Dollhouse 1×09: “Spy in the House of Love”

Great episode. I remember all the reports saying that the show just kept getting stronger, and they were right.

Not even going to talk about this one

Topher finds a mod chip in his hardware that would allow additional features to be snuck into the imprints. What follows is an interesting scramble to try and discover who the spy is. It feels like we get some answers by the end of the episode, but upon closer inspection less has been revealed than we may think.

The existence of hardware modification brings more light to some of the erratic behavior of the actives. But how much does it actually explain? It seems pretty clear that this is the cause of the actives flipping into messenger mode and revealing certain details and clues to Ballard (as is seen with November in this episode, as well as past episodes). But is this also the cause of Echo’s flakiness and memory flashbacks, such as at the start of “Echos”, or is that more of an ingrained glitch in the overall system? The Victor-Sierra relationship that appears to transcend all states of imprinting suggests that the process is not as bullet proof as Topher always purports.

The other half revelation is with the discovery of the spy. By the end of the episode they have switch focus from the mod chip to the spy and sort of gloss over his transgressions, but I do not think his actions really add up. How is he “protecting” the Dollhouse? Why would he have tried to kill Echo? Most importantly, how would he have planted the chip? Answer: I do not think he did.

They do not come back around to talk about the chip because that was not him. I’m thinking it had to be Alpha. It would not seem likely that rogue Alpha who sliced and diced many dolls and handlers would be working with the NSA. So why, then, would the spy do what he does to try and cover his tracks if he is not the spy who did that particular thing? He basically sunk himself for something he didn’t do. Which makes me think that maybe then he did plant the mod chip (though I do not see how he has that expertise).

And away we go around in circles. So you see, we do not know as much as we think at the end of this episode.

Another great moment in this episode happens when November is revealed to Ballard to be a doll. Such a great revelation handled so well by Penikett. When November switches back to Mellie and Ballard jumps right back to “doin’ it” mode despite the bomb just dropped on him…it is just great. Ballard is such a great character.

I am not 100% on board with DeWitt being revealed as a secret client using Victor for weekend rendezvous. It all made sense but there was just something off about it. I guess it just was not quite in line with my interpretation of her character, but I’m not a writer on the show so I had better get on board. In the end, it is another example of the allure of the Dollhouse and the power it can provide. It is quite a different angle of the abuse of power that is available when compared to what happened with Sierra and her handler, but ultimately the only thing that makes it different is the imprint. Creepy.

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