Dollhouse Discussion

This is supposed to be the one where we all get completely on board, right?

Man on the Street. Echo tries to help a client heal the ache of a lost love as a TV reporter prepares an expose on the Dollhouse.

I'm looking forward to it… ::ominous use of ellipses::

20 thoughts on “Dollhouse Discussion”

  1. OK, so it’s a horror show.
    This episode worked in many ways, aside from the man-on-the-street interviews, which were either tonally wrong or thematically over-the-top. The reverse on the neighbor-doll was well done, because they managed to trick me into deciding she wasn’t one after all. (Maybe that just means it was well done for an audience of me.) I think they finally hit the note of audience complicity they’ve been aiming for, and it made me deeply uncomfortable in a way different from the general ickiness of the previous eps. Trouble is, if what the show aims for is to make the audience feel bad and wrong, then good TV is attainable; but I’m not sure enjoyable TV is.

  2. That…was almost good. Huh. I remain incompletely on board, and I definitely made some horrified-not-in-a-good-way faces…but that was like watching a completely different show in about seventeen different ways at once.

  3. I thought it was an improvement over previous episodes and I definitely felt Whedon’s involvement more than I did before.
    I watched it with a group of people pre-BSG and most of us saw the identity of the rapist the moment it came up. What we didn’t see was that end reversal. It was raised, actually, then discarded.
    My new take is that the Boss Lady is actually the inside man who, while heading up this Dollhouse, is just one of many in the twenty Dollhouse scheme and she’s trying to figure out what’s going on, who’s behind it, etc. That kind of stuff I can get behind.
    Best thing about this episode? Dushku was barely in it.

  4. I’ve been thinking since the first or second episode that it may turn out she and Echo are related… if not by blood, then something close to it, like an intense shared experience.

  5. I know what you mean. I actually did find this more enjoyable in that sense, because I had more of a feeling they actually knew what they were going for and what issues they were working with, rather than throwing stuff at the wall filled with gender implications and seeing what stuck. I thought the other episodes were intentionally squicky, I guess, but not that they fully committed to it.
    Mostly, I was “glad” to see them engage with the rape aspect directly, and also to not answer it in a satisfying way, in that no material change happens to what the dolls must endure when in their doll states and no real discussion of why it’s not really different (mentioned, but that was it). But, yeah, it’s never going to be “fun.” And possibly a little too thinky for a Friday night? Still, I could see this being a show that people keep watching because we want the balance of power to shift so badly.

  6. This is a show I’ll keep watching. So much plot — I honestly feel like I should watch it again, because of the density. Feels like a Veronica Mars episode right before the finale, doesn’t it? (In just that one respect.)
    I’m still ambivalent about Ballard, which is weird. I find myself more drawn to Echo than to him, but his not really relationship may fix that. And the Shirtless Ballard brigade should be happy with this one. He’s not just a piece of meat, guys!

  7. I really enjoyed this episode. For the first time, not only does someone hiring a Doll actually make a lot of sense, but the “engagement” is relatable enough that you can almost empathize with the client. How many people have lost loved ones they’d pay anything to share one more day with? It doesn’t eliminate the ick-factor (he does have sex with her after all) but it DOES make it much more relatable on a level normal people can admit to. What I mean is, I think this was the first episode that the average viewer could watch and admit to themselves that they would consider doing that.
    I agree with one of the other posters that this episode worked a lot better because of a lack of Echo. I think the show works far better when it tells the story of the Dollhouse and not just the story of Echo. She’s a part of it yes, but not the whole part.
    This was the episode that really sucked me in. I finally feel vindicated for telling my friends to just give it time.

  8. We just watched and YAY! A huge advance in smarts & sophistication & characterization. I really like the development of Olivia Williams character as well as the several plot surprises & mind fucks. Best of all, was the lead-up to the hit on the neighbor and how that got up-ended. Really satisfying and surprising.
    Also: The conversation between Agent Ballard and the client was extremely good and classic Whedon (it reminded me of the chat Buffy has with the classmate/vampire in “Conversations With Dead People).
    I realize I’m using way too many superlatives but I feel big relief — that “Echo is back-up singer” episode was SO TERRIBLE my hopes for the show were starting to gutter.

  9. Three cheers for this episode.
    The dialog was clear, it sparkled, it snapped — full-on Joss dialog, which I love. But what I liked the most about this episode is that it reveals the central truth of the show’s structure — that Dollhouse is not about Echo, Dollhouse is about all of them. It’s an ensemble show and the emotional heart and center of the show does not reside in Echo. The center of the show sits networked between the people who work for and run the House. And I liked that, I really did.

  10. Right, it’s enjoyable in a very squirmy way, as something that is well done and is pushing the buttons it wants to push. I’m just not sure I’ll be looking forward to rewatching, ya know? Whereas I am actually looking forward to it now, because there’s so damn much going on.
    Are we laying odds on who the inside person is? I’m going with Adele, for now, but that may be just wishful thinking.
    Since no one’s really mentioned him I wanted to give props to Patton Oswalt, who really did well in the small but crucial role they gave him.

  11. ah, but he knows we know that, thus he is trying to trick us into thinking it has to be someone else! But actually, given that there is only one dollhouse, it had to be her–no one else had the knowledge and the opportunity. Given that we now know there are 20 other dollhouses out there? There is a distinct possibility that almost anyone in the house could be the mole–learned how to do the tricks at a different dollhouse and then got a job as a janitor at this one, for example. Basically, the only people who can be ruled out are the dolls, the security guy (aw, he was on stargate! no wonder i remember his face), and maybe the Madame.
    However, given that, my new theory is: caroline’s AI-like self in the computers is rewriting the programming.
    That, or aliens.

  12. Ditto to much of what’s been said here but especially the last two comments. Also, my money’s on Amy Acker as the inside man. Though I do think Topher’s assistant may be a doll sent by Alpha.

  13. Amy Acker’s definitely up to something — and she has total access. I’m not sure about Topher’s assistant; part of me reads her as pure window dressing (we need someone for Topher to talk to while he’s working). I haven’t really seen any true attention paid to her yet, and, more than that, the actress doesn’t draw enough attention. But if it is her, well done, I suppose.

  14. I’m suspicious of Ivy the Assistant because I saw the actress in a recurring role as a spy mole on NCIS, and she acted pretty much the same. This may not be the best criteria by which to judge her role on Dollhouse.
    I love Amy Acker in this. She’s got such a nice subtle HUGELY DERANGED DISTURBANCE going on under that controlled demeanor.

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