Yeah! Finally a great episode! Now this is what I was waiting for, so many things happen in this episode. First off, how great was the scene between Patton Oswalt and Tamoh Penikett? Patton Oswalt is such an underrated actor, I've seen him in so many things and he's always interesting to watch. The dialogue in that scene was just perfect. Joss wrote this and it shows.
I really liked the storyline with Victor and Sierra, the way that Victor got (wrongly) accused of raping Sierra and her reaction to him when she sees him...poor Victor! We knew there was no way that Victor had raped her but just the idea that he could go to the attic for it just petrified me. Gotta love Boyd's police work on this!
What a great fight scene between Echo and Paul, very reminiscing of Buffy and Angel. Love the fact that someone's working from the inside and that they got their message to Paul through Echo.
I actually started caring about Mellie in this episode, didn't much care for her before but this episode really made her interesting. Loved the way we find out she's a doll!
Overall, a really good episode with a lot of reveals and enough things happening to keep us watching.
Wow! Mellie is a Doll! Did ANYONE see that coming? Excellent ep with loads of character development, first meeting of Ballard and Caroline (excepting 'Echo') and a heck of a dust up. The subplot with an abused Sierra is horrible but very well written and acted, you just knew that this would be a problem sometime as Herne says (CHEERED when Boyd punched him through the glass, great stunt from Mike Massa). And Echo has paid sex with her first realistic and sympathetic client.
Not much, very good ep. You do think that Adele takes a hell of chance with November by not activating her about 30 seconds earlier?
"Perhaps I need to give it to you" Adele gives Boyd a bonus, not because he wants it but because she needs to give it to him to salve her conscience.
According to Joss when they asked casting for extras to play the Dolls they were inundated with pictures of porn stars. Must have been hell. Why do we all bother to pay for porn? Why don't we just phone up a casting agency and pretend we need attractive background players for our TV show? Echo's personality thinks her fiancee has suddenly become rich through internet porn.
Notches on the Dollhouse bedpost; November beds Ballard (and she's a heck of a screamer) and presumably Echo returns to finish her romantic engagement with her client
How'd they get away with that?
The funny "What a rick!" and the indescribably horrible, Herne abusing Sierra. He's a son of a bitch but November killing Herne makes me wince every time.
This weeks fantasy;
Echo plays the dead fiancee of the Internet mogul and then a hit chick. November plays Mellie and death-in-Laura-Ashley
Total number personalitites; 2 for Echo
Total dolls;4, here's November!
Echo, Sierra, November and Victor
Addy is a bit British;
Topher is a bit geeky;
Subverting the Hollywood cliche;
The client is actually a sympathectic figure and is even concerned about the security guards Ballard knocked out. For once we have a fat client rather than a male model although Mellie actually thinks him kinda cute.
Sierra tied up; 1
Kills; November kills Herne with her bare hands (never talk flower arranging with HER!)
Sierra; 2 kills
November badly roughed up by Herne
The redneck guy thinks the Dollhouse is a great idea because it allows a guy to be with another guy but means that there's 'Nothing queeny' going on (his wife/girlfriend's expression when he says this makes me laugh out loud every time, just like Echo's 'Porn' line). Dominic punches Herne when he hints that there was something between him and Adele. Jealousy?
Takana describes Echo as a 'whore with a heart of gold'. Herne makes a good point about Adele hiring out the Dolls to be sweating under 'some Emir' (the difference being they'd signed up for that, they hadn't signed up to be sexually abused whilst in their non-programmed state, Sierra actually saying she doesn't want to). Joss refers to Miracle Laurie as 'Being a pro' but rapidly rethinks his phrasing.
Just idly watching '2 and a Half Men' whilst I'm writing this and Charlie and Alan are being treated to a pair of hookers by their future stepfather in Vegas. It strike me how attitudes to prostitution in TV and movies have changed in recent years, Pretty Woman, Belle Du Jour, Patty the daytime hooker in My Name is Earl, Hung etc. In a recent ep of The Big Bang Theory to cheer Howard up Raj and Leonard hire him a working girl. Times have certainly changed, used to be the only time you ever saw prostitutes on screen was when they were murdered or were informants.
Know the face?
5 Whedon alumni-Mark Shepherd, Amy Acker, walking action figure, Eliza Dushku, Jim Piddock
Whenever I see Herne I can never help but think 'Is that Dennis Quaid?"
The Afro-American woman likens the Dollhouse to slavery. Ballard is pretty damn rough with Takana.
According to Joss plenty of spare material left over
Reminds me off;
The Vulcan grip from Star Trek is mentioned. The internet mogul is very reminiscent of David Nabbit from Angel who also frequents ladies of the night (but likes his a bit more demony). According to Joss' commentary Eliza didn't care much for her housewife look but I think she looks great, reminds me of when The Mayor gave Faith that dress in Graduation Day pt1
Questions and observations;
Interestingly according to the reporter the rumours of the Dollhouse have been circulating since the late 80s? Ballard and Mellie actually make a lovely couple, very sweet. For a moment I wondered if Echo's message was some sort of double bluff but to judge by Joss' commentary the message was real. From whom? We learn there are 20 Dollhouses all over the world. What is the greater, X-files style, conspiracy? Echo demonstrates genuine affection for her client, even after she's meant to have been wiped. Adele knows this but still keeps her in the field.
Absolutely love the scene where Echo thinks her fiancee made his money through internet porn, she may be a Doll but she's no brainwashed sex slave, she reacts in exactly the same way the real woman would have done. The interviews on the street are also interesting, not to stereotype but you look at the blonde girl and kinda wonder if she is a Doll?
