Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dollhouse Episode 5

Congratulations Dollhouse writers, you very almost got through an entire episode without any sexual violence. Unfortunately, this episode fails because you couldn't think of any way to make the cult leader a 'Very Bad Man'. Please, please, please, either write an episode completely free of sexual violence, or an episode where you take that sexual violence seriously, and say something about it, rather than use it as a minor plot-point.

So if internet rumour is right then the next episode of Dollhouse Changes Everything. So I thought I'd review this week's episode by talking about the characters and where they were at.

Echo: I'm glad things are changing up next week, because every episode since the pilot has ended with her carrying on a realisation from her engagement and it's getting a bit formulaic. I'm all for Echo killing Laurence Dominic, believe me, but (and feel free to call me a hippy for this) I much prefer it when her realisations are about art or relationships, than about violence. I worry about the sort of person she's going to end up being.

Sierra: I love the character and the actress. I hope we'll see her on her own engagement before the end of the season. I was sad we got to see so little of her, and none of her and Echo.

Victor: I've no idea where his sexual attraction to Sierra is going, but I'm interested. I'm missing his role as Paul Ballard's CI though.

Adele De Witt: We're beginning to see the many layers beneath the ice (or something I may be mixing metaphors). I think Olivia Williams is very good at showing us that there is more going on, without letting us know what that is. Her wardrobe is getting more ridiculous though.

Laurence Dominic: Evil, evil, evil, evil. It's quite fun.

Boyd: Really needs some layers.

Topher: Man reaction? His discomfort around penises is hilarious, and nicely done.

People have compared Topher to Wash and Xander, and I think this comparision is one of the reasons I enjoy the character so much. I think the connection goes beyond the smart-ass wise-cracking-ness. The way Xander and Wash treated women made me uncomfortable, there was possession and objectification, but we were still supposed to think they were loveable. I feel like Topher is making that point for me, we're not supposed to love him - we're supposed to find his comments about women sleeping together for his enjoyment repellent. It's very refreshing.

Dr Saunders: Amy Acker rocked the scenes with Topher this week - perfect comic timing without showing us she was doing it. I wish Claire was doing more than just sparing with Topher though. I feel like her character's relationships are under-developed, or yet to be revealed.

Paul Ballard: I'm finding him less boring, but I'm still not convinced. His plot lines are paint by numbers (I get the point they were doing with the end scene with the ATF guy, but we've really seen this before). Tahmoh Penikett is bringing very little to the role.

Mellie: At this stage I'm really hoping she's an active, because I'm finding her painful to watch. If she isn't an active one of her friends should sit her down and play her The Saturday Boy.

Overall this wasn't one of my favourite epsiodes - I wasn't interested in the bits of the Cult story they chose to tell. I think I could have been interested in the story if they'd actually explored the cult in any depth. As it was I felt the focus was all over the place. The actual plot and change happened with Boyd and the ATF guy, while Echo was in the cult and we had little more idea about the people around her at the end of than at the beginning.

But I'm looking forward to next week.

PS - I've read some interesting discussion about the way blind people are portrayed in popular culture, but don't know much about it. I can definately imagine that there's a saint/crazy evil dichotomy going on. I'd be interested to see what people have to say about how that played out in this episode.


  1. Did you see episode 6 yet? Not ashamed to admit I'm hanging out for your commentary (even though I haven't commented thus far.)

  2. Anonymous3:13 am

    Same, I've been enjoying your blog as a critical companion to watching the show. Given the themes and stories of the latest episode I'm very keen to hear your opinion.

  3. awww thanks - I am indeed writing a review at the moment and hopefully it'll go up today. The short version is that it was one of the most amazing episodes of TV I've ever seen.

    The longer version will be longer