1.02 “Target” Review – The Good & The Bad

by admin on February 21, 2009 · 40 comments

1.02 TARGET

Here’s my honest take on Dollhouse episode 1.02 “Target”, looking at the good and bad aspects from the episode.

The Good

  • Topher Brink. I don’t think that he’s been all that great, at times he’s rather cliched and obvious, but those concerned do just enough to elevate him above most of the other characters on show. I liked seeing his ‘trauma’ during the Alpha flashback – he seemed more devastated at the imperfection of his own “Art”, than the lives that were being lost. This perhaps gives us further insight into his own self esteem – he seems to judge himself by the laws of his own science. Human cost doesn’t come into it, collateral damage is  not an issue..unless his own life is at stake, of course. I do think they perhaps showed us this side of Topher a bit early, but then they may only have 13 episodes.

  • Langton Boyd. Again, the stand-out character.We saw a bit of his origins story, certainly in terms of his ‘Dollhouse’ career. The Alpha situation was a nice place to introduce this back-story and I liked seeing his relationship with Echo grow over the course of the episode. He started out cynical, almost indifferent towards Echo. He’s a man who sees the Dollhouse as a means to an end – a way to save people more effectively than working for the law. However, he sees something in Echo that connects with him – whether it’s because she depends upon him, or because he’s convinced that there’s still some humanity inside her, I don’t know. But it’s interesting to see the trust that they have in each other. Although, how real this is from Echo’s point of view is another story. Also, shout-out for Harry Lennix – by far the best performer on the show so far. He’s head and shoulders above everyone else.
  • I kinda liked the end scene between Echo and Boyd. Boyd taking Topher’s place in telling Echo “for a little while”. He said it with such1.02 TARGET sincerity and warmth – contrast this to the gleeful, almost conceited way in which Topher delivers that line, and it’s clear to see the difference between these two men. Both Topher and Boyd are perhaps, at this stage, the only reason to keep watching.
  • Although the Alpha story-line seems a little messy at this early stage, I am kinda interested in where they might take it. I like mythology, so having the myth of Alpha preside over the episode wasn’t too bad. We’re now being led to believe that Alpha has some sort of connection to Echo, and that he spared her ‘life’ for a reason. What could that reason be, I wonder? Does he want to help her to find her true identity? If so, why her, why not the other Actives that he murdered? I guess one possibility is that he was given composite of Caroline’s personality (among others that allow him to cut like a world-class surgeon..or “Jack the Ripper”), an imprint seeking revenge for what they did to her, perhaps? I’m not sure if the Dollhouse download personalities from the ‘volunteers’ themselves (how do they acquire these imprints, I wonder?), but if they do, then it’s possible that they took Caroline’s before wiping her. I mean, one would think that after the 5 year period, the volunteers would get their original personalities back, so the DH must be holding them on one of their servers somewhere? Anyway, I’m not exactly crazy about the Alpha thing in this episode, but it at least gave us something extra than seeing people run about in the “freakin'” woods.
  • I liked that we had some carry over from “Ghost”, with Ballard investigating the cabin shoot-out scene. A series like this – with mind-wiped dolls that no-one (at this stage) cares about – needs at the very least to have some serialization. Although how Ballard acquired his magic detective skills I don’t know.
  • I’m being kind here. Echo’s “shoulder to the wheel” ‘muscle memory’ towards the end was a decent touch, I guess. It could have been more subtle (how many times did maniac guy have to say it?), but at least they’re showing us glimpses of HOW Echo might begin to form her own ‘composite’ ‘identity’. Muscle memory is a viable option.

The Bad

  • Let’s get right to it shall we? The writing and dialogue for Echo, in particular, is all over the place. So she’s given an imprint which makes her an ‘expert woodswoman’, and yet we constantly see her falling over like an amateur? One minute she’s being a “freakin'” bad ass, and the next minute she’s Bambi on ice. Sorry, I just don’t buy it. The whole ‘the hunter turning into the hunted’ didn’t fly with me either. Too cliched, too low concept for what I thought was a high concept and ‘unique’ show. So far, Dollhouse is anything but unique. They don’t even attempt to explain the science behind the mind-wipes! I’m running out of ‘leaps of faith’ here.
  • I don’t see how the Dollhouse could even be in business, considering the amount of ‘red alert’ situations that happen. It seems that there’s ALWAYS something going wrong down at ‘Dolls R Us’. I know that we’d have no show if there wasn’t some upheaval, but at the moment it seems like too much of a leap to believe that people would spend millions for faulty Actives. The word MUST surely get round, because they must have a pretty small pool of clientele and a bad rep in an industry like that..well, it would be devastating. In “Ghost” we see Echo ‘break down’ due to a bad imprint, now we see flashbacks of Alpha’s wave of destruction, and Echo also has flashbacks of her own..I hope these dolls come with a guarantee? Also, I know that  we had some mention of an “attic” in this episode, which may or may not go on to explain what happens to faulty dolls, but why hasn’t Echo been ‘terminated’, de-wiped or sent to this mysterious “attic” yet? Trouble follows her around – would a ‘secret’ organization like the Dollhouse really take the risk of keeping her activated? I very much doubt it. The only way to make that plausible is if Adelle is on some kind of personal crusade to ‘save’ Caroline or Echo or whoever. Also: Background check, people!
  • Was this Echo, Miss Penn, or hunting chick? I can’t tell there difference. It’s too early, in my opinion, to suggest that the similarity between ALL of the personalities signify Echo’s true identity. I’m not saying this to be mean, I want to believe that I’m seeing different personality imprints from week to week, but Dushku’s portrayal of hunting chick seemed like a hybrid of  her Miss Penn and Biker Chick portrayals from last week. The Hunting/Penn ‘imprints’ both dipped in and out of being feisty and helpless. I just don’t buy it – I see Dushku, and not the different strokes of different folks. I also don’t buy her ‘blank slate’ portrayal – she seems to be too aware of herself,  in my opinion. I’d really like to see Sierra in a mind-wiped state, just to be able to compare and contrast the way in which Lachman pulls it off. Of course, she might be equally unconvincing, but it will be an interesting to see. Will she get the opportunity? Also, as an aside, I think Dushku would perhaps be better in a Ballard-type role – a detective or FBI agent, where she didn’t have to become 2 or 3 different characters each week. Just sayin’.1.02 TARGET
  • Stupidity of a Doll. Firstly, who runs into an isolated old cabin when they’re being chased by a bow and arrow wielding manic? Who then proceeds to drink a substance from a canteen in that cabin? She didn’t even smell or check to see ‘what’ it was – she just just downed it as if she had taken it out of her own fridge! Sorry, but that was stupid beyond belief – it was so obvious that maniac man had spiked it with something. But wait! The ridiculousness doesn’t stop there! The ‘poison’ sets in and causes Echo see to see a reflection of her past self, she then contrives to fall backwards into a magic river which appears out of nowhere, and is dragged under by the waves. THEN, she somehow wakes up on the banks of the river (maybe saved by the fishes or something?),  and miraculously, the poison that caused her delirium has vanished and the ‘game’ continues. Nothing like a good swim to take the edge of things! Sorry, but that was seriously bad. Also, why did Echo tell manic man that she had a gun? Why Echo, why? 🙁
  • Bad Movie. For much of this episode I couldn’t tell whether I was watching a really bad version of the movie Wrong Turn, or “Dollhouse”. In fact I’m pretty sure that all of the ‘hunting’ scenes were based on the Wrong Turn script.
  • I thought that the shoot-out was a lot silly. I know that they tried hard to make it look “cool” and “hip”, but it just took me right out of the show and into a Matrix (not THE Matrix). The slow-mo bullet thing just didn’t work, it looked completely wrong. They introduced a classic sci-fi element into a show that simply doesn’t have the visuals or vibe for that sort of thing. Also, the shoot-out itself was terrible. I know that bullets are faster than arrows, but the maniac dude fired his arrow a good second before Echo fired her gun – how did the dude get hit with the bullet, yet Echo escape getting hit by the arrow? I know, I know..she’s an Active, she’s got a sooper-dooper imprint with ninja skills. But if that’s the case, why did she spend half the episode falling over and doing stupid things? It doesn’t make sense!
  • I thought that it was a bit convenient that with all that technology, it took Topher so long to get Boyd back online with Echo. Also, fake-cop guy is beat up, has a crushed windpipe, has two bullets in either leg and he’s still able to talk, let alone play games? Okaay..
  • So, is Victor an Active or what? I don’t get it, how does Ballard have his phone number? Why is he using the same phone? Maybe I’m only seeing part of it? Perhaps this is what Adelle refers to when she says that Ballard is being ‘taken care of’ – is Victor part of that ‘run around’? If this is the case then fair enough, but according to Adelle, Ballard isn’t even a threat, so why go to all that effort?
  • The episode, like “Ghost”, is devoid of humour. The show deals with some serious issues (identity, human trafficking, abuse..), but both “Lost” and “Fringe” find a way to inject humour into proceedings to give a little balance. The funniest moment from “Target” (perhaps the only funny moment), came when Ballard’s colleague made the “Hansel and Gretal/Red Riding Hood” (or whatever) joke. It wasn’t all that funny, but it’s the only time I have smiled whilst watching the first two episodes. So yeah, props to colleague-guy.
  • Production values. The Dollhouse looks quite good, but the aesthetics away from the facility look bland and unmemorable.

