“Dollhouse” mini-cap 2.3: “Belle Chose”

So, there’s this nefarious organization that takes real people and zombiefies them until they’re pliable puppets, ready and waiting to be told what to do. No, not the Christian right. The Dollhouse. And theirs is such a great idea, it was only a matter of time before some nutball decided to try it at home. Meet Terry Karrens: nutball.

Glen Campbell called. He wants his shirt back.

How do we know Terry is certifiable? It could be his high-water Dockers, or the creepy, slicked-down comb-over so popular with the serial killer set, or it could be that he’s playing a genteel game of croquet with several women he’s paralyzed with animal tranquilizers. What’s this? One of them doesn’t want to play anymore.

“Aunt Sheila” is getting away. Well, sort of. Terry grabs the girl and sticks her with another syringe, but not before she gets in a shot of her own. Now you’ve gone and made him mad. Terry bashes her head in with his mallet. That’s going to leave a mark.

Terry goes out looking for a new Aunt Sheila. He spies a good specimen across the street, but before he can get to her, he’s hit by a car and everything goes black.

Back at the real Dollhouse, Echo’s new handler, Ballard, is looking for her. He finds her in the group shower. To conserve water, Adelle had the shower heads switched from city water over to baby oil.

Eyes above the neck, buddy.

Elsewhere, Adelle and Boyd check in with Topher, who’s monitoring a patient. It’s Terry Karrens. Turns out, the psycho in a coma is the nephew of a major Dollhouse investor and there are perks to owning your own human laboratory.

Topher tells Adelle he’s trying a few things that may work, or may illicit a “man reaction.” Unflappable Adelle replies calmly, “I choose not to hear it.”

I choose not to see it.

Echo has just been implanted with “Kiki” a bubbleheaded college student, as per the request of a professor looking for some co-ed romance. This is why tenure is not always a great idea. Kiki pops up in the chair, ready for dancing, shopping, reading while moving her lips, you name it! Squee!

Seriously, college admission standards really need to be revisited.

Upstairs in Adelle’s office, Topher and Boyd have disturbing news. Terry’s brain has a whole lot of nothing where his good-person cells should be. Reviving a psychopath is an ethical judgment so troubling, even Topher has a problem with it.

There are much more fun times to be had in the Dollhouse makeover room, where Ballard brings Kiki to get her new wardrobe. The outfitter has seen it all and this is a guy who loves his job.

Outfitter: [to Ballard] You’re new. [to Echo] And of course, you’re always new. And who are we today?
Ballard: She’s Kiki.
Outfitter: Of course she is. Excuse me — work order, Echo. Echo? Echo? Who’s doing that? I am! Right. Ok. So, not exactly a rocket scientist. Normally, that would be irony, but here, one never knows. Stacy! Why don’t you take Miss Kiki her in the back and stick her in the works.
Kiki: Who’s going to pay for all of this?
Outfitter: Isn’t that cute? On la casa.
Kiki: Free?
Outfitter: Oui, oui.
Kiki: Did I win a prize?
Outfitter: You are a prize.

That whole scene was a prize.

Another Battlestar Galactica alum strolls into Adelle’s office. Colonel Tigh is now Bradley, Terry’s uncle. He tells Adelle the whole fam damily knows about Terry’s predilections. They’ve managed to pay off or bury (literally) evidence of his crimes, so what’s the big dilly-o? Bradley wants to awaken his nephew to find out where the ladies are, so he can clean up the mess.

Boyd takes over handling Echo from Ballard, whose FBI profiling skills are needed to interrogate Terry. Terry being in a coma doesn’t represent a problem, because Topher has taken his personality and memories and given them to Victor.

Over at Mickey Mouse University, Kiki has received an “F” on her essay about Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath.

Kiki says, “I probably never should’ve taken this course to begin with. But I figured it was medieval lit, and not advanced evil, so how hard could it be? So, I skipped intro to evil or whatever, but how is it I get an ‘F’ when this guy that we’re reading, ‘Chauncey,’ can’t even spell?”

The dirty professor tries to explain Middle English to the Kik-ster, but ya know, it’s “like Hobbits or something.” Hoo boy. Well, she’s pretty. That’s all that matters.

In the interrogation room, Ballard show Terry/Victor the real Terry. It’s all so confusing. “Goodness gracious,” he says as he stares at himself. Ballard pushes him to explain why he abducts women, drugs them, and pretends they’re his mother, sister and aunt.

Terry/Victor: They’re not nice. They’re never nice. They care more about their dates and their boyfriends and they don’t pay attention to Terry. They never let Terry play. No time for Terry. They are whores.

Speaking about one’s self in the third person is a sure sign of having one oar in the water.

Impatient with Ballard’s questioning methods, Bradley Karrens creates a diversion and sneaks Terry/Victor out of the Dollhouse. They don’t very far when Terry crashes the car and escapes. No problem. GPS come standard with every doll. Except, Victor had his removed while he was having his face redone and someone forget to put it back.

Adelle is livid and says to Topher, “Lovely. So, you’re saying that we’ve imprinted an Active as a serial killer and blindly let him loose upon the streets?”

Well, when you put it that way.

Ballard finds Bradley’s car (that GPS still works) smashed up and Terry missing. He sees the LA Metrolink station nearby. Oh great. Considering that thing doesn’t stop hardly anywhere useful, Terry shouldn’t be too hard to find.

Back at HQ, Adelle asks Topher for the impossible. No, not a TV series with a hot lesbian lead — she wants him to do a remote wipe on Victor.

Not one to accept defeat, Topher do’s that voodoo that he do so well, but things go kerflooey and the power goes out. And the saunas aren’t the only things not working anymore. Terry has left Victor’s body but where is that kooky, syringe-happy guy?

Found him.

Out in the world, Victor is now Kiki. And Kiki wants to have fun!

Dolls Gone Wild! On sale now.

Victor/Kiki steps up on a douchey dude with a popped collar and a jar head. Victor/Kiki says to him, “Hey, I noticed you watching me. I think we both know why.” Uh oh.

But it’s popped collar that ends up on the floor, knocked out cold. When you take the “oh no, you d’int” of a girl and put it in the frame a of a six-foot-tall guy, you better be nice to her. Him. Whatever.

Ballard comes to Kiki’s rescue, (not that she needs it) and brings her back for a debriefing and a manicure. Back at Terry’s lair, the croquet game is resuming, this time with Echo swinging the mallet and talking Terry’s crazy talk.

Captive Woman: I am not your mother!
Echo/Terry: Oh, then I guess I’m not your son. You always said, “Be a man.” You do make it a little difficult!

Especially in those boots and that skirt.

Echo/Terry is about to brain one of the women when she hesitates mid-swing. “Did I fall asleep?” she says, confused.

For a lucid moment, Echo warns the women, “He was here. He’s still here. He wants to kill you. You have to kill him first. He’s coming back, he’s coming back!”

The women have no idea who Echo is or what is going on. “It doesn’t have to make sense. It just is,” she tells them, not at all helpfully. The last time a girl said that to me, she was licking my eyeballs. But enough about West Hollywood.

Echo warns the women Terry must die or it will never stop. He’ll come back for all of them. Just as one of them is about to take Echo up on her enticing offer, Dollhouse security burst in and take her away for a treatment.

Back at the house. the real Terry is left in his veggie state. Echo has been wiped.

All is well. “Goodness gracious, she says as she stares at him. Or is it?