The first of the December doubleheaders started with “The Public Eye”, where ex-Active Madeline Costly, aka Mellie/November is about to testify before the Senate about how Rossum stole three years of her life by putting her in the Dollhouse. In fact, he’ll give the word “Dollhouse” a more sinister definition. Before that, we see Perrin and his wife Cindy make small talk. She asks him to remind her how much she loves her. He says “I’m Your White Knight”, and she says she’s his “damsel”.
Matthew Harding, one of the big-wigs at Rossum, isn’t happy. He asks Adelle why she was dumb enough to let Madeline out of her contract early. Well, the good news is that Rossum has a backup plan, and Adelle should let her bosses execute it.
Adelle’s worried that may mean Madeline will be silenced, as in dead, if she testifies. It’s not that she’s going soft. She thinks Maddie’s being used as a pawn against her…but why?
They look over Perrin’s background, mainly that he’s been investigating medical research for three years. Topher just thinks he’s a demagogue. Echo just thinks Maddie is sad, but someone else “doesn’t look right”. She’s talking about Cindy Perrin, who Daniel claims is so perfect it’s like she was “made for him”. Could she be a sleeper?
Her background, and lack of accurate info, suggests that. If so, Paul Ballard should see that scene in “Man on the Street” where Maddie/November killed Hearn after she was told about flowers in a vase. That will let him know what Cindy could do.
Speaking of which, she is comforting Maddie as she is looking at pictures of some of the things she did as Active Mellie, including sex with Ballard. Then Daniel calls, and we see the “remind me why I love you” exchange again.
Back at the Dollhouse, Topher demonstrates his new Disruptor Ray designed to disable Actives. He brings in test subject Kilo, played by Maurissa Tanchareon, one of the writers and Joss Whedon’s sister-in-law. We see that with his new ray, he can stop… any Active, but it will cause headaches, nosebleeds and fainting. It will also work on Maddie because she still has some of that reprogramming in her. Paul sees that even ex-Actives don’t leave the Dollhouse.
What about Echo? Well, she will have a role to play. She’ll pretend to be Senator Perrin’s one-night stand he doesn’t remember because he wad drugged beforehand. He quickly figures Rossum’s behind this, and decides to keep Echo, aka Bree, as evidence. First, he decides to see Cindy, which Echo/Bree suspects could be a threesome in the making.
As he’s driving, Perrin tries to convince Bree/Echo she’s a Doll, but she thinks it’s some weird fantasy he has. They get to a safe house just as Paul finds Maddie. Paul uses the Disruptor, and it knocks out Echo, Maddie…and Perrin!
This comes as a big surprise for the Dollhouse, along with the fact that Bree/Echo drives away with Perrin. As she’s looking for a “big aspirin”, she gets flashes of her past lives on the show. This convinces her she’s a Doll.
As for Mrs. Perrin, she takes the Disruptor, and leaves her guards to take care of Ballard. After his bribe offer is rejected, he takes care of the guards.
So who is Daniel Perrin, exactly, or was he? He thinks he is Perrin, not a Doll, even as his past “memories” are flashing before him as he’s driving. Topher discovers Daniel was actually a screw-up despite his family’s past accomplishments. Somehow, he became the rising junior senator by being “improved”. That’s not being a Doll or Sleeper.
Cindy Perrin does find Daniel and Bree/Echo. She tries to calm him down with the “remind me why you love me” code, but it isn’t working. Echo has a tussle with Cindy, and subdues her by just remembering what her past selves did before. Echo does come up with a great line to Cindy before they leave: “You just woke up a lot of people (inside Echo), and they all think you’re a *censormode*.”
Maddie confronts Paul at LAX just as she’s headed to DC. She just asks what was she before. He tells her she was Mellie, a neighbor who wanted to help his investigation…and it was all real. She asks him that if she is really Maddie, she should be free to make her own mistakes. “Am I free?” she asks. She walks away, and he doesn’t stop her. That’s the last we see of Paul this week.
So, what is Cindy Perrin’s plan? Adelle figures that Rossum wants a Senator it can control, namely Perrin, so he can pass laws that help the company. He’ll also clear Rossum of any connection with the Dollhouse, leaving Adelle and the other houses out to dry.
This could be a metaphor of Fox’s decision to cancel the show without giving it a chance in sweeps. Otherwise, we would have seen this two-parter during the first two weeks in November, then get a break until December 4th. That would have generated interest in the show.
Switch to Washington, where a woman is busy typing on a very strange keyboard. It turns out to be…River Tam?
Actually, her name is Bennett Halverson, a programming genius just like Topher. She’s just more twitchy, driven, and insane. She also has a dead left hand. Three minutes with her, and we get the whole picture. She wants her secretary not to wonder about what the bosses want, or they’ll wonder about her. She says that since they work in the center of the human heart, they give up everything. She already has a plan of how to reprogram Daniel so he’ll forget what he did. Something about a movie with a dog is involved. Soon, Cindy arrives with her husband, who’s confused about where he is, and who Bennett is. Cindy says “That’s God, dear, and you have heartily offended her.”
Bennett, however, is more interested in Echo. It seems they’ve met before, and that she had promised to come back. So, Bennett welcomes her “old friend”…with searing pain.