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Dollhouse: Echoes

Topher: "You haven't seen my drawer of inappropriate starches."

Yeah, yeah, yeah. "Naked Time," "Band Candy," character development 101.

This one had some fun moments, although not as many as I would have liked. Trampoline. Munchies. Topher in his underwear. He had the name "Adelle" written on one of his socks by that point, and I really, really don't want to know how that happened. I think my favorite part was Dominic repeatedly apologizing to Echo for trying to immolate her.

It was fun to see the dolls in authority, the inmates running the asylum, so to speak. But then they got it, too, and what did they get? Not giggles and munchies, oh no. They got trauma. That was exactly like the real life division between the Rossum Nazis and the dolls. One way and unfair. Experimentation, but in mental cages. Even when they were in crisis and had no idea if the condition was curable, Topher thought nothing of experimenting on Melanie. Human experimentation. It's what's for dinner.

In amongst the silly bits and the scary bits were informational bits. The Rossum Corporation (yes, okay, Wolfram and Hart) does human as well as animal experimentation, and they fund the Dollhouse. Both Caroline and Sam got into trouble with Rossum, and they were both young and pretty enough that Rossum offered them a deal they couldn't refuse. A deal that lasts for five years, and you get some bucks that would presumably keep your mouth shut. Unless the dolls don't usually make it to the end of five years. And hey, how would they know if Rossum kept them permanently when they don't even know who they are?

The story was balanced (or possibly overstressed) by finally giving us a lot about Caroline. Her last name is Farrell, she was an antiwar demonstrator and animal activist, she went to Freemont College for four years, she had a boyfriend named Leo. She knew Adelle for at least two years. I still think Adelle may be her mother; their relationship feels personal. If so, that makes Adelle pretty much subhuman.

Although Adelle apparently believes in what they're doing at Rossum. Maybe the staff are supposed to believe that Rossum is searching for a cure to certain diseases. And maybe they even are. Not that it matters.

Bits and pieces:

-- Eliza was wearing the superfishnet stockings we see in the credits. Or some that were remarkably similar.

-- We met Clive Ambrose, co-chairman of Rossum. The third richest man in the country. No doubt with a corner office and ungodly benefits.

-- Boyd plays the piano.

-- A doll named Foxtrot was mentioned, but not seen. We still don't know Melanie's handle, although a lot of us saw the name November in the casting lists.

-- Melanie broke up with Paul in the kitchen as he was cooking for her. More food. The last thing she told Paul was "Debbie might crash here." Another doll? Maybe it'll be Foxtrot.

-- Sam seemed suspicious to me almost immediately. He was just too good to be true. I even thought he was a doll at first. And now he is.


Topher: "He didn't take any. There's no way Dom would consciously try to have fun."

Topher: "Brown. Mined from the earth by the hardscrabble brown miners of North Brownderton."
DeWitt: "Omigod. I find lentils completely incomprehensible."

Topher: "Go check."
DeWitt: "I am your superior!"
Topher: "In every way. Go check."

Caroline: "This is Rossum. They don't care about souls. Human or animal."

Fun was had, for sure. But I wasn't blown away,

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


  1. Hey Billie!

    As always, love your reviews. I am getting really really addicted to Dollhouse, and I actually really loved this episode. Yeah, the concepts have been done before... but I love them against the background and the unraveling of the mystery of the Dollhouse.

  2. As you've said more than once, Billie, I think that its going to be hard to find an original storyline at this point in scifi/media culture. Especially for those of us who have followed Joss's work for so many years, since he came up with a lot of those storylines. I'm happy if they execute it nicely, and I'm pretty happy about the directiion of the show. I can't wait to see next week's, its a ballsy move for such a new show.

  3. This may seem obvious but rather than stakes or polar bears perhaps Dollhouse should get.. err dolls. Or echos!

  4. Actually, Topher called Mellie 'November' at least twice this episode, so we do know her callsign.

    Oh, and I like your site.

  5. I loved this one. Adelle rocks!!! I love her. The scene where Topher touches her and both of them start behaving as "idiot children" was my favorite. Although he was already under the effects of the drug. Did did you notice that childlike Topher wasn't much different from regular Topher? He is a big kid, after all.

    Anyway. Adelle and Topher together were hilarious. Teenagers Joyce and Giles, anyone? And Dominic reminded me of Snyder? And not just Band Candy, this episode echoed Tabula Rasa, Halloween, oh, there are many, really... I don't care.

    Hey, Billie. I also think Adelle might be Caroline's mother. It would explain why she didn't sent her to the Attic yet.

    My only complaint is that this 50 minute episode thing hurts the pacing a little bit. The first 20 minutes always feel like they could've been a better 15.

  6. "I find lentils completely incomprehensible" Genius! :-) On a par with "the Government gave me bad hair" :-)

    It may not be that original but the man does know how to do a great comic episode. I thought this had alot in common with Spin The Bottle, Angel Season 4.

    The only 'meh' of the episode was Caroline's backstory. Really? Animal Testing led her down the path of giving herself up to become a mindless loveslave/action hero?

    Also not that keen on the implication that Mehcad Brooks will join the cast of Dolls. We have enough already! Other than that, stellar episode :-)

  7. Interesting episode. Maybe it made sense to give us so much into Caroline's past. At the time we still didn't know if this show was going to get a second season.

    So Caroline was a PETA girl who wanted to take down Rossum but couldn't. Instead her boyfriend got killed and Adelle forced her into joining the Dollhouse. Note how Leo kept having to tell her to point the camera at the computer as well.

    It made sense for Adelle to keep Echo out of the mission this week but it also was predictable that Echo would somehow get dragged into it.

    Everyone effected by drugs from Rossum had interesting moments. Boyd playing the piano, Dominic constantly trying to apologise to Echo.

    I think Adelle and Topher win though, what with her wanting to eat the word, 'indomitable'. Topher in his underwear, inappropriate starches, telling Mellie's she rocks, Adelle on a trampoline, what fun.

    Mellie broke up with Paul in a bid to guilt him to lay off investigating the Dollhouse. Can't see it working for long and I thought that Topher/Adelle were screwed when she started citing her own trigger code.

    Poor Victor and Sierra got traumatic flashbacks and there was no Claire this week - boo to that.

    Sam became a Doll at the end but in retrospect, not so much a shock, 8/10

  8. I felt this to be a bit uneven but I liked this anyway. Olivia Williams is amazing.

  9. The episode where all the characters get high/lose their memories/lose their memories while high is a Whedon staple and with good reason. They're awesome. My favorite parts of the episode were, of course, Adelle and Topher.

    Mehcad Brooks will make an excellent doll. His abs are just ridiculous.

    I can't say I'm a big fan of Echo's backstory. I honestly don't remember if we delve further into it, but what is given here just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. She's hardcore against animal testing, okay, but she easily breaks into the lab where they're doing the testing and someone has left all this super sensitive Dollhouse information up on the computer?Plus, Leo getting killed in the process of the whole thing seems a little melodramatic. If they were arrested, they'd go down for what breaking and entering? Trespassing? Why not just give themselves up so he could get medical attention?


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