Dollhouse: Gray Hour

Echo: "I'm not broken."
Boyd: "No, you're not."

Again, a classic (or depending on your viewpoint, overdone) plot, the bank heist gone wrong. And again, Echo transcended her programming. For me, the best part was how Echo connected with the injured guy, who got himself some instant karma for his kindness toward her when she escaped and took him along with her.

Identities within identities within identities, Echo as a safecracker pretending to be a hooker. We even got the Taffy personality twice, which I thought was an apt illustration of the potential of this series. Anyone can be anyone. Or in this case, no one. And wow, talk about metaphory goodness. Stolen art being returned to its rightful owner, as in Echo's personality being taken from her? Trapped in a vault, unable to escape because she can't remember how? Echo in "tabula rasa" has no defenses, and this time she wasn't surrounded by masseuses and perfectly crunchy lettuce. She was like the abstract art she found so fascinating, fragmented and broken.

This series, as I've said before, has a tremendous amount of potential for excellent stories. But there's still something about it that isn't working for me yet. By this point, I should be liking Echo more than I do. I don't hate her, don't get me wrong, but I feel like I don't know her. Probably because I don't. I wonder if the basic premise of the series is working against our really getting to know the main characters? And the Paul Ballard segments of the story still aren't working for me, even though I want them to; the Paul/Victor scene was pretty much meaningless because we know Victor is a doll, so Paul's threats meant nothing.

Maybe Tahmoh Penniket should have been cast as Boyd, who is a more interesting character who interacts constantly with Echo. Ah, well. We shall see. I hope.

Bits and pieces:

-- I liked the idea of Echo, Sierra and Victor instinctively "flocking" even though they don't even have access to their own thoughts, much less free will. The further we go, the more this series reminds me of La Femme Nikita.

-- The hippie midwife segment made no sense at all. Who would buy the services of a doll to deliver a baby in the middle of a snowstorm? But then again, being wiped is supposedly like being born, so hey, more metaphor.

-- DeWitt got a call from someone she called "sir," someone who hung up on her. The boss?

-- Braytak from Stargate SG-1 seemed to be buying someone a doll as a kinky sex gift, and we were misdirected into thinking it was Echo. Did they put Eliza Dushku in spike heels just so she would look really hot while breaking a safe? Taffy twice emphasized comfortable shoes, after all.

-- Alpha was responsible for wiping Echo remotely during her telephone conversation with Boyd. Which makes me think that Alpha is still in the Dollhouse. It feels like Dominic. So of course, it probably isn't Dominic.

-- Boyd was questioning that the dolls were volunteers, as he has been told.

-- Unisex shower at the Dollhouse. Like the unisex bathrooms on Galactica. Joss Whedon is a Galactica fan, so I bet this was a petit homage.

Quotes:

Echo the midwife: "Little Lucy has linebacker shoulders."
New father: "So she's going to be a lesbian?"

Topher: "This isn't a book club, man friend. This is the herd."
Boyd: "They're not bison, topher."
Topher: "They're a little bit bison."

Echo: "When this is over, feel free to forget I exist."

Topher: "This isn't a lone gunman. This is a conspiracy. A gigantic, multi-pronged conspiracy."
Gopher: "You need to take something."
Topher has a gopher.

Echo: "I'm a bad guy?"
Injured guy: "You are a talking cucumber. And I am too broken to fix."

Ballard: "This is West Hollywood. Two guys in an idling car isn't news."

Even though I still have misgivings and complaints, I get more involved and intrigued every week. And that's something,

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

9 comments:

Paul Kelly said...

Hi Billie,

You've hit the nail on the head. It's hard to feel anything for Echo when we've no idea who she is. Every week we get a different girl/personality, whom we invest time in knowing and liking....only to have her taken away from us at the end of every episode. Which is frustrating.

Presently, I'm finding myself liking Eliza more than I'm liking Echo. Maybe as her true personality emerges we'll be able to get a better handle on who she is. But at the moment, Echo's not doing much for me....it's the story itself which keeps me coming back.

Paul

Cheza said...

this time i did not like as much as i thought i would. but it is a good episode.

Except for the part of the escape that seemed way too easy for her, and most ppl on the net make this a big deal saying it was too unrealistic.

I loved the part where they sat together by instinct on the same table as before.

Joits said...

according to an interview i read on eliza dushku, she said that the first 6 episodes were sort of "stand alone" types and then after that, we would get a much larger arc... so that's what i'm waiting for.

so far so good though, i'm enjoying the show.

Anonymous said...

just wanted to point out that the unisex shower is more likely a hommage to "starship troopers".
but maybe "galacticas" unisex toilet is a little nod towards "ally mcbeal"?

Harry said...

I very much enjoyed the scene from the original pilot script Echo, where Echo, Sierra and Victor flock in a way that is "a little bison" :-) WTF where were the Topher quips in the first episode GRRR. Echo and the friendly heisters was a fun plot, although I'm gonna need a good explanation of how Alpha is able to remotely wipe someone through a cell phone. Bring on Alan Tudyk!

It was nice to see Yuki Mato from Dexter in another Billie-reviewed show.

Like you Billie, I wanted some halfway credible explanation of why a doll should be hired to deliver a baby? Surely most millionaires would go straight for a proffessional midwife? Meh.

shawnlunn2002 said...

Echo as a midwife? Altruistic mission but still, why not just hire an actual professional?

In another weeks of cliches, let's do a heist that goes spectacularly wrong. Getting caught would be bad, right?

Actually not as bad as Echo being wiped via a phone call (come on, how could it not be Alpha?) and damn, that's bad. We know that Dolls when wiped can be sorta helpless and Echo certainly exhibited that in this episode.

I have to praise Eliza Dushku's acting on this. I genuinely felt for Echo, despite being the sort of character that she is. All alone and scared.

It's amazing that the guy who was a jerk with her to begin with was the one who seemed sympathetic and the one who wanted to date her was the one who turned on her.

The central plot was fine enough, liked the twists with it. Echo remembering more stuff is becoming blatantly obvious at this point. Lovedf the scene with her, Sierra and Victor eating lucnh together.

Boyd was his usual excellent self and Dominic seemed less nasty than usual. Interesting that Adelle told Topher about Alpha being alive but I don't think she had much choice in the matter. I recognise Ivy as Yuki from Dexter.

Paul's a dweeb, right? Sorry but I kinda wish the writers would come up with legitimate reasons to why I'm supposed to care about he's obsessed with the Dollhouse. I felt sorry for Victor but I assume he won't be having lame gangsters on his back, 7/10.

Anonymous said...

Although this isn´t one of my favorites, there´s still plenty to enjoy like Taffy and her blue skies.
I also have to say that Dichen and Enver are the revelations on the show.

sunbunny said...

I have the same problem with this ep other seem to have. Why hire a doll to be a midwife when you could just hire a midwife? The only thing I could think of was that dolls can be wiped, so maybe the new parents didn't want anyone to know they had a baby? Idk.

This is one of my favorite of the early episodes. I really liked the two Taffys. Dichen Lachman and Eliza Dushku did a great job there. The remote wipes are a nice set ups or where the show goes in Epitaph one.

Logan Hollis said...

You forgot about Topher ' s man reaction quote!!