Overall I’m not sure that this was much of an improvement on last week’s “Ghost”. In some respects it was – we got to find out a bit more about Topher’s mindset, some back-story to the DH, and we saw the origins of the Boyd/Echo relationship. Although I’m having trouble connecting with that because it’s only real from Boyd’s perspective – Echo is just doing what she’s been programmed to do. If and when they try to show Echo having a semblance of her own identity, it’s either really messy or really forced.

I think that this episode gets half a mark more than last week’s on the basis that we saw ‘some’ progression (although without Topher and Langton I don’t know what positives would come from this episode). We had Mark Sheppard, Amy Acker and Olivia Williams in the episode and none of them left that much of an impression on me. I found Adelle quite jarring, and Claire was just..there..saying stuff. Sheppard’s character was OK, I guess, but he didn’t have enough time to shine (actually all of them need more screen-time). As for Ballard, well, he’s been rather uninteresting thus far. The most interesting thing about him is that he lives opposite an Active..at least, I think she’s an Active..the worlds best lasagna making Active, apparently. At least we didn’t get any dumbed down kick-boxing splices to tell us very slowly that he’s not a man who never backs down (thanks, writers!). He’s also a lone wolf and not very likable at this stage – I’m beginning to wonder if there are ANY likable characters in this show – other than Langton and Topher (of all people)? If they’re going to pursue the lone-wolf angle with Ballard, then they could do worse than to watch season 1 of “Lost” with the character of John Locke. Especially since they tried to steal so many of their story-telling devices – tabula rasa’s, flashbacks,visions,woods…I jest, of course.

Anyway, I’ll give this one a very generous 7 out of 10. Bearing in mind that this is a relative score based on ‘some’ improvement, and my appreciation for the fact that the show needs time to impress. Although I’m not sure how may shows get given such benefit of the doubt before giving an audience at least something to look forward to. I’ll tune in next week unless I forget.

“Did I fall asleep?”

MoonlightFansCom February 21, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Nice review! I like your “good/bad” organization.

I agree with you on several points. Topher really grew on me this episode, and the Boyd/Echo relationship is by far my favorite. Claire and Adelle also stimulated a little bit of intrigue as well. But I’m with you, it’s impossible to put your heart into a show where you don’t feel invested on a personal level with the characters. Maybe that will take time, but this show only has so much time to prove itself.

I also thought it was incredibly stupid that someone imprinted with keen hunting instincts would run into an abandoned cabin. And could that cantine look any more suspicious?

I also agree that on any show, comedic relief is a must. Even 24, probably the most high voltage, tightly wound and fastest paced show I’ve watched manages work it in. In a high school literature class I took, I remember my teacher saying that it’s an absolulte no-no for any story to get exponentially more intense without any form of comedic release. Topher would be the perfect oppertunity to bring some comedic relief.

The continuity of the cabin from “Ghosts” was good as well. However, I wish I could see the original pilot, maybe that would put some perspective into the uncleanliness of the storylines carried over into the subsequent episodes.

I think part of the problem with this show is in its very premise, that Echo literally is a new person every single week, and that she is barely human. How are viewers supposed to be invested and grow close in her?

The Alpha storyline is intriguing, I want to know why everyone seems to put her on a pedestal and regard her as “special.” Is it because of her previous identity? Was there something special about it? Was she destined to “make a difference,” as stated in the first episode? Only time will tell.

What happened to the scenes in the original trailers where the dolls were “grouping?” On that note I want to see more doll-to-doll interaction.

The only thing I disagree with, is the “attic” reference. Maybe I’m wrong, but I percieved it as just an oblique, toss-out statement, a pun on the whole “Dollhouse” thing. I don’t think there really is an attic, he was just talking. Maybe your right though! Maybe there is an attic.

Sorry to hijack your blog, look forward to reading your posts 😀

Patrick

Roco February 21, 2009 at 4:43 pm

The continuity of the cabin from “Ghosts” was good as well. However, I wish I could see the original pilot, maybe that would put some perspective into the uncleanliness of the storylines carried over into the subsequent episodes.

Hey Patrick,

I’m hoping that we at least get to see the original Pilot in the DVD..if there is to be one.

I think part of the problem with this show is in its very premise, that Echo literally is a new person every single week, and that she is barely human. How are viewers supposed to be invested and grow close in her?

