Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween "Classic" Recap: Pushing Daisies "Girth"

“You know, if you think about it, we’ve already been murdered once. How many people or dogs can say that, huh? You know what we are? We’re the walkin’ dead on Halloween. If anyone should be scared, it should be them!”

-Chuck


As a special Halloween treat, I thought I’d write a bit about the Halloween episode of my favorite television show of all time, Pushing Daisies. Pushing Daisies is an especially appropriate show to talk about for Halloween with all of its candy-bright colors and sweet characters.


“Girth” is a great example of what Pushing Daisies did best. There was darkness and sadness all wrapped up in gorgeous visuals and wacky situations in a way that still makes me able to watch with a big, stupid grin on my face. “Girth” was, I believe, the darkest episode the series had produced up to that point. This is immediately apparent from the opening childhood flashback to Ned’s first Halloween at the Longborough School for Boys. Ever since his dad had abandoned him there, Ned waited expectantly at mail call every week, hoping for some word from his family. On Halloween, that word finally came. In the form of a “We’ve moved!” card. His father had found a replacement family, complete with a new wife and twin sons. Pretty traumatizing stuff for little Ned.


We see just how deep this trauma runs as the episode moves ahead into the present. Chuck, who is really still just working with what she knew of Ned when they were ten years old, has gone all-out decorating the Pie Hole for Halloween. Olive warns Chuck that Ned hates Halloween, but Chuck doesn’t believe it considering how much Ned loved the holiday when they were kids. The wonderful snark bubbling under the surface of this conversation between Chuck and Olive is what keeps the beginning of the show from getting too dark. Olive is loving that she knows something about Ned that Chuck doesn’t, and she’s also loving the fact that she knows Chuck’s aunts believe Chuck faked her death. She had been feeling down since Chuck invaded life at the Pie Hole, and she is now feeling like she has some power back.


Olive’s jubilant, jumping on the bed celebration doesn’t last long, however. She sees on the evening news that Lucas Shoemaker, a friend from her horse jockey days, has died. She rushes to the bank and pulls a large trophy and a stylized bag of money (white canvas with a big dollar sign) out of a safe deposit box. Her actions are somewhat explained when she approaches Emerson as he finishes his pie at the Pie Hole. She wants to pay Emerson to investigate Shoemaker’s death. Police are ruling it an accident, but Olive doesn’t believe it.


Tensions are rising between Ned and Chuck thanks to the Halloween decorating incident. Chuck wants to know why Ned now hates Halloween, and Ned is being evasive. I love that Lee Pace makes the acting choice to continue Ned’s lying eye twitch from the Pie-lette even though it’s not specifically called out in this episode. Chuck is similarly evasive when Ned asks her why she gets an odd look on her face whenever he mentions Olive. The two put their differences aside when they go to the morgue with Emerson to visit Shoemaker. When Ned brings Shoemaker back to life, there’s a lovely bit of subversive humor as Chuck is the only one who can understand what Shoemaker is saying through his crushed jaw because her aunts thought having her wear full orthodontic head gear for three years would be a good form of birth control. Shoemaker reveals he was trampled by a horse ridden by the ghost of John Joseph Jacobs. This is freaky enough to provide a temporary distraction for Ned and Chuck.


The distraction doesn’t last long. When the group is dividing up assignments for the investigation, Ned insists that he needs to go check out the stables alone. It’s quickly apparent that he’s lying that he plans to go to the stables. Chuck is worried. Emerson gets away from the tension to go ask Olive what she knows about John Joseph Jacobs. He gets a reaction none of them expected- Olive faints. It turns out that she and John were rival jockeys back in the day, and at the Jock Off 2000, an accident happened that lead to John being trampled by Olive, Shoemaker, and two other jockeys. Olive won that race and quit her jockey career the next day.


Olive takes Emerson to a jockey bar, where after getting past the hostility of the barkeeper, Pinky, another of Olive’s former competitors (the bar only serves patrons under 60 inches tall- guess I’m in!), they learn some interesting information from Gordon McSmalls, the final jockey involved in the incident who is now perpetually drunk. The grave of John Joseph Jacobs has broken open.


