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Dollhouse: Target

Connell: "Is this the best date ever, or what?"

Now, this was more like it.

Yes, the ultimate hunt thing has been done before, but hey, everything's been done before. And at least it was done well. Mostly because it included violent flashbacks to a murder spree in the Dollhouse three months ago.

The subtext wasn't all that sub. If you can buy a human being, have her mind completely wiped and imprinted with what you want, and then have sex with her, why not kill her, too? What the Dollhouse does to Echo is just as bad as what Connell did. She's an object, a commodity, totally helpless, trapped by the skills of her current imprint. No one seemed all that upset about Alpha's murder spree, as if getting sliced up and losing several dolls was just the price of doing business. Let's clean up the floor and move right along.

Alpha had no face; Echo couldn't see one, and neither could we. Maybe they haven't cast him yet. Or maybe Alpha is someone we know. Anyone can be imprinted, after all. Why didn't Alpha kill Echo? He certainly made mincemeat of everyone else. And why cut Dr. Saunders but not kill her?

Echo's relationship with Boyd feels genuine, even though it was programmed; she's not just the blank slate he thought she was three months ago. And Boyd is tough. It takes nerve to stay in a new job when your predecessor was killed by a human cuisinart. And it was interesting that when Echo was in mortal danger, she started seeing visions of her real self. Maybe self-preservation overcomes programming.

Bits and pieces:

-- I did a little bounce when Mark A. Sheppard came in as nasty FBI guy. Badger on Firefly, Romo Lampkin on Battlestar, it was like having an old friend stop by.

-- Paul Ballard is the bulldog type. Oblivious to his pretty neighbor who was panting for him and offering him lasagna, and focused on the girl he can't find.

-- Laurence Dominic wants to kill Ballard, and DeWitt won't let him. Dominic said some freaky things to Echo, too. Creepy guy.

-- Topher's office has toys in it, and he drinks the boxed kiddie drinks with straws. I really don't like him, either. It's like he thinks he's God.

-- All that talk of killing something to eat. Was Connell going to eat Echo if he killed her?

-- Little Bob? Lou Bob? Who is this guy Ballard is harassing?

-- Is Alpha sending the photos of Caroline to Ballard? Or did Alpha just find one in the previous episode?

-- Echo remembered the shoulder to the wheel thing. Again with the bleed-through.

Quotes:

Topher: "The new Samuelson. You're bigger than the last one."
That reminded me of Buffy. Prettier than the last one. Topher has a man-crush on Boyd. Or he's pretending he does.

Echo: "I've been seeing things."
Boyd: "What kind of things?"
Echo: "A girl that looks like me, but isn't. Dead bodies in a shower. And a man standing over me holding a knife, but I can't see his face. I don't think he has one. Are you here? Is this real?"

Boyd: "You know how to use this?"
Echo: "Four brothers. None of them Democrats."

Dominic: "If it were up to me, I'd put you in the attic. Or the ground."
The attic?

Better. I wonder if we missed getting a really good pilot episode because the suits wouldn't let Joss Whedon do what he wanted in the first place? Again?

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

16 comments:

  1. Great review as always, Billie. I liked this episode quite a bit more, too. The premise that Echo's real self is bleeding through is becoming important much sooner than I thought it would be.
    Are we supposed to be that creeped out by Topher? I'm not creeped out by Boyd, and he's just as complicit by proxy in the brainwashing.
    I think that the "attic" is sort of like being "boxed" on Battlestar. At least, that's where my mind went--and now I wonder if there will be a BSG shout-out in every episode.

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  2. Yep, this was better.

    I feel that the visions of herself could have less to do with the mortal danger and more with whatever was in that canteen.

    Also, about the lack of humour you mentioned on the pilot review: I thought this was much much better. The Democrats comment especially made me laugh out loud!.

    Let's hope Fox let's us watch more than 4 episodes. I think the numbers are not being exactly good.

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  3. i thought this was FAR superior to the choppy and uninteresting pilot. echo seemed like a real person, albeit an imprinted one, while in the pilot she seemed robotic and uncomfortable. maybe eliza dushku is just more comfortable playing badass chicks... also loved the lighter feeling- finally some real joss humor!

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  4. The guys name is Liubov. Its a Russian name.

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  5. I watched a couple of times and enjoyed a whole lot more...

    And I AM curious to find out what brought her into this mess...

    About alpha... about her past and how they'll react after find out that she is more and more not a clean slate as she was suppose to be...

    if she'll escape... or if even though she remember things she will work with them *that i think it is weird*

    summing it up
    my head is full of what ifs

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  6. This episode gave us more to bite onto in terms of connecting with characters. Oh FOX when will you learn?
    Mark A. Sheppard also appeared on an episode of "Burn Notice" about a week or two ago as a bank robber. Its funny how much he's guest starred lately.

    Ok, so even if you aren't interested in the cute nieghbor girl...how in the world do you turn down lasagna?