Yeah, it’s a difficult one. Joss Whedon must have known that this would be one of the main problems – he’s had a long time to work on it, so I can only hope that he finds a way to deal with the ‘reset’ problem over the course of the season.

Shar February 21, 2009 at 3:18 pm

I had planned on giving Dollhouse 6 episodes to catch my interest, but it turns out that 2 is my limit.

This show is too twisted, brutal, cruel and ugly for me. There is only one moral character, Ballard, but he won’t shut down the Dollhouse for at least 5 years, it’s clear.

Echo’s handler is a sleazy jerk who hired himself out to be an enslaved prostitute’s bodyguard, and he’s the most humane character within the Dollhouse.

I guess Joss is proud to be making a show as sick as Dexter. I won’t be watching anymore. I was really looking forward to this before it began, but it’s not for me. I’m pleased that I didn’t spend 11 months blogging about the show in anticipation, as you did; it would be a huge letdown. Thanks for the site.

Roco February 21, 2009 at 4:53 pm

This show is too twisted, brutal, cruel and ugly for me. There is only one moral character, Ballard, but he won’t shut down the Dollhouse for at least 5 years, it’s clear.

Echo’s handler is a sleazy jerk who hired himself out to be an enslaved prostitute’s bodyguard, and he’s the most humane character within the Dollhouse.

Interesting perspective on Langton there. I don’t see him as being a “sleazy jerk” – what gives you that opinion?

The dollhouse seems to go against every fibre of his being, so in a sense, I guess his actions do come into question. That said, perhaps he believes that in order to do some ‘good’, he has to use the ‘bad’ of the dollhouse programme?

Of course it’s all relative, and it should be interesting to see how his character develops over the course of the season. I was mindful of the fact they went out of their way to have him not kill fake-cop guy.

I’m pleased that I didn’t spend 11 months blogging about the show in anticipation, as you did; it would be a huge letdown. Thanks for the site.

I can’t defend the first two episodes, but I will always stand by the premise – I still think that it’s a facinating concept, even if the show doesn’t live up to my hopes.

Shar February 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Interesting perspective on Langton there. I don’t see him as being a “sleazy jerk” – what gives you that opinion?

The dollhouse seems to go against every fibre of his being, so in a sense, I guess his actions do come into question. That said, perhaps he believes that in order to do some ‘good’, he has to use the ‘bad’ of the dollhouse programme?

He’s a man without a conscience (as are all the people who work in the Dollhouse). He repeatedly delivers a slave, a helpless child, to her rapist. And he doesn’t blow the whistle by calling in the FBI and police.

What ‘good’ is the Dollhouse engaged in? They sell slaves to rich men for their pleasures.

The only ‘good’ engagement we’ve seen was ridiculous. Kidnap-dad should have hired a reputable private security organization with skilled negotiators. The Dollhouse was more interested in keeping itself secret than rescuing the girl.

Shar February 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm

oops, sorry, newbie failure. The first 2 paragraphs of my reply above are quotes from Roco’s post.

Roco February 21, 2009 at 7:04 pm

No probs, I’ve corrected the block quotes in your post above 🙂

Roco February 21, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Yeah, that’s actually an interesting point – I can see where you’re coming from. In a way he not only turns a blind eye to this ‘abuse’, but he participates in it, in a major way.

I’m of the opinion that he sees it as his best chance to save others (i.e. non actives) from negative situations (as we saw with Davina last week), but where does he draw the line? How far can he do ‘good’ through ‘bad’ before he becomes corrupted and as responsible as the DH management?

On the other hand, perhaps this is more of a paycheck for him? Maybe he’s a jaded ex-cop who was indifferent, and only the ‘spark of humanity’ within Echo has awakened his conscience? But even then he’s still allowing abuse to happen on his watch.

It’s certainly an interesting point, Shar. I still think that he’s the moral rock of the show, and perhaps, to some degree, is a fair reflection of society? How many of us would sacrifice 1 life to save 2, or 3, or 20 lives?

Langton clearly has problems with the way the Dollhouse treats people..but then, what’s his definition of “people”? If memory serves, he denies Echo that term in “Target”. So perhaps Langton is able to distance himself from what’s happening by that distingtion – he wants to save people who can still be saved..not shells who are beyond saving.

Of course, Echo seems to be effecting a change within him..by the end of the episode, he seemed to see Echo as more of a human than he did at the start.

Interesting though!

alby February 21, 2009 at 3:29 pm

I know this concept is hard for you to handle Roco. How realistic did you think it would be coming from a man whose claim to fame was a show about a little blonde girl from California who rescued humanity by killing all the vampires and demons? I am beginning to find your posts amusing as I can see how much joy you get in writing pages of critique. I mean, I don’t know about you but if I was running from a crazy I would also run towards a cabin that might have a person or phone in it, and continue to hydrate with something most likely made of water. That would probably be the smart thing to do. You should try to write a show…also direct it, act in it, and be the director of photography as well. It will surely be a hit! I’m just sayin…:)

Roco February 21, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I know this concept is hard for you to handle Roco. How realistic did you think it would be coming from a man whose claim to fame was a show about a little blonde girl from California who rescued humanity by killing all the vampires and demons?

Hi alby,

It’s not too hard for me to handle – I’m a believer, I can take a leap or two, so it’s not so much “realism” that’s my problem here, it’s the manner in which some of the aspects were portrayed.

I can handle the concept of memory wipes and such – I believe that I posted a few articles on the matter long before the show started.

I am beginning to find your posts amusing as I can see how much joy you get in writing pages of critique.

Joy? No, I don’t get joy in seeing something that I had so much hope for disappoint me. Please don’t mistake my sarcasm for “joy”.

I said from the very beginning that I would give my honest opinion on this blog – and that’s what I do. I try to keep it a bit light-hearted as best I can, but that’s how I roll.

I mean, I don’t know about you but if I was running from a crazy I would also run towards a cabin that might have a person or phone in it, and continue to hydrate with something most likely made of water. That would probably be the smart thing to do.

I’ll be honest here and tell you that I would definitely 100% NOT drink an unknown substance from a random cabin in the woods. Water wouldn’t be my main thought – staying alive by getting to a safe place would. But like opinions we all think differently 🙂

You should try to write a show…also direct it, act in it, and be the director of photography as well. It will surely be a hit! I’m just sayin…:)

Nah, it wouldn’t be a hit..but then I don’t profess to be a director, actor or director of photography, alby 🙂

“Dollhouse” is in the entertainment industry – it’s fair game to critique the show. If you’re expecting to read sugar-coated reviews about Whedon, Dusku and Dollhouse, you wont find them here. I’m sorry, but I don’t see the point in lying to myself or anyone who reads this blog. That’s not to say that mine is the only opinion – far from it. I respect your views and the views of others. If you thought “Target” was the bomb, then I would love to read why you thought that. Seriously, perhaps you might change my mind, perhaps I’m being unfair, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

We all want the show to succeed, we all want to be entertained, but sometimes what we want, we don’t get.