Again, this almost feels like the 3rd pilot for the show.
This episode has Echo begin the show by posing as the wife of a man, when Agent Paul Ballard storms in. A reporter asks people what they think of the idea of the dollhouse. Sierra has been raped, and Victor is the prime suspect. It turns out to be Sierra's handler that raped her. Paul does it with Millie, then goes off and Echo talks to him about a spy in the dollhouse, while Sierras handler attacks Millie. De Witt then says a code word via the answer phone, and Millie kills Sierras handller cos SHES ACTUALLY A DOLL! OMG!
Echo: "The Dollhouse deals in fantasy. That is their business but that is not their purpose."
Paul: "What is?"
Echo: "We need you to find out. We'll contact you again, if possible with the same body but you have to let the Dollhouse win. Make them back off. You have to trust me."
Remember when Joss Whedon said that everything would fall into place around the sixth episode of the first season? Well, I guess he wasn't kidding as this episode certainly had things falling into place and after five fairly hit and miss episodes, it was about bloody time.
Paul's frantic search for Echo finally had him meet his desired girl when busting in on suspected Dollhouse client Joel Mynor. He was another in a long line of men having Actives programmed for romantic engagement, except that this was no ordinary engagement as such.
Echo wasn't being programmed into some random hooker who thought the sun shined out of Joel's arse but at the same time, there's something very disturbed about her being programmed as the deceased Rebecca Mynor, all so that Joel can get a reaction from her in regards to a house he purchased.
In some ways, Joel has a very poignant story. He finally became a success, wanted to share that with the woman he loved and she died on him. There's a part of me that is sympathetic to his plight but not enough for his actions to be condoned. His conversation with Paul is a master class in Whedon writing.
Although Paul was able to piece together Joel's motives for having Echo imprinted as Rebecca, Joel was able to do the same thing with Paul's need to rescue Caroline. It'll shock no viewer that Paul has got something of a saviour complex and the allusions to fairytales are eerily appropriate.
Also on a superficial level, Tahmoh Penikett has the kind of physique that would have him cast as a Prince Charming in any fairytale adaptation. Also, while Paul's motives aren't entirely pure (love/lust for Caroline and all), this is the first time since the series started that I actually cared about him and his desire to bring down the Dollhouse. One is going to be tricky Paul but I dare you to try and take down over 20 of them.
Earlier on in the season, I found myself uninterested in his motives and almost siding with the fellow agents who happily took the piss out of him searching for a thing that might not exist. Then this episode reintroduced Agent Tanaka and I found myself wavering towards Paul's side.
Mark Sheppard might be a good actor (he was certainly enjoyable in Battlestar Galactica) but he's rather miscast for this role and Tanaka is little more than a wooden oppressor trying to railroad Paul's research into the Dollhouse. Plus he warranted the injury Paul gave him alone for the sleazy comment he made about Caroline. Seriously dude, shut the frak up already.
I think another reason why I actually found myself liking Paul in this episode is that the writers finally took the stick out of his arse. Paul was actually funny in this episode. Maybe not in the sense that stand up comedy is the vocation he should be really pursuing but funny in the dry sarcastic way that can often make certain characters endearing in their own right.
I loved his banter with Loomis while they were drawing up more links to Joel and the Dollhouse and there was the fun, playful side with him and Mellie (and Paul, you are a fine piece of meat). That leads to another thing – how bloody amazing is Mellie? Seriously, let me count the ways.
First of all, Joss grasped an excellent handle on the character with this episode. No longer the clingy neighbour but more the sympathetic ear that went out of her way not to pressure Paul into a romantic liaison. Of course, Paul did end up sleeping with her but that also might have been as a result of Mynor pointing out his fixation on Caroline.
As for the big thing with Mellie – she's a doll. Come on, who on Earth didn't figure that one out? It had been obvious since her first appearance and while this episode did go some way to try and throw viewers off the scent, she certainly revealed herself during a life and death situation with Hearn. Oh Adelle, you really do play a bad hand very well.
I'm not sure how Paul is going to react when he discovers that his nice neighbour is really keeping an eye on him but I was blown away with the reveal. And how convenient was it that a corrupted Echo also gave Paul the big hint to go and check up on Mellie? If he had arrived a few minutes earlier, he would've caught Mellie in action and if Adele hadn't activated Mellie when she did, Hearn would've succeeded.
Paul and Echo's first meeting should've been the highlight of the episode but I think in a lot of ways, it just fell into a long line of excellent moments. The fight scene between the two of them in the kitchen and then an alley is up there with some of the best scraps on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel.
Echo also gave Paul enough rope to hang himself with and even with a suspension, it's nice that Adelle seemed aware that Paul wouldn't give up searching for the Dollhouse. I wonder will Adelle have Paul killed. She certainly had no problem sending Hearn to his death.
In "Stage Fright" Hearn came across as a massive jerk and while he had a point to attack the ethics of the Dollhouse, he had no right whatsoever to rape Sierra and have Victor nearly sent to the Attic for it. I loved that Claire pointed out the difference between being attracted to someone (like Victor is with Sierra) and hurting someone (Hearn/Sierra). Boyd piecing things together and setting Hearn up to reveal himself as the rapist was exquisite. Just when I think that character can't get any better and protocol or not, even Adelle looked impressed with him.
Also in "Man On The Street"
The vox pops weighing the pros and cons from local people on an organisation like the Dollhouse was interesting. It's not the kind of thing that could've been avoided I guess either. That being said, why didn't Adelle try and kill the story?