Olive and Emerson go to check out the grave, and they find small crackers strewn about and an open lid to the tomb. After a failed attempt by Olive, Emerson manages to pry the lid completely off. I do enjoy the “Olive is short” jokes, considering I’m 59 inches tall, just like Kristin Chenoweth. When Emerson and Olive look into the tomb, they don’t find the bones of John Joseph Jacobs. They find the skeleton of a horse with no legs.


Meanwhile, Ned is wallowing in Halloween sorrow. He’s gone back to his old house in Coeur d’Coeurs and lies on his bedroom floor, where the carpet marks where his childhood bed once was. The house is abandoned and dilapidated. Ned finds himself drawn across the street to the house of Aunts Vivian and Lily, who offer him a piece of pie. Ned realizes when the strawberry rots in his mouth that the pie was sent from the Pie Hole by Chuck, but he covers by saying he sent the pie himself. Lily (sort of) rightly says that Ned’s dad was a jackass for leaving when Ned was a boy, but Vivian offers some comfort. Nobody talks about Ned’s father, they all talk about how Ned grew up so well.


Emerson, Chuck, and Olive go to see Mrs. Jacobs, John Joseph’s mom, although neither Chuck nor Olive is pleased that the other is there. After hurling insults about Chuck’s masculine name and Olive’s style of dress, Mrs. Jacobs does reveal some interesting information. John Joseph’s ashes are in a trophy on the mantelpiece. His horse, All the Gold, was secretly buried in the grave Emerson and Olive found due to Health Department opposition. Mrs. Jacobs says she forgave Olive for the accident, but Olive doesn’t quite believe it.


Ned rejoins the rest of the crew at the jockey bar where they’re looking at the trampled body of Pinky. Chuck and Ned say they miss each other, but the sweetness is quickly cut by an eye roll and quick quip of disapproval from Emerson- the perfect balance of characters. Chuck hurries Olive outside so Ned can do his waking the dead thing. Pinky says he was a victim of John Joseph’s ghost too, and he also says that he was the one responsible for what happened to John Joseph. It was a secret they all swore to keep. Olive has a lot of explaining to do. Apparently, before the Jock Off 2000, Pinky cut the girth on John Joseph’s saddle. After the race, the four surviving jockeys burned the saddle and swore never to speak of it again.


Ned and Emerson lock Olive and Chuck in Olive’s apartment (for Olive’s safety) as they go out to continue the investigation. Chuck is brewing tea when Olive notices a horseshoe out her bedroom window. She decides to confront the ghost of John Joseph, and when she climbs up on the roof, there he is. It turns out that he didn’t die in the accident, but his legs were crushed. The bones were replaced with leg bones from All the Gold, and John Joseph is now two feet taller. And living in his mother’s basement. Chuck and Olive convince him it’s time to stand up to his mother and get some independence.


Olive and Chuck accompany John Joseph to his house for the big intervention. John Joseph says he needs to go eat some crackers for his low blood sugar, and that makes the girls suspicious. They start fearing for their life when they open up the trophy from the mantle and find out it contains the saddle ashes. A flaming horse bursts through the door, and their fears are most definitely confirmed.


Meanwhile, Emerson and Chuck have collected Gordon to protect him from being the next victim. They’re riding in the car, and Gordon is babbling about how he misses the other jockeys. He lets slip a disturbing fact. Before he died, Pinky went to make amends to Mrs. Jacobs and told her everything about the saddle and the cut girth.


Chuck and Olive figure out Mrs. Jacobs is the culprit at just about the same time, and she (on her scary horse) chases them through the woods. Chuck does the patented horror movie girl fall and twist the ankle because she was wearing adorable red heels as usual (I was Chuck for Halloween two years ago…the costume was awesome, but the shoes freaking hurt). Olive hides Chuck behind a tree and goes out to confront Mrs. Jacobs. Luckily, Emerson and Ned had arrived at Mrs. Jacobs’ house and heard the scuffle in the woods. Ned scoops up Olive and carries her out of the way as Emerson knocks Mrs. Jacobs off her horse with his shovel. Olive, caught up in the moment, tries to kiss Ned, but Ned breaks it off pretty quickly. He sees Chuck is injured and only has eyes for her. Ned takes Chuck trick-or-treating to her Aunts’ house in yet another aww-worthy Ned and Chuck ending

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Greek 3.09: "The Wish Pretzel"

“You really do think your life is like a romantic comedy, don’t you?”