I will say though, if and when Dollhouse does get good, then I will praise the aspects that I think, in my opinion, deserve praise. You wouldn’t want me to say that an episode is rubbish, when secretly I think it was great, would you? You see, it works both ways, I can only be honest in my assessment of the episodes.

Josh Harmon February 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Yeah, calm down man. This episode was great! I watched the pilot episode with about 30 people, and even though the majority liked it, we all agreed it could have been better. But this weeks episode everyone liked very much! Had great twists, good action, and some great emotional scenes with Echo and her Handler. Good backstory to Alpha. The people that I least expected to watch it again with me, were the people that were not intrested in the orginal pilot last week, and said they did not like it. But they were, and Im not kidding, blown away! They really liked this episode, and now are willing to continue to watch. Yes, there was some moments that I didnt like, the sex scene was a bit much, and some of the lines were cheesy throughout, but give Dollhouse a break, its trying to find its legs, its only 2 episodes in!!! I think you are being way to over critical over this show. Its a great concept with a great cast (YES IM TALKING ABOUT DUSHKU!) I think you need to lighten up, and just let this series play out…otherwise go ahead and shut your site down, know one wants to read a fan site full of negativatiy.

Roco February 21, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Hi Josh.

I am calm – I just didn’t think that the episode was “great”, far from it. This is not what I call great television, but I respect the fact that we all see things differently.

Tbh, I found the twists rather predictable and poorly executed. I can appreciate the effort to incorporate some tension in the show, but I think they missed the mark. That said, it’s clear that the show is fighting (at this stage) to find it’s identity, so I can offer some leniency in that respect.

I agree that there were a few emotional scenes – one I mentioned in my review. I didn’t find them wholly convincing – it’s difficult to connect with Echo at the moment, and the show lacks a good score and several other elements working in the same direction. Still, the Langton/Echo scene towards the end was perhaps the closest that I came to feeling something for Echo.

Yes, there was some moments that I didnt like, the sex scene was a bit much, and some of the lines were cheesy throughout, but give Dollhouse a break, its trying to find its legs, its only 2 episodes in!!! I think you are being way to over critical over this show. Its a great concept with a great cast (YES IM TALKING ABOUT DUSHKU!) I think you need to lighten up, and just let this series play out…otherwise go ahead and shut your site down, know one wants to read a fan site full of negativatiy.

Josh, I think that you might have to accept the fact that not everyone will be blown away by this episode. The point of this blog is to commentate on the show – just as you have done. That’s what it’s all about – opinions.

I’m aware that the show is only 2 episodes deep – but this is a review for “TARGET”, as well as general thoughts on the season so far. I can’t review episodes that haven’t been aired yet.

Dollhouse does have a great cast, but it doesn’t mean that we should lap up everything they do even when they do it badly. What’s the point in that? Are we living in an age where reputation goes before all else? Some of the cast are yet to earn a reputation. I just think we have to be a bit more realistic. But again, opinions. 🙂

I think you need to lighten up, and just let this series play out…otherwise go ahead and shut your site down, know one wants to read a fan site full of negativatiy.

I am letting the series play out – I said that I’ll be watching next week 😉

I don’t think I’ll do that just yet, thanks. I’m not forcing my opinions on you. There are plenty of sites that will only say sweet sugary things about DH though.

LeParisianFrog February 21, 2009 at 4:59 pm

All i’m saying is that you guys all made me want to see this episode! Europe be damned! i want to be living in the US 🙂
Thanks for the review Roco, really enjoyed it (and yes, i like being spoiled so no worries!). I hope you continue being critical of the show, this doesn’t mean that you dislike it as some might have misunderstood (otherwise what would be the point of having reached the 300 posts on WD? ha!). On the contrary, criticism is good when it’s constructive and yours fall in that category.
Keep it up!

Roco February 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Well at least we convinced you to give the show another go LPF! 🙂

You’re right btw, I would have stopped blogging a long time ago if I disliked the show entirely. The premise still gives me hope, and who knows what next week will bring!

LeParisianFrog February 23, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Yup! it’s good to be convinced with such a spectrum of clever opinions. It might sound flattering but i have to say that all the comments i read so far are super interesting especially from an european perspective where blogs dedicated to TV shows rarely reach that kind of level (ok, maybe if we talk about ‘good’ shows but that’s another deal…) so again, thanks for this guys!

I have another 50c to add to the discussion. Which is more of a comment/question actually. The opening credits. Is it me or are they ‘entirely’ focused on Echo/Eliza? Other cast’s names only appear in super tight font in the corner of the screen. And we never see ‘them’. Ok so they are secret people but still. The idea that seems to be carried by this less than two minutes sequence is that Echo embodies (!) what all the actives are and that it is all about her, somehow making her a kinda ‘super special’ active.

I think the opening credits give the wrong impression. There’s prolly a big difference between each of the actives. Even with the whole ‘clean slate’ theory. They will certainly react differently no matter what you imprint in their mind. Otherwise what is the point of having Beta, Tango, Charlie, Papa and all the radio family? Determinism and mind toying cannot explain everything. And no matter how much you wipe away someone’s memory, the subconscious is a terra incognita that resurfaces like an iceberg’s hidden mass. Which is something The DH is aware of and uses to its own advantage (or disadvantage but lalala, i haven’t yet seen Target so what i’m saying is prolly stupid).

To summarize, the mini-issue i have with the opening credits is that it feels like this is an Eliza/Echo centered show when in fact it should be more of a polyphony (which is what i am secretly hoping for!). Each active (again what’s the point of having them if the opening credits give the feeling they’re only part of the décor?) is as important as Echo. And not just the actives but the ones around them or in the near periphery.

If Echo is the entry point then we need to see more of that periphery. Because eventually that periphery will become tangible to Echo. And she might realize that the world doesn’t revolve around her…but that she is part of it.

Ok! Done with the silly rant! I shall now go finish watching Target (waiting in anticipation the scene in the wood cabin…hehehe!)

Page 48 February 21, 2009 at 5:25 pm

There’s no doubt this was a better effort that 1.1.

The carry over from the previous show was, and will continue to be, an essential element of the show, IMO.

Fortunately, the writer sprinkled in some Alpha bits along with Echo’s engagement because the shag o’ the week angle just isn’t going to be able to go it alone. If Echo and the other Actives were engaged in assignments affecting national or global security, their outings might be of some consequence aside from Echo’s (not to mention her handler’s) personal safety. Having the ability to imprint insane skills on clean human slates should amount to something more than shag-a-delic weekends for the well heeled man (who apparently can’t pull his own dates). As invigorating as it is to know that Echo has been imprinted with great tongue skills, wouldn’t it be more compelling if she was hacking some arms dealer’s impenetrable security system? Just my preference, I suppose.

There’s a certain poetic justice in Topher creating a high priced Ripper and having the Dollhouse be on the receiving end of a good old fashioned Ripping spree completely free of charge. Moral hazard?