Echo: "I like to be alone sometimes."
Victor: "It's peaceful."
Who was the person that corrupted Echo's programming because it wasn't Alpha for sure? I actually want it to be Claire but that could be too obvious.
Paul (re Joel): "I've liked this guy for a while."
Loomis: "Ever thought of asking him out?"
Mellie: "I get that I'm not the gold standard in LA."
Paul: "Please, you're gorgeous."
While it's nice that Paul is no longer treating Mellie like she were a nuisance, was it wise for him to be sharing the information he had about his investigating?
Echo (to Joel): "You did porn. My husband has porn."
Joel: "I think your fantasy is sadder than mine."
Paul: "Won't know until I hear it."
Eliza Dushku's squealing of porn was hilarious. Now, that is good acting if you can make one word hysterical.
Claire: "How does Sierra make you feel?"
Paul (to Joel): "You might not be punished and I might not be alive but this house will fall."
During the fight scene with Paul, didn't Echo look a little Buffy-esque in her attire? I also read recently that Tahmoh Penikett is a dab hand with Muay Thai.
Sierra (re Hearn being thrown through a window): "That wasn't quiet."
Boyd: "It wasn't meant to be."
Adelle (to Hearn): "We are in the business of using people but the problem is, what is the best use for you?"
Which apartment was Mellie in when Hearn attacked her? If it was Paul's, wouldn't Adelle's little voice message to activate Mellie been risky to have done?
Paul (to Mellie): "I'm not a piece of meat you know. I have a heart."
Paul: "Whoever you are, I swear I don't want to hurt you."
Echo: "I know. I'm counting on it."
Echo showed more traces of remembering assignments when she painted Joel's house in her blank state. Adelle really should be worried. And Dominic was somewhat decent in this episode.
Echo: "The Dollhouse is real. They know you're after them. They are going to have you taken off the case. That's why they sent me."
Paul: "Why are you telling me this?"
Echo: "We have a person on the inside. This person corrupted the imprint while the programmer wasn't looking. Added the parameter."
Dominic: "You played a good hand, ma'am."
Adelle: "I played a bad hand very well. There is a distinction."
Dominic: "Of course."
Standout music: "Sweet Dream" by Greg Laswell. As a side note, I enjoyed the song he had in the Grey's Anatomy season finale.
Okay this might not be the best piece of television I've ever seen in my whole life but "Man On The Street" is incentive enough to see this show through. Finally the ante seems to be upped and hopefully the payoff will be worth it.
This is Dollhouse's much talked about climate change, Whedon's mid-season shift in the direction of his latest project. It's a bit of curious beast, feeling rather like an experiment in narrative divergence, and as such one is left feeling rather unsure as to whether the episode is successful or not. There are a number of highly memorable, skilfully executed set pieces around which the script seems to gravitate, not least of which is the dual one-two suckerpunch of Ballard's physical encounter with Echo, in which she aides the agent by way of a piece of programming from within the Dollhouse, and the crushing revelation that Mellie is in fact a doll, and a decidedly kick-ass, scary one at that. While this twist was always on the cards, especially after we learned that Victor wasn't actually a Russian millionaire, so the sequence is not entirely unexpected, the finer points of the scene are certainly far from what we might have anticipated for the character. November is a sleeper active, able to be transformed at DuWitt, or indeed anyone else's, will through the utterance of a simple phrase… and boy, once those words are spoken, does she change. I'm still scraping my jaw off the floor following that headlock… geez. This sets up a wonderful slice of dramatic irony within the Ballard/Mellie dynamic, and also further illustrates the murky morality of the entire imprint process. There are other impressive moments too, such as Ballard's heart-to-heart with Echo's latest client, which offers a wonderfully human justification for the existence of the Dollhouse, and the series of vox pops that puncture the narrative, which serve to remind the viewer of the sheer size and scope of the implications of Topher's work. Unfortunately, the narrative does feel rather like it is struggling to keep itself above water while traversing these points, and occasionally seems to wander aimlessly, filling screen time with unnecessary conversations between characters, where they deliberate about whether or not to do something. Still, at least the plot is finally given a shift in emphasis, from the intricacies of Echo's missions to the intrigue of the world within which she inhabits. Whedon finally seems ready to harness the potential of his wonderfully rich concept, and if the rest of the season consists of episodes like this, we can only be onto a winner.
A program is actually aired about the Dollhouse, treating it like an urban myth. My first reaction was surprise that they would allow it to air but then again, any attempt to interfere would be like confirming it's existence.
If Dominic was worried about Echo, maybe he should worry a lot more about Victor too. The 'dolls' are not supposed to be capable of independent thought, it caused a lot of comment when Echo, Victor and Sierra started having lunch together every day and now Victor actually gets up and goes over to Sierra to invite her to join them. I would find that behavior extremely alarming.
Victor becomes prime suspect when Sierra freaks out when Victor touches her. It is confirmed that she has had sex while in the Dollhouse and since 'dolls' shouldn't even know about sex, it either means an incredible failure in the dormant state or someone on staff has raped her. The dolls are little more than children, pure and innocent, and yet someone has taken advantage of that. It's a horrific violation of trust, the equivalent of raping a child. In a place that is supposed to be their home, where they feel safe, secure and protected!
Surprisingly Minor is not just hiring a hooker, he's using Echo to bring his wife back to life, reliving wonderful memories through Echo. It's really sweet.
