Dollhouse

Season 1 Episode 10

Haunted

5
Aired Friday 9:00 PM Apr 24, 2009 on FOX
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (25)

6.5
out of 10
Average
785 votes
  • Haunted

    7.0
    The good;

    Terrific central concept, imagine waking and being told by your friend that you've died and then getting to attend your own funeral and find out what everyone thought of you. Some lovely scenes too with Topher and Sierra and the continued humanisation of Adele. The story of this ruptured family getting back together is actually very touching especially when the drunken brother reminisces about the first night he and his sister spent in the house together and how glad he was they made up, Gatsby and Nick style, just before she died.



    The bad;

    If Margaret and Adele were such good friends why doesn't Adele recognise Margaret's family? Exactly how did Margaret know that someone was attempting to murder her? The idea that her handwriting would be enough to prove that a note is genuine takes some swallowing.



    Best line;

    Adele; "Loneliness leads to nothing good, just detachment"

    which would have been comfort to Ballard who has rough sex with Mellie even though he knows she's a Doll

    Mellie; "Are you looking for a Dollhouse client?"

    Ballard (haunted!, looking at himself in the mirror) "I found one"

    also like

    Margaret/Echo; "Elmo"

    Jocelyn; "EMO"

    Margaret/Echo; "That's not a word sweetie" (her entire character summed up in that sentence)



    Packing heat; Margaret doesn't like guns but is quite prepared to riflebutt her son with one.

    Echo;6

    Boyd; 6

    Dominic; 7

    Sierra; 3

    Victor; 2



    Echo kissage;1

    Echo/Margeret kissed by her son.



    Kinky dinky;

    Incestuous vibe between Margaret and her son, his 'mother's bed' line especially. When the son says that Margaret/Echo "Checked out his body" she doesn't deny it but claims it was 'subconsciously' and she'd had 'too much wine'. He also spies on her voyeuristically through the window knowing her nightime routine and she doesn't appear at all disturbed. Adele is also a voyeur, watching Toper and Sierra. Ballard's violent sex with Mellie borders on rape fantasy. She digs it but doesn't want it all the time (a common reaction amongst most people I think). Echo in jodpurs and riding boots, MMMMMMMMMMMM! Margaret seems a cougar, using the Dollhouse for younger men before getting her own. Sierra seems to fantasise about 'Sexy, sexy aliens' is she a got-fic fan?



    Notches on the Dollhouse bedpost; does Topher have sex with Sierra? Possibly...

    Echo; 3 definite, 1 possible

    November; 1

    Ballard; 1

    Victor; 1

    Adele; 1

    Sierra 1 possible

    Topher; 1 possible



    How'd they get away with that?

    The nanny story is HORRIBLE! The son murders his mother plus the incestuous subtext. Even though it's all a game and she get's into it you feel for Mellie being treated so roughly by Ballard. Question is would he have stopped if she'd wanted him to?



    This weeks fantasy;

    A dead woman comes back to witness her own funeral and investigate her own murder. Sierra is a supergeek in a supermodel's body, Victor is a horse expert



    Total number personalitites;

    Echo; 17

    Sierra; 8

    Victor; 5

    November; 2



    Total dolls; 6

    Echo, Sierra, November, Victor, Mike, Tango



    Addy is a bit British;

    Margaret says Adele would keep a 'Stiff back and stiff upper lip"



    Topher is a bit geeky;

    Huge geekfest right down to lasertag and classic sci-fi debate.



    Subverting the Hollywood cliche;

    The rich turn out to be just like the rest of us only with more money



    Bondage;

    Sierra tied up; 1



    Knocked out;

    Echo; 2

    November; 1

    Sierra; 1

    Victor; 1



    Kills;

    Sierra; 2 kills

    Echo; 1

    November;1



    Capt subtext;

    Topher fantisises about Adele and Margaret together. Margaret expresses her admiration for Echo's body and even gropes her breasts. Boyd warns of the collapse of civilisation. Ballard feels self loathing at having taken out his frustrations about the case by ravishing Mellie, even if she enjoyed it. Adele puts the mind of her old friend Margaret in Echo, the Doll she has developed an affection for. Adele indulges Topher his fantasy in the knowledge that she allowed herself her tryst with Victor. The sons jealousy of the mother's new young husband is pretty clear.



    Know the face? Gregg Henry played a Sheriff in Firefly (and every other show you've ever seen! Check him out on IMDB, 132 credits in 34 years)

    6 Whedon alumni-Mark Shepherd, Amy Acker, walking action figure, Eliza Dushku, Jim Piddock, Gregg Henry



    Guantanamo;

    Rather sinisterly Sierra wants to interfere with the other sleeping Dolls and make them fight for each other's amusement. Her idea about having them perform comedy skits is a lot more reassuring. That the Dollhouse is able to remotely cyber-wipe the FBI computer is scary beyond belief.



    Missing scenes;

    Great scene where Adele and Echo/Margaret look at Margaret's body in the coffin and she complains she doesn't like the dress she's being buried in.



