Saturday, July 18, 2015

dollhouse ep04 : Orpheus


Episode Four
"In the Darkness"


Keep Eyes Closed and Breathe Deeply.   In the Arms of Light, the host Madame Cassandra leads the audience to a moment of prayer and happiness.  The show talks a lot about balance and unity, but always referring to Orpheus as a satanic influence upon the city.  Of stories of miracles and love and how one's loved ones might just be looking over one's shoulder.  Elsewhere, in the city, people in the club scene begin to take pigment as part of the city's growing drug problem.  Some group has found a way to make pigment now something one just pops into one's mouth, rather than have to inject.  And elsewhere, a high class party is ongoing as the interdepartment celebrations in Orpheus begins.  Employees are enjoying themselves and the company's festivities are in full swing.

Kate Dennison seems distracted during the party, forcing herself to handle any pleasantries.  Chet Mason is frustrated with the table, too wide for someone on crutches, making things such an effort just to get some canapes.  Hoyt Masterson seems busy on his gauze phone.   People applaud as Anne Harper appears, recovering from her last Mission.   Zoe Vitt is there too, battered from her own previous Mission, but definitely on the road to recovery.   Fiona Parker is by the window, projected with her gauze made to appear in a fabulous dress.  She exhales smoke from her cigarette as she hisses about how lucky the others are not to be present in tonight's affair.  Red admits she does not like public gathering like this, "They always remind me of gas chambers."

The others had been indefinitely "on leave" given the way the last Mission had unfolded.  None of Shepherd's Crucible are present for the party.  Shepherd had gathered some data through research in the last few days and tells Natalie Kureya that her budget is in the red.  "You need more money."  He has been working on helping Natalie balance her taxes and managing her cash.  Marina nags Natalie to show her the level she had created using some game called Minecraft.  In the living room area, Sophie, is starting at Shepherd.  She starts grilling him with questions, trying to know what she does for a living.  She asks if he's dating her mother, and warns him she can beat the crap out of him if he tries anything.  Marina seems to be watching Project Runway, and Kate Dennison seems to be in the episode, with the designers to create an outfit inspired by the Cradle.   Sophie however seems focused on a small video of a clown and shares it on her Facebook.  She asks her mother permission to attend some sleepover, but Natalie does not allow her.  She then throws classic child deflection to throw the blame at her mother.  Natalie however sees Sophie has a bag with clothes clearly ready to leave.  But she disciplines her daughter to listen and explains her concern about how bad things are. "Just tell me the truth on where you are going so I know where to look for you."

Elsewhere, Misha Rusanov slams against the wall as a handcuff clamps down his arm.  Natalie Wick then bites his neck, hoists her legs around his waist, and pins him to the bed.   The two are heavily getting things on, even as Misha's ghost dog, Carter, whimpers and wants to go play.  Their rough love making ends abruptly when Natalie's phone starts ringing.  She apologizes to the caller for being late, and hurries to the bathroom to get ready.  The phone rings a few more times while she showers.   When she steps out, Misha asks who was calling and she claims it was work which is odd given she gave an excuse to the caller that she was at work.  Misha, however, being the non-suspicious type lets it slide.  He leaves a note on the table and indulges in flying around in the air, after having learned his Flesh-Flux can be used to allow flight.  He senses an intense spiteful presence in the city, though could not pinpoint where it was coming from. When he receives the call from Shepherd, he tries to reach Wendell at Orpheus, but failing to, opts to make his way to the meeting place.  He sees Mrs. Rosenberg crying though on his way out.

