angry scar very close in resemblance to the Doc’s. Yeah. Badass.

Back at the Evil Lair TM Dushku is throwing around a ragdoll that bears more than a passing resemblance to Alan Tyduk. They have a little conversation about weakness or something, and she pummels him some more, and comes over to the person implanted with her Caroline self. And this is really confusing.

Super Dushku talks to herself about why and how, and says “I have 38 brains, and not one of them thinks you can sign a contract to be a slave, especially now that we have a black president.” (ZING!) Dushku’s old self: “We have a black president?” (ZING!)

So, they have a warm fuzzy moment, Caroline is “Ready to do this” and Alpha puts a bullet in her throat. Who saw that coming? I mean, DAMN.

Alpha holds the pistol up against the hard drive that contains Caroline and say “Do what I say or I will blow your brain out.”

So. Thirty eight brains, not one of them thought “twist his head around three times while he’s unconscious just to be sure.” Omega indeed.

Back at the office, Topher is sorting through imprints trying to figure out which ones Alpha had used to make Dushku (“Don’t know why Alpha would imprint her as backup singer, unless he was starting an evil band.”). On the road, Lennix calls Topher and the move the plot along, now Helo and Lennix know the location of the Evil Lair ™.

Alpha is explaining his evil plan, which actually makes a degree of sense. Now that he despises Caroline, he’s going to kidnap women from all over the country, imprint them with the Caroline personality, and murder them in the same fashion every time.

Dushku realizes Alpha can’t shoot the hard drive for that reason, and calls his bluff. He shoots her in the arm and she runs.

Helo and Lennix arrive at the Evil Lair TM, and it’s a little funny how well they work together having just beat the living hell out of each other about four hours ago in the show’s continuity.

Alpha tosses the hard drive from up high and departs, mostly to stop Dushku from pursuing, because let’s face it, she would own his ass. It falls and Helo, having played a lot of rugby as a boy in Canada, catches it.

There is a weird tension as we get back to the office, as Doc Scars asks Topher why she imprinted with computer skills, and she also Topher why she was programmed to hate him. That’s a little odd. Then she walks off, saying she knows who she is.

In Williams office, apparently the have a new contractor, Helo! Just, yeah, go ahead and give up that whole moral kick you were on there, bro. Meanwhile In exchange, they’ll release the girl. It’s the Chef Doll! Awwww, snuggles! She signs her last paperwork and is free, never knowing who Helo is.

Cue the Emo Rock for the final montage. Doc gives Victor a lollipop. Helo introduces himself to the Chef Doll’s real personality, says he’s no one. Dushku touches Topher’s chest. Lennix and Williams realize they’ve compromised some one else and feel kind of crappy about it.


SUMMARY

-What the hell happened to the bounty hunting? Does anyone else feel like this episode was originally at least thirty minutes longer? They completely dropped the bounty hunter plot thread. I mean, damn, there must have been other scenes they could have used that wouldn’t have turned out to be completely extraneous.

20090502

Doll House Episode 11: spoilers ensue.

Previously on Dollhouse: Helo (Ballard) has a map of the Dollhouse operations, the Dollhouse head of security was with the NSA, and he was downloaded/tortured onto a harddrive. Harry J. Lennix is told by Doc Sexy Scars that Alpha is dead.

Now then. A flashback filter is on the camera as a bum is picking through a pile of garbage, he finds a hand, and the hand leaps like a snake for his throat.

Dushku (Echo) is reading Sleeping Beauty to room full of attentive kids who are being polite and quiet, except for one, who claims the story is crap. Dushku, who has been uploaded with the most genteel teacher program I’ve seen does a perfect “Excuse me?” which sounds like “WTF you little brat?” Great delivery: actually sounded like a teacher.

Susan, as the girl is named says Sleeping Beauty, or Briar Rose, was a asleep for 100 years, than some prince shows up and takes all the credit for saving her in five minutes. Susan then points out, in order to illustrate her extreme precociousness, that since the princess knew the prophecy about the pricking the finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, it was stupid of her to wander around an empty castle “groping spindles.”

The young lady goes off on a rant about how Beauty’s parents should have told what was up and she finally loses it and grabs the story book from Dushku’s lap and tears at it, clearly this some sort of half way for abused children.

Considering all the undercurrents of this show; this scene is made all the more wrenching by the fact that Susan clearly isn’t talking about Sleeping Beauty; she’s talking about how her parents failed. Sad to see someone so young already able to bury their pain in metaphors.