    Reminds me off;

    Topher imprinting Sierra is very Dr Frankenstein right down to the flashing blue lights and his 'It's alive!' schtick. The incestuous subtext is reminiscent of both Oedipus and Hamlet. The whole idea of implanting your memories in a younger person and living forever is reminiscent of an old British horror film 'Nothing but the night' (Christopher Lee is the good guy for once). In Angel we had the father killing the son, here we have the son killing his mother.



    Breaking the programming;

    None this week, very much a standalone ep but a pretty good one



    Questions and observations;

    Adele is clearly dismayed at the thought of how people would remember her if she died, she's ashamed of the Dollhouse or just thinks people wouldn't understand? She states that 'Illusions aren't pointless. Note Topher doesn't just want a sex slave, the girl he creates for his birthday is sparky and challenging, beating him at lasertag.

    Call me a sap but I was really touched by the ending, despite all appearances to the contrary Margaret was loved by her brother and daughter and is able to tell them that she loved them in return from beyond the grave, the uncle and niece are reunited and are a loving family once again.

    Is Margaret really living on? The real Margaret died with her body, surely it's only a copy in Echo? It reminds me of Sheldon's question about the Star Trek transporter, are you really transported or does the real you die and a clone assembled at the other end? When Ballard looks up Novembers prints she seems to have multipile identities, her Dollhouse characters or was she some sort of identity thief? Is it really Eliza on the horse? Adele holds Margaret's hand as she is wiped, does she experience Margaret's life as well?



    Marks out of 10; 7/10

  • An enjoyable side step before the inevitably mad end-of-season dash to the finish line.

    7.5
    Dollhouse does Quantum Leap as Echo is imprinted with the personality of an individual who was recently murdered in an attempt to uncover the truth behind her demise. It does seem like something of a step in the wrong direction following the revelations and developments that have occurred in recent weeks, but as an example of a 'mission' episode, it is able to hold its head up with the best of them (although, admittedly, they are hardly an illustrious bunch.) The story remains engaging by adopting the tried-and-tested conventions of the murder mystery; here we have a veritable litter of much-maligned individuals, each with their own respective motive for doing off with the poor head of the household, and as the script progresses, the intrigue builds and builds, with new layers of betrayal and double-cross exposed at every turn. This process enriches the believability of the narrative, carefully divulging the emotional conflicts within each of the characters and allowing the viewer the opportunity to empathise significantly with each of them. By episode's end, we care enough about the family to be rather incensed by the culprit's betrayal, even if all signs do seem to point to him once he starts fooling around in the stables after dark. Regrettably, the confrontation between mother and son falls rather short of expectations, seeming rather hurried and ham-fisted, although this may be more a fault of poor editing or direction than any flaw with the script. Still, Dushku and Jordan Bridges do their level best with what they're given, and it's testament once again to Eliza's flexibility that she is able to make the viewer genuinely upset that Echo has to take the place of the dead woman once the mission is completed. It's a stroke of genius to have the character be a friend of DuWitt's too, since it lends the story a much more humanitarian undercurrent, ensuring the audience actually care about the ultimate outcome. We also get a neat little sub-plot with November and Ballard that carefully illustrates the cracks in their relationship now that he is aware of her status as a Doll (check out that angry sex scene man, ph-ew!), and a rather less than stellar C-storyline involving Topher and Sierra, in which the nerdy one finally gets a chance to unwind. It's innocuous enough, and a welcome piece of character development, but one can't help but wonder whether the time would've been better spent focusing on any number of the loose narrative strands that have been left dangling in recent weeks. An enjoyable side step before the inevitably mad end-of-season dash to the finish line.
  • Solve Your Own Murder Written by Jane Espenson And Jed Whedon And Maurissa Tancharoen Directed by Elodie Keene

    8.0
    Echo/Margaret: "Addie, it's just so ugly. I love these people but I don't like them."

    Now this is definitely an innovative way of a Dollhouse client using the Dollhouse. Waiting until they're dead, getting an Active body and going to solve their murder. If only Agatha Christie had thought of this one.

    Margaret Bashford was a rich lady who went on her favourite horse and wound up dead the next minute. More than that, unlike every other client we've seen, Margaret and Adelle were actually friends, adding another interesting spin on things.

    Jesting about being late for her own funeral might one of many obvious zingers this episode's plot could conjure up but I did get a laugh out of things and I suppose if you could do the same thing as Margaret, wouldn't you?

    The idea of attending your own funeral in the body of someone half your age has got to be a bit of shocker but Margaret was more interested in solving her murder than getting sentimental and with four obvious suspects, it was fun watching this episode show how each of them could possibly be guilty.

    There was Jocelyn, the embittered daughter. Margaret's parenting skills are something that clearly don't leave much to be desired for and constantly dismissing your own child's career is a bad thing. Especially when the child in question is actually a success at the job she does.

    I know it sounds weird but I didn't think that Jocelyn was going to be the killer. She came across as too sympathetic, in spite of all her anger. It was nice to see her converse with Echo as Margaret, even if she oblivious to the fact that she was literally trashing her mother to her face.

    Then there was William, the estranged brother. Now he was actually the person I did expect to be the very one responsible for Margaret. He was constantly drunk, belligerent and given that we learned about him and Margaret's fallout, it did make some more sense that he could've killed his sister in spite or greed.

