“Dollhouse” mini-cap 2.11 “Getting Closer”

Three years ago, Caroline Farrell was a happy-go-lucky college co-ed, slash corporate terrorist. Young, dumb and full of come — hither, that is — she used her feminine wiles to trick a security guy into letting her into Rossum. Like many of us back then, her only interests were not picking a major and blowing things up.

All that changed the night Caroline stumbled upon Rossum’s hidden lair of Dolls, labs, and secret files, one of which belonged to Bennett Halverson, Topher’s future soul mate and nemesis.

Meanwhile, the horny rube who gave Caroline his keycard had no idea any of this existed within the walls of the building he was supposed to be guarding. But don’t worry about him. He went on to get a cushy job in Homeland Security, monitoring flights in and out of Detroit, Michigan.

Today, the Adelle and the gang are finalizing their plot to bring back Caroline and discover the identity of Rossum’s evil mastermind: a man or woman, (or hermaphrodite, if you listen to Topher) only she has seen and lived to tell. Problem is, Caroline Farrell didn’t get a chance to tell anyone what she had seen, before her personality was put on a computer “wedge” and filed under “F.”

Now it’s time to put the real Caroline back into Echo’s brain, where scores of imprints are having a house party. Topher wonders if it’ll be like coming home to that, but they’re not going to find out any time soon, because Ivy comes back from the vault empty-handed. Caroline’s back-up wedge is missing. Of course it is!

Remember the nerd who had no friends and got pushed around by the pretty, mean kids? Maybe you are that nerd now. Well, know this: Someday, you’ll be the boss of those jerks. You might not look like Summer Glau, but you’ll have your day in the sun, trust me.

Bennett may have been a nerd with goofy glasses, but she was no pushover, and neither was Caroline. They met and bonded one afternoon after booting two gum-snapping bitches from a lunch table. Before you could say “matriculate,” the two were thick were thieves.

But that was then, and this is now. And in the now, Topher has hacked into Bennett’s Washington DC lab and imprinted one of her Actives to help kidnap her. Ballard and Victor come waltzing in and whisk Bennett off to LA, where she admires Adelle’s open floor plan and lax Doll policies. “They roam like free range chickens,” she observes, “We keep ours more like veal.”

Ballard took it upon himself to rescue November/Mellie/Madeleine while he was there, and add her back into the LA chicken coop. She’s immediately led to a little table and starts painting a watercolor of a Bonsai tree or something equal tranquil. Unbeknownst to the Zen-zombies, whose greatest concern is the cafeteria running out of crepes, Adelle orders a full lock-down in anticipation of a Bennett recovery effort by her DC rival.

In the lab, Topher and Bennett make googly-eyes at each other until Bennett bristles when she realizes she’s being tricked into reassembling Caroline’s original imprint wedge. Caroline. Grrr. If only the two were back in college, where they not only shared clothes, they did each other’s hair and talked like this:

Caroline: This is your color, or what your color should be. You’ll still be you, just more you.
Bennett: I often thought I’d like to be less me. And more like, well… you, actually.
Caroline: Me? I’m still undeclared.
Bennett: You know who you are. You’re fearless. I’d love to get a look at your amygdala.
Caroline: You’ll have to buy me dinner first.

Mmm. Lather.

Days later, Bennett finds the stolen Rossum files, hers and Caroline’s, under some skinny jeans on Caroline’s closet. She wants to know why, but she doesn’t appear to be all that pissed that Caroline used her. In fact, Bennett says, “I’m more hurt that you won’t.”

My AfterEllen decoder ring says:

“Undeclared” = Bi
“Amygdala” = Lady parts
“More like you” = SWF
“Please use me” = SWF who’s going to cut you one day

Caroline offers to let Bennett join in the corporate terrorism fun by helping her blow up Rossum. Bennett is not only down with her BFF’s plan, she’s going to use her company ID to get them into the joint.

