Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Dollhouse: The Left Hand

Topher: "Is it weird that I asked about your arm?"
Bennett: "Honestly, it's refreshing."

The entire episode was terrific. But Victor out-Tophering Topher was just perfect. Possibly my favorite scenes in the entire series.

Poor Topher. He found the perfect woman for him, a beautiful, brilliant woman who's crazy about him and who can out-geek him in his own field, and she's creepy as well as evil. (Good work by Summer Glau.) What did that scene she programmed into Echo really mean? How likely is it that an anti-war animal activist was capable of abandoning her injured best friend? Is Caroline not the person we were led to think she was, or is that just the way Bennett chose to remember what happened? Bennett must be the real reason why Caroline ended up in the Dollhouse, or it would just be too big a coincidence.

Alexis Denisof and Eliza Dushku have marvelous acting chemistry. Their scenes together were more compelling than any she's done with any other actor on the series; the half naked, cutting chips out of each other's heads scene in the bathroom was outright sexy. Echo and the altered Daniel are people in their own right. What makes Caroline and the old Daniel more important than they are?

I enjoyed every moment of this episode. Topher in a limousine was a hoot. I loved the way Adelle completely intimidated her opposite number, Stewart Littman (Ray Wise). And Cindy getting killed by Daniel was wonderfully karmic.

Dollhouse is finally fulfilling its potential. At least it's going out with a bang. If the rest of the series is like these past three episodes, I'm going to miss it tremendously.

Bits and pieces:

-- Topher thought Bennett was a former doll, like Claire. That might have been interesting.

-- Poor Madelyn. What an eternal victim.

-- What did the "puppies" mean? Was that the password that set off Daniel's assassin trigger? And why does Joss Whedon put references to dogs and puppies in everything he does?

-- Bennett thinks that a brain can hold multiple imprints, but we already knew that. Echo is chipless and on her own now, but I'd be surprised if she couldn't take care of herself.

-- President Perrin? Is that how the series will end, then, with the imprinty apocalypse destined to happen? I hope we get more of Daniel. Please bring him back.


Victor: "I'm not up to this. I suffer from acute agoraphobia. Or I plan to."

Bennett: "You're very pale. White. Pinkish white. I mean, your skin. Your skin is like a pig. Because it's pink. People assume that pigs are bad but I love them. I like them."

Adelle: (with her hand down Littman's pants) "If you don't return my active, I will send someone to cut these off. You will be killed horribly over a long period, and never found."

Bennett: "Wasabi peas."
Topher: "I'm excited and scared."

Victor: "What's she like?"
Topher: "Totally shy, librarian energy through the roof."
Victor: "Glasses?"
Topher: "Glasses on a chain."
Victor: "For the win!"
Topher: "Dude, she has a dead arm."
Victor: "Like dead? Like in a sling with a glove?"
Topher: "Imagine John Cassavetes in The Fury as a hot chick."
Victor: "Which, you know, I often have."

Cindy: "Oh, god. Dollspeak."

Victor: "Did I fall asleep?"
Topher: "For a little while."
Victor: "Shall I go now?"
Topher: "For the love of God, yes."

Four out of four stars,

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


  1. I know there is probably a snowball's chance in heck for this, but someone needs to give Enver Gjokaj an Emmy. He was amazing as Topher. Absolutely hysterical. And really kind of scary and overwhelming. Even Topher realized at the end.

    My favorite line with those two (I'm paraphrasing):

    Victor: Then you'd have a second opinion.
    Topher: No, it would be the same opinion twice.


    I always knew I liked Adelle, and I always knew she was a ball buster, but I never thought so literally. She is officially my hero.

    I also want more of Daniel. If there's only, what - 4 more episodes left? - I'm not even remotely interested in Alpha, unless he ties into Daniel somehow. I want more Adelle backstory - e.g., why she would take a Dollhouse to begin with.

    And I want to know who Caroline really was. Frankly, I never really bought into the do-gooder guilty activist personality. Those flashes didn't even remotely indicate someone who is so extraordinary that they could evolve brain imprinting. Plus the way that Adelle and Bennett referred to "Caroline" makes it sound like she's someone who inspires a strong reaction. I have the feeling that the Caroline we saw in Bennett's vision is much closer to the truth. I like the idea that the real Caroline has some sort of power over people - Alpha, for example, and it's not just because she's hot.

    Did I mention the irony? I don't know whether to thank Fox or hate them, considering Joss didn[t feel free to do his magic until they cut him loose. *Sigh*

  2. I'm really, really getting tired of Joss's shows getting cancelled just as they hit their stride. Last night's two episodes were incredible, and I'm going to be majorly pissed at the network if we don't get all the lose ends tied up. I mean, who is Caroline, really? How will Echo evolve -- will she integrate with Caroline or become a totally separate entity? How did Topher and Adelle end up in their positions at the Dollhouse, and why would they have accepted such morally ambiguous positions? Why did Victor become a doll? Where will Victor and Sierra's romance go? Who is Bennet, and what could possibly be the pre-doll link between a techo-geek like her and Caroline? What is the overall plan that the Dollhouse PTBs are trying to set in motion? What role is Daniel expected to play in all this? And on and on... Gak! This show cancellation is one of the most enfuriating ever!!!!!

  3. The puppies thing was sort of a sinister visual gag. While talking to Topher about how painful the distruptor process would be, she made an offhand comment about giving them programming to relax them through the process. She clicked and dragged a file called "assassinate [targets?] and she backspaced and renamed the file as "puppies" to be less suspicious.