    The other two suspects then had to have been the son Nicholas and the younger husband, Jack. Nicholas had debts coming out of his ears and Jack didn't seem all that pleased to learn that he had been bequeathed his late wife's horses. It didn't help that both also more than a little suspicious as well.

    Jack was actually quite hot headed more than enough times and even got furious when Margaret tried it on with him in Echo's body. I guess there are some people out there who do marry older women because they love them. Jack might have been angry but clearly he did find his wife very dear.

    That left Nicholas as the only other person who could possibly have done in Margaret but even then we were sort of misled. Watching him try to snog Echo was a cringe worthy moment but when he realised that she was Margaret, that was sort of awesome. However it didn't come as too much of a shock that he was a Dollhouse client himself.

    It could explain parts of his debt problem or even the fact that he slipped up about drugging the horse. He was the expert on horses and not Jack. Also fight wise, Margaret should be happy that it was Jack who came to her rescue before Nicholas bumped her off for a second time.

    Overall the resolution to the main plot tied up nicely. We learned that Jack was a stand up guy, Nicholas got nothing and sent to prison and Margaret got to rewrite her will after finding out more about her loved ones. Plus Adelle actually showed some emotion when Margaret was resigned to her fate.

    A lot of people in Margaret's position probably wouldn't have been so quick to give up the chance of living in a new, more virile body so the fact that she did is surprising in a lot of way. Maybe some of the Dollhouse clients are bad/seriously emotionally damaged people after all. That might be something that Paul can relate to. After all, thanks to Mellie's presence in his life, he has now become one of their clients and spent most of this episode barely able to hold it together. I've slagged off Paul in the past but I do really feel for him this week.

    On one hand if he doesn't play along, he's literally putting a hit on himself but on the other hand, by playing along, he's becoming the thing he hates about the Dollhouse and it's clientele. It finally gives Tahmoh Penikett some meaty material as well, but it's disturbing as hell to watch.

    Paul dealt with his anger towards his situation by having rough sex with Mellie and she has fallen into the unfortunate dynamic of trying to appease him, even though she doesn't know what's going through his mind, making Mellie's plight all that more hard to watch. Miracle Laurie is really good at selling Mellie's naivety with this current plot line but there's no way that Paul will be able to continue to maintain this pretence, especially now that he's trying to track Mellie as well.

    As for Topher, he gets the opportunity to imprint a Doll for himself and what does he do? He imprints a fellow geeky best friend with Sierra. Some of the scenes between Topher and Sierra are cute and it's probably the most benign use of an Active going but it also harkens to something as well.

    Remember in the Buffy episode "I Was Made To Love You" where Tara said that it was kind of sad that her future killer Warren had to build a robot girlfriend because he couldn't find a human one? I think that has to apply to Topher as well that he has to imprint a friend because he can't make any in the real world. I'm not a Topher sympathiser but it is sad as well. Still this is something he's allowed to do on his birthday, according to Adelle.

    Also in "Haunted"

    Victor briefly appeared in this episode as riding inspector called Mr Chilton. However him and Echo had no interaction with each other.

    Boyd (re Margaret): "So we can give life after death?"
    Topher: "Only if we really like you."

    Margaret made a point the age differences between herself and Adelle and Adelle and Echo, so unless Adelle was a gymslip mum, I'd still think she's likely to be Echo/Caroline's aunt if they're even related.

    Echo/Margaret (to Adelle): "I used to say I'd be late for my own funeral but I didn't mean it."

    Sierra (to Topher): "Get ready to have your ass kicked and possibly lose an eye."

    I doubt it was intentional but that quote gave me a nasty reminder of a certain Season Seven Buffy episode.

    Mellie/November (to Paul): "I know the quickest way to kill a relationship is to take it's temperature but are you okay?"

    Nicholas: "You said you wanted to comfort me."
    Echo/Margaret: "Not with my tongue."

    Who was the personality that Topher imprinted Sierra with? A former friend or even Topher himself? Yes, I think he would be that narcissistic.

    Echo/Margaret: "You lost your mother. It's only natural you'd so be elmo."
    Jocelyn: "Emo."
    Echo/Margaret: "That's not a word, sweetie."

    Mellie/November (to Paul): "They smell really good, some of them, not so much but overall, your shirts are nuzzle worthy."

    Paul's shower scene I guess was more to do with conveying his self-loathing of having sex with Mellie than highlighting the actor's prettiness.

    Echo/Margaret (re body): "I don't get to keep it."
    Nicholas: "I didn't think so."

    Jack (re Margaret): "I hope she didn't know the truth about her son. It would've killed her."
    Echo/Margaret: "It already did."

    Nice that Adelle acknowledged Boyd's attachment to Echo when telling him to move on. Also no Claire this week either.

    "Haunted" isn't my favourite episode but Jane Espenson is a cracking writer and seeing Dushku trying to play a 60 something woman is more interesting than some of the other parts she's played in the series. Fun but not a classic.
  • A great old-fashioned detective story from beyond the grave.

    9.0
    A new use for the 'Dollhouse technology' – eternal life. Thankfully that's not even an option and even DeWitt only allows it as a favor to an old friend, and then it's only temporary. I liked the whole little mystery though it should have been done with more suspense, it wasn't gripping like it could have been. I also liked how it worked out that Margaret got to make things right with her daughter and Jack, not many people get to find out the mistakes they've made after they die then get to make them right before they move on.