And Wendell Pruce is at the Cradle, talking with Clara Zuckerman of Accounting.  She talks about pulling the plug given he is not authorized to be under this long.  He brings up how Fiona has been asleep for longer than anyone and insists that as long as she is smoking, she is projecting.  Wendell has been under for 21 days now, and the papers only allow him to be under for 5 hours a day.  The techs explain there are times his body mumbles about some "Charlie" every now and then. But Clara insists they should unplug him before they can head to the party.  Wendell explains this is allowing him to train to be a better member of Orpheus.  Clara asks if George, one of the techs, if Fiona's body is still under too.  She reminds him she handles his payroll.   He finally admits she still is.  "Four months!  She has been under in four months!" She throws Wendell to make the choice, to pull her plug or to pull his own.   Clara finally unplugs the UPS device and walks out.  The techs have convinced her that the UPS devices are what keep the bodies plugged in.  The techs are surprised admittedly that both Wendell and Fiona have stayed under that long.  George wonders why he doesn't learn the trick she has of changing the way her gauze look with each projection.  When they ask him who Charlie is, he walks out.

Shepherd steps out to find a car waiting for him.  The man, identifying himself as Uriah Bishop, invites him to hope on and explains that they have meet before for Orpheus business.  Shepherd tells him they're on forced vacation, but Uriah tells him this isn't a "mission."  The car, it seems is sentient and alive, opening doors and starting its engine on its own.  The car turns out to be a Haunter who has some ability to use a horror to manifest as a vehicle.  Bishop admits he had to make Shepherd forget since he wasn't sure which side he was on.  Bishop tells Shepherd he needs their crucible's help.  When Shepherd asks if this is a Black Operation, he explains it isn't as this is not an Orpheus operation.  Bishop needs someone whom he can trust and most agents in Orpheus do not fall under that category.  They're to fumigate Class Red threats. The Haunter, Todd, admits he wanted to be called Tommy, but Uriah claims that didn't sound appropriate.  Shepherd asks if he will remember this mission afterwards, and Bishop admits that is a tricky question.  Shepherd asks to check with his teammates and is given ten minutes to do so.

"So he really doesn't remember," Todd asks Uriah.  Uriah admits they don't remember any of the past missions they have been in.   But they have to rush into the mission regardless, with over fifty lives at stake, not counting the kids.

Misha heads back to his body after enjoying a flight over the city.  That moment, Shepherd calls his cellular phone and tells them they have to meet up.  Natalie continues to argue with Sophie about her wanting to explore a dangerous place, whether or not ghosts are real.  She tries to explain her not wanting her kids to do dangerous things.  Both kids have the misconception that Shepherd is her boyfriend.  Natalie asks Sophie to promise her she won't go.  Shepherd has the Haunter Todd help him contact the Crucible using his Inhabit powers.    Natalie is perturbed when a few times, the people in Project Runway seem to be talking directly to her about "We will watch over your kids. Go help your friends."  It is as if the signal of the show is intercepted for a moment by something.  She opts to go and locks the door behind her.

Back at Orpheus, Clara Zuckerman checks the biometrics on who is still present and admits she isn't in the mood to chase after Wendell given the party has started downstairs.  With the arrival of one of the board members, Clara focuses instead on him to map out tonight's events.  Wendell emerges from a side door, manifested, and greets the board member and Clara.  The three quickly discuss the night's events and Wendell suggests Clara share her new plans on managing the HMO expenses.  The man, Jack Tilton, who is the company's CEO, shakes his hand.  He asks if there's a reason he's not at the party downstairs.  Clara lies and claims to be here to pick him up.  Tilton suggests they all head down together.  Wendell shares how he's been under for over 21 days, and how this saves finances on the health insurance costs for the company.  He claims Clara thought of it.  Wendell catches from the conversation that the celebrations are being held in the basement to avoid the media leaks that the company has been having.  There's a veiled attempt to discuss "Bishop" which Tilton openly talks about and asks if he is attending.  Clara admits he is currently out, attending to "the affair."  They head down to the basement levels.

As one half of the Crucible gathers at the location Shepherd tells them, Wendell finds himself entrenched in the events unfolding at the Orpheus Building.   Strangely, however, when they check the biometrics, all the members of the Crucible are shown to be already present in the basement.