And Dushku talks with some sort of administrator, and I totally called it. Half way house. We find out Dushku’s mission is apparently to help this girl. Which means someone paid for it, which means we might finally have a rich person with enough of a conscience to actually act. Sweet!

Helo is packing. Chef Doll is asking him where he’s going, and if this is about “Caroline,” (Dushku used to be her, but it hasn’t be brought up recently.) Helo is being the asshole soon-to-be-ex, and tells the Chef they are not good for each other, and that she’s in the way. All of which is actually true; but not in a way that the uploaded Chef Doll can understand. Chef Doll says Helo can trust her, and that they can fix this.

Helo grimly says “That’s exactly what I needed to hear, and that’s why I’m leaving.” Damn.

“Can’t you see this is killing me?” She asks.

Helo, ice cold after being lied too and used, “You’ll get over it.” Truly, she’s just one download away.

Back the Dollhouse Headquarters Puzzle Palace, Olivia Willams is holding a PNY thumbdrive (subtle!) which was hand delivered. No way to get it open without asking Mr. Dominic. Williams says to ask Mr. Dominic. Lennix laughs and yeah, whatevs. Williams goes all “no seriously.”

Oh.

Back at the half way house, it’s explained that Susan has been placed in fosters homes, and keeps getting sent back due to cutting school, getting in fights. They’ve apparently taken five knives off of her. They’re not sure how she get’s them.

Dushku says something very inciteful: some delis have them sitting in cups. Nice touch!

Susan’s mother died of a drug overdose, and she was living with mother’s boyfriend, a drug dealer and part-time pimp. The administrator says “Half the age, twice the price.”

I’m going to say, while this story is a might heavy handed it’s refreshing to see the show not skirting the issue.

Dushku more or less reveals that she’s been uploaded with a survivor with the line “She lies to her therapist, she’s useless in group.”

“That’s pretty specific for someone who’s known Susan for all of five minutes,” the administrator says in dismissal. (RANT: WTF lady? You’ve been working with abused kids for how long? You can’t recognize the patterns? What did you major in at the liberal arts school where and when you thought you could save the world? I mean damn! Here’s someone who wants to help and you feel the need to make sure they know you don’t value their time or opinion? WTF? )

Don’t worry, kids, Dushku is on the case.

Oh, great it’s Topher the Tech. He’s looking at some glowy spheres on a screen, which are noticeably different. Topher explains that one is the imprint he gave Dushku this morning, the other is Susan. How they got that brain scan, who knows? Topher says that Susan is “Fraked up” beyond recognition (Oh yes. BSG has a legacy).

Echo’s imprint is the kid grown up, Echo is the “best possible future” of Susan.

That is just a damned brilliant use of the technology. It actually makes all the prostitution stuff seem like a frivolous waste by comparison.

Apparently Topher came up with the entire idea for the engagement. All of the sudden the douche bag has depth! Well done! Then again. . what’s she to him. . . “Everbody wants to be righteous when they can afford it,” Topher says of Williams approval.

Phone rings, and it’s probably Lennix telling him to dust off Dominic. All of his joy is wiped away, and he says it’s time to bring out Viktor.

Meanwhile Chef Doll is walking across a bridge in Los Angeles. Oh dear. Program worked really well. To well. . . her handler shows up and gets her in the black van. She’s devastated and it’s just . . so sad.

Helo is on the mother f**king case; and he follows the black van to the garage.

About ten minutes and we have our really depressing opening sequence. It’s actually even more depressing considering all the plot threads in this episode; but really they are all damned intriguing so I think we’re in for a good show.

Dushku sits down at a table with Susan. Susan’s been industriously defacing the Sleeping beauty book, saying she’s fixing it (ala what River Tam did to Shepard’s Bible in Firefly). Dushku says they call that “editing” (Ha!) and she could make a living out of it (HA!).

Dushku, being essentially this little girl after possibly years of therapy, kung-fu, shooting ranges and rigorous physical fitness, has a really great talk with her about running away.
Susan still apparently deep in the weeds of her own issues, and can’t believe anyone could understand.

“When did you want to run away?” she asks, incredulous.

Dushku says “In the middle of the night, it always seemed like I could run away when it would get light,” and give a great performance giving a speech about pretending things are okay and how a person can feel like they are complicit in their own abuse, because hey, better than admitting that you’re helpless.

“Everytime someone calls me a victim, I feel like I’m biggest liar in the world.”

Goddamn that’s intense.

Helo and his technician friend at the Bureau of Investigative Investigations are bouncing theories off one another. Helo admits he got into the building where the Dollhouse garage is, and found nothing. He could only see the part of the building he was supposed to see, which makes him sound completely crazy. So of course he says it is invisible, and he’s not crazy.