Lasagna chick? WTF? I mentioned on another blog that that scene reminded me of a ’70s sitcom (visions of Valerie Bertinelli come to mind). Was the lasagna a poison trap like the canteen?

And, as you say, Roco, it took Topher HOW LONG to re-align a satellite? Long enough for Robin Hood to get Echo back to the love shack and get that very expensive Echo workout out of the way. Assuming he was anything more than a two-minute wonder, it should have allowed Topher time to get Echo back under satellite surveillance.

All of these shows have a geeked out tech expert and, generally, they are designed to be the comic relief. Marshall Flinkman was the best of the lot, with Chloe O’Brien and The Lone Gunmen being some of my other favourites. Topher is a notch above the dude from “Bionic Woman”, but he’s not what I would consider an endearing character. Maybe he’ll grow on me.

There one question that I’m begging to have answered and it goes like this: How the hell can horny frat boys like Matt score a weekend bangathon with the extremely active Echo, yet the FBI, with all their resources, just can’t seem to nail down the DH location, let alone convince each other that it exists?

Roco February 21, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Fortunately, the writer sprinkled in some Alpha bits along with Echo’s engagement because the shag o’ the week angle just isn’t going to be able to go it alone.

lol! 🙂

There’s a certain poetic justice in Topher creating a high priced Ripper and having the Dollhouse be on the receiving end of a good old fashioned Ripping spree completely free of charge. Moral hazard?

Good point. I wonder if Topher sees it that way? Does he accept this dose of what one might call ‘Karma’, or does it strive him to create better, perhaps?

There one question that I’m begging to have answered and it goes like this: How the hell can horny frat boys like Matt score a weekend bangathon with the extremely active Echo, yet the FBI, with all their resources, just can’t seem to nail down the DH location, let alone convince each other that it exists?

Good point. It’s one I hope they answer, although I don’t hold much hope!

Although, perhaps Alpha gave him some inside info? But even that would need explaining – like, how did maniac guy and Alpha meet? What made maniac guy want to work with/for Alpha? etc. So I guess don’t wont fly.

Nevermore February 21, 2009 at 7:35 pm

“Was the lasagna a poison trap like the canteen?”

Wow….

Anyway, I enjoyed this episode. Not sure I understand the, um, “critique” about Echo running into the cabin – finding someone that could help me would be pretty much my number one goal if I were in her situation. And seriously, you really think you would run in to the place, out of breath, dying of thirst, scared to death of a maniac chasing you with a bow, and look at this canteen and go “dude, that thing’s gotta be poisoned. Totally.” As viewers of a TV show, those thoughts may very well go through our heads, but if that were you, in real life, there’s no way you would think that somebody would have actually poisoned a random bucket of water.

The whole Alpha subplot was quite intersting, and I really liked the part where Topher seemed so upset about his skills failing, but not about the dead people (which you mentioned, Roco). Also enjoyed the interaction between Echo and Boyd. You can tell that he’s really looking out for her; it just felt genuine to me.

Didn’t like the suddenly helpless girl that Echo became when Bad Guy told her to run. She would be understandably paniced, but it was too extreme of a change from her apparently experienced persona that she showed on the raft and when Boyd handed her the gun (great line, btw).

Liked the concept of how it ended, but not so much the execution. I think they could have picked a less retarded-looking gesture than that shoulder slap. The good of that scene outweighed the bad.

Ballard’s a good character, but I’m not sure how right in the head he could be. A pretty girl made you lasagna and you say “rain check”?! Are you nuts man? That’s just not human. I did quite enjoy that scene though, especially the “lucky girl” line.

The only major problem with this episode, in my opinion, was the timing. We haven’t had enough time to develop any real connection to Echo, so when her life was on the line it wasn’t as meaningful as it could have been later. From what I’ve heard, this episode wasn’t meant to air second, so the blame for this problem might rest on the executives at Fox. Oh well. It doesn’t exactly detract from the episode, it just coulda been better.

8/10

Roco February 22, 2009 at 7:47 am

Not sure I understand the, um, “critique” about Echo running into the cabin – finding someone that could help me would be pretty much my number one goal if I were in her situation. And seriously, you really think you would run in to the place, out of breath, dying of thirst, scared to death of a maniac chasing you with a bow, and look at this canteen and go “dude, that thing’s gotta be poisoned. Totally.” As viewers of a TV show, those thoughts may very well go through our heads, but if that were you, in real life, there’s no way you would think that somebody would have actually poisoned a random bucket of water.

I can guarantee that I wouldn’t just knock back some unknown substance from an unknown cabin. There could have been ‘anything’..and I mean ‘anything’. She didn’t know the the living standards of the owner, after all.

Why not go to the kitchen and drink water from the tap? Also, it’s not like she been running for hours upon hours. She’s also an imprinted outdoors woman, surely she’d have the ‘skills’ to be able to find a stream (like the one she fell in minutes later! 🙂 ) – or, better yet, leave the woods from the direction that she entered them?

I just found it poor beyond belief. The whole sequence seemed so forced and contrived.

Didn’t like the suddenly helpless girl that Echo became when Bad Guy told her to run. She would be understandably paniced, but it was too extreme of a change from her apparently experienced persona

Yeah, that’s my problem with this also – one minute she was a bad ass, the next she was a scared little girl. At the very least she would have had the skills to ‘leave’ the woods and head for safety. Instead she finds the cabin in the woods, a stream, Boyd ‘somehow’ finds her, and she ends up turning the tables on maniac guy??? Too heavy-handed, imo.

Ballard’s a good character, but I’m not sure how right in the head he could be. A pretty girl made you lasagna and you say “rain check”?! Are you nuts man? That’s just not human. I did quite enjoy that scene though, especially the “lucky girl” line.

I guess it kinda fits with his ‘lone wolf’ persona, but it was a little odd. I wonder how many times he’s turned her down – he doesn’t seem to suspect her of being an Active (otherwise he’d be all up in there scoffing down lasagna whilst getting clues!). Hmm..

The only major problem with this episode, in my opinion, was the timing. We haven’t had enough time to develop any real connection to Echo, so when her life was on the line it wasn’t as meaningful as it could have been later. From what I’ve heard, this episode wasn’t meant to air second, so the blame for this problem might rest on the executives at Fox. Oh well. It doesn’t exactly detract from the episode, it just coulda been better.

Whilst I agree about the lack of connection that we have with Echo, I don’t think we can blame everything on Fox. At the end of the day this is Whedon and Dushku’s show – they had a year to plan it. They have to take some responsibility for the faults of the show, just as they will deserve the plaudits when/if the show succeeds.