-Rebecca


I know I’ve been kind of down on Greek this season, but I have to say that I pretty much adored this episode. Between a really adorable and sweet homage to Peanuts (I’ve been a massive Peanuts fan since I was about three years old) and the long awaited Cappie and Casey reunion, it was as near to perfect as an episode of Greek can get.


The ZBZs are packing up for Thanksgiving break. One thing I like about Greek is that despite airing on a split season like many cable shows, it maintains its own internal timeline. They aren’t afraid to show a Thanksgiving episode a month early. I like that because otherwise, we wouldn’t get to see a Thanksgiving episode (Greek isn’t on the air in late November). We wouldn’t get to see a lot of college milestones, actually, if episodes of Greek were supposed to correspond to the time of year in which they were broadcast like network shows do.


Anyway, amidst all the chaos of ZBZ house packing, Casey and Rebecca briefly chat about how excited they are to go home. Casey has a date with a former boyfriend, Derek. Rebecca is (probably rightly) convinced it’s just a booty call. Over in Casa Engineering, Rusty and Dale are coordinating cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Dale mentions that he’s going to be spending the hours of the break when he’s not cooking working on his research project so he can win a grant. Rusty doesn’t think he has a shot at the grant, so he’s not worried about work himself. Casey then appears at the door wondering why Rusty isn’t packed yet. Turns out their parents have ditched them and gone to Maui for the holiday. Casey didn’t know about it because she purposely skips over her mom’s very long voicemails. I thought this was an amusing addition to Casey’s character. So they aren’t going home after all.


It turns out Evan and Cappie aren’t going anywhere either. They discuss their situations at the Amphora Lair. Cappie’s hippie parents don’t do Thanksgiving, and Evan declined the e-vite from his dad’s secretary given the tensions in the family since he gave up his trust fund. Cappie wants to do the KT Turkey Hunt (a KT tradition), but Evan convinces him they should go golfing instead.


Casey arrives back at the ZBZ house, which appears to be deserted. What happens next is my favorite scene in the episode other than the two scenes I already mentioned in my introduction. Casey starts unpacking her clothes while singing along to Katy Perry’s “Waking Up in Vegas,” and it escalates to a full-on, jumping on the bed, singing into a hair brush extravaganza. Until she’s interrupted by Rebecca, who didn’t go home either (she says her flight was cancelled). I love this scene because it is absolutely something I would do back when I had roommates and they were all gone for the weekend. Well, maybe not the jumping on the bed part (I’d probably fall flat on my face), but definitely the singing at the top of my lungs part.


Thanks to a game of pool over at the KT house, Rusty has a breakthrough with his polymer science project. Apparently, the polymer science equivalent of a “combo shot” in pool might make a self-healing wire conduct. He runs to Dr. Hastings, who, in between insults, seems to think the idea is plausible. Rusty has renewed hope for his future in the engineering program and is starting to think the grant might even be a possibility. When Rusty tells Dale he’s going for the grant as he’s packing up for the lab the next morning, Dale isn’t happy. Dale decides he needs to go to the lab too instead of starting to cook Thanksgiving dinner.


At the ZBZ house, Casey and Rebecca decide they’re going to volunteer to give turkey dinners to the elderly with CRU’s Moveable Feast. Casey thinks things really haven’t been going her way lately, and she could use some good karma.


At KT, Cappie is watching the Macy’s parade as he waits for Evan to get off work so they can go golfing. Beaver, Wade, and Heath burst into the room ready to start the Turkey Hunt. It’s a scavenger hunt of sorts where the brothers going home for Thanksgiving leave a series of clues for the brothers staying on campus. Cappie sees the other guys struggling with obvious clues and decides to join in, blowing off Evan.


