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Couch Baron: A- | Grade It Now!
Needful Things

...and back in Adelle's office, Laurence reports this latest. Adelle then notices on the security monitor that Echo has returned to raid Claire's office, and reproaches herself for not seeing this coming, as it's Caroline, and she "never was very realistic." She opines that there's no harm in letting the scenario play out, but immediately gets more than she bargained for when the power dies. Laurence heads out to try to remedy the situation, while Adelle gets on the phone to Topher, who's got a little glow stick in hand, and tells him to be ready when Echo's brought in. Topher, however, informs Adelle that there's not much he can prep without power, and by the way, did he mention he's afraid of the dark? Awesomely, Adelle hangs up on him, but we quickly learn his fears were justified, as Echo emerges from the shadows, her gun trained on him. He asks, "Echo?" and she replies, promo-style, "Not anymore." Well, Topher, at least she doesn't have knives like Alpha did, right?

Although a soothing female voice tells everyone via the PA system that there's no need to worry, Topher is freaking out as Echo calmly asks him what they do to people in the Dollhouse. After some characteristic babbling, he tells her he puts them in a chair and programs them, and goes on that it's not that different from programming a computer. Given how much money I've had to fork out recently for laptop-related concerns, I hope the maintenance is easier. Echo's chagrined to hear that it's 2009, and although she can't remember how long she's been there, Topher's answer that it's been "kind of... longer" than a month is unsettling, and makes me wonder if she's even past that five-year mark. She asks him where the chair is...

...and oh, yuck, this scene. Character actor Vincent Ventresca opens the door to find Sierra and Victor, and he greets the former as "Bria" and asks if her visit is some sort of "frequent-buyer reward." Ick. Victor pushes the guy back inside, and he kind of loathsomely wonders if this is some sort of shakedown, but Sierra asks him what she did to him that he would have sent her to the Dollhouse. With an oily smile, he replies, "You said no. Nobody ever says no to me." This is one of those times I don't enjoy writing, because using words to describe the inherent horribleness of everything about this guy and his actions is almost insultingly insufficient. Anyway, Sierra disbelievingly asks if he took away her life just because she wouldn't have sex with him, and he, with disgusting levity, asks if she knows how much trouble that was, saying with all the money and favors he called in to do so, he could have bought Peter Island. "But owning you is better than real estate." Now I see I had no need to worry about coming up with the right words, because he did it for me. Victor, having restrained himself too long already, decks the guy, who quickly figures out that he's not her handler, so they must have "hopped the fence," but it doesn't matter, because they don't exist anymore. After some more grotesque comments and another backhand in the face, the guy tells the two of them that his security team is on the way already, so they might want to run. This seems a little odd, as I can't imagine the guy would encourage the two of them to get out of there, which would mean he'd never, um, see Sierra again, unless he was cooperating with Adelle here, especially if he thinks that will cause Sierra to fall in line and be as submissive as possible. Anyway, Sierra snarls that he will see her again before the two of them get going, and the guy's comment after they leave that "it'll be even better now" makes me think my theory is right, not that I take any pleasure in that at all in this instance.

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