Friday, 18 December 2009

Dollhouse Doubles: “A Love Supreme”

Hands up everyone who thought the first five episodes of season 1 would remain irrelevant… That’s right, most of us. Well this snapshotweek’s Dollhouse Doubles episodes “Meet Jane Doe” and “A Love Supreme” set out to make them very relevant.

After Echo discovered last week that she can access old imprints, this week those old imprints are used against her by non-other than Alpha.

The episode opens with Alpha slicing open one of Echo ex-engagement’s throat. A man who blew every last penny he had on Echo, because he loved her as much as she was programmed to love him. “And that’s my sad story.” The man sighs. “You want to know the saddest part?” Alpha asks, pulling a knife from his suit pocket. “It’s the ending.” Blood splatters across the side of the trailer and Alpha simply watches the man die. “Looks like love wasn’t enough.”

And that’s the motto for this episode. Alpha had once been in love with Echo, he cut up Whiskey’s face for her, but his love hadn’t been enough and now something has snapped in his twisted mind and Alpha is out for blood.

Back in the Dollhouse Victor has been imprinted as a specialist and tasked with analysing Echo, who is now in incredible pain from the headaches. Both Boyd and Ballard hate DeWitt for torturing Echo this way, but Boyd is holding it together much better than Paul who is on the verge of telling DeWitt what she wants to know.

After Victor gets nothing out of Echo, DeWitt turns to Topher and the genius simply lies to her face. He tells DeWitt that there is nothing wrong with Echo, that she is perfectly normal. Cut to a while later and he is telling Boyd and Ballard the truth. “These are the craziest scans I’ve ever seen.” Topher explains. “I know a conspiracy when I desperately try and avoid seeing one, so why don’t you two crack open your little chamber pot of secrets and tell me what’s going on!”

“Echo’s not a blank slate, she’s a person.” Boyd explains. “Everything you’ve imprinted her with for the last six months, it’s still there.” “More…” Paul explains “She’s got everyone Alpha dumped into her as well. The wipes just push everything down but it all surfaces again and now she can control where and when.”

“She can control?” Topher says disbelievingly. “What does that make her?” Topher doesn’t really handle the transition of Echo from plaything into person very well, but Fran Kranz portrays it fantastically, I’m seriously going to miss Topher when he’s gone… I’m going to miss Dollhouse… But I digress.

DeWitt decides it’s time to put Echo back on the engagement list and Ballard takes her out. Echo doesn’t need imprinting as Susan as she has her “filed away”. It would seem that once Echo accesses an imprint the headaches go away, it is only during those moments when she is truly “Echo” that the headaches return.

However when Echo arrives at Frank’s house she finds his cold dead body, displayed for her by Alpha and it doesn’t take Echo long to figure that out. Boyd and Ballard report back to DeWitt who jumps to the conclusion that Echo and Alpha are in cahoots. “Echo was missing for three months, it stands to reason that someone was helping her, if it wasn’t Alpha, who was it?” Ballard says nothing and DeWitt orders Echo placed in solitary.

Going through Echo’s repeat romantic engagements Boyd and Ballard discover a startling truth, that there have been more than an average number of fatalities. However it is only important to know about two of those that are still around the first is Matt, a motorcyclist from “Ghost”, the second is Joel Mynor from “Man on the Street”.

However it seems like Matt’s number is up when Sierra returns from an engagement with a message from Alpha. While DeWitt puts all the Dolls through the chair, Boyd and Ballard head out to catch up on old times with Alpha. They find him on a roof, poor old Matt strapped to a chair, explosives tied to his chest and a mad man holding the trigger.

Boyd tries to talk Alpha down, “Alpha, do not do this, there is a part of you that knows this is wrong.” “There are many parts of me that know this is wrong.” Alpha replies. “None that care and six that just find it funny.” Alpha continues with his spiel “They are just wasting her, so I’m going to waste them.” He turns his attention then to Matt. “Tell them what you told me.”

And then Matt says those fateful words. “It was a blast!” And sure enough it was with not enough of Matt left to even identify and Alpha nowhere to be seen. A brilliant moment that just doesn’t happen all that often, very Joker-like and much better than Dark Knight.

So Boyd and Ballard use Echo to track down Joel Mynor and bring him back to the Dollhouse to protect him… Unfortunately Alpha is already inside the Dollhouse, in fact, he’s in DeWitt’s office! Turns out Alpha has some pictures for DeWitt, pictures of Ballard and Echo that prove Paul has been lying to her and that the two of them are training for something.

So Alpha and DeWitt take a trip down to see Joel in Topher’s office, of course eagle eyed Ballard spots them on the monitor and alerts security, but that really isn’t a problem for Alpha. Seems he used Sierra not only to carry a message but a virus, transmitted by the chair into every active in the House and at the touch of a button he turns them all into mindless Zombies.

Tough man that he is Ballard makes it through the angry horde of actives and up to Topher’s office to rescue Joel. Unfortunately it wasn’t Joel Alpha was after, it was Ballard, the one man Echo was never programmed to love but did anyway. Alpha needs to learn Ballard’s secret, of course there isn’t a secret to learn but Alpha can’t understand that. He slaps Ballard in the chair and copies his personality.

Meanwhile Echo breaks out of her cell and teams up with DeWitt, Topher, Boyd and Joel. When Echo learns that Alpha has Ballard she leaves the others to defend themselves, reminding Boyd “Try not to hurt them , they’re people!”

Upstairs Ballard is crying out in pain, but Alpha is focused on the monitor. “There is something going on here.” He remarks looking at Ballard’s brain scan. “But nothing more than the average bear, so why do you get to be her honey?” Turning back to Ballard who is now lying very still. “Huh? When did you die?”

WAIT A MINUTE… Die? Now we all know Ballard never died, he’s perfectly well alive in Epitaph One so you can just stop trying to trick us right now.

It’s at this moment that Topher remembers that he still has his remote wipe in the manufacturing room.

Back to Alpha in the Chair room, he casts Paul’s lifeless body to the floor and drops in a wedge, sitting himself down he imprints himself with Paul’s personality. Echo bursts in just as he finishes, she sees Paul dead (he’s not dead…) on the floor. “Boyfriends dead…” (not dead… I promise) “Wanna snuggle?” Ahhh Alan, how much do we want to punch you in your smug face? I love how Alan Tudyk makes this role his own, so different from the lovable Wash in Firefly.

“You killed him.” Echo sobs “He’s dead?” “Well… Brain Dead.” Alpha explains… See, I told you he wasn’t dead :P

Then Echo and Alpha go at it, the resulting fight sends the two tumbling through Topher’s big ass window. After a severe beating Ballard’s personality surfaces and begs Echo to kill him, but she just can’t do it. I’m betting though that that personality will come back to bite Alpha in the ass, because now he has a personality in him that “does care.”

When Echo stops hitting him Alpha flees. Boyd and Topher finish wiping the zombie actives and everything goes back to normal, with the episode finishing on Echo sitting by Ballard’s bedside a life support machine keeps his body functioning, presumably long enough for Topher to fix him.

And there we have it. Two more episodes down and only two more to go in the Doubles series, with the final three episodes to air weekly in January. Next week we have a Victor-centric episode, followed by an episode I’m very excited to see “The Attic”. Until then, this has been My Two Cents…

The Wheel Never Stops Turning…

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