Casey and Rebecca don’t have much luck volunteering. Everybody left on campus is feeling charitable, and Moveable Feast already has more than enough volunteers. I like the lesson here. We need to help others throughout the year, not just on holidays. Things aren’t especially charitable in the engineering lab. Rusty is making progress on his project, and Dale is freaking out. Dr. Hastings thinks Rusty ought to distance himself from Dale as Dale’s project catches on fire, dooming his hopes of a grant.


I loved all the KT antics as they complete the Turkey Hunt. While in Heath’s room, which is filled with boxes because Heath is graduating soon, Cappie realizes that he hasn’t been spending much time with his brothers. He didn’t even realize Heath was graduating. The next clue leads them into a great brotherly bonding experience- breaking into Omega Chi. The other guys want to do some mischief while they’re there, but Cappie keeps them on task. They find the clue and leave after almost being found out by an Omega Chi brother. Cappie gets some good advice from his brothers in the process. They think he’s crazy for not getting back together with Casey.


Evan meets up with Rebecca and Casey as they try to figure out what to do after being rejected by Moveable Feast. To top it off, the Casa Engineering Thanksgiving Dinner has been canceled due to the Rusty/Dale tensions. Casey has a new plan. She wants to throw a big Thanksgiving party at the ZBZ house for all the volunteers. Sounds better than Evan’s plan to steal Moveable Feast meals for themselves. Evan came up with a Thanksgiving themed cocktail, and everybody seemed to have a good enough time. After the party, Evan misreads some signals from Casey and thinks she wants to hook up, but, happily, Casey completely shoots him down.


Rusty and Dale go from bad to worse when Dale tells Rusty that the breakthrough Rusty had on his project made Dale see Rusty as real competition. Rusty is, understandably, insulted. Rusty gets the last laugh in the end, though, as he gets his self-healing wire to actually work.


Casey, Rebecca, and Evan decide to go to Thanksgiving at the KT house. It turns out it’s a full-out recreation of Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving, complete with pretzels, toast, and jelly beans. I seriously came close to crying at that, it was so sweet to see it reenacted. Things get even better as Cappie walks Casey home and finally tells her how he feels. Casey and Cappie are back together, and it’s about time!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

White Collar 1.00: "Pilot"

“No. No more relationship advice from this side of the car. Call Dr. Phil, okay?”

-Neal


I was conflicted about whether or not to try “White Collar,” USA’s new drama about an FBI agent and the former forger/criminal extraordinaire in his custody. On the one hand, I love “Catch Me if You Can,” and this is sort of like the arrangement Abignale and Handratty had at the end of that movie. Also, it has a similar reformed criminals have fun doing what they do best for the good guys vibe as Leverage (which I love) and Sneakers (one of my favorite movies). On the other hand, it stars Matt Bomer, who, I must admit, is pretty to look at, but he played Bryce Larkin on Chuck. I will never forget that episode in the first season of Chuck where, at every act break, it seemed like Bryce had been killed. When he was actually killed (I think…probably) in the season 2 finale, I thought it was about time! Yeah, I admit it, I’m a Chuck/Sarah shipper to an extreme degree.


Thankfully, I was able to separate Bomer from his former character, and I really enjoyed his performance and the show overall. Bomer plays Neal Caffrey, a convicted felon. He was convicted for bank forgery, but he’s been suspected of many more crimes that no one can actually prove. The episode opens with Neal still in prison, but that doesn’t last long. Equipped with a corrections officer uniform and a do-it-yourself security pass (who would have thought tape decks could still be useful), Neal escapes from prison with only days left on his sentence. He hotwires a maintenance truck, and he’s outta there (sorry…watching my Phillies play the Yankees and channeling a little bit of our dear, departed Harry Kalas). Once safely in the city, Neal manages to get himself a bright yellow jacket and blends in with valet parking attendants. As a faux valet attendant, he naturally scores himself a much sweeter ride than a maintenance truck.