Matthew February 21, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Overall a good review but I don’t agree with some of the things you said, Firstly you mentioned how when Echo was trying to escape from the maniac that she kept falling over, so what? even if she was imprinted with the skills of an and I quote “expert woodswoman”, it would be a shock to anyone if they were told they were about to be hunted down and killed, obviously she was going to be disoriented which is what caused her to fall, also you said about how she drank that water without checking what it was, which also brings me back to the state of shock scenario, she was out of breath and clearly not thinking straight so I don’t think she even gave two thoughts to what was in the container, as a lot of people wouldn’t, if you were in a similar situation and you were lacking energy, off course you’d drink something, and in the heat of the moment you probably wouldn’t make sure you 100% knew what you were drinking, and Victor isn’t an Active just to clear some things up, he was originally an Active but when they reshot the pilot they also changed his character 🙂

Roco February 22, 2009 at 8:02 am

Considering that she was imprinted with the rock-climbing, hunting, trekking, etc skills, I found it a bit convenient that she should suddenly be flailing all over the place like a newb. Yes, it would be a shock to be chased like that, but she had the skills of a ‘perfect’ outdoors woman – did she really have to fall down/over quite so many times?

Then, the next thing we know she’s being a bad ass again – there was no light and shade in that sequence, it was really badly written, imo.

Re: drinking the water – I disagree. She’s just realised that ‘Good Will Hunting‘ is really Maniac Guy..he had just slept with her, used her, treating her like a piece of meat in the process, before chasing her down like an animal. It just strikes me a odd that she’d underestimate the man by charging into the cabin in the first place. Then, to actually drink from the canteen without checking what it was first? I would not have done that, no matter how out of breath I was. You’d think that an ‘expert outdoors woman’ would be someone of wits..Echo was positively witless in that moment. 🙂

As I mentioned in another reply, why didn’t she go to the tap? Why didn’t she look for a stream? She’s an expert outdoors woman, after all.

Interesting. Are you sure that Victor isn’t an Active though? Why did the promo photos (after the Pilot was reshoot) have him in Active pose?

Matt February 21, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Good review, I agree on some points but I disagree on a few as well.

First off, like others have mentioned, if I was in Echo’s situation, I would definitely run for the cabin. Drink the water? Maybe not. But definitely go to the cabin. Also, she was probably stumbling around a little bit because she was scared.

Secondly, I think that the drug thing makes sense. I mean, the actives brains must be pretty messed up by now, so anything effecting the brain might resurface something.

Oh, and I think that they missed a great opportunity with the shoot out. She should have just shot him in the face. Right when she saw him. That would have been hilarious.

Roco February 22, 2009 at 8:11 am

First off, like others have mentioned, if I was in Echo’s situation, I would definitely run for the cabin. Drink the water? Maybe not. But definitely go to the cabin. Also, she was probably stumbling around a little bit because she was scared.

Fair enough – it’s the drinking of the water that I have most problem with anyway.

I don’t buy the stumbling around to the degree that they showed her. She’s still an ‘expert’ don’t forget. At the very least she’d be able to exit the woods.

Secondly, I think that the drug thing makes sense. I mean, the actives brains must be pretty messed up by now, so anything effecting the brain might resurface something.

Oh yeah, I can ‘understand’ the vision/hallucination thing in the context of resurfacing memories, I just don’t think it was done particularly well. It not only looked cheap, but the way a river suddely appeared behind Echo (and what followed) was ridiculous, imo.

Also, if Echo continually gets into scrapes week after week, they will have to explain why it is that they keep her activated.

Oh, and I think that they missed a great opportunity with the shoot out. She should have just shot him in the face. Right when she saw him. That would have been hilarious.

I guess they want to make Echo as sympathetic as possible. That said, she still killed the guy 😉

bekki February 22, 2009 at 8:42 am

Hey Roco-

Honestly, I pretty much disagree with your critique this week, but that’s all cool. I like hearing all the different opinions and, well, I enjoyed it so I’m a happy camper. 🙂

Personally, after giving the pilot a very generous 7, I would give this episode a clear 9. Here’s why:

I guess I really don’t have a problem with Echo running to the cabin because, well, it wasn’t a cabin. It was a park ranger outpost. If I was being chased by a dude with a bow who was trying to hunt me, I think the very first place I would run is a park ranger outpost. It was clearly an office – not a house or abandoned creepy spooky horror cabin – and, therefore, would be likely to have a phone or walkie talkie (like she found) so I think it was fairly smart to go there. Also, they did show her internally debating whether to go in or not, she paused for a long time as if she was weighing her options and, yeah, I think I wouldn’t done the same thing.

Also, I never got the impression that she was supposed to be the ‘perfect outdoorswoman’. The only place that was EVER mentioned was in the synopsis and, well, synopsises…synopsisii?…whatever, my point is they’re often wrong. For example, if she was supposed to be the prime supremo outdoorswoman, wouldn’t she already know how to shot a bow? Wouldn’t she be a little better at rock climbing and tracking? Wouldn’t she have already hunted before? To me, I think she was just programmed to be an outgoing adventurous time that Richard could be all macho with and teach stuff to. All she seemed to know was white water rafting. So, perfect outdoors goddess she was not supposed to be, IMO.

Like I said in an earlier comment, I think Eliza did a great job here. I totally bought her innocent connection to Boyd and I totally bough Boyd’s growing trust and love for her. I also bought her fear and anger at the situation, so, yeah, I thought she was heads and tails above last week in this ep.

I guess the one thing that I don’t really understand is why people are so hung up on Joss’ lack of humor. He’s made it clear this is a dark show. Its not Buffy or Angel with a campy silly feeling to it all. I mean, Buffy/Angel to me was a funny show that had its serious moments. Dollhouse will probably be a serious show that (eventually) has its funny moments. I think Topher brought enough humor with the man love jokes and the whole ‘kind you have to shoot at’ comments, etc. to keep his scenes light without disrupting the overall tone of the show.

Anyways, thanks for the review, Roco. I always enjoy reading them.

Roco February 23, 2009 at 9:43 am

Hi bekki,

You make a good point about the ranger outpost, if that’s what it was. I will have to go back and check that, but you’re probably right. In that case then I will concede that it’s more plausible that Echo would enter the cabin in hope of safety. It still doesn’t sit well with me though, particularly that she would drink the unknown substance when she’s just seen how deceptive maniac guy is. What also bugs me is that she found the cabin in the first place – surely she would just exit the woods from the exact same direction that she and maniac guy entered them? And if Boyd dropped her off, wouldn’t she just head back in that direction, rather than somehow stumbling her way into the cabin in the woods? 🙂

I hear your point about her possibly not being the absolute perfect outdoorswoman – but she could climb a rockface so good that she even had the ability to ‘feign’ falling. My interpretation was that she had all of the necessary skills of an expert outdoorswoman, but that she was imprinted to not be too domineering in the way that she displayed her skills (as per maniac guy’s preference)? Which would mean that essentially she should have been able to find her way out of the woods. It just made little sense to me – rather than the woods scenario being part of the story, it became the story. It felt too contrived and, tbh, I expected a lot better from Whedon and co. I think there are better ways to have told this particular story.

