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Review: Dollhouse - The Public Eye

by Brad Trechak, posted Dec 5th 2009 12:45AM
Dollhouse(S02E05) This was truly an excellent episode of Dollhouse. The show has improved leaps and bounds, and I can't wait to see the developments Joss has waiting for us next season ... oh. Oh yeah. Forgot about that.

Despite the imminent cancellation, this was an excellent episode with so many twists and turns you'd think it was the SR1 in California. Okay, Daniel Perrin is a Doll (sort of) and his wife is his handler (making her more of a fake than him). The mysterious Bennett in the D.C. Dollhouse has a past with Caroline, Echo's original personality. And it all ends in a cliffhanger making this the perfect night for a two-parter.

When Echo (as Bree) and Perrin had their scenes together, I couldn't help but flash back to several scenes from the Buffy and Angel series which had Wesley together with Faith. Faith tortured Wesley in one of those, I recall. Fortunately, no grudges were held between series.

Did anybody else notice that Kilo was played by Maurissa Tancharoen, who is engaged to Jed Whedon (Joss' brother) and was one of the co-writers of Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog? If you didn't, then you should have. She's also a writer for this series and co-wrote the last episode.

I see that the D.C. Dolls (which would be an interesting name for a band) are given the names of Greek Gods and Goddesses rather than the NATO phonetic alphabet. Kind of ironic considering that they're actually slaves. I couldn't tell clearly, but was Perrin's code name Hades?

Judging by the number of girlfights in the episode, you can tell it's a Joss Whedon series. Favorite line: "You just woke up a lot of people and they all think you're a bitch."

Admittedly, I figured out somewhat early that Cindy Perrin wasn't an Active. It was too obvious, and Whedon and company never go for obvious.

A moment on Summer Glau's character of Bennett Halverson ... I think Glau is channeling a little Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper in her portrayal (and she did guest star on The Big Bang Theory last season). If Sheldon were evil, he'd totally be Bennett. The ending was a twist, as well. I'm on pins and needles to learn the history between Bennett and Caroline. I'm convinced that the character is an Active, which means she probably isn't.

It was interesting to see the real Madeline (as opposed to the fake Mellie a.k.a. November) interact with Ballard. She's pretty unappreciative of being freed.

Technically, this is only the 18th episode of the series but I can't help but think that if the creators served episodes of this quality sooner ... the show would have probably still been canceled. It is Fox, you know. However, showing episodes in sequential order like this gives a greater appreciate to the sort of tapestry Joss and company can weave.

Did Dollhouse deserve better treatment from the network? If you're a fan of the show, the best thing you can do is buy the season DVDs (possibly in mass quantity) so they make the inevitable spin-off movie in the vein of Serenity.

[Watch clips and episodes of Dollhouse at SlashControl.]

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Rob Stevens

Perrin wasn't Hades. That was the Active who was already in the "chair" when they mentioned that callsign. I don't believe they had a callsign for Perrin, not that they explicitly stated, anyway.

December 08 2009 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

These 2 episodes prove that if you let Whedon do his thing a show could be great. The Friday time slot, the poor advertising campaign and meddling with Joss' plan all lead to the demise of Dollhouse. I believe the audience didn't know whether if this show was an engagement of the week type show or an episodic serialized show and it kept the viewers away. Looking forward to see how Whedon ends the series.

December 07 2009 at 4:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I enjoyed the episode, but it really bothered me that the DC Dollhouse was so different and that each office is allowed to work on technology on their own to such a degree. That combined with the ridiculous plan with Perrin makes me wonder if a child is in charge of the whole operation.

December 05 2009 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doubting Thomas

"It is Fox, you know."


This series has numerous problems. It's a largely unsellable premise, people being bought and sold for the amusement of the mega rich (oh and college professors), so it's unappealling. Its lead is brilliantly acted but is nothing more than an eco-terrorist at least in the first season, so there's no one to root for. And thirdly, anyone of intelligence is laughing at the implausibilities of all these people being able to find the Dollhouse while in S1 Ballard stumbled around like a blind man.

Small wonder it doesn't appeal either to the many or to 'the intelligent' the Whedonverse claims it's too smart for.

As for Glau, same old same old act she always gives. Everyone else was really good though in this ep.

December 05 2009 at 6:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maurissa and Jed actually got married in April.

Summer Glau was indeed amazing. I really enjoyed the episode! The DC Dollhouse is pretty different and awesome to watch, and the Echo/Perrin interaction was really interesting.

December 05 2009 at 6:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Adkins

You should have also mentioned Enver Gjokaj's amazing performance as Topher.

December 05 2009 at 5:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joe Adkins's comment

He wasn't in this episode. Victor was in ep. 2.

December 05 2009 at 8:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow these were 2 great episodes. I love Summer Glau and I am really interested in her character, too bad she won't be around by Feb. I am excited to see how this will end and hopefully Joss will be back with another show soon.

Silent Intense Rage

December 05 2009 at 1:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Truly a great episode (both episodes). In fact, it puts the whole season of SGU to shame. I really like the 2 hour block. Lets the overall plot develop a little faster as compared to forcing us to wait a week to see how Echo would develop and how it would lead to the "unaired" episode. I expect the few remaining weeks of Dollhouse will be excellent (especially based on next weeks preview). Let's hope they wrap up all the loose ends before the series is over (unless prayers are answered and it somehow returns one more time...of course, if tv prayers could be answered, Sarah Connor Chronicles would be back already too).

Just a quick note for your recap...we know that Bennett is not a Doll (assuming she is who you were referring)because Topher tried using his "disrupter" on her and it failed.

Look forward to the final reviews over the next couple weeks.

December 05 2009 at 1:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to trekker437's comment

That is unfair on SGU because you could have said the same about Dollhouse seven episodes in. It was good but didn't have the level of depth the end of season one and this season have had. Give SGU some time to grow into itself.
This was a great episode though and Summer Glau just made me sad that T:SCC was canceled (I think T:SCC was the best show TV has seen in a long while).

December 07 2009 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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