Dollhouse has never been particularly funny but the whole 'porn' sequence was hilarious! Ballard actually comes face to face with his dream girl only to have her go out the back door while he's getting his butt kicked. Something I noticed before, Ballard has some very cool fighting skills! That is not official training, there's definitely extensive martial arts training there. Ballard is starting to get very interesting. Minor certainly touches a nerve when he describes Ballard's fantasy about 'rescuing' Caroline. He's right, Ballard's got nothing but his work and has become obsessed with Caroline, so much so that even while on a date, he's still talking about 'her'. It's almost romantic, like that old movie about the guy who fell in love with the woman in the painting. Except for Ballard, it was a photograph.
Ballard's got this dreamy romantic fantasy in his head about Caroline and DeWitt intends to use that against him, even if she may not entirely realize that Ballard is more than half in love with Caroline. However, he knows the difference between Caroline and a programmed operative and doesn't hold back at all in the fight with her. Very, very cool fight sequence! Most guys, no matter how tough, would hold back while fighting a woman half their size but Ballard, to his credit, doesn't.
I had a weird vibe when Tofer left the room when the imprint was copying and it was on the money – someone inside made changes to allow communication with Ballard. The message is alarming – the Dollhouse is not confined to just L.A., there are 20 other houses. The message is a warning – back off or the Dollhouse will have him killed.
Melly is an active, planted to keep an eye on Ballard. It's a deliciously nasty way to get rid of our loathsome rapist. Shows DeWitt has a wonderfully dark sense of humor. Killed by one of the female dolls, very fitting. I must say I am very pleased with DeWitt, she took the abuse seriously and took immediate and appropriate action. She takes it one step further and tells Dominic to warn the other houses to ensure it doesn't happen again.
The last two episodes have shown a marked improvement – this episode introduces a conspiracy and another 'undercover' operative. This is more like it, the series is living up to it's potential. It's starting to get very good but only if it can't stay at this level.
I loved seeing Eliza play a non-tough girl for a bit. She's been hitting all the roles nicely, but this one had all the right facial expressions. I laughed so much during the scene in the photo above. "Is it porn?!" This was just a great episode altogether. It was funny and action-packed. It was a good mid-season piece that wasn't filler. It showcased the actors' versatility as well as the writers' ability to get things rolling a little faster (without giving too much away).
I really love how the show is progressing so far and I am glad I stuck around to see it grow. I can't wait until next week. I just hope the series doesn't stop at episode 13. That would be terrible.
For a "corporation" who doesn't want attention, they are all of a sudden getting lots of it. Ballard is definitely pushing some right buttons and wrong people but I loved the confirmation that Melly is a sleeper active. His obsession with Echo is going to make his pursuit even more intense and focused, especially after meeting "Caroline". I think one of the things that drew me to Dollhouse was the opportunity to see what Eliza can do with the multiple differing personalities and she's done a brillant job. I'm really curious as to Topher's thinking and motives. One minute he seems to side with the actives and offering protection the next he's jumping through hoops and covering for DeWitt. I loved the twist that Boyd discovered Sierra was being abused and protected her. I think one of the things I appreciated was the "news coverage" on Dollhouse throughout the episode giving the differing opinions and insights as to thoughts towards the "dollhouse". It really made you think, what if the "actives" went into the situation with full knowledge of what they would be doing? Does that make it wrong? Are they victims or volunteers? I'm dying to see this play through...
The dolls are being manipulated to satisfy the needs of an evil organization. How is that any different than what people endure everyday? The show presents interesting question on free will. Does the body or the personality define free will?
This show isn't about a bunch of mindless humans. It's a show on how people are constantly being manipulated. The Dollhouse just does it more efficiently. Just think how we all play the game at work, at church, in social situations, etc..., how we change ourselves to fit in. We are all part of the dollhouse except that we do our own programming. The difference with the dollhouse and us is that the Dollhouse is able to create these social manipulations through some type of technology.
Of course, one has to wonder about the ethics of people actually doing the manipulation. The people being manipulated are innocents unaware that they are being changed for the purpose of satisfying the needs of a paying client. Is this high tech prostitution? Even though there is no physical violence or verbal abuse to force the dolls to be prostitutes, the process appears as prostitution. The fact that there is no overt verbal or physical abuse is the imprinting of a new personality a form of psychological abuse? The Dollhouse technology allows for the psychological transformation to occur very quickly. The Dollhouse serves as pimp to satisfy high-class clients and the girls are chosen and sent out to service the whims of the customer. Prostitution is a conscious choice to participate, even when forced through violence and abuse. The dolls are people without apparent choices in that each time they service a client they are given a type of personality that Is designed to satisfy the Dollhouse's client peccadilloes without the doll's knowledge. The purpose of the Dollhouse is hidden from them. In this episode, the client wants to have an experience that was denied to him by the untimely death of his wife. Echo is the chosen one, and she is instilled with a "wifely" personality that in the end, it is suggested, will involve sex. Money is exchanged for the service. Even though Echo thinks she is who she is (wife), does the fact that she will eventually has sex with the paying client make it prostitution? It is the premise that Echo at some earlier time has volunteered to become part of this organization by accepting to have her personality erased. How much was she told about the way her body would be used is unknown. But would that really change how we can view relationship between Echo and the client when fantasy and sexual services are provided?