I’m trying not to be too hard on Dushku, but after this episode I have even less faith that she has the range to portray all of these different characters. A world class actress would find it a challenge, so I’m not sure why Whedon thought that she was up to the job? I guess he was bound by the fact that she needed to make a show for Fox? That said, you make a good point. IMO, she was ‘better’ in that scene with Boyd towards the end. I didn’t buy it as much as you did, but it was the first flicker of potential that I saw in the Echo portrayal. I still don’t believe that she has the range though – Whedon has a great concept with Dollhouse, but IMO it wont work unless Dushku is able to nail it week after week. I just think that they’ve given her too much responsibility. I think that one of the most important aspects of a show like this is the lead actor’s ability to make the character believable. So far I’ve found Sierra more believable, which is really something. I’d love to be wrong about Dushku though, I really would. I should also add, in her defense, that the writing for Echo (Penn, etc) has also been pretty weak.

Oh, I agree, “Dollhouse” is a more serious show. I just think that it’s important to have some humour in there. I think there’s planty of room for that, though I definitely don’t want this to turn into “Buffy” 🙂 Looking back, I guess Topher did have a few humourous lines, although they didn’t hit me like I’d hoped they would.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, bekki. We don’t agree on several aspects, but it’s good to have a variety of opinons..and you made some good points that I will consider.

bekki February 22, 2009 at 8:46 am

god, i’m an ass. second time i have to correct myself:

third paragraph i meant would’ve not wouldn’t

fourth paragraph time is supposed to be type

that’s what i get for writing this as soon as i wake up

Kit February 22, 2009 at 11:51 pm

I think I have to agree with Bekki’s review in many ways, Rocco.

I don’t understand why people don’t appreciate Topher’s humor. I loved his little “abracadabra” after Boyd tells him that he’s to put the rabbit in Echo’s hat. Especially considering that he told Boyd “later” (though it was seen earlier, I believe) that the magic word he was looking for was “abracadabra.” I also thought Topher standing around, going “Gun?” was kind of hilarious. Maybe that’s just my sense of humor… I think this show is a different kind of funny from other Joss Whedon stuff, and he’s making an effort to make it different.

I also am very intrigued by how fidgety Topher became when Boyd pointed out that Alpha was his creation; I like how he took him down a notch (the man behind the gray matter curtain…). I think their dynamic is one of the most interesting to watch, as is the dynamic between Boyd and Echo. I thought it was very interesting how the “script” was reversed by Echo’s imprint (Jenny?) when she said, “Do you trust me?” to Boyd and he literally did, with his life.

As for the Alpha plotline, that is most intriguing to me. I think one of the reasons this episode was so much stronger than the last was because it was introduced much earlier on – I think that’s how they’re working to make it serialized even through the “engagement of the week.” I can’t tell if there’s a reason why Echo couldn’t be killed, but I definitely think psycho Richard was hired by Alpha to hunt her – “he said you were special.” Richard says, as he’s bleeding out. I wonder if Echo couldn’t be killed by Alpha…

I also think Victor may not have remained an active in the rewrites (like Miracle Laurie’s character, “November”). I do so liked her as the creepy neighbor, “it’s only left-overs if you’ve already eaten some.” Clearly Paul’s been saying no for a while.

I also think that the satellite, depending on where they were moving it from, took just the right amount of time. I don’t think people realize how slow satellites actually move, relative to the earth’s positioning. Plus, depending on where it was previously or what it was being retasked from… I’m more impressed that they HAVE control over satellites.

I had a couple other points, but this may be the downside of writing late at night… I forgot them.

Roco February 24, 2009 at 11:11 am

Hi Kit,

You’re probably right to point out Topher – whilst I didn’t find him particularly humourous in 1.02, he’s the most likely source of the funny.

I’m with you on the potential of the Boyd/Brink relationship. I like your take on that also – Topher definitely seems vulnerable when it comes to his ‘creations’ going haywire.

Interesting theory on Alpha ‘not being able’ to kill Echo! That’s certainly different to him ‘choosing’ not to, and would possibly give us a freewill vs determinism vibe.

I hear you on the satellite, but I still think it’s contrived. Surely the ‘Dollhouse’ would prepare for such circumstances? They presumably knew that maniac guy was taking Echo into the woods – wouldn’t they have a protocol or prepping process whereby they ensured that the signal would be in place ‘before’ the fun started? As you say, it’s impressive that they have control over satellites, but I think that it’s pretty weak if they expect us to believe that such a high powered and ‘underground’ group wouldn’t do their homework first..

I don’t want Dollhouse to turn out like the Bionic Woman reimagining. So far, not so good 🙁

Bad Mouth February 23, 2009 at 4:13 am

Well I think 7/10 is a little overgenerous. Massive improvement on the first episode, but still pretty lame. Too much exposition through dialog and too few anchors for OUR reality to get into. Seems like Fox just dipped into the box of cliched scripts (one of those bad Tom Berenger movies?) they have hanging around and then draped the Dollhouse clothes on it. There is something very disjointed and not right about this show but I cant put my finger on it. There is no flow or logic to it, it looks pretty but is empty inside. There is no tension to the show, just more mumbo-jumbo references to technology and events we are unfamiliar with. It is irritating not entertaining. I really wanted to like this show but I DONT WANT TO HEAR ABOUT WHAT ELIZA CAN DO WITH HER TONGUE ON A STRANGER. Between this and the tech mumbo-jumbo of retasking satellites I reckon the Fox target audience must be targeting 12-15 year old attention span deficient males.

Roco February 24, 2009 at 11:21 am

Yeah, looking back I think I was waay too kind. I just have to keep telling myself that I’m not comparing this to any 7/10’s that I’ve given “Lost” (for example), but rather rating the Dollhouse episodes on their own merit. Even so, this was probably more of a 5/10 episode, in retrospect.

I too found the exposition terrible. I’m not sure that we can constantly blame Fox for the faults of the show, but it was rather lame.

I get the feeling that they’re trying to sexualize Echo as much as possible in order to ’empower’ her later on in the series. I just think it’s too heavy-handed on so many levels. We all know that it’s a difficult concept to portray, but they had over a year to nail it, instead, well, I don’t even have to say it..

LeParisianFrog February 23, 2009 at 8:40 pm

@Bekki. You’re not an ass 😉 I really liked reading your analysis of ‘Target’. I just finished watching it (welcome jetlag and streaming!) and also felt it was a good episode. I smiled at the lasagna scene because of what P48 wrote. Either there is something behind the apparent nimrodity of this chick or this is the typical we got 3 minutes to spare on this ep people, come up with something intriguing (remember the cheese man in Buffy s4?… maybe the lasagna is a code… maybe the secret of Echo lies in the bolognese…)

Right. Won’t prolly add anything new to the discussion but i enjoyed ‘Target’ (maybe too because it was a false excuse not to work on my thesis). The whole Alpha mystery is quite interesting because we somehow understand why Echo is so ‘special’. But then again was she special when she was Caroline or did she turn special after her enrollment in the DH?

