Getting Closer

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Couch Baron: A | Grade It Now!
Hiding in Plain Sight
We open three years ago, and it looks at first like Echo is on a bimbo/romance assignment, but then we see that she and the guy she's with have entered Adelle's office, which I can't imagine our favorite Brit would allow no matter how much a client was prepared to pay. Caroline, for that's who she is, executes a nice move by removing the guy's clothing. Well, that's the part I appreciated most, at least, but the cleverer maneuver occurs when she takes advantage of her proximity to the guy's pants to grab his handcuffs and chain him to something on the wall. Even after she drops the ditz act and starts rifling through Adelle's desk, he guy takes an awfully long time to realize this means he's not getting any, which goes a good way to explain how he fell for this trick in the first place. When he finally gets it, he starts whining about how much trouble he's in, but since he probably isn't highly-enough placed to know about the Attic, I'd wager he doesn't know the half of it. On the other hand, Adelle seems like the type to make the best of a bad situation in finding a half-naked young man handcuffed to her office wall, no? The guy calls Caroline a thief, and she demurs with an actually-amusing delivery of "I'm a terrorist," which, you'll be surprised to know, doesn't do much to improve the guy's mood. Inside the desk, she finds a file on her and then one on a geek-glasses-sporting Bennett, which is marked with notes such as "PRIORITY" and "Full Scholarship," and once again makes me laugh with her description of Bennett as "Carrie at the prom!" Hee. Caroline asks, prompted by something in the folder, what's in Tucson, but the guy is of course no help, so she activates a nearby remote control, which causes the cabinet with all the security feeds to open up. Even the hapless guy is able to determine that what they're seeing isn't in the building as they know it, so Caroline suggests they take down the structure and see what's underneath. The guy asks who she is...

...which is a call that brings the response, "Caroline?" Did Whedon always rely so much on these hokey transitions between scenes? Anyway, it's Adelle asking the question, picking up where we left off last week, and Echo clarifies that they need to know what she knows, as she can identify Clyde's evil partner. Topher's more concerned about how the technology Adelle handed over to Rossum (for which he loudly calls her out, causing her to look chastened) is going to lead to the apocalypse, but Echo thinks if they don't find the man or woman behind Rossum, they'll never be able to eliminate it. Ivy points out another big problem, that being that Caroline and Echo by definition may not be able to co-exist peacefully, or as Topher puts it, Caroline might fight back when she returns "to find the house party that's going on inside your head." Echo, however, is confident in her ability to control Caroline, so Adelle orders them to pull Caroline from the vault and put Echo in the chair. She misses her chance to say "Make it so," though, which is a damn shame if you ask me. Not as much of a shame, though, as when, after Ballard and Echo have an inconsequential chat, Ivy turns up to the lab and informs them that Caroline's wedge -- the one that Ballard rescued when Alpha dropped it from a dizzying height -- is gone. Well, that doesn't bother me on a personal level, but it's going to make plot advancement more difficult, so it at least rates a DUN! Credits.

When we return, we're back in the past, as Bennett awkwards her way up to a table at a crowded outdoor lunch area at the "Tucson Institute Of Technology," and I'll leave it to you to decide if the resultant acronym is merely a happy accident. Said table contains two loud, annoying girls who barely stop chattering when Bennett asks if they're done to tell her she can take their trays, like, the fact that Bennett's holding a full tray in both hands makes their obliviousness...well, still pretty believable, actually. Bennett, with far more courage than most geeks in this situation would have, clarifies that she's not a waitress, and plows on through the total bitches' eye-rolls and incredulous looks at each other to point out that the place is extremely crowded, they're taking up four spaces for two of them, and also, they're obviously finished. The blonde of the pair says they're not finished. "Does it look like we're finished?" Bennett busts out her literalism-as-a-weapon that I love so much in saying that yes, she just said that, but she's obviously not getting anywhere until Caroline appears out of nowhere and feigns some bisque-related nausea, or something, and that's all the bitches need to hear to quickly bring their empty-headed narrative elsewhere, for which I find myself thanking Caroline. Have I been too hard on her in the past? Doesn't seem likely, but I'm willing to keep an open mind. As soon as the girls are gone, Caroline drops the dry heaves and slyly asks if Bennett would like to join her, and Bennett, charmed, takes her up on the offer. After introductions are exchanged, they establish that Bennett's a neuroscience major, and then Caroline gives a stock liberal-arts speech about how she doesn't want to be tied down to one thing and blah, and Bennett's a lonely enough geek to lap that crap up with a spoon...

...and then we're seeing that notorious video from the pilot. Echo is the viewer, and Adelle joins her to remark that Caroline seems so innocent and unspoiled, but she wasn't. "Caroline Farrell left quite a trail of unhappiness in her wake, and not a few bodies." I won't really argue that point, Adelle, but rainbows haven't exactly been flying out of your ass for the run of the series either. Echo asks if Adelle's saying Caroline is evil, and Adelle gets the line of the episode: "Worse. An idealist." Hee. Talk turns to the missing wedge, and Echo admits she was glad when Ivy told them it was gone, but she still didn't take it. Adelle: "I only considered it briefly." Heh, nice.

In the lab, Ivy expresses suspicion of Echo, as she tells Topher again that if Caroline were to return, it's possible Echo would cease to exist or that something equally bad for her might happen. Topher, however, points out that Echo willingly went to the Attic for them, which has to be worse than anything dumping Caroline into her brain would do. Anyway, they stop bickering when Ivy announces that the "ghost chair's just been engaged," and they proceed to activate the empty device...

...and in D.C., as an Active, Apollo, is being imprinted, Bennett realizes that something is happening to corrupt the process. She guesses Topher's probably behind it, but that's all she has time to do before Apollo grabs her by the throat and pushes her against the wall. As he holds her there with one hand, he keys in a security code (not sure how Topher and Ivy knew what D.C.'s codes were, but let's say they successfully hacked that part of the system as well) and the doors to the lab open and Victor and Ballard come rushing in. Topher instructs them not to hurt Bennett, and after Victor powers Apollo down with a code word ("Gingersnap," which cracked me up for some reason), he leads Bennett out by the (good) arm. However, Ballard's attention becomes focused on a security camera containing Madeline's? November's? Hera's? image, and he informs Victor that they're not leaving yet. Addressing the question of how exactly they're going to extract her would probably detract from the dramatic tension, so that's probably why they didn't do it.

Instead, we cut straight to Boyd and Adelle leading the captured Bennett into the L.A. Dollhouse, wherein Bennett amusingly chooses to focus on the fact that Adelle used the corporate jet in her nefarious plan, prompting Adelle to wittily reply that she's sure to be kicking herself when bonus time rolls around. Hee, but Bennett's faux-sunny reply of "I'm sure you'll be dead by then" is no slouc

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