The man in the street interviews put a context to the morality of the story. The questions and response illustrate how people's selfishness allows them to disregard other's humanity in order to satisfy their own fantasies. There is the man explaining how it would be advantageous for him to find out how a homosexual relationship might actually play out without any of the consequences and there are the two women who think how nice it would be to have people programmed to satisfy their whims. Then there are the people whose moral compass are screwed on tight and recognize that the manipulation of humans to satisfy other's fantasies is evil. One woman describes the manipulation as "slavery", while they other thinks it no more than human trafficking. As the last woman interviewed in the street says, "It's repulsive". To run such an organization there needs to be all kinds of accomplices who are willing to bend the moral rules. There are the managers whose single minded mission is profit and deception at any cost, there are the technicians who must suspend their own morality (if they have one) to work on technology which is obviously state of the art and very interesting and satisfying, there are the worker bees such as Langon and the other watchers whose mission is to protect the "dolls" and all the offstage support personnel such as custodians, accountants, secretaries, etc. to efficiently run such an organization. This is how all immoral organizations or movement operate – there are the leaders who exhort the people. The people suspend their own ethics out of fear and in order to earn a living. The genius of Joss Whedon is to concentrate on the human condition in his story, just as he did with Buffy and Angel. This is what good television writing is about – the telling of a story that reflects somewhat the current mindset of our society without being overt. How does one reconcile unwanted sex advances in the Dollhouse? There are three scenes in this episode where sex is performed. Two acts are performed off stage, so to speak, while we witness the love making between agent Ballard and Mellie. In each of these instances, were we witnessing rape or consensual sex? How is the sex act performed between Mellie and Ballard or Echo and Joel Mynor any different than between the non-consensual sex between Sierra and Heam, Sierra's handler? All the women in those scenes happen to be dolls with an adopted personality. Does the sex become consensual simply because there is a personality involved that can make a choice? Or is the body, the shell that houses the personality, the defining factor when it comes to sex? The combination of the "Man in the street" with the mission of the dollhouse made this a very good episode. The juxtaposition of people's morals, as seen in the men and women in the street with the dollhouse's inherent evil sets up the tension of the story. There is an evil global organization that owns dollhouses throughout the world whose real purpose is as yet unknown; there is a character, Alpha, yet unmet, who is trying to bring down this organization; there is a single minded individual, Ballard, who wants to expose the Dollhouse; there is the insider, risking his or her life to help Alpha, there are the morally ambivalent workers such as Dr. Saunders and Langton and finally there are the dolls who seem to understand more than they consciously know but who right now are helpless in being manipulated to satisfy the interests of the dollhouse. Now all we have to see is how the dollhouse will be thwarted in its evil plans, how the characters will choose the morality choices they are given, and how these yet unknown people will relate to the story. I wait with great anticipation all the future episodes.
. . . even though Ballard had to be holding back, since we know he doesn't want to kill Echo, and we also know he's capable of winning a fight against four guys at once. Still, I love how beat-up he looked by the time he got home to his new girlfriend, who apparently just got lucky that her attacker "slipped" and conveniently broke his neck. Except that, oops, she's another Doll, who had quickly switched back into weepy, scared-girl mode just before Ballard came back. No one was sorry for the creep who got his neck broken anyhow, because he was a piece of caca for raping Sierra while she was benign and "inactive."
The episode was very good, but I'm thinking that a lot of why it *seemed* so great was because the prior five episodes were so blah, so not-up-to-par for what we expect from Joss Whedon. This episode was more like it, and it's about time. We got humor, action, secrets revealed, new mysteries, and even some warm fuzzies at the end when Mr. My-Wife-Died-Before-She-Saw-Her-Dream-House gets his date with Echo, after all.
Let's hope this episode will pale in comparison to the rest of the season.
The best one yet. Naturally, it's the only one since the pilot that's been written by Joss. This is a promising show with an interesting premise; if they continue with the show like this, it can be better than good. What was always good about Firefly was the human side that was brought to the show through the writing, acting, and directing. Not that this show is as good as Firefly-it's not, not yet, but it has it's moments, and this episode had a lot of them. The interviews with the people on the street was a clever touch, especially the last one. I don't know...this show is growing on me.
Joss Whedon and everyone else remotely connected to "Dollhouse" all pointed to this episode as an enormous "game-changer", bringing the series more into alignment with its original premise and addressing many anticipated concerns. And for the most part, this is true. The writers did address a number of things, not the least of which is the negative nature of the Dollhouse itself.
Bringing up the possibility of sexual abuse by a handler in the Dollhouse did much to highlight the hypocrisy of those running the program. They have no problem sending out the Dolls as sex slaves to the rich and famous, but the Dolls are off limits to everyone else. Does this rule somehow make DeWitt and the rest feel like they're somehow running a more moral enterprise? At the same time, they are clearly ruthless, which only makes it seem like hints of morality are merely a coping mechanism.
I've mentioned in previous reviews that the premise, while focusing on Echo's engagements, seemed to be more than simple fantasy brokering. As logical as it is to anticipate the rampant use of Dolls as sex toys, given human nature, the use of such technology to gain power is equally obvious. Human trafficking is one thing, but this is the means for taking control of anything and everything.
The implications are such that Ballard, in his search for the truth, really has no way of knowing who to trust. And now that he is out of the FBI, operating on his own, Ballard has no definitive support structure. He's on his own, and already, his chances of success are compromised by his relationship with Mellie. While it's hard to see how Ballard could possibly win at this point, his character does provide the writers with a means of communicating the paranoia within the scenario. If the Dollhouse is just one of many, and they all have a sinister purpose, then the implication is staggering.
For that matter, the existence of more than one Dollhouse, even as part of a vast network under one controlling authority, allows Echo/Caroline to bring down her own Dollhouse while leaving the larger premise intact. The show may have begun with Echo as an active, going on engagements, but that may have been a mere prelude. The real story might be uncovering the purpose of the Dollhouses from within.