    I think it was clear from the "previously" that Alpha was the one sending the photo to Ballard. Why? Remains to be seen. He also is in proximity to Echo as he killed the fake ranger. But Alpha seemed to do it not to protect Echo but in order to silence the fake ranger, who was hired by or working with Connell...who turns out to have used an intricate false identity.

    Overall I think the Dollhouse is probably a privately held firm run by former gov types w/ gov sanction or contracts. Like Blackwater.

    I like the repeated use of the underground garage & elevator scences at the end of each mission before Echo goes for her "treatment"...but the use of the elevator constantly reminds me of "My Own Worst Enemy."

    Really curious to see how this develops!

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  7. Manos wrote:

    "Ok, so even if you aren't interested in the cute nieghbor girl...how in the world do you turn down lasagna?"

    Too funny! I wish I'd said this one.

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  8. "And it was interesting that when Echo was in mortal danger, she started seeing visions of her real self. Maybe self-preservation overcomes programming. "

    My thought is that the entire point was for Alpha to get that drug (from the canteen) into Echo's system. And that drug is what is causing the hallucinations.

    Crazy guy did say that someone else had given him the drug. Could have been Alpha, who pretty much set everything else up.

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  9. Rohan, I thought the same thing. That Alpha was behind Connell's elaborate fake background and it was all a set up to start "waking up" Echo.

    I agree with all that this week's ep was better than last week's, but I only liked it better because of the overarching background stuff on the Dollhouse, Alpha's escape, and Boyd's introduction. I didn't care for the "identity of the week" story at all. The whole unwitting prostitution thing really bothers me (as it is supposed to, no doubt). And the hunt was incredibly disturbing. At the very least, I guess it is a good thing that I'm beginning to feel invested in Echo even though she's essentially someone different every week. Boyd is kind of like the proxy for the viewer in that respect, even though he's complicit in the things that are happening to her.

    Interesting show. I'm curious to see where they take it.

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  10. Show is definitely picking up! S'gonna be awesome!!

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  11. Great review as always Billie. The last episode was dull compared to this one. I was thinking about what Richard meant about putting her in the attic too. My mom just remind me that a lot of killers stashed bodies in attics.

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  12. I too thought this episode was a great improvement over the last one. More action, more connection with Echo as a character, and more intrigue with the Alpha storyline. Plus I liked the flashbacks fleshing out the relationship between Echo and her handler.

    And I just wanted to mention that I started watching Leverage recently, the new TNT heist series, and Mark A Sheppard plays an intriguing recurring character on that show as well. ;) A perfect nemesis for the lead guy. Anyone who loves heist movies or Mark Sheppard should give it a look. :)

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  13. I don't think that the neighbor with the lasagna is all sweetness and light. Didn't DeWitt say she had a plan for Ballard? I think the neighbor is there to keep an eye on him. She was very curious about what he was up to.

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  14. I liked this episode a bit better than the first one. The promise of the series certainly played out.

    Flashback wise, the lighting reminded me a touch of Battlestar Galactica and perhaps that was intentional.

    I found it rather disturbing how childlike Echo sounded when she said, 'they won't wake up' surrounded by so many bloodied corpses.

    So Alpha was a bad doll and went on a killing spree. I shouldn't be surprised that one of the dolls would snap and just make with the killings. He certainly did a number on Claire's face. Her refusal to accept the idea that Alpha might be back spoke volumes to me.

    It's interesting that Boyd originally didn't view Echo as a person. He certainly didn't hold back on his disgust with the Dollhouse anytime he was in either a scene with Topher or Dominic. Topher still bugs me as a character.

    Having Echo and Boyd bond, care for each other's safety in flashback and present day gives the show a much needed emotional link. We should care about these characters even if it's hard to.

    The Connell stuff of the episode was all fun and games. He set Echo up for one hell of a hunting spree but it wasn't a big shock that he turned out to be a minion for Echo.

    Paul remains a pain in the backside, I find him so irritatingly bland that I actually even laughed with the cynical FBI agents making fun of him instead of groaning at their dismissive attitude towards the Dollhouse. What does Paul hope to get out of harassing Victor/Lubov as well?

    Dominic seems a volatile type. Adelle managed to get him to stop from putting a hit on Paul but he was severely nasty to Echo as the episode ended, 8/10.

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  15. Awesome episode and we got glimpses of what happened with Alpha and the introduction of Boyd.

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  16. I don't remember if it's confirmed later on, but I definitely think Alpha sent Connell to kill Echo. The first time I saw this episode, I first thought Connell hunting Echo had been sanctioned by the Dollhouse, that that was what he wanted. That would have been interesting. Interesting thoughts Rohan and Jess about the drugs. Maybe that was the point all along...

    I totally thought Joss was going to do the Doyle thing with Boyd. Brand new show, brand new cast, let's kill someone just to shake things up. That's the thing about a Whedon show: you expect the unexpected.

    Oh, and if I were Echo, I would have hopped in the river in the hope I'd be carried far enough downstream to escape Connell. Sure I probably would have drowned, but better drown than get shot with a freaking arrow, right?

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