At the lower basement level, Wendell accompanies Tilton and Zuckerman to one of the secure chambers under the headquarters.  Tilton explains the place is way past his clearance level, but he needs a Wisp right now.  He tells them he just wants to make sure of something before going to the party.  This reminds Wendell of the rumors people talking about the Zoo, where supposedly strange Spectres and rogue agents have been captured and locked up for further study.  Wendell stays close.  There are doors on both sides, each having names written on cards on them.  Tilton reminds Wendell to keep the glow bright.  "No matter what you see, keep the glow bright."  At the far end, a door waits.  The label reads: Bishop.

In the meeting area, Shepherd finds everyone except Wendell show up.  None of them can reach him, it seems. Misha shares how oddly, they are listed in Orpheus as being present at the party despite being out.  Natalie wonders who he is.  When Shepherd asks if Bishop was behind the reason they're listed as present in the party, Bishop admits it was for plausible deniability.  They're doing something without Orpheus' approval, after all.  Ellie Barker arrives, her toes still having tissue between each one. She seems to have come from a pedicure.  They learn the guy is "the real" Bishop, and they all board Todd to discuss enroute.   Bishop leads them to Oak Park, a private subdivision where Spectres seemingly are terrorizing the residents.    The place has lead to a lot of residents leaving, after a series of suicides and strange incidents of people getting private secrets exposed online.  As of the previous night, however, ghostly children with spikes, talons, bug-like eyes and shark-like teeth running around.  Orpheus opted out of handling this given their fears of a possible e-Demon infecting their own servers.  There were sightings of a fox-headed creature in a pin-striped set of pajamas.  Todd and the others fled fearing having to deal with the six Spectres on their own.   "I'm asking you to risk your jobs to save lives.  Or are you only in Orpheus for the money?"

At Orpheus, Fiona sees other people at the table set for the group.  She is confused to see them occupying where her crucible should be seated.  Lights flicker through-out the building.  One level below at the basement, Jack is more concerned about Bishop's cradle, however.   He hurries with the others to the elevator and notes that the building is on LOCKDOWN.  "This isn't right," Jack admits.  The building should only lockdown if the security administration opts it.  But for some reason, even Jack's security key to overrive the lockdown is rejected.  Back at the party, Fiona is starting to walk away when she bumps into Alex Carter.  He tries to talk to her, but she dismisses him as she feels something is wrong.   A muffled sound of an explosion erupts somewhere above the basement.  Jack, Wendell and Clara hear a sequence of muffled explosions getting closer and closer.  The lights flicker.  Wendell hates the fact he cannot Stormwend living people.  The tension causes Clara's asthma to hit.  Fiona hears Wendell's call in the hivemind but before she could full answer, gunfire erupts in the party.  Fiona and Alex try to escape, but the bullets kill more and more people in Orpheus.  The assailants seem to be trained to fight against people with Horrors.  Some of them are even wearing explosives, detonating them to kill even more without care.

The group carefully makes their way into Oak Park but both Natalie and Shepherd realize through Forebode that the Spectres already know they are here.  Both see a vision of a Lost Boy crawling down the wall.  Black hands emerge from beneath the concrete to grab at them.  Carter, Misha's Familiar, howls as the hands grab hold of his master's leg.  Misha is pulled almost completely under had it not been one arm around Carter.  Natalie uses her Juggernaut to boost her chances of fighting the incoming Spectres.

Tilton tells Wendell to Stormwend and get help, but Clara asks him not to since if he leaves, the panic and her attack will overwhelm her.  The supernatural calm he's imposed on her is allowing her to breathe.  Wendell wends to the ground level but instead only reaches his cradle.  Laser sights scan the area.  "This is Baker. We are in position. Explosives are being planted."  Wendell ignites his Unearthly Repose to influence the armed men,  swaying them to leave the area and bring their explosives with them.  But more of these armed men are in the area, and worse... they seem to have Spectres working alongside them!

