Season 2 Episode 3

Belle Chose

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Oct 09, 2009 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
628 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

At the request of a Dollhouse shareholder, Victor is imprinted with the mind of the man's nephew. The man's unstable, psychotic, homicidal nephew. Now, just as Ballard is starting to adjust to his new role, he must call upon all of his FBI training when Victor escapes the Dollhouse to wander the streets with a killer in his head.moreless

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  • Belle Chose

    The good;

    Ballard and the other handler consoling one another whist waiting for their charges to select clothes makes me laugh out loud every time. Victor's girly dancing is just fabulous as is him as Terry (Enver really is the best actor in the cast). I like the fact that Victor's chip is missing due to bureaucracy and oversight, it has that element of truth to it even in a place as sophisticated as the Dollhouse. Echo/Terry stabbing the professor is a real shocker.

    The bad;

    I know a lot of people say that you can see the human statues move (as you can in the Angel ep 'Just desserts') but you would expect that, they're not real statues they're parlaysed women and the drugs are wearing off. Why not just let Victor go and track him (when he's got his chip in)? How does a guy as lamely dressed as Terry get into a trendy club? Terry's victims seem to accept the Dollhouse tactical team awfully easily, they don't even have 'Police' written on their overalls.

    Best line;

    Boyd; "Topher has ethical problems. TOPHER!"


    Dollhouse fashion guru; "Not exactly a rocket scientist. Normally that's irony but around here you never know"


    Echo/Kiki; "I mean how hard can it be, it's medi-eaval, it's not even advanced eaval"

    Packing heat; nope, croquet mallets and letter openers


    Boyd; 8

    Dominic; 9

    Sierra; 4

    Victor; 3

    Ballard; 10

    November; 1

    Echo kissage; 4

    Kinky dinky;

    The villain appears to be a fan of ASFR, that is a fetish for transforming people into statues/living waxworks/robots. (I know what you're thinking, "Girl, now you're just making this stuff up" but I'm really not, just type ASFR into your search engine and you'll see what I mean.) The shower scenes are back, the fans must have complained that they missed them. Echo comments 'I'm wet' when appearing naked in front of Ballard but she probably means from the shower. Kiki is hot to trot and is delectable in her mini-skirt and knee socks, lovely sexy dance she does for the prof. Nice analogy of female power in Kiki's discussion with the Professor of Chaucer and interesting use of the term 'whippe', Echo/Kiki also seems a fan of wearing spurs "Nasty!" (where would this assigment have gone had it continued?).

    Capt subtext;

    Topher once again worries that he's creating a 'man reaction' in another male. The head of the Dollhouse clothing department is extremely fey and obviously in his dream job (I originally thought that this might be Harry Groener, Mayor Wilkins from Buffy but it's not). Victor/Kiki and Paul make a rather cute gay couple "Gotta a problem?".

    Notches on the Dollhouse bedpost;

    Echo; 4 definite, 2 possible

    November; 1

    Ballard; 1

    Victor; 1

    Adele; 1

    Sierra 1 possible

    Topher; 1 possible

    How'd they get away with that?

    Women imprisoned and struck on the head with a croquet mallet. The poor Prof knifed in the neck.

    This weeks fantasy;

    Echo AND Victor are Kiki, a scatterbrained but fun-loving student. Victor/Echo are also the villain, creepy dweeb Terry Karrens.

    What do we think of the client?

    Hard to know what to make of Echo's professor client. He wants to have an affair with one of his students but rather than do it for real he hires Echo to act out the fantasy for him instead, getting to live the dream without tarnishing his professional ethics. I guess that's actually ok, he can't help how he feels so he's doing this to avoid real temptation. The Uncle also seems not a bad guy, keen to rescue his nephew but also wanting to save his victims.

    Total number personalitites; 2 for Victor and Echo

    Echo; 27

    Sierra; 12

    Victor; 9

    November; 3

    Total dolls;

    8-Echo, Sierra, November, Victor, Mike, Tango, Alpha, Whiskey

    Topher is a bit geeky;

    Love the face to face scene between him and Ivy as they try to reboot everything, very Juggernaut.

    Subverting the Hollywood cliche;

    . Victor/Kiki goes from gaybashed to bigotbasher. Nice to see the captured girls are actually escaping on their own rather than needing to be rescued "We're not his toys".


