Sunday, March 08, 2009

"Dollhouse" work

So, the last episode we saw (and fourth episode of the series) was called "Grey Hour," written by Sarah Fain & Elizabeth Craft.

As I type this, I quickly check my sources to see if "Dollhouse" has been canceled.

Nope, not yet.

So, in this latest unnecessarily sexed-up episode, Echo gets imprinted with what appears to be the personality of a hot slutty chick. She goes to a nice hotel with a couple of dudes, mounts them, and then goes running down the hall calling for help when they apparently mistreat her. The hotel concierge takes her in the back room and apologises for what happened, and in return for her silence, attempts to bribe her with a stack of cash. She decks him.

Apparently, this was all a ruse to get her access to this back room, and Echo is actually a confident, competent, and hot thief. She gets her partners-in-crime, the two young dudes, and a a nervous art expert, to come in the room with her, and they blast a hole in the hotel wall, leading them right into the museum next door, which just happens to be upgrading its security system for the next few hours.

Echo's new personality is very self-assured, and takes charge immediately. They get into a high-tech vault, where zillions of dollars of stolen art and antiquities are kept. I saw the Ark of the Covenant, the actual Excalibur sword, and John Dillinger's penis in there. Well, the nebbishy art expert gets when he wanted, pulls a gun, shoots one of them, and makes it out of the vault with a sickeningly valuable sculpture, closing the others inside.

Echo calls her handler, and he catches the thief (who stole from the other thieves, who were apparently taking stolen property from other thieves). He's talking to Echo on the phone, when there's a strange sound through the earpiece, and suddenly Echo is back to her default, childlike state. "Did I fall asleep?" she asks. She has been rebooted.

Well, the two remaining thieves don't get what's going on, or why their ringleader suddenly has the IQ of a Larry the Cable Guy fan. They try and get her to remember how she was going to get them out, but the knowledge is simply not there.

Back at the 'house, Topher the technogeek is freaking out, since someone hacked into the system, and using their extensive knowledge about Dollhouse operations, has wiped Echo's imprinting. His best guess is that Alpha, the rogue Active, was not killed as everyone was told. He tells Adelle, and with time running out, they grab Sierra and imprint her with the same personality that Echo had.

This is a really interesting transformation, and I gotta say, I'm more impressed with this Sierra chick every week. She's furious that someone else got her gig, and is initially unwilling to help, since the woman they put in charge of the heist was obviously incompetent. There's not enough time to get her down to the building and inside before the security system gets back online, but she calls Echo on the phone and tries to talk her out of the vault.

Echo doesn't know what she's doing, and triggers the vault door alarm. Before the security guards can arrive, she and the other thief grab the injured third man, and get the hell out of there.

Meanwhile, Boyd Langton is tired of waiting around, and he goes to the hotel and into the back room to rescue Echo. He arrives just in time to see that, somehow, his rebooted Active still managed to escape without being caught. They get her back to the Dollhouse and everything is back to normal (except that Topher now knows that Alpha is still out there, and is playing with Echo for some reason). Echo looks at herself in the mirror . . . but what does she see? The end.

This was a very interesting, very well-done show. I didn't love it like I did the episode before, but it's keeping me going. It also got terrible ratings, which I can't explain (strangely, the next week's show was up not only higher than this one, but higher than the one before too), but I enjoyed it.

I was telling tyranist that, were it my show, I'm sure I wouldn't have had the second/third episode be the one where Echo's assignment/John has lied and just wants to murder her, and I certainly wouldn't have had her get wiped in the field on just the fourth episode. Those seem like later season-type stories, where you turn the adventure on its ear, since the first few episodes should be to introduce the world and the typical adventures the character will have.

However, maybe, like "Firefly," they're aware that they might not get the chance to do these episodes, the stories they really want to tell, so they front-loaded them, making sure the ones they really want to see are seen.

We'll see how many more they get.

Rish Outfield

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