The presence of a traitor within the Dollhouse helps to explain why the supposed genius Topher has been unable to prevent so many of the glitches taking place. If someone on the inside is carefully sabotaging the mindwipe process, allowing the Dolls more self-awareness than they should have, that opens up some interesting possibilities. Topher's assistant is an obvious guess.
Without a doubt, this was the strongest episode of the series, and one that opens up the scope of the series enough to overcome many of the earlier objections. No one watching this episode could possibly think that Joss or anyone else involved with the show considers the Dollhouse and its technology to be a good thing. The "man on the street" segments make it very clear that they've anticipated most, if not all, of the audience reactions to the apparent premise. Knowing that, it's a fair guess that Joss has something a lot more interesting up his sleeve. And now that the serialized elements of the series are taking center stage, it shouldn't be long before we find out what that is.
I would've had to wait at least 6 more months before this show was ever aired in Belgium, but thx to HDTV and knowing my way around the net I was able to watch this on my pc. Amazing show, I can hardly wait for next weeks episode. When this comes out on DVD it's going in my collection. I hope they don't cancel Dollhouse after a couple episodes like they did on Tru Calling.
I love the action, the pollitical controverse and Eliza's acting. The plot gets thicker and I hope to see the final chapter before Fox makes the mistake of pulling the rug from under it.
Joss Whedon promised this was the big episode he wanted everyone to see- the game changer that would flip the series on it's head. Honestly, with all these lofty expectations, I guess my standards shot a little too high. This is still the same ol Dollhouse, though we got some new information: There are multiple Dollhouses, and nevermind their business, they have another purpose.
This episode itself is fine. I loved the angle with the client wanting to recreate the moment he bought a house for his late-wife. Very moving. Dushku's fight with the cop was kick ass. And there was even some trademark banter! (between the FBI agent and his neighbor's flitations/sex). Technically, this is the best episode of the season so far (though, I really liked the blind one) But with Whedon setting my expectations so high, this only left me at about a B, B+ grade.
I just knew it! I knew that everything we've seen so far was something to prepare us for what is to come. This episode was brilliant! The sleeper actives, the many Dollhouses, the Echo-Ballard encounter and fight scene - everything! It was a little stupid to think that the Dollhouse's perfect organization would be wasted on just sex services. Of course there is an ulterior motive behind it all! And now I'm dying to find out what the real purpose is! I am also dying to see who the inside person who has sent the message to Ballard is. It could be his lovely assistant (cause she is the first to cross my mind), but it could be someone we don't even know of yet. We'll see...
Most people watching Dollhouse at this point come from a place that involves having previously loved Joss Whedon and any number of his other titles. This is true of me as well; however, besides what Firefly could have been, I truly feel that Dollhouse can go places that Buffy and Angel can't. While most of Joss' other works discuss serious themes, they all involve a fantastical setting. Dollhouse, though outside the realm of normalcy, is something that could eventually happen.
This episode in particular dealt with a lot of the themes that had been building since the start. The documentary asking people what they thought was a brilliant way to bring this episode home. Some people don't care. Some people feel that it is a crime against humanity. Some people think it's a great idea. Whichever way you think, the truth of the matter is that it wasn't really important to any of these people, as most of them thought it impossible. We were introduced to a very sympathetic client this week. I mean, I have problems with the idea of selling people to fulfill our fantasies, but who amongst us didn't feel even the slightest hint of a sympathetric feeling towards this man? We also had a huge reveal in the form of Mellie being a doll. Poor agent Ballard. All of the people with whom he seems to be forging connections are just puppets. First Victor and now Mellie. Sure, the dollhouse can make your wildest dream come true, but doesn't it scare you to think that it could also be a means by which to take over the world? The president or prime minister? An active. Your mother? An active. Your best friend, your lover, your teacher, your doctor? All actives!
More than any of Joss' previous shows, this show tackles serious ethical dilemmas head on in a manner that I find very interesting. This episode really drove that point home. Am looking very much forward to more of this show.
So I finally caught up with three weeks worth of episodes of the Dollhouse this weekend on the public promise that Whedon's show would pick up steam in this episode. The highly anticipated show that has been twiddling it's thumbs from the beginning got a little PR push this week from Joss himself, so I decided to catch myself up and found that there were some marked improvements in the shows' latest instalment.
'Man on the Street' (the latest episode title) gives me hope that this show has a plan. Here's a breakdown of some interesting things to come to light in the episode: Tahmoh Penikett isn't afraid to hit a girl…or rather Ballard isn't afraid to hit one, which led to a great fight scene with Dushku's Echo and Ballard. The story was better executed – I like clean storytelling, and this one was much better at that, plus there was humour! The story arc finally has some solid direction – someone is working from the inside, Alpha is still in play, they even address the vulnerability of the dolls via skeevy handlers. Sleeper neighbour doll…Melli turns out to be a sleeper neighbour doll rather than stalker neighbour, which was a pleasant surprise. In a reveal reminiscent of Alias, we find out that the dollhouse is just one of many, and that fantasty/sex is 'their business, not their purpose'. So what is their purpose??? Who is the inside man? Where is Alpha? Will Echo get her memory back? Who are the powers that be? – This episode gave us a lot of good questions, and finally something to be interested in. The past six weeks have only proven to me how much range Dushku lacks, and my girl-crush on her went down about 50%. Thankfully I see hope in the storytelling, and maybe I'll actually start watching the show more consistently.