In the present, there are more surprising hook-ups and old grudges than an episode of Jersey Shore. Whiskey-a-go-go has come a-back-back and is now living with Boyd, her boy toy. It’s always the dependable, stoic ones that harbor an attraction for the nut jobs. Hero and damsel in distress — when does that not work?

Meanwhile, Bennett has clocked Topher in the chops (with her good arm) in a Pavlovian response upon hearing the name “Caroline.” And Caroline releases Victor and Sierra into the wild, letting the two lovebirds fly the coup before the poo hits the fan. Just as Echo is waving goodbye, Dominic comes stumbling out of the Attic and tells her Rossum’s onto her, Clyde is dead, and he would like a towel.

Adelle does a little housecleaning before Rossum’s goons attack her home base by ordering all the Actives be returned to their real selves and released. All except November, who she reverts back to Mellie, so Ballard has one more girl to worry about. Not a moment has passed since Mellie last saw her crush. She’s happy to see he’s found the Dollhouse and can now rescue Caroline. OK, someone needs to de-brief this girl and tell her what’s new, including the fact that Ballard is now a Doll, Adelle is one of the good guys, and Tiger Woods is a manwhore.

Flashback to Caroline and Bennett’s fun with bombs. “You sure you’re up for this?” Caroline asks. Bennett replies, “We’re in it together,” like a good girlfriend should. Too bad that bonding over blowing up things not in the cards for these two. Things go awry when Caroline finds zombie people in the basement, Bennett can’t interrupt the bombs already in progress, and Adelle, sporting her 2007 hair, is about to catch both of them in the act.

An explosion rips through the building, trapping Bennett under some cement. Unable to get her friend out, Caroline runs off, thinking it’s best if Bennett pretends she was just working late and got caught in the explosion. Unfortunately, Bennett thinks her noble act is more like abandonment and thus, a lifelong hatred is born.

In the present, Echo tells Bennett she doesn’t like Caroline anymore than she does. But they need to bring her back, so they can find out what the Wizard of Rossum looks like. After that, Bennett can exact her revenge on her frenemy ’til the cows come home. “I will let you do anything you want with her,” she says. Oh my, you could take that so many different ways.

Things are looking up for Bennett Halverson. Topher is as smitten with her as she is with him. Echo is willing to “hold the bitch down” and let Bennett mess up Caroline once and for all. And, she has the kind of job security that only on-armed geniuses have.

Upstairs, Bennett’s boss and his thugs are there to take her home. Words are exchanged, guns are drawn, and when the smoke clears, the DC boys are dead and Boyd has a through-and-through gunshot wound. Adelle tells him to take off without his girlfriend, Whiskey. Big mistake.

Just as Bennett is about to fix Caroline’s wedge, Whiskey enters the lab and blows her head off. Boyd’s lady picker really kind of sucks.

Topher doesn’t have time to grieve the lost of his soul mate; they need Caroline’s wedge fixed asap. Ivy wants to help, but Topher has a noble act up his plaid sleeve as well. “You have a remarkable brain. I think it should stay in your head, “he says as he guides her to the door, “Ivy, don’t become me.”

Moments later, the Dollhouse is under siege. SWAT teams descend from the ceiling and start shooting everything in sight. They blow out a giant window (“Damn, I just had that replaced,” Adelle says dryly. Gah, I love the British.) and rush the lab.

Adelle and Mellie retreat to the service tunnels while Topher hastily imprints Echo with Caroline’s personality. One of Rossum’s goons knocks Topher out cold and is about to off Echo, when Boyd re-appears just in time to snap his neck with a twig.

“Hang in there,” he says to Echo, as she receives Caroline’s information.

Suddenly, her memories return. She’s back in 2007 in Rossum headquarters, about to meet Mr. Big. And here he is:

“You’re never going to be harmed. You’re far too valuable,” Boyd/Mr. Big says. Damn, I was hoping it was going to be Mellie. Or Topher. Or Christopher Noth. Never mind.

Next week: The final two episodes. Stay tuned!