When Topher learns that there’s a spy in the Dollhouse, Echo and Sierra are imprinted as spy-hunters and deployed on separate missions in order to flush out the mole.
A Spy in the House of Love
The episode begins with Echo and Sierra wandering through the halls of The Dollhouse. There are screams from behind one of the doors on the floor above and a gunshot rings out, blood splattering against the glass on the other side. Echo’s dominatrix uniform indicates that her next mission is going to be something naughty. She talks about trust, pain, and her dungeon. After her mission, she is wiped.
Dominique and Dr. Saunders speak openly about the Dollhouse in front of Echo. The two discuss the pros and cons of what they do here, dwelling mostly on the cons. Dr. Saunders thinks that the system is flawed, but not for the same reasons as Dominique.
In the imprinting room, Topher asks Dominique to leave because he needs to make a phone call to DeWitt. He’s found a chip on one of the chairs which allowed someone to access the imprint codes, and make actives. The conversation becomes hot, fingers are pointed, and Dominique puts the lockdown on the whole place. There is a constant shuffle of blame, and DeWitt is not happy when she comes to learn the situation. Echo offers to help Topher.
Mellie (November) pays a visit to Paul Ballard, who opens his door warily, gun drawn. He explains to Mellie that the Dollhouse had his place bugged. The Dollhouse is way bigger than anything he ever expected, it’s linked to everything. He suspects that it is underground- literally- beneath Los Angeles. His ranting sounds like paranoia, but he seems genuinely soothed to find Mellie, safe. Mellie claims that she returned to see him because he needs someone to keep him grounded. Then Mellie’s expression goes blank, and her eyes fail to meet Ballards. “I have a message for you from inside the Dollhouse,” Mellie says to Ballard’s shock. The gist of the message is a threat. Ballard learns that the Dollhouse operates on fantasy, and they’ve been using this body to get close to him. “Mellie” only exists because Ballard has been speaking. They haven’t told her anything else. When Mellie snaps out of her trancelike state, she seems unaware of the words she’s just spoken.
Laurence Dominique’s next order of business is to imprint Sierra, and send her out to find the spy. As Sierra undergoes the imprinting process, Dominique continues to blame Topher for the security breach. Topher points out that ‘security’ is Dominique’s job description, not his. Sierra is sent to infiltrate the internal building. What follows is a Mission Impossible-like Espionage episode. Sierra dons a wig and a uniform which make her look exactly like the passenger sitting next to her on a train. She renders the woman- an employee of the internal building- unconscious and scans her irises. Using high-tech gadgetry she makes false contact lenses which allow her to bypass security, and enter a vault where she finds what they are looking for. Shortly after an alarm starts blaring and Sierra needs a quick escape. She calls for a roof extraction, but has to alter which corner of the roof they grab her from after narrowly dodging some bullets.
Victor is sent on another romantic engagement with Mrs. Lonelyhearts, but he quickly ditches his purpose and meets with Catherine. The two discuss the possibility of getting out of the whole Dollhouse thing. They embrace. After engaging in a fencing match which turns rough, the two confess their love for one another. Catherine has some remarkable insight regarding love. She claims that dating is about hiding your flaws from someone, a relationship is about hiding your disappointments, and marriage is about hiding your sins. Victor proposes that they run away together. The next morning Catherine walks in with a sad expression on her face. Victor asks her what happened.
Topher accepts Echo’s offer to help. After stepping off the imprinting machine, she requests copies of personnel records… and clothes so she can get out of her pajamas. Then she begins interrogating every, starting with Topher. Dominique interrupts her interrogations when his phone rings and Sierra calls for extraction. Dominique explains that Sierra beat Echo to the punch. He tells everyone that the information Sierra obtained reveals Ivy to be the spy. Ivy is brought in terrified but denying that she is the spy. Dominique tells her that she is going to be sent to ‘the attic’, a metal sock where people are sent after being wiped. They sit there like old dolls in the attic.
This is when Echo interrupts and accuses Dominique of being the spy for the NSA. She remembers that he had made a phone call, just after imposing the lock down, even though making a phone call is against protocol once a lock-down is initiated. He must have called to warn the NSA to put incriminating information in Ivy’s file, so as to throw off the scent of his treachery. Echo’s proof for this is that twenty-seconds ago he unsnapped his gun holster…
…Which is why he is able to raise the gun and draw a bead on Echo in a mere instant. Fortunately, Topher gave Echo more than just superior interrogative and analytical skills. She jumps for cover and kicks Dominique’s ass. Apprehended, Dominique is brought before Dewitt. He tells Echo that what they do here isn’t good, they hurt people. Echo points out that he had just tried to hurt her. DeWitt asks him why he wanted to bring down the Dollhouse. He explains that he wasn’t sent to bring it down, he was sent to make sure it didn’t bring itself down. The technology needs to be controlled, he claims.
While they prep him for the attic, Dominique is smiling. He tells Echo that after she’s beaten him to a pulp, they’ll erase him… but not before they erase her. He prophesizes that she will be the one who brings the Dollhouse down. They just don’t know it yet. They tear him with electric shocks and he screams fighting back. Downstairs, Echo and Sierra can hear the scream from behind the door. Dominique gets his hands on a gun and puts a hole in DeWitt; blood splatters on the door behind them. The bullet passed through her side, and a quick visit to Dr. Saunders fixes it. Later, Topher tells DeWitt that it was Echo who offered her services to locate the mole. DeWitt realizes that Echo was protecting herself by protecting the Dollhouse.
Recap by Jonathan Friedler