    Ballard's story takes a rather dark twist. When Mellie tells him how she's going to support him, it's pretty needy but at the same time quite sweet. It has a very troubling effect on Ballard though, he has intense sex with her. The next morning, she asks if he's going to continue looking for clients and he replies that he's already found one: himself. His self-disgust is obvious. I liked that, nice character development.

    It was sweet that on his birthday, Topher gets a 'friend', it's a very touching gesture. He might be a genius but he never leaves the Dollhouse (like Saunders) and has no life and no friends outside it. For a little while, he gets to be normal.

    This was a rather unusual episode, more emotional and psychological but it worked, I liked it.
  • Fun episode, and brings up yet another of the incredible implications of what a "Dollhouse" technology could mean for society--extremely extended lifespan.

    10
    Fun episode, and brings up yet another of the incredible implications of what a "Dollhouse" technology could mean for society--extremely extended lifespan. There are so many things that they can do with this show, so I really hope that it makes it...come one FOX, give a scripted show a chance for once!
    ...come one FOX, give a scripted show a chance for once!
    ...come one FOX, give a scripted show a chance for once!
    ...come one FOX, give a scripted show a chance for once!
    ...come one FOX, give a scripted show a chance for once!
    ...come one FOX, give a scripted show a chance for once!
  • The butler did it in the kitchen with a spork!

    3.0
    I think I might have enjoyed this standalone episode a bit more if it had aired towards the beginning of the season. There are a lot of twisted ideas in this one – the majority found within the subplots – and the central idea of prolonging life and, as hinted in this episode, being imprinted with your memories permanently after you die, is just all kinds of fascinating.

    It's unfortunate, then, that they hardly explore the concept at all - at least not in any way that interested me. This hour long episode of Cluedo felt very by-the-numbers. It's a storyline we've seen countless times before and there's nothing new here to spice things up. I never thought at any given moment that Echo WAS this 50-something year old woman. Eliza gets once funny scene, but she does very little to distinguish this character from, well, any other imprint we've seen so far. The son mentions he pegged she was his mother from the way she moved, but we had no basis for comparison, and so all I took from this episode was Eliza acting a little more reserved than usual. It's mentioned on more than one occasion how her imprint is supposedly as callous, coldhearted and defensive as DeWitt, but there were no similarities whatsoever.

    Tohper's playtime with his playmate could have been crucial to finally understanding him a little better. But to open the episode with him being his crude self (his dialogue more puerile than usual), it completely undermined any attempts at highlighting how lonely he is (something he seems to share with Dr. Saunders). It's also never explained whether he had resurrected an old friend or if he simply imprinted Sierra with his own personality (who, once again, stole the episode with her imprint). _______

    Ballards storyline, meanwhile, proved to be the highlight of the episode, even if it had the least amount of screen time. He is now officially a Dollhouse client and it really turns his character upside down. While he was ordered to keep up appearances, he completely takes a U-turn and knowingly rapes Mellie – viciously. She may have enjoyed his once-off aggressiveness, but he knew that this person was an empty shell someone filled with lies. It's an extremely intriguing turn for his character and his actions, much like the actions of the employees of the Dollhouse, are irredeemable. _____

    All in all, it's a fascinating conceit, criminally under-explored. The main storyline left me cold, while the subplots varied from childish to chilling. After such a strong run of episodes, it seems odd to have a standalone so close to the season (series?) finale.
  • Loved it!

    10
    Granted, this episode was quite light on mythology. But come on people, does every episode have to be steeped in mythology to please you? Standalone episodes are not inherently bad. Don't get me wrong, I like mythology shows as much as the next person, but this episode just worked perfectly in my opinion. I loved this episode for portraying how someone who thinks that she has done so much to help and support her family winds up finding out that most hate her for what she did. There was some humor and there were touching parts (poor Topher and the husband actually caring).
  • Hands down - the WORST writing I've ever seen brought to television. I thought "freak of the week" episodes were bad on Smallville... but this was much worse. We had GREAT episodes back to back for like 7 weeks straight!!!??? What the crap was this!? ...

    1.0
    Hands down - the WORST writing I've ever seen brought to television. I thought "freak of the week" episodes were bad on Smallville... but this was much worse. We had GREAT episodes back to back for like 7 weeks straight!!!??? What the crap was this!? What happened!? Where did our incredible writing go?

    And the cast... uggghhhh... don't get me started... surely they knew their performances were awful and wretched! EVEN Eliza Dushku's! Surely she knew something was drastically wrong. Surely all the stars of this show did.

    If only this message could get to Joss Whedon... Sheesh.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take over writing permanently! Your show will not make it... unless you do something now!
  • So bad that I stopped watching it after nearly 20 painful minutes.

    1.0
    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.
  • A step in the wrong direction

    7.0
    This episode was a good reminder of why the earlier episodes in the season weren't the most compelling. Largely stand-alone in nature, this episode feels a bit like filler, considering how the previous few episodes were finally starting to unspool the mythology. I'm not sure that the story would have worked earlier in the season, since it does expand on the situation between Paul and Mellie, but this was less about the mythology and more about shedding light on what the Dollhouse can do.

