Sorry for the double-post, but I just finished A Spy in the House of Love and Haunted and needed to get my thoughts down while they were fresh.
A Spy in the House of Love
First off, whoever came up with the title for the ep is a freaking genius.
Andrew Chambliss' name might've been the one on the ep, but Joss most definitely had his hand in the final product, as his stylistic fingerprints are everywhere, from the plot of the episode to the way it was edited.
In light of the recent discussion concerning the logic of the series' premise, the thing that stood out for me in this ep was actually the 'B' story involving Adelle. We don't learn much in the way of specific details about her, but what we do learn is that, in parallel to the themes explored in the next episode, she knows just how dangerous loneliness can be, and, as touched on a bit earlier, demonstrates that the practice of using the Dolls as sex partners isn't so much about the sex as it is about connection. Despite knowing that 'Roger' wasn't real, Adelle was about to give into the fantasy and accept and embrace the human connection the persona offered permanently, but wilfully and rather reluctantly pulled herself back from the edge.
The 'A' plot of the search for the spy and 'C' plot of Mellie/November going back to Paul and basically shattering his world for a second time were as equally riveting and executed as the Adelle story and provided some excellent quintessentially Jossian twists and turns, particularly the reveal of Dominic as the spy and Echo's role in exposing him.
Speaking of, I couldn't help but feel as if the significance of Echo actually asking to be Imprinted wasn't played up as much as it ought to have been, especially given that it represented the resolution of the mini-arc involving her and Dominic that started back in Stage Fright.
Ratings-wise, I thought this ep was the strongest of the season, and am giving it a 9.8.
The very first episode of a Joss Whedon show that I ever watched was Buffy Season 2's Killed by Death, and this ep very much reminded me of it, primarily because, like KbD, it's more or less a 'Jossified' take on a classic Noir murder mystery.
I would've liked to have seen more of the original Margaret so as to have a bit stronger of a connection to her as we watch her try and solve her own death, but Jane and the 'other Whedons' (Jed and Maurissa T.) are still able to make us care about her 'avatar' guise as Echo by using her family members and Adelle as prisms through which to reflect her.
Given what Adelle learned about herself in the last episode, the 'B' plot of Topher celebrating his birthday by creating a virtual best friend takes on a lot more poignancy than it might've otherwise, and also serves as the perfect juxtaposition for the episode's moral message concerning the nature of mortality and the possibility of the Imprinting technology being used to effectively create artificial immortality.
You also have the heartbreakingly painful and ongoing breakdown of Paul as he forces himself to deal with the fact that, as he found out in the last ep, she's a Doll and he's become the very scum he'd been trying to bring down, made even more powerful by Tahmoh's skills as an actor.
This ep, like its predecessor, gets a 9.8 rating that couldn't be more well-deserved.