    Sierra tied up; 1

    Ballard; 1

    Knocked out;

    Echo; 2

    November; 1

    Sierra; 1

    Victor; 1

    Topher; 2


    Sierra; 2 kills

    Echo; 3


    Dolls injured;

    Poor Echo get's seriously roughed up by the escapers and the guy in the bar tries to punch Victor.

    Happy hookers;

    Misogynist creep Terry seems to have a hard time with 'Whores' (is he related to Mal Reynolds?)

    Know the face? Maybe I should start listing BSG alumni, Michael Hogan the 4th

    9 Whedon alumni-Mark Shepherd-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Amy Acker-2 (Dollhouse/Angel), walking action figure-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse), Eliza Dushku-3 (Buffy/Angel/Dollhouse), Jim Piddock-2 (Angel/Dollhouse), Gregg Henry-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Alan Tudyk-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Felicia Day-2(Dollhouse/Buffy), Alexis Denisoff-3 (Buffy, Angel and Dollhouse), Kristoffer Pohala-2 (Dollhouse/Angel), Stacey Scowley-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse)


    Ballard takes great joy in roughing up Terry, freed from the constraints of the FBI.


    Just search 'Legacy of Timeless Beauty'

    Missing scenes;.

    I heard that the original scene between Ballard and Adele at the end was supposed to go a little differently;

    Ballard; "You think there's any chance he's ever going to wake up?"

    Adele; (hard as nails) "I wouldn't let him leave here if I did"

    Reminds me off;

    The concept is a little reminiscent of the Angel eps 'Just desserts' and 'Billy' and the Buffy ep 'Ted'.

    Whedon cliches;

    Rich and powerful famillies who cover up the evil deeds of their wayward sons (like those from the Angel ep 'Billy). Top security installations which aren't secure at all. Loving self-sacrificing mothers who risk all for their children (Joyce, Darla)

    Breaking the programming;

    Echo is now able to rebel against Terry and save the girls. Topher is now able to do remote wipes although he screws it up royally.

    Questions and observations;

    Topher can diagnose psychopaths just by looking at their brainscans. Well this seems a useful skill, let's do that with everyone. This client is so twisted he gives even Topher an ethical dilemma. Rather creepy ending implying that the villain lives on inside Echo's mind but I guess Eleanor Penn, Esther from True Believer, Margeret from Haunted, the mom from 'Instinct', the Dominatrix, the midwife etc inside her can keep him outnumbered and pinned down. Kiki confuses 'middle english' with Tolkiens 'middle earth'. What book is Boyd reading in the van? Why not just have Terry hire out Echo, Sierra and co to act out his fantasies, no one would get hurt and it might help him regain his sanity? No Sierra whatsover this ep.

    Marks out of 10; 7/10, fairly funny for an ep with such a dark central subject matter.

  • Sometimes it takes a little crazy to truly spell Nuts and boy oh boy was Alpha missed here.

    Who knew out of all the tasks Victor could perform, he could also play crazy. Out of all the psycho Luney, Echo was the least believable, probably because Echo has taken on a personality of her own, even in her imprinted state she still goes back to Echo format.

    At least we know for sure that Dr. Saunders is not forgotten and that DeWitt is probably making it her goal to get her back, but it isn't really her first priority.

    Among the silly in 'Belle Chose' Victor's attempt to dance like a girl came off disturbing. He presented himself more like a man trying to dance like a girl as opposed to a girl dancing like a girl. Didn't he realize his change in body chemistry?

    From the onset of 'Instinct' and Eliza Dushku's stellar performance, I expected 'Belle Chose' to up a grade, but it presented a certain mediocrity to it. I did appreciate the guest stars who resembled the actual manikin, but they out numbered Echo and could have easily taken her down.

    Paul's anxiety towards Echo was no surprise, probably had a lot to do with seeing he naked in the shower. To any extent DeWitt must be aware of his fascination with Echo, she seems to give him more than he can actually chew. How good was he as a detective; it wasn't really established, so did he have the capability to interrogate a psychopath. I am sure DeWitt could have saved herself the trouble and just follow one of her dolls with their tracking devices still implanted (That's new) to the secne and just raid on their parade.

    I barely tolerated Echo's engagement with the professor, it really added a yawn that we really could have done without. Maybe Sierra could give it a spin, Madeline also gave it an essential twist. On the other hand not my favorite storyline.

