Monday, March 02, 2009

Dollhouse 1.03: Stage Fright

I really enjoyed this week's episode of Dollhouse... so much so that the theme song is actually growing on me (until now I only liked the little music box chimes at the end, but now I'm starting to like all of it... I can actually remember it, which is a big plus from weeks before). However, still not loving the imagery in the opening. But anyway.

In this week's episode, we realize Eliza Dushku's got some impressive pipes on her, she hooks up with a Britney-type who's been singing since she was in the Mickey Mouse Club and now has a stalker in the guise of her #1 Fan. She's become suicidal, he agrees to off her, thereby claiming his place as, um... Most Crazed #1 Fan Ever? (This might beat out that chick from Misery... wait... OK, no it wouldn't.)

We got some actual Joss funny banter (my favourite line was Vincent saying he knew Helo from the navy... then saying, "OLD Navy. I used to work in retail." HA! And then finding out he's a doll himself... didn't see that one coming, actually. I guess they have to keep rebooting him as they find out more intel on Helo. Loved the creepy moment in the warehouse (did anyone else think for a split-second that the shot of the exterior was the Hyperion from Angel??) where Helo basically takes down the bunch, gets shot, and keeps on ticking. I said aloud as my husband and I were watching, "Don't mess with me, I've frakked a Cylon!" We giggled.

We make our own fun.

I'm definitely intrigued even more by this week's episode. The actors seemed more at ease than in previous episodes, like they're getting into the groove of their characters. Last week I didn't think the woman playing Sierra had much range, but she was great in this one. It still has that "baddie of the week" feeling, but I'm sure it'll start to feel more cohesive soon. Your thoughts?


Jason said...

I had a tough time with this one. At least for the first part of the episode, it felt like some of the chauvinistic parts of last episode were carrying over. After that, I just couldn't make it through the scenes with the Beyonce/Britney knock-off and her dancers and band (literally, the dialogue was killing me). I agree the twist with informant being a doll caught me off-guard. Surprised we didn't catch that, even after you posting the possible names in a previous post. That said, I'm willing to give it another chance. I'm another one those weird Whedon-newbies you've heard about, and I agree there seems to be a lot of potential there.

Daniel said...

This was my least favorite episode of the show so far, though that may be due to the fact that I found it creepy. I LOVED the ending, though, when Echo and Sierra recognized each other.

And do you plan on making a Dollhouse Guide? :P

Nikki Stafford said...

I agree; the plot was my least favourite for sure, but it's the overall feel that worked. The parts that count always seem to be in the last 2 minutes of the episode, whether it's Alpha on the table with two dead bodies behind him or Echo making that sign with her arm (shoulder to the wheel) in the last one or Sierra and Echo being familiar with one another in this one. The hints are always at the end.

But yes, the plot was derivative. I hate to keep going back to Whedon's past, but it felt like "Eternity" from Angel's first season.

Nikki Stafford said...

P.S. I'll need to have something to fill my hours once Lost is off, so it'll be interesting to see if Dollhouse lasts. If so, a guide will probably be in the works. :) I'm still wishing I'd done a Firefly one!

Robbie said...

Wow that was short lol.

What's sad is I JUST realized the tiny looking people in the opener are meant to remind you of dolls, haha.

The Leonard's said...

I felt we got a classic joss line. my husband and I turned to each other and said... that is so joss... when echo said "you've gone crazy, and not in a shave your head, flash your junk kinda way!"

Too funny.

Jouke said...

The opening sequence is shot in TILT-SHIFT photography, used for miniature faking.

Dollhouse 1.03 that doesn't seem to live up to the series' potential. Difficult to point out what it is that doesn't feel quite right.

Maybe I am just too spoilt by the magnum opus that is LOST (Wish the next episode was out already, *SIGH*...)

redeem147 said...

I enjoyed this one more, but maybe it was because Kevin Kilner was Sierra's handler. Boone!

Eric said...

I thought this one started to bring the different plots together. We started to get some little hints of them retaining memories from previous assignments and personalities. And them being able to reach beyond the parameters programmed into them.

My guess is that Joss was forced to "dumb down" the show a bit to get the network to play it. I'm hoping that we end up with something more like Alias where we have a mix of stand-alone episodes tied together with a longer story arc which sometimes plays a big part and sometimes is just referenced minimally.

As Jouke says I am also spoiled by Lost. The fact that TV networks allow such a magnificently complex, detailed and layered story to be shown still blows me away.

Preston said...

Nikki I think you said last week that you were concerned that Echo was really made out to be an expensive prostitute, and that we haven't encountered much narrative criticism of that yet. I'm with you, but I wonder if the writing crew will offer some alternate story-telling in their single show plots, and implying some criticism of the longer arc. I think we saw that on Friday.

Think of Rayna in a cage during her show, and how deadly it was for her to escape from it. There was the implied criticism of how women in show business come to be lifeless objects for the sake of a fan-base, and of the personal toll and de-humanisation that results from that.

It's a bit of a stretch, but we at least some some criticism of treating people as less than fully human through the personal narrative of Rayna.

Objectification is deadly for women and makes men act less than human towards them.

What do you think - too far a stretch?

Steph said...

Not too far of a stretch in my opinion...
I particularly liked this episode. I loved the character and plot twists. I was definitely not expecting ___ to be a doll. And Topher's angry moment was a nice surprise.

I remember when people were wondering how they were going to root for someone who doesn't have a personality, but with every episode I find myself excited for the payoff at the end when Echo goes back to normal and proves to us that she's not just an "empty shell."

The acting on Eliza's part was decent, but only because her character wasn't very different from what I'm used to her playing. I actually liked her character in the first ep. because it wasn't your typical, "I'm hot and can kick ass" character, which is what she played in this one.

Glad, Sierra got to stretch her wings and I have to give a round of applause to the guy who played Crazed Fan #1, dude had chops; great casting.

Sailor Psychic said...

For those that liked the music in this episode, several songs are from Kimberly Cole, including "Superstar" that Rayna performs onstage. She's letting people download "Superstar" for free here (or there's a direct link from her MySpace).

A list of songs in the ep is here.

Anonymous said...

I believe Rayna is also a "Doll"...She confided to Echo that she was tired of being the character,"Ultimate Superstar"? her "Handler/Manager" had no idea that she felt that way. Echo never passed on that info to anyone else. Echo worked with Sierra to get Rayna back on "track" for now...hence the little nod to each other at the end of the episode!I believe we'll be seeing more of the 3 dolls working together in future episodes.(Zaki)

helfron said...
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