Dollhouse
A Love Supreme

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Ballard Is Brain Dead
metimes crafty plot twists are your friend!

Oh, I see -- Echo wasn't covering up the camera, she was removing the lens, which she now smashes and then uses a piece to cut and weaken the glass of the window of her cell. Meanwhile, Ballard dispenses with the Doll he's fighting and enters the lab. He picks Topher up off the floor, who asks, "Did they eat my brains?" Heh. Ballard asks him where Mynor is, and is told that he's in the other room, the one that houses the chair, with Alpha. Ballard valiantly tells Topher to get out of there and fixes the room with his best steely gaze...

...just as Echo kicks in the window and escapes...

...and then Ballard enters to find Mynor in the chair with Alpha standing over him. Triumph in his voice, Alpha sneers, "Bait and switch," and the split second that Ballard has to take to remember what that means is costly, as Victor appears from his side and nonchalantly injects him with a tranquilizer gun. Ballard staggers about for a bit but is powerless against the drug, and once he's collapsed, Alpha stands over him: "Hello, loverboy." That statement would have potential if I hadn't seen the rest of the episode.

When Ballard comes to, he finds Alpha down to just a tank top, which isn't quite a Beau Brummel choice but one of which I certainly approve. Ballard, who's got a bunch of electrodes clamped to his forehead, struggles against his bonds, but Alpha tells him not to bother: "One of my imprints was an Eagle Scout, another one was a sailor...there's a dirty joke in there somewhere." Probably, but out of respect for the bondage doofus's awesome demise, I'm not going to look for it. Alpha then speechifies about love, and my DVR editorializes by cutting the sound out for about ten seconds, but when it comes back on, Alpha tells Ballard, referring to his head, "I want to crack open that egg and see what's inside." This time I'll refrain from the joke out of respect for what's about to happen, although Ballard doesn't make it easy when he asks, "What are you talking about?" He gets it, though, when Alpha pulls out the pictures -- presumably the ones he showed Adelle earlier -- and he sees that they're all shots of him and Echo training. Alpha does at least have the good grace to kick himself for being the one to bring the two of them together, but that's not going to stop him from punishing Ballard for the fact that Echo clearly has feelings for him, and vice versa. Ballard tries his best argument, saying that she's programmed to have those feelings for him since he's her Handler, but Alpha thinks it's something else -- maybe love, or at least the beginnings of it. Alpha says he saw everything, and when Ballard tries to tell him there was nothing to see, Alpha seethes that's how he knows Ballard cares for her -- he could have slept with her during all that time, but he didn't. And here's where things get awesome, because I was totally willing Alpha to ask a particular question, which he totally does: "Are you gay?" I mean, it didn't have the deliciously mellifluous purred quality of the time Chuck Bass asked Dan Humphrey the same thing, but I appreciate Alpha at least checking before he continues with his nefarious plan. Ballard, however, is either too dumb or too self-righteously honest to roll with the proffered out, so Alpha unceremoniously zaps him. He spazzes out in the chair...

...just as Adelle is holding a sculpture like a cricket bat as she waits for someone on the other side of the back door to break in. It's only Echo, however, and after some sharp words pass between them, they head out the way Echo came just as a bunch of Dolls finally break through the front way...

...and also just as Topher hits a Doll who was about to attack Boyd with a heavy object as Mynor stands by. Punching a one-armed girl let loose a wave of testosterone that will not be denied! Boyd thanks him, and then Adelle and Echo appear. Echo suggests they retire to the bedchamber, which must be the Bree imprint talking. On the way, she asks what they know, and Topher explains that Alpha infected Sierra with a computer virus that took over the system when she was wiped, and Adelle seethes that he knew what protocols would follow after Sierra dropped his name. Echo adds that he then used the tone to activate fighting skills with which he'd surreptitiously programmed them, and we obviously just saw this but there's a reason for her saying it, which is to give Adelle the opportunity to note, "Yet you're immune." Echo confesses that she's "like [Alpha] but not," which, thanks for the scientific explanation, and then they move on to more pressing matters, such as the fact that Mynor escaped because Alpha wasn't after him, but Ballard. To punctuate this, we hear Ballard's distant grunts of pain through the vent or whatever, so Boyd dispatches Echo to rescue him, assuring her that they can defend themselves. She goes, but not without asking that they try not to hurt the Dolls. "They're people." Sure, I get where she's coming from, but did she not see the positive ass-whipping the Dolls are doling out down there? It's almost a war crime that terms of surrender haven't been offered yet. And speaking of thorough mismatches, after a lot more twitching in the chair, Ballard lies still. Alpha notes that there's "something going on here," which is again chivalrous, "but nothing more than the average bear, so why do you get to be her honey?" He wasn't kidding about the puns. No wonder I like him. He yells, "WELL?" but Ballard is not hearing that or much of anything at the moment. Finally noticing just how glassy Ballard's eyes are, Alpha looks over at the monitor, which reads, "Subject: Inactive." That does not sound good, although Alpha cracks me up when he asks, "Huh. When did you die?" He muses that perhaps him trying to get into Ballard's head was the wrong approach, and the particular emphasis he places on a couple of certain words makes me suspect what's coming...

...but for right now, Adelle is telling the others that they need to get to her elevator, as it's the only way out. Well, that and the elevator out of the lab, but they obviously know that that one is unreachable. Not that Mynor thinks her elevator is any more accessible, given the horde of Dolls running around, so Boyd brings up a cache of tranquilizer guns, which are apparently in the "upper utility." Topher, however, has a better idea -- his remote wipe device, which is close by in the "manufacturing room." Adelle yells for Topher and Boyd to go...

...as Alpha is loading up the chair with an imprint, like, did Echo stop by the spa for a facial on her way to the lab? Alpha tosses Ballard out of the chair...

...and then Topher and Boyd reach the room safely. Unfortunately, Topher neglected to mention that he has to reassemble the thing...

...so we cut to Echo, who enters the lab to find Ballard lying at her feet. She looks in horror as the chair rises up with Alpha in it, and he tells her Ballard's dead. "You wanna snuggle? Too soon?" Well, she's got the last commercial break to make it respectable.

Kneeling over Ballard's body, Echo sounds like she's going to cry as she pronounces him dead. Alpha corrects her that he's "brain dead," like, I'm pretty sure that means real death is around the corner, especially since Echo apparently got stuck in rush-hour traffic on the way down there. He notes that he can see she's upset, which leads to one of those long cinematic staredowns that I'm sure Ballard's rapidly deoxygenating tissue so appreciates...

...and then we get a predictable cut to Alpha flying out of the room courtesy of some Echo-fu. Alpha derides her for falling for Ballard, but as she grabs him by the throat, Echo snarls, "He's like, ten times the man you are, and you're like forty guys!" No

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Dollhouse

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