    Lexa Reviews


    Three Stars

    Grade C-

  • A serial killer is loose in Beverly Hills and his family has been covering for him. This family also is a major stakeholder in the Rossum Corporation which should be no surprise. Echo is imprinted as Kiki, a coed trying to get a better grade.moreless

    I really enjoyed this episode until Echo/Kiki stabbed the professor in the neck. OK, getting past the prostitution piece which is a big problem for most people, this episode was dealing with some of the problems of the technology and in some ways how this technology could be beneficial.

    Basically they had the chance to save three women who had been brutally kidnapped and maybe would have escaped, but starvation was also a possibility.

    Even though there was some brilliant parts to this story the overall piece fell back into the morass that is the Dollhouse in the long run. Topher is guessing now most of the times. Anomalies are everywhere and who knows what will happen next.

    A truly positive episode that sort of fell into the old episodes that just are to clever for their own good. Thank for reading...moreless
  • Goodness Gracious Written by Tim Minear Directed by David Solomon

    Ivy: "First Paul is going to take you on a spree."

    Echo: "Shopping or killing? Joke."

    Whoever said this show had a dark sense of humour? Well if you haven't, then why not? The humour might not tickle you in the same vein as Dexter but this show certainly doesn't waste time in delivering one of the creepiest characters yet.

    Opening up with Terry was a different tack in a way for the series. He looked suitably demented and it wasn't that much of a shocker when we saw four innocent women paralysed and positioned like shop door dummies. Sadly when the paralysis wore off one of the women, her attempts of escape were thwarted with Terry bumping up her in quite a grim fashion.

    Adding further to the violent opening, Terry himself got ran over when he decided to get a replacement for his Aunt Sheila. Karmically, it's a beautiful thing to happen to the deranged sociopath but if that had been the end of him; we'd be 75% out of an episode as well, so Terry winding up in a coma instead was to be expected.

    When even Topher has moral qualms against wanting to wake Terry up, it's probably a good indicator that a) Topher does some scruples and b) a further reminder of how seriously we're suppose to take Terry as a threat. His uncle Bradley wanted Adelle to wake him up, even after admitting to some of Terry's horrid acts. Personally, I'd probably pull the plug Terry if I had the choice, so it's probably a good thing that I'm not a doctor then.

    Of course Adelle's a lot shrewder and connecting the disappearance of four women from Bradley's claims of his nephew's nasty activity, she spotted a potential case to solve. This also meant Paul getting to utilise his FBI skills. Paul doing something useful. No, actually this is a good episode for him.

    His approach with Terry was pretty good. I liked that Paul didn't want to try the softly, softly approach even if Bradley felt it was the better method with Terry. Having Victor don the psycho's body meant a great performance from Enver, who certainly has proved his capability as an actor on this show and in this episode alone.

    Terry's motives for his actions weren't spectacular or even original. Paul conveyed that beautifully when he tore into Terry's need for having a fake family, even though his real one was very much alive and breathing. The only problem was that in spite of Paul's wonderful breakthrough (Terry admitted to killing the woman he forced to be Aunt Sheila), Bradley broke him out of the Dollhouse while still in Victor's body.

    Victor running loose as a psycho is not a good thing and even Adelle felt the pressure by demanding Topher to do a remote wipe. It was only a matter of time before someone other than Alpha would have to achieve and lo and behold, Topher did the deed. Too bad that he took the psycho out of Victor and slammed him into Echo. Not your best work, Topher.

    Having both Victor and Echo swap from the imprints they had was a genius idea for this episode. Okay so Eliza Dushku isn't quite as good as Enver Gjokai but she does a good effort in still conveying the menace when Terry killed/injured poor randy professor Edmund and also when he went back to finish the rest of his victims off.

    The final few moments however with Echo trying to suppress Terry's killer instincts and help the women out when she wasn't attacking them was a little rushed. I did however find some of the ending confusing. Did Terry actually die in his coma and did Echo manage to retain him, even after being wiped? The latter is definitely not a good thing if true.

    As for the other assignment, Echo as Kiki felt a little too first season for me. The naive girl, not getting her medieval literature and having a randy professor enlighten and sleep with her. Been there, done that does seem to be the nicest way of conveying that it's nothing new. Edmund getting killed/seriously injured when Echo went from Kiki to Terry however was a bit more original. If he survived, could Adelle have a lawsuit on her hands?

