Horses, Laser Tag, drunk rich people, and an ever so delightful murder mystery!
We begin at a hoity-toity equestrian country club. Rich buttholes are lounging abouts as I like to imagine rich buttholes do, sipping their Long Island Ice Teas, talking about tennis. A woman riding a horse – I’m guessing her name is Margaret, as that’s what someone calls her – tells her, uh, husband maybe (he seems a bit young for her) that she’s gonna go for a ride, then seconds later the horse returns riderless. Curious.
Cut to Echo coming out of the brain programming chair. DeWitt is standing there waiting for her, looking a bit bothered. Echo, in character, calls her Addy, and is all like, What’s the matter girlfriend? Then DeWitt calls Echo Margaret – further establishing my theory that that is her name – and informs her that she has bad news… “I’m sorry to be the one to tell you. You’re dead. “
Boom. Opening credits. Nice cold-open, “Dollhouse.” Well played.
After the dreamy, dreary title sequence ends, we join everybody’s favorite jerk-nerd, Topher, working on something in his lab when Boyd walks in. You may recall that Boyd has now been promoted to head of security after it was revealed that Dominic was an NSA mole (although I don’t believe he’s the real mole they were looking for). Boyd tries to act casual, but can’t help being all, So how is Echo? And Topher’s all, Aww, papa bear can’t let go?
Echo has been imprinted with Margaret, the dead horse lady, and Boyd wants to know what the dillio is. Topher isn’t sure, but it has something to do with dead lady being old friends with DeWitt. Then Topher says he needs a doll (or “active” as the hip kids say these days) so he can run a “diagnostic” of some kind. Boyd suggest Sierra, cause she’s a main character and they need something for her to do this episode.
Hey, that’s the first thing I’d grab if I became Echo too!
Up in DeWitt’s office: Echo as Margaret is parading around, happily checking out her own body. Have you ever noticed that every personality that Echo is programmed with is essentially the same? Weird huh? I wonder if that’s part of some deeper mystery. Cause the only other explanation is that maybe Eliza Dushku doesn’t have the most diverse range as an actress. But that’s just silly talk. Remember her in True Lies? Man, the first 2/3 of that movie are so awesome. Whoa I just realized something… True Lies? “Tru Calling?” Do you think there’s a connection?! Wait, what were we talking about again? Oh yeah…
So Margaret had apparently come into the Dollhouse a month prior to have her brain uploaded into their database so that if/when she died, she could be planted into a doll – which is of course what has just happened. She seems surprisingly unfazed by being dead and reborn. She’s all like, What’s up Addy, why the long face? And DeWitt’s like, Um, my friend just died; you, you were that friend, you’re dead. Margaret’s all, Pft, whatever. Then she says they should go to her funeral and do… detective work! She wants to solve her own murder. Murder, eh? How delightfully exciting!
Margaret supposedly died of a heart attack, but she suspects foul play. I suspect it was the horse. Think about – that’s whom she was last seen with! Ever since an 8th grader told me that Catherine the Great was crushed while having sex with a horse, I haven’t trusted the four-legged killing machines.
At the funeral, Echo as Margaret, who now wants to be called Julia (this is gonna get confusing), informs DeWitt that she’d been mentioning a “Julia” to her family for months and now Julia will be her mole so she can infiltrate her own family. Apparently she has always been super paranoid that someone wants to kill her for her money. I’ll give Margaret this – she had an interesting plan for her death. Me? When I die I want to be launched out of a canon directly into a crowd of my enemies. That’ll shown em! Bwah ha ha ha!
We are introduced to the other players in our Who Done It:
Bitchy Daughter & Snarky Son
Much younger husband, Jack
Back at the Dollhouse: Topher is playing Dr. Frankenstein with Sierra. Hmm. Seems his “diagnostic” is really a pleasure scenario for himself. He’s turned Sierra into a junk food eating and video game loving bff. Pervy, bro, very pervy.
Then we stop over to check in on our brooding, recently fired FBI agent, BSG’s Helo, and that cow-eyed walking hole in the screen and known Iowa hater, Mellie, for a nice evening of awkward awkwardness. Helo, who just learned that Mellie is actually a doll last ep, but has to pretend like he doesn’t know, tries his best to act like nothing is wrong. Then he takes her wine glass and puts it in a plastic bag. I’m assuming he’s gonna get it checked for finger prints. That or he just has a really anal approach to doing the dishes.
