Now That’s What I’m Talking About! [Dollhouse]
I said last week that I hated it when shows or comics said that stuff gets better after a certain amount of episodes. To me, that’s pretty lazy and I rarely give the time to see if they’re right. Instead, I drop it because I’m not impressed by what I’m seeing. I am so f’ing glad that I stuck through with Dollhouse because last night’s episode (the sixth of the series) was awesome. I know I throw that word out a lot, but this episode was seriously great (and for some reason it’s not up on Hulu yet so I can’t embed it here). Anyway, let’s dive in.
“Man on the Street” took a regular episode and split it up with clips from a psuedo-documentary about the Dollhouse where average passersby were asked of their opinion on this modern urban legend. This worked really well because it served as a great juxtaposition to the events of the episode, of which there were many. I had heard talk that this episode is supposed to be the game changer and it did not disappoint. One thing I was a little surprised by were the no-name actors that were used for the documentary scenes. You’d think if Whedon and Co. are at all concerned that the show might not continue they’d throw in a cameo from one of their many friends. Toss in Amber Benson or Seth Green or something. I’m sure they’d be up for it.
Aside from that, we had a lot of stuff going on. Surprisingly, Echo really wasn’t front and center in this episode. I think that was part of the reason for why it was so great and that’s a little sad. While I like Eliza Dushku, she hasn’t been very strong as the main actress in some of the previous episodes. Having her take a step back was a smart move and really allowed the other minor characters to shine, especially Ballard and Langton.
Ballard really took center stage here as he made some breakthroughs in his search for the Dollhouse. He manages to track down a client in Internet mogul Joel Mynor (played by the amazing Patton Oswalt) and then walks right into the middle of an engagement with none other than Echo. The girl escapes, but Ballard manages to get a lot of info out of Mynor who tells a rather touching story about why he’s a client of the Dollhouse. I’m actually surprised that DeWitt didn’t go after him after spilling his guts, especially after the events of the rest of the episode.
Anyway, I’m glad that Ballard finally got some actual information. For awhile he was wrestling the title of “Least Effectual FBI Agent” from Fox Mulder, so to see him actually succeed…sort of…is a good thing. When the Dollhouse sent out a super powered Echo to silence Ballard, something didn’t go as planned and it seems that there’s someone else (not counting Alpha) on the inside that’s working to expose the truth. You can tell when this message ended up inside Echo when Topher stepped away from the console for a moment to talk with Langton. But who could it be? It’s definitely not Topher, because I feel like he’s incredibly loyal out of fear, but I don’t know who else it could be. Could it be Langton? Or Dr. Saunders? What about this new Asian Girl Doctor that’s been working with Topher for the past couple episodes?
Let’s talk about Langton for a second though. He really showed off his detective chops as he tracked down the reason for Sierra’s current in-house distress and he did it in the most badass way possible. I’m really digging this character. He knows he’s working for a somewhat crooked organization, but he’s still doing what’s right in the face of it. That’s some integrity right there.
The real treat of this episode came with Ballard’s neighbor and current booty call Mellie. It’s been no secret that she’s totally in love with Ballard and I thought that she was a goner for sure after she finally got in the sack with him. This episode was written by Joss Whedon after all and he does have a way with killing people right after they find love. But just as I was preparing myself for her rather uncomfortable death, the phone rang and DeWitt was on the other end. She rattles off some code words and Mellie snaps into killer death mode and takes out her attacker. Holy shit! I did NOT see this coming. Meanwhile, I had at least three other names written down for people that could be dolls. Mellie wasn’t even on my radar! According to DeWitt later in the episode, she’s a “Sleeper Active” whatever that means.
So needless to say, I’m incredibly pleased with this episode and I’m glad that they structured these first six episodes the way they did. The payoff wouldn’t be nearly as worth it if this had been the second or third episode. Having this come in as the sixth one really made the build up totally worth it. Plus, I’m so glad that Joss wrote this episode himself. It definitely shows in some of the dialogue. “They’ll throw the Kindle at you” Awesome. That right there is what those Whedonites have been clamoring for.
But what did you think? What is the Attic? Who’s working on the inside of Dollhouse? What will Ballard do now that he’s suspended from the FBI? Who else could be a doll or a Sleeper Active? Are you surprised at all that Ballard is divorced?