'Dollhouse': A spy in the house of love and sex and secrets

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Coming on the heels of this week’s announcement that a 13th episode of Dollhouse won’t air on Fox (start saving for that DVD set), last night’s Dollhouse episode took on an eerie air: as more revelations came out about the nature of the Dollhouse, it felt as though the show was presiding over its own funeral. It gets better week after week, while there seems less and less hope of it surviving.

Anyway, how about Eliza Dushku’s Echo and Dichen Lachman’s Sierra as tough spies tasked with finding out the spy within the Dollhouse? Well, actually, first things first: How about Echo dressed as an S&M mistress in an opening scene, and those close-ups of Sierra’s sky-high-heels as she ran? On one level, this episode was a fetishist’s dream, sure to be freeze-framed for months to come. This was creator Joss Whedon and his collaborators’ witty way of playing with the series premise, that the “dolls” are attractive women and men programmed to serve the wishes of their “clients” (who, as we gaze at them, implicitly includes us).

This idea has become far more interesting in the past few weeks, as we learn more about how Dushku’s character is struggling soulfully to regain her original identity, and the mythology of Dollhouse becomes ever more rich. As Mellie said last night, revealing crucial info to obsessed, suspended-FBI-agent Ballard, “The Dollhouse deals with fantasy, but that is not their [sic] purpose. You must investigate their purpose.”

Last night was a good one for Topher, who was scrambling to figure out who was monkeying around with his dolls, and tossing off Whedonesque quips at a rapid clip. “I made her a spy-hunter,” he said proudly of Echo. “She rocks a little Sherlock Holmes.”

So now I turn to you, readers, for comments and theories about this, the ninth episode (only three — er, four in an ideal world — to go): What did you think of Miss DeWitt’s self-described “indiscretion” with “imprint” Victor? (Personally, I think DeWitt’s character has become the most complex, and that Olivia Williams is giving an amazing performance.) And What do you think Dominic meant when he said to Echo, “One day you’ll be erasing them?”

More on ‘Dollhouse':

‘Dollhouse': Fox won’t air 13th episode, but show could still go on

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Comments (108 total) Add your comment
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  • Stacey

    This show is getting better week after week, the mythology of the Dollhouse is becoming more complex, the characters are becoming more complex and after this episode, I don’t know who to hate! Adelle might be the boss of the operation but even she is using the Dollhouse for “fantasy” and I didn’t expect Dominic to be the mole despite trying to kill Echo a few episodes ago! The fact Dominic was smiling when Echo as the Spy was with him in the truck made me like the guy for some reason, we shouldn’t be mad at him but we can’t be mad at Adelle either despite the fact she sent him to the Attic. I really do hope that Fox keep this show on the air, let it run for another season on another night cause I won’t be able to deal if they finish Season One with all these unanswered questions – it’ll drive me mad! But a brilliant episode before the two week break nonetheless.

  • davidp

    This show really is geting better and better; at this point I’ve become invested is finding out where Whedon’s going with this. Unfortunately, since this is on Fox, that means I won’t. I’m at a loss why Joss Whedon and Tim Minear (Drive, e.g.) keep giving Fox another chance. I agree with an earlier article that these guys need to jettison network TV and head to cable, where their ideas will be given a chance.

  • Garry

    I’m one of those viewers who has to keep turning to my wife as we watch “Dollhouse” to ask, ‘What’s going on? Who is that?’ In other words, while it sometimes gets tricky for me to keep the story and characters straight, I’ve been enjoying the show very much. And I disagree with critics who claim that Eliza Dushku’s acting abilities are limited. Not at all! I’d be entertained watching her read the phonebook (but a quick scene with her in a dominatrix outfit never hurts).
    Fox needs to let the show continue to grow, and on another night of the week, too. It’s becoming a habit of the network to take on a Whedon/Dushku show only to pull the rug out from under it far too soon.

  • K

    That was one incredible episode. Olivia was incredible and Adelle is by far my favorite character. Although I love Victor/Sierra I thought Victor and Adelle had really amazing (albeit disturbing, considering what it was) chemistry. Overall I though this episode hung together very well both thematically (the idea of trust was really well developed) and plot-wise. There were so many revelations, but even more questions, which is something the best shows do. I hope to god this show doesn’t get cancelled, and although I’ve really liked Dollhouse so far, this episode was so good it made me realize just how devastated I would be it it actually got cancelled. That was one of the best hours of TV I’ve had all year.

  • John

    Last night’s episode was so good it made “Man on the Street” seem pedestrian. The reveal of Adelle’s “indescretion” (especially coming off of a what I thought was a throw-away client reference to “Miss Lonely Heart”) was absolutely amazing, and was the first time I was genuinely shocked and intrigued by the show. The imprint by imprint story structure and overlapping narrative was really cool, and despite its novelty I’d actually be ok with them reusing it (hopefully) down the line. Sierra’s spy adventure? Awesome. Echo’s fight with Dominic (who I NEVER guessed would be the mole)? So damn good. And the emotional goodbye of Boyd to Echo, knowing he would no longer handle her? Understated and wonderful. PLEASE STAY ON!

  • Brian C.

    I hate FOX.

  • J.

    Love the show. Can’t wait to see where this story goes.

  • Mason

    I love this show so much. I will be deeply saddened if it is really canceled. Perhaps we could start a campaign, where each fan sends in a doll? If the show gets around 3 million viewers, then that would be 3 million dolls…..

  • Heather

    I think you are right, Dollhouse is getting better and better every week. Fox will be losing a terrific show if they cancel it already. I think Dominic meant that one day Echo will regain her original personality and awareness and will be the one to take down the Dollhouse once and for all.

  • JAO

    I love this show — Terminator, Fringe, Dollhouse are all terrific shows. GIVE IT TIME! Even NCIS took several years to become top rated.

  • Freddy McCowan

    Dollhouse is definitely developing. There is of course the simple visual appeal, but the stories are developing depth, layers are being put out there. It felt so completely off right out of the gate, but nearly every episode since has gotten better, both in terms of acting and storyline.
    I hope that the network realizes that this has potential to be a strong word-of-mouth show, one that grows an audience (like Supernatural has done for the CW), and realizes that if they build it, the audience will come.

  • ekw

    I think you’re right, Heather. I was thinking last night that eventually Echo will have to stop being a Doll and start becoming a Dollhouse hunter. Maybe she would begin by kidnapping the dolls as they go on their missions and de-programming them, akin to a cult de-programmer. This all means, of course, that there is the capability of hacking the Dollhouse system and extracting info. That might mean that they have Topher on their side as well. Keeping Echo as a Doll will have to eventually change or the show will become stagnant and Eliza Dishku’s character will not grow.

  • brett

    Yeah, basically everyone else has already said what Im thinking. This show is getting really good. I’ll be absolutely heartbroken if it doesn’t return for a second season (and a 3rd, 4th…).

  • Kate

    Well, apparently, Dominic was the guy on the inside sending messages to Ballard (I think?) I don’t really understand the attic yet, is he dead? Did they just download his personality for future imprint use? And what was his problem with Echo? Or was it that is how he figured he could wake up Caroline? After all, Victor described it for us last week, the real personality is trapped and watching. I am kind of freaked out (in a good way)

  • Kim

    LOVE Dollhouse – every ep is better than the last. I will miss it terribly if (when) cancelled. Why don’t more people love Whedon’s shows??? I don’t get it.

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