They had an ecological system installed by Wash from Firefly (second reference this episode, for those keeping score), so the building draws no power, is a closed system; doesn’t have bills to pay the electric company, etc. Helo’s technician friend acts like this isn’t actually a pretty interesting thought and says “be glad I don’t think your crazy.”

Hey, in this situation, that’s damned fine police work.

Back the Dollhouse, Troika Doll (Victor) has been uploaded with Mr. Dominic, and actually does a half way decent impression of him. Dominic, in Viktor’s body, flips his lid, since his body is no where to be found, and they want his help. Riiiiight. He’s pretty livid. Who wouldn’t be. He’s given a mild sedative.

At the half way house, Dushku is mapping out how habitual child abusers convince their victims that there is no safety net. “Tell a teacher. . tell a priest,” (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT TELL A PRIEST).

Dushku tells Susan to pretend she’s the prince. Susan says “but he’s a boy,” and Dushku says “That’s not his fault.” Heh.

Time for Dushku to go, but before she does, she tells Susan “You let me sit very close to you, which tells me you have a blade on you, so just give it to me now and I won’t tell anyone.” Nice.

Susan gives up what appears to be a switch blade.

Dushku talks to the administrator, who appears to accept that Dushku knows what the hell she’s doing, and says she’ll come back “in awhile.”

Helo shows up in the hallway to his old place, which I think is supposed to another place and knocks on a door. Hoban Washburn has been hitting it really hard lately, and looks like hell. “Steven Kepler, is that you?” asks Helo. Wash is all Bill Clinton about it (“depends on the defition of Steve Kepler. . .)

Helo muscles his way into Wash’s apartment and finds about three quarters of a million dollars in weed, which Wash claims is carrots. Medicinal carrots. That were there when he moved in.

Helo diffuses the situation by bringing up environmental systems. It’s nice to see Wash again, and he gives a great little performance as a sort stoner environmentalist.

“Tell me about the Dollhouse.” Says Ballard.

“They’ll kill me, and you and kill me again.” Says Wash. Helo brings out his heater and Wash whimpers “And now there’s a gun!” Helo just found a new partner, but considering how dour this episode has been so far, I don’t think they’re the next Lethal Weapon.

Back at the Puzzle Palace, Troika/Dominic is being interrogated about the thumbdrive. Williams tells him it’s from the NSA, and he says “No, we didn’t communicate that way, we have phones. Who else would try to contact Dominic covertly?

“Alpha,” says Williams and Dominic at the same time.

“I guess he didn’t hear about the regime change.” Willams says slyly.

Apparently Alpha, like Dushku, liked to draw even while in the Tabula Rasa state; and would sign his name in a way that looked like a fish.

So Alpha is in Tuscon, where some sort of Head Headquaters is.

Helo pulls up with Wash in tow, who is saying they could use some rope (“Charlie Bronson always got rope and they always end up usin’ it.) Helo is pretty sure he’s only got two days most before they figure it out and kill him. Well they’re sort of busy.

As Helo tries to get Wash out of the vehicle Wash says “This is like one of those buddy cop movies where the hardnosed FBI agent and I’m the guy who hates buddy cop movies!” Heh. “Get out the car or I show the DEA your carrot plantation!” says Helo.

Helo has got to get in there and save Caroline, and Wash asks then what? There’s more people in there, Wash argues, and he’s not good with people.

“They’re not people,” Helo says coldly. Where he just an action stud I’d be “damn, that’s gansta” but consider the guy he started out as it is “Damn, that’s depressing.”

Sierra the Human Gazelle is uploaded with forensic psychologist Temperance “Bones” Brennan and is sent of too Tuscon.

Topher says it’s to be a quiet night anyway, as Helo is trying ninja his way into the Dollhouse, Wash whining all the way. It’s a two story drop, and Helo wishes they had rope, instead of the tire iron he apparently brought.

“This is the same expansious [sic] thinking that led to the Trail of Tears, maaaan.” Says Wash.

Back to Susan, reading Sleeping Beauty, as Helo breaks into the Dollhouse in a little “shit’s about to go down” montage.

Helo’s plan is just slightly better than “Get her!” because he gets Wash to dress up as a doll, and then tasers Topher (which I wouldn’t have had a problem with up until this episode).

Wash likes the place, Helo thinks it’s a bad place. Wash says it’s just place with bad people. We find out Wash is terrified by stairs without risers, because something could grab you from between the stairs. Makes sense to me.

