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October 6, 2015

Dollhouse: Haunted

by Brad Trechak, posted Apr 25th 2009 1:05AM
Dollhouse(S01E10) My first thoughts upon watching the beginning of tonight's episode: that teaser segment was quick. It seemed to go right into the opening credits.

This episode focused on a lot of the moral implications of the technology to copy personalities. This is the sort of philosophical story that Joss and company excel at.

I suppose it would be hypocritical of Adelle to not permit Topher to program a "gaming buddy" once a year on his birthday, particularly considering her own personal use of the Actives in previous episodes. It does strike me as odd that Topher wouldn't at least want to have sex with such an obviously compatible female. Perhaps Topher, despite his genius, is emotionally stunted to an age where sex doesn't matter to him.

The identity that Topher programmed into Sierra was kept somewhat vague, but I have a theory: Topher copied his own personality into her. It just happened to be Sierra, but an Active would have done. Gender was irrelevant in this case. I'll bet Topher was lonely growing up and couldn't relate to anybody except himself.

Of course, then we have the main story of Adelle's dead friend Margaret using the Dollhouse to extend her own life after death by putting her personality into Echo's body. We did get a little background information of how the Dollhouse collects their personalities for use (I believe it was a year and a half of powerful, painful brain scans). We also learn that when a personality is copied, it also copies the handwriting (although I think Topher touched on that in a previous episode).

Either of these scenarios open up a world of possible storytelling. I envision some overbearing mother copying her personality into a mate for her son. Or some ruthless, wealthy dictator using an endless supply of bodies to obtain immortality. Or some psychopath could create an infinite number of copies of him/herself. Thank goodness the Dolhouse practices some degree of morality.

I'm surprised that the Actives aren't tagged with some sort of subcutaneous tracker. That would certainly have prevented Margaret from skipping the country in Echo's body.

And then we have Ballard, who is starting to understand the powerful attraction of an institution like the Dollhouse. I'm still not sure if he's Alpha, but we'll find out next week. It's either him or Alan Tudyk. Here's how my brain works: when Ballard and November starting getting it on, I was wondering if they were just going to leave those candles as they were to potentially fall over and burn the apartment down.

The mystery that served as the main story seemed kind of obvious to me. I called the son as the killer shortly after he was first introduced. It was further confirmed to me once he mentioned his gambling debts (there's a motive). I think it was the interaction of the deceased (using Echo's body) with her family that made for good storytelling.

The family itself even acted like the stereotypical television wealthy family. You had the artsy one, the drunk one, the cold one, and the one with gambling debt.

After tonight's interesting episode, I think it would be a crime to cancel this series and not let Joss and company further explore these concepts. Come on, Fox. Cut this show a break.

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Wow - i love how everyone has such strong feelings one way or another on this show. I've mentioned before, Dollhouse is my first Whedon show and I love it!

Not because of Dushku, but because of what I think the show's trying to be. I can feel the potential and have even actually seen some of it during some of the episodes.

Unfortunately, I also agree with some of the earlier posts that Dushku hasn't done the Echo character justice.

Victor, on the other side of the spectrum has been fabulous!!!! He had me completely believing he was a Russian mobster, and last week I believed his accent and love for horses. He's a fantastic actor so far.

April 28 2009 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I probably over rated the previous episode because I can't resist spy fiction but this time I didn't dig the story at all. It was as boring and old as the one from True Believer. Moreover I found Eliza Dushku performance quite disappointing and Echo's new character completely mismatched. The usual geek joke was also as annoying as the previous ones. The worst thing is that I never gave up so quickly and don't even think I'll take the time to check out the other episodes. I don't mind new story arcs as long as they develop characters and bring something refreshing but this time it seems it wasn't the case. Just an empty, quick written and dirty filler. Note that I could be wrong considering as I haven't watched it completely but you can't just ask a viewer to endur 20 minutes or more. Even if I enjoyed some episodes it won't be a surprise if the show gets cancelled

Source : http://watchdollhouseonline.com/

April 28 2009 at 2:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Although I don't think Eliza Dushku's mantelpiece is in any danger of becoming cluttered with Oscars, Emmys et al, I do think that this was the strongest episode to date, and the first one to really take the Dollhouse, as a business concept, beyond the range of sexual fantasy/disposable mercenary stuff. It's a shame that the murder mystery plot ran out of steam at the end of act two.

I think it's a mistake to assume that Topher's birthday-gift active was ever intended as a girlfriend. I got more of a family vibe. Given the main plotline's "back-from-the-dead" theme, I was wondering if perhaps this was his dead twin sister (or brother), or a childhood friend or similar. Yes, it could just as easily be his own personality, but I think they got along a bit too well for that.

April 27 2009 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Could not stand this episode. The storyline was slow, the philosophy was reaching, and I really felt the whole thing should have been wrapped up in a half hour. Suddenly my feeling was that we were wrapped up in a procedural, except that instead of characters bouncing ideas off of each other, we had Dushku acting the same as she always does and a bunch of one-offs we don't care about and got way too much backstory from.

I will say that the B-story was excellent, and I think both Fran Kranz and Dichen Lachman are fantastic actors. Dushku should take lessons from Lachman.

April 25 2009 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I still don't get how Ballard can be Alpha if Alpha is something they're all worried about.

Also I second someone's earlier question, I too was wondering where Echo's handler was.

April 25 2009 at 9:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Brett: I was left with the impression that she'd done the year and a half of treatments to represent coming back every month so in the event of her death, her scan would be as recent as possible.

April 25 2009 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dorv's comment

I meant Brad. Oops.

April 26 2009 at 10:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the teaser being quick was sort of brilliant on the part of the writing staff. Not only did it bring us right into the storyline, but it limited the amount of screen time "real" Margaret got so that Eliza as Echo as Margaret would have an easier time copying her. Since we didn't get to see "real" Margaret's personality it was easier to believe Eliza was doing a good job.

Not only do I think this show has really become brilliant (eternal life? Ballard realizing he's a Dollhouse client?) but I love how all the Dollhouse nay-sayers are suddenly like, "OMG! This is the bestest show ever and should be saved!" Maybe if y'all had given it a chance in the beginning and not been such a bunch of whiners, the ratings wouldn't be in toilet.

April 25 2009 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey, I have a question! Where was new-handler Travis when Echo was being almost-killed by Nicholas?

April 25 2009 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's actually the military phonetic alphabet although it is used by others in the same way. I think the use of the actives names in this way has some sort of meaning but I have no idea what it is.

April 25 2009 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Don Crossman

Has anyone ever noticed that all of the Dolls' names are taken from the pilot's phonetic alphabet? Echo, Sierra, Victor, November....

April 25 2009 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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