    However the best thing about this episode was Victor as Kiki. It might have been short-lived but it was certainly a lot of fun and far funnier than you'd ever expect a show like this to be. Paul was especially kind of cute when he stepped in from Victor getting potentially beaten up by a few disgruntled night clubbers. Certainly a talking point for this series.

    Also in "Belle Chose"

    The literary allusions in this episode were interesting. In his own way, Edmund was trying to encourage female sexual liberation while Terry was trying to suppress it.

    Topher (re Terry): "It could also give him a man reaction."

    Adelle: "I choose not to hear that."

    Boyd and Adelle both argued over Claire in this episode. Even Victor commented on not liking the new doctor as well.

    Boyd (to Adelle): "Topher has ethical problems. Topher."

    Echo: "I'm like the Scarlet Lady with an F on her chest."

    Edmund: "A."

    Bradley was played by Michael Hogan (Tigh from Battlestar Galactica). If we're really lucky can we have Tricia Helfer or James Callis next?

    Bradley (re Paul): "This is the wrong approach to take with Terry. He needs to know you're on his side."

    Adelle: "But we're not on his side."

    Echo (to Edmund): "I guess having a fat ass was a great thing in the 1300s."

    In the UK, Sci-Fi seems to keep airing their ads for evening repeats of Buffy during the breaks for this show. Gee, I wonder why.

    Topher (re Victor): "He'll be an empty headed robot walking around Hollywood. He'll be fine. We'll find him."

    Edmund: "You do have power over me. You're an incredible woman."

    Echo/Terry: "What did you call me? I am an incredible woman. Goodness gracious."

    Victor/Kiki (to night clubber): "You suck. Trying to hit a girl. Oh Paul, why did you ever leave me?"

    Paul (to man): "You got a problem?"

    No Sierra this week but the next episode is supposed to more than make up for that, so I'm happy with that.

    Paul (re Terry): "Think he'll ever wake up?"

    Adelle: "Wouldn't it be nice if he didn't?"

    Paul and Adelle seem friendlier with each other. Either that or Paul is trying to be more clever in taking the Dollhouse down. Latter I suspect.

    "Belle Chose" is definitely the strongest contender from the first couple of episode we've had this season. Some good performances from Eliza and Enver and priceless comic moments all help make this one a winner.moreless
  • Killers and kink

    I'm not sure why, but it's pretty clear that this episode was aired out of order. It should have aired immediately after the premiere, especially since it doesn't make any sense for Adele and Boyd to be worrying about the disappearance of Dr. Saunders now when they ignored it in the previous episode. Also, this is a much stronger effort.

    After seeing "Epitaph One", I had little doubt that the writers understood many of the unsavory aspects of the premise. They were noted here and there in the first season, but they've become a lot more apparent. Minear goes for the jugular in this episode, forcing the audience to consider layers of morality and immorality throughout the story. Even if Adele and Topher can see a line they should not cross, are they drawing it in the right place?

    Terry, the serial killer, abducts women and forces them to dress up and play roles in his fantasy world. When they don't perform to expectation or resist, he kills them. That there are "survivors" is quite beside the point. What he's doing is clearly wrong and more than a little sick. Even the administrators of the Dollhouse can see that, even as they struggle with the self-interested aspects of helping a well-connected client with an errant family member.

    Yet the Dollhouse treads awfully close to the same immoral ground. This is driven home by the unnerving scene in which Terry's demented psychological state is revealed, right down to his use of the abducted women, as Echo performs her programmed seduction of a sexually-perverted college professor. All the build-up seems designed to pull the viewer in, attract them with a slutty and ditzy version of Eliza, and then expose the ugly truth of that deviant interest.

    The story also paves the way to "Epitaph One" by demonstrating how changes to the hardware and software can remotely and quickly download a new personality into someone. In this case, the rewriting effect was limited to a glitch and a specific delivery system within each Active, but the results are hard to argue. This is foreshadowing of the technology that Topher will eventually develop that will allow remote imprinting of unwilling subjects, an advancement that leads to the end of civilization.

    As always, as strong as the message may be, it's mixed at best and hypocritical at worst. The audience is still meant to drool over Echo and fantasize about her. The opening credits and the promotional materials are all about Echo's sexual and violent exploits. Even Eliza enjoys posting teaser pictures of herself in sexy outfits on Twitter to generate some targeted interest. From the beginning, the show has been about questioning how actors, actresses, and celebrities are used by a consumer culture to fulfill certain fantasies, yet they use those same questionable tools and practices to sell the show.