Helo sees Troika and realizes even more of what he thinks is bullshit. Just keeps getting worse for this guy. Wash gets another computer and opens Winamp. The plan is run some program or do something that will open the doll’s sleeping chambers. Helo gets in there, apologizes to Chef Doll and then opens Dushku’s chamber. He says “Caroline,” and Harry J. Lennix levels a gun at Ballard’s head.

“Sorry Agent Ballard, you don’t get the girl. Give me your gun.”

“I don’t have a. . .” Ballard begins.

Lennix cuts him off, annoyed that Helo though he could put on over on him “You didn’t come in here if without one, put it on the floor, now.”

Dushku says “Who are you,” Paul introduces himself and Lennix tells Echo to go for a swim.

Helo complies, and then it’s time for this weeks fight! Helo knocks the gun out of Lennix hand, proving the tea-cup is the way to go with handguns, and Lennix comes back with a hard right cross that made my sub-woffer jump. Echo says “You hurt Paul.”

The have a rather interesting verbal duel about Lennix’s real role in Dushku’s life, and Lennix offers him a chance to go back the way he came. I’d describe this fight a little better; but it was really hard to follow since the scene was dimly lit, but they bust through one of the sleeping chambers and scare the crap out of Troika. Lennix tells Echo to run, and Ballard follows after her and says he’s going to get her out.

Echo has a flashback from a few episodes ago where she and Helo had a knock-down drag out fight and decides Helo is not actually looking for her best interests. She elbows him off a balcony and he goes through a table. They like breaking tables in this show.

Helo throws a chunk of the table at Lennix, kicks the gun out of his hand gets ready for round 2. Left right, blow to the throat, and kick into something else breakable for Lennix.

Doc Sexy Scars finds Victor dazed.

Helo knees Lennix in the face, Lennix gets Helo in a half Nelson, they get down to the floor, Helo knocks Lennix in the head with a rock.

Dushku bolts away, Lennix and Helo duke it out on the stairs, and then Dushku yank’s Helo’s ankle from between the steps and that’s it.

Doc Brings Troika into the lab, and Wash shows up and slashes his face, in a pattern similar to the Doc’s. The Doc says “Alpha,” and well, damn. Makes sense, I ‘spose.

Alpha menaces the doctor for a little while, as Lennix takes Helo to Olivia Williams office. . . for a stern talking to?

Meanwhile, Alpha is menacing the doctor some more and while I can’t actually say he’s in the right for approaching her the way he has, I can understand his feelings. The scene spells out that Alpha feels deeply victimized by the Dollhouse, and he’s past the point of caring who’s right and who’s wrong and blah blah blah, f**k it, you’re all going to goddamned die!

Williams and Helo shout over each other Robert Altman style, which is a nice touch even if those sorts of scenes where people measure their aggressiveness by shouting over each other are somewhat irritating.

Williams and Lennix take turns telling Helo he done f**ked up; which is funny. . because I’m pretty sure the Dollhouse only helps little girls through their dealings post tramatic stress once a year at most. Helo says if they didn’t want him to be such a pest, they shouldn’t have filled his life with lies. Which actually makes a ton of sense. In fact, if no dolls had any direct contact with Helo, he wouldn’t have gotten as far as he had. I mean, shit, it’s hard to write something off as urban legend if you keep running into walking proof every couple of days.

Williams asks Lennix if they should put him the chair. Because she’ll just torture anyone to death. Some one’s going to come looking for all these federal agents lady, trying thinking a few moves ahead, you know, like you usually do?

Alpha has the doc lure Dushku into the room, Alpha takes Echo up to the download room.

Meanwhile, Sierra/Bones has figured that the real Steven Kepler was killed in Los Angeles and dropped off by someone else, in this case Alpha who is TOTALLY RIGHT BEHIND YOU!

Actually no, but he does upload something into Dushku, and she’s all like “I remember you,” and then they make out and he says “I told you I’d come rescue you.”

They leave, and the credits roll.

SUMMARY

-Hell of a cliff hanger, really.

-Seeing Alan Tyduk is a seething villain was actually kind of neat; and the fact that his stoner Washburn was just an act was even better.

-While this episode was depressing, it was awesome. Good narrative flow, good structure, didn’t care for the edits, but no one’s perfect.

-I’m not entirely sure I’m still rooting for Alpha, as it appears his only goal was to get Dushku, and not deal a crushing blow to the Los Angeles branch of Dollhouse Ultd., I have to wonder if he’s really all that cool.

-Alan Tyduk been busy, he also made a PG porn episode. “ROUNDER VOWELS!”