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Dollhouse — Episode 2.5 ‘The Public Eye’

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How does a series fare once the show has been cancelled? Will the remaining episodes be more and more awful, or will we be happily surprised? Will it be a quick and hastily thrown together plot wrap up? Will it all work out? With the series to conclude with January 22nd’s episode “Epitaph Two: Return” we only have a few more to go before we find out.

So where were we?

Echo’s been glitching on and off since Episode 1.12, and with very little consistency. Sometimes she’s aware of who she is, and other times she’s back to where she was in the beginning of Season 1 (just a doll). It seems like she experiences a “composite event” every other episode and I’m getting tired of seeing it. It makes it difficult to understand what’s going on with her character when there’s no stability to her development. If that’s supposed to be the point, it’s not coming across clear enough.

Senator Daniel Perrin is on a quest to prove the Dollhouse exists and take it down. I know Alexis Denisof is American, but everytime I see him I think “Boy, he really can’t do an American accent…” He will always be Wesley Wyndam Price to me.

November, “Madeleine Costley,” has been freed from the Dollhouse, although Adell seems concerned that she’s still not happy.

So what happens now, given that we only have 8 more episodes to bring us up to speed with the brilliance that was “Epitaph One”?

This episode is full of sneaky twists and surprises, much like the rest of the series. November/Madeleine Costley has teamed up with Senator Perrin to testify that the Dollhouse exists. She’s seen proof that she murdered someone and it’s made her want to get justice for how she was used as a doll. She claims the Dollhouse took advantage of her when she was weak and forced her into a contract. Really? You sign up to have your memory wiped for 5 years and you have no idea what you might be doing? If she felt bad about it, she probably shouldn’t have taken all the money they gave her when her contracted ended.

Lundy makes an appearance as a Dollhouse big-wig. I’m always taken aback when my show’s actors get all mixed up. Obviously the Dollhouse isn’t really pleased with November’s attempt to testify against them, and now Dewitt and Ballard have to come up with a plan to rescue her.  While getting prepared, Echo-the-clairavoyant appears. Apparently she can sense when people “aren’t right”/dolls, and everyone just takes her word for it. This is part of what I’m not enjoying about the show – obviously Echo is special. But, she’s got some freaky intuition because she’s not a person and at the same time a lot of people? I don’t understand why or how, and it feels like they’re using her as a plot device a whole lot lately.

Echo’s vague comments lead everyone to decide that Perrin’s wife is probably a sleeper-doll. This is supposed to create some tension, as she could be activated at any moment to be a murderer, but it’s not really that well done. There’s a brief moment when a phone rings and that’s that. Fail. This could have been used to create some great suspense, but it sort of gets thrown out the window before it can be used effectively.

Like usual, Topher is the best part of this episode. He continues to be really funny, when everyone else’s dialogue is not that interesting. I will definitely miss Topher.

There are a bunch more plot twists, some done pretty well, followed by the long and winded “I’m a doll, you’re a doll, what’s a doll, I’m not real…” Echo is glitching again. Uh oh! Oh wait, she does this every episode. Then the senator glitches too, and they glitch together for a while. But he’s not really a doll, exactly, just a better version of himself. This is something I’ve been waiting for. Why not reprogram people to just have better skills, a la the Matrix? But I suppose the appeal the Dollhouse is the anonymity afforded to the clients because the actives are unable to remember what they’ve done.

Best line of the whole episode: “You just woke up a lot of people, and they all think you’re a bitch,” followed by a pretty decent action sequence where Echo remembers specific moves she’s used in some of her engagements to fight.

Eventually, November finally confronts Paul Ballard. She knows she has a past with him, but she doesn’t remember any of it. We get a little bit of Paul and Mellie, which I really miss. They were the best part of the show after Topher. [Anyone else watching this on Fox get a bit of a laugh when the Dollhouse promo came up at this point? Echo looked like she’d laid down on the sidewalk at their feet covered in ectoplasm or something.]

The plan for the Senator Doll finally comes out – He’s going to rescue the actives at the L.A. branch, and then as a hero he’ll become President or something so Rossum can be all powerful and write their own laws. It’s a pretty basic plan. It’s kind of obvious if you think about it, and I had hoped the show could do better.

The biggest suprise of the episode is the introduction of Summer Glau as Bennet Halverson.There are more Buffy alum coming, but I’m trying not to find out who so it will be as enjoyable a surprise as it was in this week’s episode. Bennet is an interesting character, and I hope she stays around for the remainder of the series
At first she seems like this branch’s Adell Dewitt, but no, she’s D.C.’s Topher. I also like that the D.C. dolls are named after Greek Gods instead of the phonetic alphabet. Makes me wonder what each Dollhouse uses as their naming system… any of them use Breakfast foods?

The episode ends with the revelation that Bennet and Caroline have some sort of history together – a history that Bennet seems none too happy about. The episode definitely moved the plot along, and I have a little more confidence that things will be sufficiently wrapped up in time for the finale.

Next, Episode 2.6 ‘The Left Hand’.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Monday, December 7, 2009 12:41 am

    That was a seriously awful episode. Horrible scripting, horrible writing, horrible acting. It’s like everyone has already given up — which is weird since this was filmed before the show was cancelled. Did they have to go back and do re-shoots? Maybe. But boy was this bad.

    I had figured out that Perrin was the Doll almost right from the start, so that fell flat. And yeah, Echo’s ‘being all over the place’ is not suspenseful, just annoying and confusing.

    I almost don’t want to watch the next one, although the Bennet/Caroline thing is just interesting enough to have me not dreading it completely (I have 29 more minutes before the download finishes to get into the right headspace).

    I think it goes to show, though, that Joss’s shows tend to go off the rails when he’s not more directly involved.

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