The episode opens with Bennett Halverson (Summer Glau) torturing Echo. Bennett is cold and indifferent to Echo’s pain, and while we accept it as part of her evil nature (evil as the audience perceives the show at least) it is interesting to note that it is a trait that our own beloved Topher shares.
Bennett notes that Echo does not call out to God. That she does not pray or even curse. “We take God from you too.” An interesting concept and a possibly commentary on the existence of soul… “You can’t even pass out.” Bennett notes, a possible hint for a later episode, that pain is almost ineffective on Dolls?
Meanwhile Cindy is effectively taunting Daniel, telling him the entire plan because in moments he wont remember a thing. “We spent three years building up your credibility and when you finally exonerate Rossum at the senate hearings today no one will question you.” She goes on to tell him how disgusting she feels being intimate with him, she is a truly hateful individual, hopefully she’ll get her comeuppance soon enough.
Cut to Topher and DeWitt in a limousine dashing through D.C towards the Dollhouse. Topher is giddy with excitement and fear and DeWitt feels the need to remind him of exactly what it is she expects from him. “Your soul purpose here is to hack into the D.C mainframe and acquire Senator Perrin’s imprint. Our one and only hope of discovering Rossum’s plan is to pull it from the Senator’s brain scan.”
Once inside the D.C Dollhouse they are greeted by none other than Ray Wise, the very Devil himself, masquerading as one Stuart Lipman. Lipman throws red tape at Adelle and she nods and smiles in a deceptively submissive way, while ensuring that Topher is allowed access to Echo and by extension Perrin.
“Business must be slow in L.A if you’re here. Who’ve you got minding the shop?” Wise remarks. “The only person in the world I trust.” Topher replies as the camera cuts back to L.A to reveal none other than an imprinted Victor in the process of calling Boyd “Man Friend”.
When Topher and Bennett meet for the first time it is like (how I would imagine… not that I have any experience in this…) two geeky internet pen pals meeting the flesh for the very first time. And of course, like the nerd that he is, Topher suffers from verbal diarrhoea and he simply blurts out “What’s up with your arm?” In a rather insensitive way that will surely keep him from ever getting into bed with Bennett. “Dead.” she replies. “Nerves severed.” before quickly changing the subject back to Echo.
“She’s been Tranq-ed” Topher notes. “Probably one of the Handlers” Bennett lies, beginning the dance of deceit that will run throughout the episode. Bennett cleverly manoeuvres Topher away from Echo by getting him to talk about the Disruptor. Knowing Topher’s weakness is his narcissistic nature she not only lowers his guard with praise, but she gets to learn about his tech too. Together they modify the device to be omnidirectional which then Topher then uses on Bennett to confirm his fear that she is in fact a Doll… She is not.
Topher then tries to explain why, telling Bennett about Whiskey and explaining that he thought that maybe the “real” Bennett might be using an Active as a double or a decoy. Bennett replies “That’s idiotic, Actives are beautiful.” When she realises what Topher is trying to say, she gets that giddy look of a school girl, before something clicks in her brain that makes her feel uncomfortable with the concept.
After Stuart phones Bennett and orders Echo’s release, she leaves and Topher phones himself back in L.A. for an hilariously geeky conversation about how hot Bennett is. It is genius. But he also manages to set up a link to steal Perrin’s imprint.
All of a sudden Perrin awakens and escapes, taking with him Echo, who has been imprinted with Bennett’s memory of losing her arm, while Bennett smashes her head into a glass pane to fool Topher into thinking Echo escaped violently. Lost and alone the Dolls seek out a coffee shop where they use the bathroom to cut out their GPS tracking strips.
Echo is having flashes of what happened to Bennett. Bennett is trapped beneath a concrete pillar with Caroline standing over her. “Don’t leave me…” Bennett cries. “Sorry sister, I stay, we both get nabbed.” I found this tiny sequence particularly interesting. I always felt that Caroline’s supposed reasons for joining the Dollhouse as shown to us in episode 7 “Echoes” was a little lame. Now we know that after her fiancé was killed in the Rossum building, Caroline continued the campaign, getting Bennett injured in the process.
Stuart dispatches Cindy to track down Echo and Perrin. Perrin is convinced that someone on the inside is helping them, they put the knowledge of how to escape in his head. It seems to me that it could only be Bennett or her assistant, but we’ll find out soon enough I guess.
Unable to track the Dolls any longer Topher and Bennett put their heads together and come up with a solution. Remember in my last post I said it was important that the GPS and Biolinks were separate… Topher plans to use the biolinks (which must be broadcasting a signal, which would surely be traceable but never mind) in conjunction with his disruptor, to target specifically Echo and Perrin’s brains and put them to sleep… The first giant step towards wireless tech.
Bennett brings up Daniel’s imprint so that Topher can target him (and so that Victor/Topher can download it). Daniel’s brain has not been wiped clean and had a new personality implanted but it has been augmented instead with new “bits” added or taken away. “It’s amazing you didn’t end up with a schizophrenic” Topher exclaims. “I have a theory” Bennett explains “That the human brain can hold multiple imprints and still function.” Something I think we’ll probably see implemented before this season is out.
Topher begins work on adapting the Disruptor while Bennett reprograms the signal to send an assassinate order to Perrin, effectively turning him into a terminator. This is obviously the second major step towards wireless tech.
At the Perrin mansion Daniel finally realises the truth, he’s better off now. “Even if I could, I dont know if I wanna be the man I was before.” He explains. “They’ve created someone who can bring them down, and that’s what I’m going to do.” Of course, only seconds later Topher fires his “magic bullets” and accidentally reprograms Daniel to kill everyone around him, starting with Echo.
Topher phones himself for an honest opinion of what is happening and Victor tells him the truth. Bennett seems displeased. “You hacked into my system.” Topher gets angry “You tried to kill Echo.” it looks like the romance is dead. “So, we’re even?” Bennett smiles. “Not even, not even close. Shut him down now.” Bennett laughs.
“Do you know who Echo really is?” Without thinking Topher blurts out “She’s a friend” It odd that in these last two episodes Echo has been more publically “aware” than she has ever been before and not one person, not Topher or DeWitt has suggest wiping her, they all seem to have accepted that she is going to be more useful to them this way and for Topher to call her a friend, well that’s just the icing on the cake.
“I was her friend, her best friend” Bennett protests “And this is what I got for it.” She indicates her arm. “Shut Perrin down.” Topher demands, but Bennett is too bent on revenge. “It’s for the best.” And then, shock horror, Topher knocks her unconscious, before teaming up with himself to try and flip Perrin’s switch to off.
Meanwhile Cindy and her goons show up at the house and Daniel turns his attentions to his “wife” who may have really pissed him off when she told him he was disgusting earlier. Before Topher can turn off his killer instincts Daniel strangles Cindy. Moments later Topher reprograms Daniel but it’s too late. “She’s broken.” Echo explains. After a little agonising Echo and Daniel flee.
After the ad break we return to the senate hearings, where Daniel explains to the gathered press that his wife is dead. Killed by a consortium of companies that are trying to overthrow Rossum. He explains that he learned the truth about the consortium and they tried to have him killed, planting a bomb in his car and killing Cindy. Then Daniel turns on Madeleine and categorically states there is no Dollhouse and that she is a mental patient. Leaving the press hungry for more Perrin abandons the stage, his task finished.
So the episode closes with Echo finally free of the Dollhouse, November in the evil clutches of Bennett and Topher with a full Senator’s brain to analyse. Plus I finally managed to get this second post up before the set of Dollhouse Doubles airs, check it out, tonight on FOX.