Meanwhile, FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), the Carl Handratty of our story, is supervising a team of agents trying to open what looks like a safe deposit box, except with combination locks. Peter is after a criminal dubbed “The Dutchman,” and The Dutchman is always one step ahead. This time is no exception. Peter realizes The Dutchman knew they were coming just as the safecracker dials in the final number of the combination…and a bomb goes off. Miraculously, nobody is injured, except maybe Peter’s pride.


Peter doesn’t have time to dwell on The Dutchman’s temporary victory, however. The U.S. Marshal Service wants Peter to help them find and re-capture Neal. Peter was the guy who arrested Neal in the first place, so they think he has the best chance to do it again. All it takes is a quick look at some surveillance footage and the prison visitors’ log for Peter to figure out where Neal is. He finds Neal at the abandoned home of Neal’s ex-girlfriend Kate, clutching an empty wine bottle and looking despondent. Neal notices a stray fiber on Peter’s coat- debris from the explosion. He says that he can tell Peter what the fiber is if Peter agrees to visit him in prison in one week. Peter agrees. It’s a security fiber from a Canadian $100 bill.


As promised, Peter meets with Neal in jail. Neal has done his homework, and he wants a deal. He wants to be released from prison into Peter’s custody in exchange for helping Peter catch The Dutchman. Peter is skeptical that Neal will actually behave himself if released and doesn’t agree to the deal. Neal is devastated and trashes his cell in a fit of frustration later that night. Peter is frustrated as well due to being fooled again by the Dutchman. A conversation with his wife, Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) convinces him that he needs Neal’s help after all.


Post-prison life isn’t what Neal hoped. Peter sets him up in a bottom of the barrel motel/hostel type place that is home to quite the colorful cast of characters, and Neal can’t venture outside a two mile radius of the place or he’ll set off his GPS tracking device. Neal doesn’t let it get him down for long, though. A quick trip to a thrift store and the gift of gab gets Neal a guest room in a mansion with a great rooftop view that just happens to be within the allowable two mile radius. Peter, understandably, is incredulous.


Essentially, Neal is able to solve the case by getting information from his friend Mozzie, who is still connected into the criminal underground. After Neal figures out that The Dutchman has been smuggling in Spanish books to forge World War II era Spanish Victory Bonds, Mozzie supplies both the name of the most likely suspect and the address of the warehouse making the forged bonds. Neal takes a trip to the warehouse and purposely sets off his GPS tracker to give the FBI an exception to the warrant requirement so they can raid the place (bonus points for correctly invoking federal criminal procedure, or at least the simplified version I learned in bar prep).


I’m hoping that not every case is solved by the “Mozzie gets information nobody else can” method. It’s a bit too convenient, and that could get old quick. I’d rather see Neal use his own unique cunning, charm, and criminal experience to solve cases. I also didn’t quite buy Peter’s quick acceptance of Neal as a crime fighting partner. Peter is naturally skeptical of Neal, since he knows Neal’s history, and there’s some funny, cute banter between the two of them (mostly over what Peter should get Elizabeth for their anniversary), but it’s all really light and just scratching the surface. Peter even uses the rooftop at Neal’s new place to surprise Elizabeth at the end of the episode.


That said, I did enjoy the pilot overall. I liked that it looks like Peter and Neal will be solving all sorts of crimes, not just murders like your garden variety crime procedural. I love heist movies and stories, so if most of the stories White Collar tells are about cons, thefts, and forgeries, I’ll be a happy viewer. I also do appreciate the lighter tone of the show, and I suppose that tone is to be expected considering it’s on USA. White Collar is shaping up to be a fun way to spend Friday nights at 10:00 until Psych is back in January.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dollhouse 2.04: "Belonging"

“It’s absurd. I don’t remember meeting him or even spending a moment with him, but I can feel it stronger than anything. I’m crazy about him! I love him! I love him so much more than I hate you.”