If this shows is ever going to be cancelled (Dear god I hope not), this is the episode that everyone will remember. I thought this was absolutely one of the best episodes in any show. Simply cleverly plotted and well acted. It's nice to see some of the other characters in the show get some proper screen time. The revelation of the multiple dollhouses around the world and the possible ulterior motives behind them was very much welcomed in my book, it simply opens up the show for A LOT more and I cant wait to find out more.
Right now, the show is averaging on 4 Million viewers per week which isnt too bad and I realy hope FOX grants the show a second season.
The "This is PORN" and "none of the queeny stuff" scenes were great, really felt like looking at a Joss' show (good old times...)
The whole "What do you think about the Dollhouse?" interviews were interesting, though it felt a little like writing "MORALLY GREY" all over the screen, and I think the rape plot does that in a subtler (but creepier) way.
That being said, the main improvement of this episode is clearly the plot. Finally the Dollhouse becomes more than a expensive prostitution network, and turns into something we can care about (as the professor says, memory manipulation could change everything). The sleeper actives are also a great twist, it was obvious that Mellie was strange, but there could be sleeper actives anywhere...). Adelle's character also got much more interesting in this episode, maybe she is the insider? (though the assistant seems like an obvious choice).
All in all, a great episode, my main regret is that it didn't air sooner in the show, but I hope Dollhouse (and its ratings) keep on improving from this point on!
Great episode. I agree that the season is starting to pick up. Joss Whedon makes brilliant shows. I really hope it stays on the air... I can tell things will keep getting more interesting. Tell everyone you know to watch this show. I liked the part where it is revealed that fantasy is the business of the Dollhouse BUT not the objective. This opens a door to many interesting things for the future. Everyone keep watching and recommend it to everyone.. I was very disappointed when Firefly was cancelled. This show deserves to keep going. Thanks Joss Whedon ! !
Before this episode, I still wasn't sure what to think of this show. The pilot was interesting, but the next couple episodes were mediocre, and I really didn't like the one with the singer.
But this episode had much more interesting stuff going on, and moved the overarching storyline along in interesting ways.
The fact that this one was so good may have something to do with the fact that it focused on characters other than Echo. Dushku has done a great job playing the character's numerous roles, but it's hard to care about a character that has no personality.
I was afraid that this show would basically just be Quantum Leap in reverse (numerous people "leaping" into a single body, instead of a single person leaping into numerous bodies) with a new and unrelated story each week, but I'm feeling much more optimistic now. Most great sci-fi shows have rocky starts anyway.
Excellent episode. See Fox, that's all you needed to do. Stop messing with the show, let Joss do his thing, and everyone wins. Actually looking forward to next week now. Great stuff. Very well choreographed fights scenes as well this week. Movie grade in fact. I'm not sure who's responsible for that, bit I hope they get used again. Helo can certainly kicksome butt when he needs to :)
I read an interview with Dushku mentioning that episode 6 is when Fox realized they should just leave Joss alone and let him do what he does best, and it really shows. Hopefully they learn from this.
Man On The Street-Echo tries to help a client heal the ache of a lost love as a TV reporter prepares an expose on the Dollhouse.
WOW, now that what's I've been waiting for! Since Dollhouse has debuted, I've been waiting for an episode to blow me away and for the writers truly drive the concept forward in very inventive ways. While "Man on a Street" isn't mind-blowing, it was the best episode of the season yet with some awesome developments, unforeseen twists and finally you start caring about characters of the series when they are put in jeopardy. But what could you expect from an episode penned finally by the creator of the series, Joss Whedon himself. Now "Man on the Street" isn't one of his best scripts, but I'm glad we finally had an episode with that signature Whedon humor.
But at the same time, the strength of Whedon's writing is both the best and worst part of this episode. Some of the cast just don't know how to truly pull off that witty, pop culture fused dialogue. I mean lines like "pulling a Jeykl and Hyde" just fall flat, lacking the irony and sarcasm that makes those lines shine. Yet at the same time, Eliza Dushku did so well with her dialogue, I just loved when she was Rebecca and was freaking out at the thought of her husband being arrested for creating a porn site. Just the sequence of Rebecca pointing at the bedroom and saying, "porn!" while being pulled away by Boyd was priceless. Just classic Whedon comedy! The client of the week was given some depth this week and I'm glad the writers did that. Comedian Patton Oswalt was great as Joel Mynor, a millionaire website creator. It showed that while the majority of clients may be just selfishly abusing mindless drones, some of them have sympathetic reasons for doing it. Joel's story was pretty touching and understandable as he just wanted a happy ending after a devastating tragedy.