    At the same time, isn't it worrisome that the implications of the main story were more compelling than the actual events? I didn't care about the mystery, so much as what it meant to the actives and how they could be abused. Using the Dollhouse as a means of extending life is a disturbing yet logical progression of the technology. It certainly brings up the question of identity: is the copy downloaded into the Doll the same as the original, or does the process introduce errors? Are pieces of the original personality missing? That's just the tip of the iceberg; the implications are practically enough to justify their own show. (Fans of "Caprica" can see another take on the same idea.)

    That DeWitt would use such a method to allow her friend to come back, even temporarily, still introduces the notion that others could use the method on a more permanent basis. After all, DeWitt is not the only person running a Dollhouse, and the employees of a Dollhouse have a universally questionable take on morality. After all, once something is proven possible, someone will actually do it, no matter how unethical it may be.

    For example, why bother finding the kinds of friends you want, when you can simply reprogram someone to be your best friend for your birthday? The writers play the same game they've played since the beginning: presenting the employees of the Dollhouse in a semi-sympathetic manner while giving their actions and choice unflinching attention. The end effect is something like a show about how most of the people working for Nazi Germany were ordinary people with relatively ordinary lives, rationalizing atrocities while taking pride in their work.

    It doesn't end with the employees of the Dollhouse, as we see Paul take out his aggression on Mellie by giving her what she's begging for. I noted this in the review for the previous episode: once Paul knows that Mellie is just a programmed personality, if he continues to sleep with her, he can't claim that he's unaware of the implications. It's rape, and his rough actions make it clear that he knows it. Frankly, his self-loathing doesn't make up for it in the slightest.

    With only two episodes left of the season (and quite likely, the series), I have to believe that there's a point to portraying the characters in such a negative light. I've considered the notion that the audience is being led to sympathize with the characters that commit such evil as a subversive tactic, but the execution doesn't quite have the nuance necessary to make that viable in the long-term. Thus far, I still think this might been better as a film or mini-series; a short single season might end up being all that the concept demanded.
  • Disturbing and insightful. Decent episode going very dark places.

    8.5
    This is why I watch dollhouse. I watch it because it has the potential to go incredibly dark places. This episode was full of very dark twists and turns.

    Topher is lonely and so on occasion he is allowed to run a "diagnostic test". Boyd hits it on the nail when he notes that it's a little bit pathetic. And it really is.

    Mellie isn't a real person. She doesn't exist. Her entire personality is just a program; however, she is blissfully unaware of that fact. She thinks she is falling in love with Paul. Paul, on the other hand, looks at her with disgust and disdain and a hint of pity. He is kind of falling in love with her too, but he knows he can't. He even has some really intense sex with her. Dark.

    And finally there is the notion of life after death. Seriously, can someone say immortality? On the other hand, that brings up some serious issues. Are we just an ammalgamation of our experiences, or is there a soul exterior to the body that cannot be reproduced. Decent episode exploring really dark places.
  • So poignant and philosophical...

    10
    This is the reason I watch sci-fi. Every story line, Sierra and Topher, Adele and her friend, and especially Paul and Mellie were rich with meaning and the absurdities that make sci-fi great. Would you want to have the perfect friend who shares all your tastes? Would you want to come back from death to solve your murder? And if you did, what would people say about you? What would you want to say to other people? Why can't you figure that out and be that person now before you die? What would you do with someone who was programmed to adore you? The contrast between the unconditional love Mellie wholeheartedly offers and what Paul knows the truth to be is so compelling! But he has to maintain the relationship, and the struggle is changing him into someone he hates! Brilliant!
  • Was actually pretty good, Sierra is truly the highlight of the show for me

    7.5
    After watching the past episodes along with this one I really believe that the actress playing Sierra should've been the lead on this show..

    I personally absolutely love how she's been able to melt into each character she's been handed. This weeks imprint she protrayed a GamerGirl, not only did she remind me of real life friends (gamer girls) but she did it realistically with her body language. Many of the girl gamers I hangout with are very well read, sexy without having to show skin or imulate sex at all times, and overall have a terrific sense of humor.

    Kudos, for Dichen Lachman on capturing all the qualities of a digital age woman..

    That being said, I was actually really impressed with Eliza's portrayal of a elderly upperclass woman. She really didn't go too far overboard with the acting and made the character really believable, however the plot of the son killing the mother really wasn't that big of a shock. Actually it was pretty obvious as soon as they showed the family sitting around drinking and somewhat trash talking their late mother/sister. One huge gripe I do have with the show is, whats up with Paul Ballard being so dam serious throughout every single scene. It got really old fast, and I mean really fast - for me it happened right after he was introduced as some bada** MMA fighter. I thought to myself okay I can get onboard cause i'm a UFC fan, but does he honestly have to have his little mad face on with every single blam scene? Okay, he's a bada** you want him to challenge the dollhouse; fine... But come on does the character always have to be so pi**ed off all the time, it's gotten to the point where it's almost funny, like he's constipated throughout the entire series...