    Getting back to the story itself, I still think the overall season has been weakened by the constant "Echo is glitching" plot element. I can't imagine how, in the wake of the Alpha crisis, Echo would be allowed to run around with so many issues. Or at least, not paired up with an inexperienced handler on top of it. There's really no justification for her to be given so much latitude. (And the relative lack of concern for Dr. Saunders and her whereabouts makes no sense at all.)

    Despite the overall issues with the writing and plot development, I must give Minear and the rest of the gang credit for putting together the best episode of the season so far. The message behind the episode may be heavy-handed, and just as mixed as ever, but the entire cast worked overtime to sell it. The writers may have a lot of work to do, but the rest of the production seems more than ready to run with the ball.moreless
Michael Hogan

Michael Hogan

Bradley Karrens

Guest Star

Joseph Sikora

Joseph Sikora

Terry Karrens

Guest Star

Matt Winston

Matt Winston


Guest Star

Liza Lapira

Liza Lapira


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Adelle: Hello, Mr. Langton. How was your evening out?
      Boyd: A lot like my evenings in.

    • Adelle: How's the patient?
      Topher: Ahhh... Not complaining, considering he was hit by a car.
      Adelle: Have we determined yet if his condition is reversible?
      Topher: I have to finish mapping his neural landscape, but, if I can figure out how to sneak up behind his reticular activating system, give it a goose, that might do it. It could also give him a man-reaction.
      Adelle: I choose not to hear that.

    • Boyd: Do we really want to wake this guy up?
      Adelle: Mr. Langton, have you no charity? We are working to re-unite a desperate family with their... wayward loved one.
      Boyd: And by 'wayward', do you mean that they've been looking for him ever since he skipped his last bail hearing?
      Adelle: A bail hearing over a minor matter which has since been resolved.
      Boyd: And by 'resolved', do you mean...
      Adelle: Yes, yes... a judge was bought off. There is no need to continue to translate me.

    • Ivy: First, Paul is going to take you on a little spree.
      Echo: Shopping or killing? (Ivy and Paul stare) Joke!

    • Topher: This is a brain. A healthy brain... Frankly, an overly smart brain. It's my brain. And this is Terry Karren's brain. See these dark areas, how they extend all the way out to here? Know why that looks like that? That's because Terry Karrens doesn't use that part of his brain. And that's where you'd find stored such things as empathy, compassion, an aversion to disemboweling puppies. Basically, this is what some of your more famous serial killer's brains look like.
      Adelle: You're quite certain of this?
      Topher: Sure enough that I have serious ethical problems trying to wake him up.
      Boyd: Topher has ethical problems. Topher.

    • Echo/Kiki: Okay, so, I probably never should have taken this course to begin with, but... I figured it was mid-evil lit, not advanced-evil... how hard could it be? So, I skipped "Intro to Evil" or whatever. But how is it that I get an 'F' when this guy that we're reading, Chauncy, can't even spell?
      Gossen: It's "Chaucer." It's Middle English...
      Echo/Kiki: Right, like hobbits or something.
      Gossen: As I said, my office is open, if you'd care to discuss it.
      Echo/Kiki: Yeah, I'd care to discuss it. I'm like the Scarlet Lady with the "F" on her chest.
      Gossen: "A".
      Echo/Kiki: If only!

  • NOTES (3)


    • Title:
      The title of the episode is a direct reference to the text of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, specifically the "Wife Of Bath's Tale" which Kiki and Professor Gossen are discussing. In the tale the Wife of Bath refers to her private parts as her "belle chose." The actual translation from the French is "beautiful thing" which seems to be what the nephew is trying to create.

    • Gossen: It's "Chaucer." It's Middle English...
      Echo/Kiki: Right, like Hobbits or something.

      Hobbits are the creation of author J.R.R. Tolkein. They play the main role in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. These books are situated in Middle Earth not Middle English.

    • Echo/Kiki: Yeah, I'd care to discuss it. I'm like the Scarlet Lady with the "F" on her chest.
      Gossen: "A".

      These quotes are referring to the book - The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The main character was found to have been an adulterer by her townspeople and was forced to wear a scarlet A on her chest.