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Couch Baron: B | Grade It Now!
You Only Live Twice
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

A blonde woman of a certain age brings her horse to a stop near four men who are sitting up on a large stone terrace sipping afternoon (morning?) cocktails, and after she informs one of the guys ("Jack") that she's just going to take the horse for a ride around the park and heads off to do just that, it quickly becomes clear that Jack, who just so happens to be her husband, is also of a certain age, but one that's probably a power of two less than the woman's. Jack, however, then confuses me by practically giggling about their imminent consumption of Long Island Iced Teas, because that's a drink you forget ever existed once you leave the sorority house, but before I have time to list the many alcoholic beverages that would have been more appropriate for these four to be knocking back, the woman's horse reappears, with "Margaret" not so much still atop the saddle...

...and then Echo is coming out of the chair and greeting Adelle, or "Addy" as she calls her. She asks Addy what's wrong, and gets this response: "Margaret, I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but you're dead." Of course, you'd think Margaret would have gotten there already, considering she's (a) in the Dollhouse and (b) in Eliza Dushku's body, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt that she came out of the imprint process a little disoriented. Especially since, if her character truly fits the image we've seen so far, it was almost a mathematical certainty that she was boozed up and/or on pills when she got the imprint done in the first place. Credits.

Boyd comes in to see Topher, and after a bit of the latter's usual cheery and bitchy babbling, Boyd reports he's not had a lot to do in his new position as Head of Security, since for the most part, Addy has been keeping the Dollhouse on lockdown after the whole Dominic debacle. He then asks after Echo, and Topher tells him about her current mission, but has to go through allusions to late-night high-class forays into lesbianism to get there, and gross as it is, I can understand Adelle facilitating him getting his rocks off once a year, because can you imagine what he'd be like if he never got any? Boyd is amazed, and not in a good way, that the Dollhouse can basically grant life after death, but Topher's more concerned about telling Boyd through a suddenly dry mouth that he needs an Active for an "annual diagnostic," and given that I already told you what's going on I don't even see the need for a joke in the "that's what the kids are calling it these days" vein. He goes on about the complex nature of this particular imprint necessitating permission from the Head of Security, which seems silly given that we'll learn Adelle knows about it, but anyway, Boyd asks if there's a risk, and Topher replies, "Not if I know what I'm doing." The number of ways I could take that is enough to redefine the term "choice paralysis," but suffice it to say that while I don't think one practice session a year is remotely near enough to straighten out the numerous flaws, both technical and psychological, in Topher's, um, game, I don't think they're the type that pose any physical risk to a partner, excepting the possibility of responding to his lack of prowess with eye-rolls that test the limits of the design of the human body. Boyd haltingly assigns Sierra to the unbelievably sophisticated diagnostic that in layman's terms (heh) is known as "cleaning the pipes," which is all you really need to know...

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