Back to the funeral shenanigans where Echo/Margaret/Julia is now in a room with Margaret’s two children, Snarky Son and Bitchy Daughter, and the Drunk Brother. Everyone seems pretty focused on getting wasted. Echarglia gets a rude awakening when she learns that her family doesn’t seem to care that she’s dead and didn’t really seem to like her in the first place. Gasp! Then they all laugh about how Margaret screwed over Jack, her much younger husband (who they all feel was a golddigger) by giving him her horses instead of money.
Eventually Echarglia goes outside to be sad. She is soon joined by Snarky Son who quickly attempts to comfort her by making out with her. Awkward! Echarglia almost throws up, having just been face-molested by her son. She runs off and he’s all, wtf?
Echarglia ends up stumbling into a room with Jack, who is also getting drunk. She tries to explain the horse thing to him, being all, Margaret gave you those horses cause they were her favorite thing in the world, but he gets all surly and wants to know if the rest of the family thinks he’s a murderer.
Later, Echarglia talks with DeWitt on the phone being all sad that everyone apparently hated her. Then we pull back to reveal that a shadowy figure is watching her through the window from outside. Dun dun dunnnn!
The next day at the Dollhouse: Boyd comes into DeWitt’s office with his proverbial panties in a bunch, bein’ all, So now we’re granting eternal life? Morality and crap will go out the window if we’re granting eternal life. But she’s all, Don’t have a cow, I’m not presiding over the end of Western civilization, dude. Then Boyd reveals that he’s taken it upon himself to join in Margaret’s detective work. He’s sent Victor in to pretend to be a horse breeder and talk with Jack.
Cut to: Victor shows up to meet with Jack and check out some fillies.
Echarglia happens upon Bitchy Daughter staring at a picture of her and Margaret and she’s crying. Echarglia tries to get her comforting on, but Bitchy Daughter’s like, I want to be a photographer and my mom never came to any of my shows and then she married that young dude, and like he totally cheats on her and stuff, though I have no proof, but I bet he’ll totally do you, cause he’s a cheater and I hate him! Echarglia of course isn’t happy to hear any of this. Especially the Jack being a cheater-pants part.
Now we’re at the FBI with Chief Bald Lady, who looks disturbingly like Me’Shell Ndegeocello (remember her from that John Mellencamp song?).
She comes walking into a room to find Helo hiding behind the door Batman-style. Chief Ndegeocello is all, What are you doing here? You got fired. And Helo’s all, I need you to run some prints. So she does and Mellie’s handsome face pops up on the computer screen with a zillion different aliases, all of which suddenly get erased mysteriously by some unknown force.
Helo: What just happened?
Chief: I just started to believe you.
Yeeeah, boyeee. That’s how we do it. That’s how we end a scene on “Dollhouse.”
Back at the Dollhouse: we join Topher being creepy/adorable with Sierra, still programmed as his perfect girl bff. They’re playing catch with a football, and then they decide to play drunk chess, where someone will have to take a drink every time they lose a chess piece. What, no strip chess? Pussies.
Meanwhile, in our Agatha Christie story, Echarglia finds Jack packing his bags. He wants to sell the horses and get out of there cause he’s so broken up (he says). She decides to put Bitchy Daughter’s theory to the test and lamely attempts to seduce Jack. But he gets all up her in grill, bein’ like, I think you’re a spy sent by Margaret’s family to see if I killed her, well you’re looking in the wrong place, you should talk to Drunk Brother. Jack reveals that Drunk Brother showed up the day before Margaret died, but he isn’t sure why, so he suspects him. While they talk we see Drunk Brother from afar milling about the house, looking at the bottom of vases. What? That’s not suspicious. That’s what I always do when I’m in someone’s house. I’m checking for messages. Like In-N-Out Burger. Have you ever looked at the bottom of their cups? They all say John 3:16. So I check the bottom of people’s vases to see what religion they are. That’s totally normal.
Outside Victor, as the horse dude, is inspecting Margaret’s fav horse, asking all sorts of totally believable horse guy stuff when Snarky Son shows up and is all, That was my mom’s favorite horse! It’s not for sale! I hate you!
Inside Echarglia chats with Drunk Brother. He talks about how he and Margaret made up the day before she died. He clearly didn’t do it. You know what – I’m gonna be really mad if the climax to this episode is Margaret learning a valuable lesson and no one actually killed her. Valuable lessons are stupid. I want murder!