-Priya/Sierra


Friday’s episode of Dollhouse was one of the series’ best, and an example of what this show can do when it’s really firing on all cylinders. It evokes emotion, and it really makes you think. It deepens characters we thought we knew and continues them on the path we know they’re destined for. I also liked that this episode featured many of the secondary characters, who are actually more compelling and played by more talented actors (although Eliza Dushku has proven that she can turn in a good performance). This recap is going to be longer than normal, because almost every moment in the episode is compelling enough to deserve a mention here.


“Belonging” is basically Sierra’s origin story, but it also provides wonderful character moments for Victor, Topher, Adelle, and Boyd. The episode opens on a shaky, close-up shot of Topher repeating to himself “I was just trying to help her.” Ominous foreshadowing! We then flash back to Venice Beach (oh how I want to visit LA to see crazy places like the Venice Beach pier) where Priya, not yet Sierra, is selling paintings. A smarmy, self-important guy approaches her. This is Nolan, the man Priya confronted in “Needs” because he sent her to the Dollhouse against her will. Nolan is apparently a regular purchaser of Priya’s art. He wants to commission a large painting, and he’s obviously hoping it will lead to something more.


The party to celebrate the installation of the artwork is the creepiest television scene I’ve experienced that wasn’t gory. It was creepy because the Dollhouse went so all-out to help Nolan seduce Priya. Both Echo and Victor are there, Echo as a random party guest who talks up Nolan and Victor as Luca, an Italian art dealer. I love how Sierra and Victor were drawn together even back then. Priya, feeling stifled and thinking Luca is kinda cute (she would be right about that), tries to leave with Luca. Nolan tries to physically keep her from leaving. Nolan is absolutely nuts. He accuses Priya of “seducing” him and makes a huge scene. Priya swears that she will never be his. Not unsurprisingly, the next scene is Priya kissing Nolan. He takes a Polaroid like Priya was known to do and reveals a drawer filled with almost identical photos. Priya has become Sierra.


At the Dollhouse, Sierra is painting a purple bird and black spot. Victor compliments it, but Sierra doesn’t like the color. Victor asks why she uses it. Sierra answers, “It’s always here” as Echo observes. Echo interrupts Topher working on some sort of chip related to remote wiping to bring him Sierra’s painting. Echo tells him, “Sierra hates the bad man.”


Topher goes to Boyd and asks about the “repeat client” Sierra has been seeing. Boyd is amused something is bothering Topher, which is kind of a rehash of the “Topher has ethical problems!” bit in “Instinct,” but it’s always entertaining, so that’s okay. Topher mentions Sierra was a paranoid schizophrenic when she got to the Dollhouse, as if it absolves him from responsibility for keeping her enslaved. He also says he got the warning about Sierra from Echo. Boyd is alarmed. He seems kind of Domenic-like at this point in the scene, which is never a good thing.


On Boyd’s advice, Topher looks up Dr. Saunders’ records of Sierra. Sierra always put those black splotches on paintings. Saunders speculates it could be something from Sierra’s past or what I’m going to call “Topher rage.” Topher is pretty upset at the idea he could be the “bad man,” and he sets out to prove Saunders wrong.


Meanwhile, Victor is gathering up all the black paint because Sierra doesn’t like it. Echo tells him to take all of them. She thinks it’s good he’s taking matters into his own hands. “They’re in my shirt,” Victor replies sweetly. Boyd sees what Echo is doing. Continuing to spy, he also sees her reading. Topher bursts in and says Nolan is an expert in a class of antipsychotic medication. Some of these medicines make a mentally healthy person appear schizophrenic. Priya was drugged to seem psychotic. Adelle walks in on the end of the conversation.


I was extremely impressed by what Adelle did next, although the feeling didn’t exactly last very long. Adelle calls Nolan in for a talking to. She tells him, “I would no sooner allow you near one of our other Actives than I would a mad dog near a child. Given that you’re a raping scumbag one tick shy of a murderer. I can’t recall…do you take sugar?” It’s just so very British how her tone changes on a dime as she asks how Nolan takes his tea. Nolan, however, continues to be an ass. He threatens that Adelle will be fired if she doesn’t have Priya imprinted and sent to him permanently. Adelle appeals to Mr. Harding, who is probably her boss, but he’s not sympathetic. Nolan is too valuable an asset. He one-ups Nolan and tells Adelle that if she doesn’t comply, she’s going to the Attic.


