Monday, March 9, 2009

Television: Dollhouse Episode 1.4 Recap

Spoilers within, for those who have missed this episode!

It is no secret that I am a big fan of all things Joss Whedon, so when word was out last year of him creating a new series with Eliza Dushku as the lead, I waited with baited breath. Now, Dollhouse has already aired it’s fourth episode this past Friday, and though slow going at start, the series is picking up momentum.

So we kicked off this week’s episode of Dollhouse with Echo as a midwife helping to deliver a baby. Well, that’s something different from the usual promiscuous scamp she’s been portraying in opening sequences. And shortly after her wipe, we learn Echo, Sierra, and Victor are grouping together, having lunch together on a repeated basis, at the same table… you know what this spells… dolls, taking over the world. Dum dum DUM.

The set up for Echo this time? She’s a sassy, smart-ass criminal mastermind trying to steal a painting with a couple of other cat burglars. The attitude is reminiscent of her role as Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer… in fact; many of the personalities she’s been “imprinted with” seem to fall in Faith territory. I’m not sure if it’s Dushku who can’t seem to expand herself beyond that point or if it’s just the material she’s given, but it’s all sort of becoming a little predictable. I do have faith (no pun intended) that she can pull other “personalities off”, it just seems a little too soon to tell yet.

So there they are breaking and entering as any good thief does, and Echo is suddenly remotely wiped, cradling her knees and asking “can I go now?” over and over. Yikes. Way to screw up mid-theft. So now Sierra (portrayed by the sort of attractive, sort of alien looking Dichen Lachman) is being sent to the rescue with the same personality Echo was originally imprinted with. Lachman seems to do an awesome job playing the same exact character as Dushku, in fact, she’s dead on. The two even share some of the same lines, and it’s rather convincing that they both have become the same personality.

Dushku plays her wiped doll state very well. It’s probably the most interesting she is so far on the show, when she’s vulnerable and uncertain and you really feel for her in the situation. It’s also when we start to see her becoming self-aware, a little at a time. She even holds a full, albeit disjointed, conversation with one of the other burglars, which is a step up from her repetition of phrases she’s heard. I slowly see it coming together, and with every moment she gives us with insight to her consciousness I get chills. Knowing Whedon, this is heading to something good.

Especially so when we have a faceless villain called Alpha, who is himself a “doll gone wrong” (and seems to be the culprit behind this remote personality wipe). It seems he has become aware and was also equipped at his most basic state with some killer instincts (yes, pun INTENDED there), since what we do know is at one point he massacred quite a few dolls and escaped. My thinking is he knows Echo is becoming aware, and instead of killing her, wants to bring her over to his side so to speak. And with rumors that Alan Tudyk of Firefly could be the actor playing him, the build up to the reveal is even more exciting.

Well that’s it for now until next Friday, with what seems to be the most interesting episode so far; Echo is sent blindly (literally) undercover by the FBI to a religious cult village. Oh Joss, you are your religious jabs. I love ‘em!

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