    The show has it's highs but truly has it's lows... I guess for me (as a huge Whedon fan), i'm really just tired of the girl gets power, girl struggles, girl overcomes obstacles, girl is enlightened "gameplay". I really loved it in Buffy & Angel but those were (dare I say) more innocent times, the characters were also very relatable because many of us going to highschool in the 90's actually went through the same ups & downs as Buffy & Angel. Nowdays, times are much more fast pace with texting, sexting, myspacing, etc; it's almost as if shows have to show so much sex appeal to cater to today's generation that many of us looking for overall good storytelling can no longer relate with these shows trying to encapsulate these new trends.

    Overall, I just feel that sometimes the show is more focused if the girls look hot in their outfits (Eliza in a dominatrix outfit) and the guys have abs; more-so than if the audience actually can relate and grow to care for the characters. My conspiracy theory... Fox had the creators "sex" up the show, which makes it fail....
  • I want that hour of my life back!

    5.0
    Wow, this was a painful episode. I have gotten used to lame jokes, the even lamer fight scenes and Paul Ballard taking things way too seriously, but this was just insulting to the intelligence of the audience. Nobody wants to see Topher and Sierra playing laser tag. People tune into a TV show to escape from reality, not get a harsh reminder about how boring it is. Maybe that is why people aren't tuning in because for a sci-fi show this certainly isn't very imaginative. And the storyline about Echo being imprinted with a dead person's mind and personality was just outrageous. It doesn't deserve to be elaborated any further than that.

    Shame on you Dollhouse. This was inexcusable.
  • Evil Dead Mom

    7.0
    Haunted-Echo is programmed with the memories of a dead woman in the hopes that she can help solve the woman's murder. Topher secretly prepares Sierra for an engagement, and Ballard looks into Mellie's past.

    After a couple of plot heavy episodes, we're treated to a more assignment of the week material when Echo is imprinted with personality and memories of Margaret Bashford, a wealthy deceased woman who before her death had her mind scanned as she prepared for the possiblity of someone
    killing her. It's your basic murder mystery type episode where Margaret in Echo's body tries to figure out exactly who killed and shocked at the possiblity that her family, even her lover could have killed her.

    Eliza Dushku really suprised me this episode. She essentially is playing a 50 year old upperclass woman and she does a fine job of doing so. She never over plays Magaret to the point were it seemed forced and she had a natural flow with the way she portrayed her. Not to mention the cast around here was pretty good. Jordan Bridges, Gregg Henry, Rhea Seehorn and Ian Anthony Dale give convincing performances as Magaret's family that could be potential suspects in her murder. There are some nice scenes that Magaret had with them like she is talking to her daughter and son seperately about how she truly felt about them even if they thought she was a cold-hearted woman. Yet at the same time, this story felt all too predictable and the twist/reveal of the Marget's killer isn't much of a shock. It all just feels like filler material and the story isn't as engaging as it wants to be. Although, I foudn it unbelieveably hilarious when Margaret's son kisses her as both actors, especially Eliza played that scene so brillaintly!

    The 2 sub-plots this wee felt bizarre as Topher imprints Sierra to be her fellow geek and play games around the Dollhouse. I guess it was fun watching Topher and Sierra having some fun as it gives us some insight on who topher is....a dork, but a sympathetic dork! Also is there any role Dichen Lachman can't play as she just nailed the geeky, pot head girl who loves to just chill. Also, we see Ballard struggling with the revelation he got last episode. It's pretty heartbreaking watching him try to still be with Mellie knowing she's not real and the relationship, even thought it's cute, seems hopeless in the end. I wonder what will happen next for these two as next week looks like Ballard will find Dollhouse finally! "Haunted" isn't bad, it's entertaining enough to be a decent episode despite being an obvious filler.
  • Amazing, had me crying by the end.

    9.5
    I absolutely one of the best episodes yet. Full of life, with both tears, excitement, suspense and strangely enough happiness. This show hits hard, fast, and in all the right places. And this episode is one of the best so far. The have great development for the characters but its also a good stand alone episode. It really shows how far this show can go!
    The plot gets more interesting with each episode, as well as getting fans attached to the characters!
    I would recommend this episode to both new and long time fans. Amazing presence by Eliza and excellent writing by Joss.
  • Less background story, better stand-alone episode plot.

    8.0
    Less background story, better stand-alone episode plot. I actually really enjoyed this episode. I loved the part about Topher. How funny was that?? Although I have the feeling that, if the show continues with a second season, the story about life ever after isn`t over. How would it be if dead people were still walking around?? This ep shows us the "human" part of yet another dollhouse employee or better said accomplice. Who could it be next - the good doctor? - or has she been discussed enough in the ep that depicts the Alpha incident?? I wonder...
    Please do not cancel this show, it has so much potential, and to be truthful we can find much worse on our TV screens.
  • Call me crazy or what, but I liked this episode..

    8.5
    I do not why but I liked it.. I liked topic, the story - that dead person comes back and finds out what happened with her, fixes her mistakes and then disappears but leaving behind so much good.. Maybe it is me, but I really think (and maybe wish) that we should watch our lives outside and see and hear what other really thing of us and try to fix it.. and I would love to have a second change, just for a while, with my beloved ones who have passed away.. so, maybe it was my past that made me love this episode.. but for me, it worked..
  • Echo is imprinted with a dead person.

