Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A- | Grade It Now!
Wash And Go

Ballard's doing the dumbest thing possible, trying to intimidate Adelle with blustery talk about being a Federal agent and blah, and Adelle isn't impressed in the slightest: "You are no longer protected by those laws!" If Ballard had even an ounce of sense in him he would SHUT UP, but no, he asks how they can justify this, although he does make a reasonable point when he says that he might not be there if they hadn't thrown so many "interesting lies" his way. Adelle silkily concedes he's been quite a challenge, and he asks if that's why she tried to kill him twice. Adelle: "It might be good for us both that I failed." Heh. This is like watching a debate between Michael Rapaport and Mr. Spock. Ballard spits that there's no justification for "consensual slavery," and says what they did to Caroline was wrong. Having had enough of this, Adelle notes that he knows so many names and facts and the like, and asks Boyd if he thinks they should put him in the chair. Much like Topher earlier, Boyd looks like he did not see that one coming... downstairs, Claire, in a pinched voice, calls to Echo to please come into the infirmary. Uncertainly, she complies, and once she's inside, Alpha tosses Claire aside and looks lovingly at Echo. She responds fearfully: "I know you. I remember something about you." He strokes her hair and replies that he remembers everything about her...

...and then he's leading her up the stairs, assuring her that everything will be all right...

...and back in the office, Boyd is saying that while Adelle doesn't need his consent, it's his opinion that Ballard hasn't agreed to being put in the chair, and doesn't deserve it. Before we can see just how far Adelle is willing to take this, though, Adelle gets a phone call from Sierra, who tells her that while the method of killing fits their guy's M.O., the name of the victim is "Steven J. Kepler," and while Adelle at first doesn't seem to recognize the name, Sierra's declaration that he was "a specialist in environmental design" causes a warning bell to go off, and she continues: "The interesting part is that he wasn't killed in Tucson. He was killed in Los Angeles and planted here." Boyd, having run the name through the computer, reports that Kepler helped build the Dollhouse some ten years ago. Two things: One, that news report on the Dollhouse said the rumors about it had been flying since the late eighties, so I'd guess they changed that story to make it fit with Alan Tudyk's age. And two, it seems like Alpha must have hacked into the FBI's files to replace Kepler's photo with his own, which seems believable, given his technological expertise. But if he could do that, it makes me think he's the one that allowed Ballard momentary access to November's records, which he might even have faked up. It always seemed unbelievable to me that the Dollhouse would have been so sloppy as to leave those around for Ballard to find, but if it was Alpha giving Ballard another clue, it makes more sense, especially if they weren't real, in which case he'd want to get rid of them once they'd served their purpose. Actually, one more thing: It's clear now that Alpha wanted Ballard to take him to find Caroline -- he built to that from the very first episode -- but it's less clear why, given that he'd been in the Dollhouse before. Maybe he thought just having someone along to run some interference for him would be key, and while that seems like a lame reason for a season-long effort, in practice, having Ballard along to occupy Boyd and then Adelle was in fact very helpful. Anyway, they all turn in horror to the monitor and see that Alpha has taken Echo to Topher's lab...

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