The next scene is one of my favorites from the episode and made me say to Sarah (whom you know from her guest blogs) something to the effect of “Victor and Sierra are gonna make me cry.” Victor is in the shower washing the black paints down the drain. Sierra walks in and asks what he’s doing. He replies, “Now you don’t have to use this color anymore.” Sierra approaches him and they put paint on each other’s faces, just like little children. The whole first half of the scene has an air of cute and child-like. It all comes to a screeching halt, however, when Victor flashes back to time in the military. He collapses, but Sierra’s there to cradle him and say it’s okay.


Adelle tears Topher down to make him do her bidding. She brings up Dr. Saunders. She tells Topher that he was chosen to work at the Dollhouse because he has no sense of morality, and she tells him that he must learn to share his toys. There is a brief touch between the two of them that I think is supposed to be a precursor to the very maternal relationship Adelle has with Topher in Epitaph One. Sierra and Victor are sitting at a table holding hands when Topher says it’s time for Sierra’s treatment. Sierra wants Victor to join her, and they walk towards the Imprint Room holding hands. Topher says that Victor can’t come, but Victor says he’ll wait right there and sits down by a plant.


We then get a flashback of how exactly Priya came to the Dollhouse. Adelle approaches Topher as he finishes wiping Echo after an engagement. She tells him she may have a replacement Sierra. A mental health case. He thinks that sounds pretty cool. Topher goes to the mental health facility to see Priya. Nolan’s been giving her “treatments.” I appreciate the odd parallel between her life as Nolan’s prisoner and her life as the Dollhouse’s prisoner where she receives a different kind of “treatment.” Priya is rocking back and forth, muttering. As soon as Topher asks if she’d like to leave, she says yes and asks him to help her. Men with guns took her and are filling her with poison. Topher thinks it’s a delusion, but it’s true. We see hazy scenes of Sierra actually being captured juxtaposed with her going out on Doll assignments, accompanied by a new Jed Whedon/ Maurissa Tancharoen song called “Drones.”


Adelle checks up on Topher to make sure he did his job. He did indeed, but maybe not quite how Adelle planned. Topher is putting away the drive that stores Priya’s original personality. At Nolan’s swanky house, Sierra seems to be happy and na├»ve. She switches on a dime, though, from the aggressive, horny girlfriend to the real Priya, ready to attack her tormentor. My reaction? Yay Topher!


Boyd confronts Echo. He found her book, and there were words scratched into the lid of her sleeping pod. She tries to act vacant, but he’s not buying it. It still seems like he’s going to go all Domenic on her. Thankfully, however, Boyd just wants to warn Echo that she needs to keep her enlightenment on the down-low. She can’t keep pushing, and if she doesn’t stop, there will be consequences. Echo doesn’t care. She wants everybody to wake up because a storm is coming.


Back at Nolan’s house, Sierra is taunting her captor. She tells him she has fallen in love. Nolan thinks she’s talking about him, but Priya corrects him. She’s talking about Victor. This is rewarded by a slap from Nolan that escalates into a knock-down-drag-out fight. Priya eventually stabs him to death. Topher, feeling guilty, goes to get Priya and Boyd follows. They’ve got to cut up Nolan’s body. This traumatizes poor Topher and is probably one of the things that led him to become the non-functioning mentally unstable child he is in “Epitaph One.” Boyd calls what sounds like old mob connections to minimize the “consequences” of Topher’s actions.


With the cleaning done and lies told, Topher and Priya have a chat in his office. Priya wants the memory of this day erased. Topher turns her back into Sierra, and she goes back to Victor. Before he turned on the imprint chair, Priya asked Topher if he could keep the secret of what happened that day. “I can keep it, but I don’t know if I can live with it,” is his reply. We end with everything pretty much back under control at the Dollhouse, but things aren’t quite the same. Echo has her book back from Boyd, and he included a security card that she can use “for the storm.” And Victor and Sierra are sleeping snuggled up in the same pod.