"And each of us realizes why the other is waiting, and that really we are no better than animals, and something beautiful dies in our hearts."
Cyndi emerges as the comic's next villain by demonstrating how easily she can play with the emotions of her peers for her own pleasure. She separately invites Duane, Jack and Sara to meet her in front of the school auditorium next Wednesday after play rehearsal, holding out to each the promise (stated or implied) of sex. She does so by appealing to each one's individual desires: Duane's wish to help others redeem themselves, Jack's desire for sexual release given the boundaries that he and Katy-Ann have agreed to, and Sara's longing for love. All three, knowing Cyndi is not a good person, are simultaneously tempted and conflicted, to the point of tuning out those closest to them during school.
As an afterthought, Cyndi texts Stan as well on Wednesday afternoon. This proves to be a mistake, as when she sneaks out the back of the auditorium after rehearsal, he's waiting there for her. (Meanwhile, Duane and Sara, but not Jack, show up out front, not yet having realized her deception.) Revealing that Jack had confided in him beforehand about her seduction attempt, Stan tells Cyndi that he initially thought she was trying to break Jack and Katy-Ann up, but when she texted him, he realized her true goal: to skip out while making those waiting for her feel ashamed of themselves (see page quote). (As he speaks, Duane and Sara, noticing each other and realizing Cyndi isn't coming for either of them, do indeed walk away in shame.) He admonishes her for not believing in anything. Cyndi counters that Stan's no better than her, and suggests they "play together." He declines, and claims that she's lost her touch, thinking too small with her games. Instead of feeling defeated, however, Cyndi surprises Stan by pausing to think, and then giggling ominously.
Later that afternoon, Duane apologizes to Charlotte for having tuned her out lately, while Sara resolves to kiss Daphne for the first time that weekend, after their final performance. Stan confesses to Jack his fear that he may have made things worse with Cyndi and, thinking of Penny, admits that he'll need help to contain her. At the same time, he congratulates Jack for resisting temptation, saying that showed strength of character. Jack, ever self-doubting, isn't so sure.
- Buffy Speak: Daphne, gushing about her favourite creator.
takes the equality of women and minorities as a given, so he can do Dollhouse
without it being exploity! "Exploity." I can say "exploity" if we take the equality of verbs and adjectives as a given.
- The Casanova: Stan tells Jack that he's only interested in women for the sex, and admits (now with regret) that he once misled a girl into thinking he wanted more than that. Jack reminds him he recently did something nearly as wrong with Michelle, by putting off telling her he didn't want a relationship.
- Faux Yay: Cyndi pretends to be in love with Sara, acting brokenhearted on Twitter and in person after Sara snubs her with "Die in a fire."
- For the Evulz
- Gondor Calls for Aid: Stan decides he'll need the help of his Frenemy Penny to keep Cyndi in check.
- Let's Wait Awhile: Jack and Katy-Ann.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Ms. Fanservice: Cyndi. Waltrip, in the first arc to feature her since "The Popsicle War," draws her with a noticeably larger chest than before, and wearing a tight, low-cut, midriff-baring shirt. Justified in that the chapter concerns her own exploitation of her body and her seductiveness to toy with others.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero
- Reading The Enemy's Mail: Exploited. Months before this arc takes place, Sara defends her following Meg on Twitter by saying, "Keep your friends close; follow your enemies' tweets." In the present arc Cyndi, recalling having overheard Sara's advice, deduces that she's now following her on Twitter and begins tweeting about her supposed love for Sara.
- Shout-Out: In claiming that Cyndi wanted to make her ruse victims realize they're "no better than animals," Stan cites Lord of the Flies, although the two situations are hardly analagous.