At Oak Park, the group soon realize they cannot find Bishop.  As they fight against the Lost Boys, the group maneuver into the building, hoping to find a way to switch the odds in their own favor.  The group soon finds themselves in the presence of the Spectre they had met before, the one in the pinstripe suit.   While Misha uses summoned dogs to distract the Lost Boys, they find Bishop and the pinstripe man in a final encounter.  Natalie hears the Spectre tap into the hivemind, and it attempts to frighten her with words of what is to come.

Wendell leads most of the armed men to the ground level, lured by his Unearthly Repose, but then a flood of black shapes close in.  He realizes they are Spectres!  And somehow, they are hurting even the living security guards directly!  Computers and machines flicker with electricity arcing from them, then explode.   Many of the armed men begin jumping back to their bodies.  The explosives on them, however, trigger as the killswitches are triggered.  Wendell hurries back downstairs and tells Jack and Clara he can lead them out.  Jack and Clara consume pigment to become hues, shooting themselves in the head to kill their bodies.  Wendell realizes his own body is still down below. He wends the two out of the building.   Jack gives him all the Vitality he can muster, and he tells Wendell that he has had Pigment before.  "95%" he reminds him of his first near OD from the drug.  Wendell realizes Charlie gave him pigment before.  He suddenly recoils back to his body.

Natalie spies through the hivemind to hear the Spectre muttering fearfully of Uriah's knowledge of their kind.  The Spectre talks to them of being "Meat" stressing how much it despises all these moving meat that makes meat sounds by pushing air through their meat.  It is the pin-striped man with a fox's head.  The others are ignored thankfully since they appear as the living due to their intense Vitality.   "You're not just pretending to be like us, you're learning to-" the Spectre's words are cut by the sound of a gunshot.  Uriah has some kind of gauze-created gun which sounds like bone being crushed. Natalie and Misha drop to the ground, watching as the Fox's head is gone, sucked away into something.  Dropping to the ground is a maggot, seemingly formed by all the sucked matter of the Spectre.  Something happens, however, and Bishop vanishes, perhaps ripcorded back to his body.  The pistol drops to the ground.  Misha raises his foot to squish the maggot.  It squeaks begging for its life.  Misha crushes it.   The Lost boys run off in fear, knowing their master is gone.  Ellie, who had been watching the car, looks at them all with worry.  She starts the engine, asking about Bishop, and they hurry to get back in time.  They realize there is more than they realize going on among the Spectres.

Wendell opens his eyes to see Fiona forcing him to get up on his feet.  Wendell barely can stand, his body still week from being under for so long.  They escape to an elevator, maneuvering away from the black smoke whenever they can.  They soon reunite with Carter who is currently crippled and has hacked the electronics of the elevator to find a way out.  Fiona separates from them only to return much later with a cradle that she had torn free from the ground.   But just before they freely get out, Fiona is intercepted by a black thing that rises and engulfs the cradle in her arms.  She screams as black smoke tears into her gauze, ripping her apart.  She hits the wires of the elevator, slamming the doors shut.  They rush to the surface.

Orpheus is completely overrun.  Destruction and death remain.   Empty cradles abound.  The rooms in the secret basement are empty.  Including Uriah Bishop's cradle.    Dead bodies are scattered in the party area.

Fiona yells at the emergency services people to help.  But none approach.  All stare at her in fear. Guns are raised, trained at them.  They realize they cannot find help from them and find their way out on their own.  Somehow, news outlets and emergency services have been given documents identifying the crucible as possible terrorists who have intentions to blow up the Orpheus building.   When soldiers trap the three, lightning dives from the electric wires to blow up a nearby generator and stun the soldiers.  The crucible reunites to escape, scarred and clearly terrified of the events that have unfolded.

Fiona stares at the distance, somehow still feeling something.  Feeling that her body is somehow still somewhere out there.  Beyond her reach.

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