Every week I continue to like agent Ballard, his storyline is interesting and this week we saw a more human side to his character. Ballard's scenes with Mellie were genuine and their starting romance is a nice development between the two. Both Tahmoh Penikett and Miracle Laurie have some nice chemistry in their scenes together and make you really route for their characters. The episode is filled with some great twists, the first being when Echo is programmed to kill Ballard. The fight scene between them was excellent, well choreographed and very reminiscent of the fight scenes from "Buffy" and "Angel". But it was a surprise to see a message to Ballard was also programmed into Echo for her mission. Echo's warning to Ballard was a brilliant turn of events and it leaves me wondering who exactly is helping Ballard? Topher seems to most likely to be that person since it's his technology. But who knows! Then, there was the sub-plot with Vincent and Sierra, which ends with a pretty disturbing revelation that Sierra's own handler was raping her in her mindless state. I loved how Boyd set up he's reveal and punched him through the glass door. It's a pretty creepy and sick development thatt made me wonder why Adelle would even consider having Sierra's handler redeem himself by killing Mellie. Now, there has been some speculation that Mellie could be an Active and I thought that too. But the way Mellie's murder attempt was set up, I really thought I was wrong and that such a sweet, innocent character like her was about to be killed off. But then out of now where, Adelle is calling Mellie's phone and activates Mellie to which she beats the crap out of Sierra's handler and kills him. It was so unexpected and I really thought Mellie was a goner! Really well done and has me wondering how this with affect Ballard and Mellie's relationship. It's kinda sad to know that the woman he's falling for is the thing he's fighting against. Also, does Mellie really love him? Or does this mean her persona loves him, not the person Mellie really is? A very complex and intriguing development that I hope plays out well. What also makes this episode so great are the interviews with random people about the idea of the Dollhouse. Some are hilarious, some are very insightful and all are very well written. The episode ends on a very touching note when Echo arrives as Rebecca once again to fulfill Joel's fantasy finally. "Man on a Street" is an episode that Dollhouse needed to make the viewers realize this show has some very impressive ideas. The direction the series is going in is great and I can't wait to see where this takes the rest of the season. Echo mentioned there being 20 DOLLHOUSES around the world! Gives hope that this series will have a lot more to offer if there are more seasons after this one.
Wow...what a ride! This was a turning point for the series and we are finally given a better view of Joss Whedon's vision for the show. Now I am truly hooked! This episode goes by at a blistering pace and we learn more than we ever knew we wanted to about some of the things that go on inside of the Dollhouse. Along with the much improved storytelling, there was some great action as well. I was left breathless by the end and cannot wait to see more of this show. All who dismissed this series too quickly should give it another chance for sure.
For five episodes, there was stories about a doll's missions (sorry, engagements) and a small hint about something more is about to come, that echo remembers somehow, but that was it.
now, it suddenly changed, turned what's going to be revealed as a big plot. first episodes were to hook people, (i could easily give up two out of five and make "man on the street" the fourth episode)and I really hope this will boast the ratings, because anyone who got into it in anywhere in that one hour must be hooked now and waiting for the rerun or the next week.
great conspiracy, great action, great suspence, great "third flower is green" hope to see more of this, it's like good old buffy days.
and, the street interviews must be recuitting, they were so much fun and much more can come out of it.
This episode was a lot better than the ones before, because we got a lot of action, a few important pieces of information, unexpected twists, and some of the best dialoque so far. Maybe even more important to me was the fact that I could finally connect with some of the supporting characters. I was fairly sure that Sierra's handler is not even remotely as caring as Echo's, but I didn't see that coming. If you think about it though, working at the dollhouse requires a certain amount of willingness to bend the rules of society.
Even though what happened to Sierra was terrible, it helped me connect with her character. The same applies to Langton when he punched that sad excuse of a handler through the glass door.
Ballard on the other hand is a character I don't really feel comfortable with. That's partly because he doesn't live up to the ethical standards he expects from others and partly because I have yet to understand his fixation with Caroline/Echo.
The thing that kinda bugged me was Dushku's performance as Rebeca. I mean, she can pull off every kind of bad ass type, she can be serious girl, tormented sad girl, adventures girl, but she is not cut to play white picked fence girlfriend. Thank god she got the funny "porn" lines, that kinda made up for that.
After five scattered episodes, Dollhouse gathers all of the plot pieces and throws them together to create an impressive mix of humour (''PORN!''), Intrigue (there are Dollhouse divisions all over the world), a fantastic subplot (Sierra's rape) and some fantastic fight choreography. There's plenty to digest in this jam packed episode that delivers the kind of script the show has been in desperate need of from the very beginning. Believe the hype surrounding this hour, Joss is back on form and Dollhouse is suddenly a show to watch out for! In my last review I mentioned I'd be judging this episode as the pilot, and by-gum, it was quite the spectacle. I can't pinpoint what I loved more: Echo's kick-ass fight with Ballard (whose not useless anymore, huzzah!) and the subsequent conversation they have, or Mellie's difficult scenes where she's being attacked, only to be activated and transformed into a femme fatale. Please Fox, if this is a hint of what's to come, do not cancel this show! Right so, I'm definitely giving this episode a much deserved re-watch!
Maybe this was what an episode should be but I understand they cannot reveal as much as this time all the time.
I liked that this one was not so much about the case but about the bigger picture - about Dollhouse.. and this time we learn there are more than one, there are someone inside who wants to bring it down either. Who is it? Langton? Brink?
And the revelations on Ballard side - that the girl next door is sleeper agent and they are following him, making him follow their steps. Anyway, this episode really brought up some great storylines what to follow.. so exciting to see next one
This week's episode was a fine example of the potential that this show could have. There were a number of suspenseful and action-packed elements, but I think they can do even better. Hopefully Whedon and the other writers will follow through and continue to make this show worth watching. It's already in a bad time slot during the week and recieving mediocre reviews, so the time to act is now. A handful of sequential filler episodes might have been OK for "Buffy," but they won't cut it with "Dollhouse." Also, take note of the fact that this episode featured Echo the least out of any of the other episodes, but it is still the highest rated as of yet. Exploring other characters is pivotal-- especially when many fans have complained about Dushku's acting in the show.
Now this was a good episode. Not that the first five weren't good, because i thoroughly enjoyed every episode up to this one, but this was just great. I loved how echo played the fantasy girl for the billionaire, and she was so upset that it didn't end well that they let her finish her task. I thought it was great how they imprinted the girl with those fighting skills with just the use of a phone call. That means that they can pretty much control everyone. And who knew that there were going to be more than one dollhouse! crazy! super good.
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