    7.0
    As we draw closer to the end of what could be Dollhouse's first and last season the changes that the show has gone through are starting to become quite apparent. In this episode it feels like were taking a step back into the first few episodes of Dollhouse with changes made to better the experience. In this episode one of Adelle's best friends named Margret is murdered. She is reborn inside of Echo's body -- in other words Echo is imprinted with her characteristics – granting her what some in the Dollhouse refer to as eternal life. Since she cannot stay in Echo's body forever it is only a temporary revival. Near the beginning of the episode it becomes apparent that she was indeed murdered by one of her closest friends.

    The episode goes through many trial and error stages, watching Margret try to find the person with the motive to kill her. It's almost creepy watching her talk to her brother and siblings in a different body trying to find out what they thought of her. It turns out many people had a distaste for her wealth and power, so the list of potential killers are high. Trying to follow who killed her was interesting and for the first time in Dollhouse's run not obvious. There were actually a few curveballs throw in at the end that were not expected and proved to be quite enjoyable. Although I enjoyed the premise of this episode, the way some of it was told brought it down in my books. Some scenes like when her son started frenching her(echo) was overacted to the extreme. Also, the pacing was quite off as some parts of the episode just felt unwanted and boring. The episode didn't really pick up off its feet till the last 8 minutes. That's not to say the middle wasn't interesting, it just lacked parts that really engaged you into the dialogue. This episode also proved to have some of the cheesiest dialogue with Topher and Sierra. Topher requests a Doll for his annual "diagnostic test" which turns out to be his birthday. He programs Sierra into a nerdy friend that he can be around for his birthday since he doesn't have many people outside the Dollhouse. That's all fine and good and what we had to watch them say and do may have provided some nerdy fun, but it really ended up feeling lame.

    Also what's up with Paul? I know he is stressed over Mellie, but he is really starting to get arrogant. He knows she's a Doll and still ends up sleeping with her. Yes you can say he doesn't want to break character with her (otherwise she'll know and contact the Dollhouse), but at the end of the episode he just goes ahead and tells her he's found a client in the Dollhouse consequently being her. That story arc needs work, because I found it's not very enjoyable watching Ballard make his own decisions.

    This episode of Dollhouse took an original approach and I think the main story worked quite well. It's cool to see the Dollhouse essentially playing "god" granting eternal life to their clients. The story was interesting and maintained a mystery until the end. Some scenes were overacted, the pacing was slow, the dialogue needed work, and Ballard really needs an overhaul on his attitude BUT amongst all of that the episode still worked. Nothing in the main story really progressed, but I suppose taking a break from it in one episode wouldn't hurt. Although, if this is going to be the last season of Dollhouse it would be nice to see the storyline with alpha wrap up soon.
  • This ep doesn't move the plot along all that much, but it definitely explores another aspect of the dolls.

    7.5
    I liked this episode, I find with Dollhouse I am enjoyng it more each week and I actually love that each week it's a different show, with different kinds of humour and emotion. This episode follows Echo who has been imprinted with the personality and apparently memories a friend of Adelle's (the head of the LA Dollhouse)
    The episode is interesting because this imprint kind of allows this woman who has been murdered to find her murderer and really learn truths about her life she never knew before. In terms of Paul Ballard, the FBI agent who is interested in cracking the mystery that is the Dollhouse, his plot does move slightly forward when he finds out that Mellie's(who he is aware is a doll)fingerprints show up and then disppear in the FBI fingerprint database. And Topher spends this episode playing with Sierra who he has imprinted to be like his best friend on his birthday. Not the most groundbreaking ep of the season, but i personally really enjoyed it.
  • One of Adele's lifelong friends Margaret who's also a Dollhouse client is murdered. Her imprint was put on file and is downloaded into Echo so she can try to solve her own murder. It's Topher's birthday! Ballard checks Millie's fingerprints.

    8.5
    The question of immortality finally rears its ugly head. I have been waiting for that subject to come up but not in this lukewarm way. Adele was very clear with Margaret/Echo that this was a short term project. Margaret's two children, her estranged brother, and very young husband are the main suspects.

    Topher needs to do some special programming so he borrows Sierra for the work. It turns out he programs her as sort of an intellectually equal playmate. Something he has obviously done before for his birthday.

    Langton is taking everything in stride as the new head of security. He is not happy with the Echo project and questions Adele about Topher's little sidebar as well, but she explains it is only once a year.

    Meanwhile Ballard has taken fingerprints of Millie/November to the FBI and when they run them the program comes up with a name and then seems to erase itself. The gal who helped him says she believes him a lot more now that something is going on. That would take some insider power to pull that off.

    Race horses are part of the main plot as Margaret loved them. Victor comes in as a trainer and finds that one of the horses has been doped and the same drug was used to kill Margaret. Margaret is with her son when she assumes her husband killed her, but after escaping him her son tries to kill Margaret/Echo the same way as he did the first time (he was a Dollhouse client as well and knows Echo is his mother.)her husband breaks in and the two of them subdue him.