At the Dollhouse: Topher and bff Sierra are playing… laser tag?!
Awesome! Hey, remember Gotcha? It was like a cross between laser tag and paintball, but for kids? No? Um… okay, me neither.
Then – Ugh… Mellie and Helo again. Helo comes home to find Mellie there. Time for the relationship talk. Sigh. Apparently she doesn’t care if he likes her or not, as long as he pretends to. She just gonna love all over him and he can do whatever. So to finally shut her up he grabs her and they hump. She’s an awesome roll model for all the little ladies out there.
Echarglia takes Margaret’s horse out for a ride. Once back in the stables, Echarglia is confronted by Snarky Son who is all, Did you think I wouldn’t recognize my own mother? Hi momz. So Echarglia and Snarky Son bond. Apparently he’s a dollhouse user as well, which is how he eventually figured out the truth about Echarglia. He confesses a horrible gambling addiction. Then they hug n’ stuff. He’s getting all lovie, cryin’ in and shit, talking about how now he just wants his mommy back.
Then Victor and Jack come in. Victor is all PO’d as apparently Margaret’s favorite horse is juicin’ the steroids. Jack says he didn’t know, but Victor is pissed and leaves. Jack freaks out and starts bashing the walls with a shovel. He hits an outlet, which causes sparks and a small explosion, which makes Echarglia scream. Jack hears this.
A minor action battle ensues. Jack tries to bash them with a shovel but Snarky Son stabs him in the side with a hay-bailing hook, and he and Echarglia escape.
Back at the Dollhouse: DeWitt is sitting in her office with the lights out, drinkin’ some booze, when Boyd comes in. He explains that he’s figured out that Margaret was killed with the same drugs being given to her horse. Then DeWitt is all, Yo, homes you aren’t Echo’s handler anymore, get used to it. Jeez, what crawled up her butt?
Then Boyd asks if she knows about what Topher is doing. She does. She allows it once a year because “loneliness doesn’t lead to anything good.” What about Free Cell, lady? That game is great! Anyway, DeWitt is creepily watching Topher and Sierra on a monitor in her office. We see Sierra bringing Topher a cookie with candles on top. I’m guessing it’s his bday. Man, that’s sad. Topher needs to ask out that cute Asian assistant of his.
Meanwhile, in our action mystery movie, Snarky Son and Echarglia seek shelter from Jack in Margaret’s bedroom. Snarky Son comes up with a brilliant plan – Echarglia should write a letter incriminating Jack as her murderer, and then Snarky Son will conveniently “find” it later. Hmm… that is sketchy. Echarglia writes the letter, but then actually stops and thinks for a second. If Jack didn’t know anything about horses (and he didn’t) how would he know how to drug one? Snarky Son just drops his act and pulls out a syringe. He murdered his mother cause he needs money to gamble. Plus he hated her or whatever. Time for some more murder!
Snarky Son gets Echarglia on the bed and just when he’s about to stick her with the needle, BOOM! Jack blows the doorknob off the door with a shotgun.
He and Snarky Son brawl for a moment before Echarglia bashes Snarky Son on the head, knocking him out. Then after sending Drunk Brother to go call the police, she burns the letter incriminating Jack that she just wrote.
The next day we see Drunk Brother reading a new will (which Echarglia clearly wrote up) to Bitchy Daughter. More money for everyone! Thank god. I was really worried these rich buttholes wouldn’t get to stay rich. Phew.
We conclude our Helo and Mellie subplot with Helo depressed in the shower while Mellie is being annoying like always. Jesus, these scenes are rough. Poor Helo.
Jack and Echarglia watch horses do horse stuff while they chat. He’s all, I wish I could talk to Margaret one last time, and Echarglia’s all, Maybe you should just act like you can, but he’s all, Nah, but then he does anyway. He really did love her. Echarglia is happy. Then she gives him a note “from Margaret,” which she clearly just wrote moments ago. I hope it’s a fantasy short story! A sexy one with elves.
Back at the Dollhouse: Echarglia is in the brain-wipe-chair, saying goodbye to DeWitt. She had her time. Now it’s time to die for realz. She asks if she’ll see her whole life flash before her eyes.
“Every single moment,” DeWitt says.
Sniffle, sniffle. Hmm? What? No, I just have allergies. And a cold. And something stuck in my eyes. And nose.