  4. I recommend that people who are angry with FOX for canceling this show check out Maureen Ryan's interview with Joss at the Chicago Tribune.


    It sounds to me like the network's concerns/comments were the reason the show even went in the direction that it has, and that the show Joss originally envisioned would have been far less palatable to many viewers (based on the elements of the show to which viewers have responded positively). Beyond that, the network was more than fair with the show, going so far as to give it a second season when they had no compelling reason to do so. Plus, they are actually going to air all the produced episodes (so far at least), which is really more than we'd typically get under these circumstances.

    If you want to be mad, be upset with Joss for taking so long to get the show into its stride. If it had been stronger from the start, then maybe ratings would have been higher (I have my doubts) and the network would have been able to keep it. Remember, television is a business. I know we get wrapped up in our stories and just want to spend time with favorite characters and see where things go, but the folks involved are trying to make a living. If the ratings suck, the network can't make money off the show. That's just the strings that come with this form of entertainment.

    Sorry for the mini-rant. I think I've been reading too much Dollhouse commentary in the last few days and the constant network bashing is starting to wear thin. In some cases it is well-deserved, but not in the case of Dollhouse. (Maybe I'm just irritated that I suddenly feel compelled to defend FOX of all networks.)

    For the episode ... Enver was wonderful as Topher. His performance and the scenes between Topher and Bennett were the highlight of the episode for me.

    I was disappointed to see that Daniel chose to go back with the Dollhouse folks and continue to be their puppet, but it is understandable. He made the same choice as Sierra did in 'Belonging.' He couldn't live with killing someone and decided he'd rather have it wiped from his mind, no matter what the cost. Too bad. I hate to see Rossum winning, especially at Daniel and poor Madelyn's expense. Of course, this is just one more step on the road to the Epitaph One future, so I'm not sure it could have played out any other way.

  5. The show was cancelled, but I'm still hoping ScyFy will buy the rights to it and create a spinoff where Enver Gjokaj plays all the roles

  6. I'm now of the opinion that the perfect place for a show like Dollhouse would have been HBO or Showtime. Joss Whedon could have gone nuts exploring anything he liked without dealing with network censorship.

  7. For certain. And per the interview, it sounds like he is at least open to the idea of cable. So maybe someday we'll got a Joss show unfettered. Or we'll get something on the internet. Sounds like his main struggle is trying to figure out how best to make money from his art. :)

  8. I completely agree with you, Jess. The networks need to make money, and the way they do it is by selling commercial spots. It's not so much the ratings as the advertisers that determine the fate of a show. It's useless to blame the network, and to be fair, Fox gave it a 2nd season. I'm not angry with Fox, just disappointed by the irony.

    I love Joss with all my heart, and I won't "blame" him for taking so long to hit his stride. However, it's clear to me that he just does not mesh well with the new environment of cut throat TV business. He is an amazing and accessible artist, but he doesn't quite have that flair for commercial marketability that, say, Ryan Murphy has. Which is one of the reasons I love him, because you never feel like he is compromising his art to get viewers, but it also makes him a poor match with network tv - especially Fox, who had to claw their way up from the ranks of the WB and UPN to be a big 4 like NBC and such.

    I think he did well with Buffy/Angel because that was back in the days before a show was yanked after a few episodes - most of them got at least a season, if not two, to prove themselves out. The nature of Whedon shows is so dependent on subtlety and character development that it is just not able to draw you in immediately - he layers the story and characters with so much complexity. It's also why he just doesn't work with the standalone episode model, which is hard to do by any means.

    He also fared better with WB because their target audience was much clearly defined and narrow, and Buffy (while completely campy) was light and funny. As the years progressed, however, Joss has gotten increasingly darker and more adult. Dollhouse, especially, needed to be on premium cable or SyFy, where shows like BSG (also very grim) were able to find a home.

    There's that old saying that your strongest attribute is also your biggest weakness, and I think that's all it comes down to with Joss. He has a vision, and just isn't good at bending for commercialism to do it. Just like Ryan Murphy, on the other end of the scale, sometimes uses too much shock value to capture his audience. Different men with different strengths. Just like finding the person you marry or the perfect job, it's not about who is right, wrong or better, it's about finding the right fit.

  9. Every episode I realize even more that Enver Gjokaj should be the center of a show. He has such a range!, which is the quality I admire the most in actors/actresses. Whereas Eliza is clearly not up for the role.
    I liked Summer Glau's work a little better in this ep, although I still thought it was a tad over the top to me. If she continues taking roles where she has to actually have facial expression, she may grow to be a very good actress, though.

  10. Gustavo, here's an interesting interview with Mr. Gjokaj himself. It includes a pronunciation guide:


  11. Thanks a lot, Josie, loved it. I've really become a fan of Enver. I think I'll watch "Stone" just because of him.

  12. Victor as Topher was freaking amazing -- my favorite part of the episode, too. He had the mannerisms and the voice down pat, to the point where at first I thought that they had to have had Kranz dub it, or something equally unlikely. It worked so well, and I feel like that's a rarity. So often when a show has one character show up in another's body or some such (see: Supernatural, Ruby 2.0) the actor just doesn't have to chops to convince me that they are who they say they are. This time I didn't even have to try to suspend disbelief.

  13. Victor as Topher was brilliant and so, so funny!
    The entire episode was thrilling, compelling and amazing. Poor Madelyn, indeed!

  14. Victopher lmao
    I know everyone and their mother pointed it out already but it's so fucking funny


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.