    Everything gets wrapped in a neat little package in the end with Margaret writing goodbye notes to everyone and changing her will before returning to the Dollhouse to be wiped clean from Echo's mind.

    This episode was ok but a big letdown after last week. Sort of like what we use to call a filler episode. It's too late to be running episodes of this quality when the shows ratings are falling. I really like this show so I am giving it a generous 8.5 for the emotional pieces, Topher's part, and the Ballard piece. The main plot really did very little for me and did not attack the one thing I thought would be a major subject eventually on this show. Too bad we probably will never see that done.

    Thanks for reading...
  • Adele gives Echo the imprint of her dead friend, Agent Ballard struggles with his knowledge of Mellie's true identity, and Topher runs a diagnostic test with Sierra

    8.5
    "Haunted" was a very strong episode, written by Jane Espenson (former Buffy and BSG writer), and Joss Whedon's brother Jed Whedon and his wife Maurissa Tancheoron, writers of Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog. I don't believe the episode was as good as the previous two (Needs, Spy in the House of Love), but it was supported by combining humor with a very dark and eerie premise.

    The head of the dollhouse, Adele DeWitt, imprints Echo with the personality of her friend, Margaret, who has just died. Margaret was very wealthy and suspected that she would be killed, so she had been undergoing frequent downloads of her personality so that she could be downloaded into a doll after her death and solve her murder. In the B-story, Agent Ballard struggles to maintain a relationship with his neighbor Mellie, who he recently learned is a sleeper agent doll named November. He loves her, but he cannot accept himself behaving as a dollhouse client. (As a sidenote, his situation is very similar to the actor, Tahmoh Penikett's, dilemma as Helo on Battlestar Galactica when he learns that his girlfriend Boomer is a cylon.)

    The main story of the episode raised many questions about the ethical nature of the dollhouse, including the usage of dolls to obtain eternal life. Langdon confronts Adele about this at one point, saying that once they allow this, it is the end. Margaret used her second chance mostly for good by discovering her killer and giving closure to her husband and daughter by writing posthumous but also post-dated letters.

    A third story involved Topher informing Langdon that he needs to run a yearly "diagnostic test" of his computers. Sierra is chosen as the doll to use, while all the others are kept in rest because of security concerns stemming from the exposure of Dominic as a spy in the previous episode. Throughout the course of the episode, Topher is shown playing like laser tag, video games, and catch with Sierra, who now has a personality much like his. The relationship is never shown to be sexual; she is merely a friend for poor Topher on his birthday.

    Overall, this episode handled this delicate topic of life and death very well, and in my opinion better than the 5th season another Whedon show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Dollhouse continued its slow burn this week, and is ramping up to a great finale.
  • *Fan squee*

    10
    Ok, I just finished watching and I have to say I loved this episode. Adelle was melancholy the whole ep, except in the beginning when she was with Echo/Margaret; After the funeral, I assume she'd taken into account the fact that Margaret was really gone, as apposed to in the beginning where it was just like spending time with a friend. Speaking of friends, that brings me to my next point: Topher and Sierra. At first, I thought he was just bored and had extra time on his hands, but towards the end we figure out that it was his birthday, am i right? I'm assuming that that's what the candles in what looked like a Twinkie or cupcake were for, yes? I felt bad for him after realizing that he, and many other clients at the Dollhouse, really can not afford to have friends.
  • This week on Dollhouse, Echo becomes a dead women who tries to figure out her own murder. Topher programs Sierra as friend for his birthday. Ballard checks out Mellie's past.

    10
    This episode of Dollhouse was brilliant. One of my favourite stand alone episodes. This week on Dollhouse Echo gains the memories of a dead lady, to solve her own murder. I love the idea of it. Eliza did some amazing acting in this episode. She really pulled it off. I loved how everyone talked about Margaret. It was funny how Nick was coming onto to Echo. I thought Jack was the killer the whole time. I never would suspect of Nick of trying to kill her. Topher and Sierra were definately funny in this episode. When Topher was doing his voices it reminded me of the "In Every Generation..." at the beginning of each Buffy episode from season 1 and 2. The laser tag scene was also very funny. Happy Birthday to Topher. I keep liking Adelle more and more every episode. I feel so sorry for Ballard. I'm glad that the women he used to work with now believes there's a Dollhouse. I loved Victors accent in this episode. I give this episode a 10/10.
  • Echo is imprinted with the memory of a dead woman, to solve the mystery of her death. Ballard digs further into Mellie's past. Sierra has a secret assignment.

    8.0
    1st: So good to see that someone else believes Ballard. Even if it ended up with him not knowing anything more about Mellie. At least he has confirmation.

    2nd: Topher! Oh I am so glad they made him a less emotional person. It made episodes like today even more endearing. To have the perfect best friend for your birthday is just sweet. Watching this and the past episode has made the heads of Dollhouse seem more human. But also a little more sad. They have truly lost themselves in their jobs. It makes it even better that there is nothing shown about their personal life (if they have one).

    3rd: Echo's assignment is interesting. The most important one is that the husband is HOT. The second point is that the idea is just darling. It's nice that the woman did find someone who loved her. Plus had a second chance. A part of me would definitely want to do what she did. Though I am not sure I could withstand the temptation to just walk away with the body & memory.
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