I’m really starting to hate Adele’s assistant. He is weird and clearly not taking ALL of his orders from her. Not to mention his incompetence.
Amy Acker’s character is growing on me. For some unknown reasons i have this feeling she and Alpha had the same kind of connection Boyd and Echo are having (otherwise why would she have survived the attack? because Alpha was too busy going JtheR on the rest of the Actives??)

Boyd was maxi excellento. I also liked the flashbacks. Made a lot of sense without revealing all the secrets… as if there were still open paths to be taken (or not). Indeed the connection he shares with Echo is the most genuine and positive thing so far. It doesn’t seem fake or ‘imprinted’. It’s just there and it’s good 😉

As for Eliza. Thumbs up. I’m sorry Roco, i’ll have to go with Bekki. I know Dushku will never reach the level of say Meryl Streep who can be anyone with style (a little like Isabelle Huppert). Yet she was pretty decent in ‘Target’. Her acting was fairly expected of course when she was Echo-the-forest-squirrel. But it is in the fashback scenes especially the one when she is talking about heavy guy with Boyd and saying that she wants him to know ‘who she really is’ (heavish dialogue!) that she cracked me up! She is good at playing innocent/dumb girl and i think that string need to pulled more instead of the zombie-doll-i-gonna-go-swimming-now-

Things are going pretty fast though. Next thing you know and Echo will be realizing there’s something rotten in the land of Dollseneur. I imagine this is due to the short amount of episodes ordered by Fox. Um. But then again, how long can the scenarii can go on with shag-of-the-week (kuddos to you P48!) or the today Echo is a new concept: the-pretty-girl-who-can-swim-but-who-is-afraid-of-water.

Who wants the DH to go down? Who is seeking revenge? Who is manipulating who? Is taping your left shoulder a new way of giving the finger? Why Ballard doesn’t like lasagnas? If some unknown halucinogene poison can wake up Echo’s memories why are they not serving lasagnas at the DH’s canteen? And why do i get the strange feeling the DH could end up simply being a boudoir for rich people in search of simplexity if they don’t take another road pronto?

Because i like forests and incoherences, ‘Target’ get a fair 8/10 😉

Roco February 24, 2009 at 11:34 am

The whole Alpha mystery is quite interesting because we somehow understand why Echo is so ’special’. But then again was she special when she was Caroline or did she turn special after her enrollment in the DH?

Now that IS an interesting question! Good thinking, LPF!

We know that Caroline was in some sort of trouble prior to being wiped, so perhaps that could play into it? Although, I think it could be more interesting if it’s a mixture of the two – i.e. the human/imprint aspect of Alpha being intrinsically drawn to the human/imprint side of Echo. Could make for some interesting exploration, if they decide to go down that route.

As for Eliza. Thumbs up. I’m sorry Roco, i’ll have to go with Bekki. I know Dushku will never reach the level of say Meryl Streep who can be anyone with style (a little like Isabelle Huppert). Yet she was pretty decent in ‘Target’. Her acting was fairly expected of course when she was Echo-the-forest-squirrel. But it is in the fashback scenes especially the one when she is talking about heavy guy with Boyd and saying that she wants him to know ‘who she really is’ (heavish dialogue!) that she cracked me up! She is good at playing innocent/dumb girl and i think that string need to pulled more instead of the zombie-doll-i-gonna-go-swimming-now-

Hey, that’s fine – like I always say, we all have different perspectives on things, and that’s the way it should be. 🙂

I’m yet to see much shade or variation in her acting, but hopefully that will change over the course of the season. In the meantime, I look forward to reading your interpretations.

Although, 8/10? Yikes! 😉

LeParisianFrog February 25, 2009 at 1:58 pm

lol@ your ‘yikes’, hahaha. I like being generous, that’s my nature. And thank god we are all different 😉

I do agree, let’s hope they go down the road of Caroline/Echo/Alpha intrication and not some dumb ‘i am your brother Echo’ pointless solution.

I’ve been reading extensively on Greek Mythology for my teaching lately and how it has been building the frames of our actual occidental philosophy. I ‘stumbled’ (hehe) on the myth of the nymph Echo, i think there are some interesting points i just felt i could share.

Unfortunately don’t have the time to elaborate tonight but here are some thoughts: Echo was a storyteller, a muse, and she fell in love with a mortal, Narcisse. But the story got complicated. The whole Narcisse myth all by itself is quite interesting as it brings to mind notions of reflection, manipulation etc.

Now i am certain there isn’t any direct link between this Echo and that Echo and that the name is a pure ‘coincidence’ that fortunately carries tons of meanings. Yet, storytelling is all about what the DH is creating. An hyperreal series of stories with manipulated puppets. This thing is bound to provoke Chaos. And as the Greeks say, Chaos is the matrix to everything.

Voila, it’s super dumb i’m sure but eventually someone brighter will rebounces on it… if necessary 😉

Cal February 23, 2009 at 10:10 pm

I give it a 5/10. The show seems awfully dumb to be a Joss Whedon show.

Roco February 24, 2009 at 11:37 am

So far it seems pretty ‘dumbed down’ for ‘any’ show, Whedon or otherwise.

noob February 24, 2009 at 11:36 am

Seems pretty clear to me that Alpha is trying to free Echo because he sees her as having a capacity for accessing multiple imprints (like he does, but hopefully she won’t go crazy like he did). We have seen a couple of glimpses already that the imprinting doesn’t go all the way down with Echo (as it apparently does with the others). This would also explain why Alpha hired Richard– he is trying to force her to be free. Also explains the poison water meant to induce hallucinations and access to her other characters. (Hmm.. now that I think about it, I wonder if Richard was himself an active created by Alpha– he seems to perfect for his task to have been simply found). I’m not sure yet whether there is a glitch in the wiping that eventually turns all of them insane. Surely it is significant that Alpha (being the first call sign) must have been the first active. Is this all of their eventual fates? Wasn’t there a line in the first episode– “the problem with erasing a blackboard is that you can always see what was there.” perhaps, residual build up makes them go insane.

I also believe that lasagna girl is an active. Immediately after Madame Dollhouse tells her assistant that Agent Ballard is “being handled” they flash to the lasagna scene. Its sort of hilarious that he is looking everywhere for DH and it is right under his nose.

Finally, dollhouse is not quite so morally cut and dry to me as it is to Shar. My understanding is that the actives are paid. They are in some serious trouble -DH scoops them up and offers them an alternative for 5 years as well as payment. This is different from slavery. I think it is still wrong, but I think why it is wrong is interesting, and will be explored by the show, which i, for one, intend to keep watching.

Roco February 24, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Seems pretty clear to me that Alpha is trying to free Echo because he sees her as having a capacity for accessing multiple imprints (like he does, but hopefully she won’t go crazy like he did).

In this instance, Alpha seems like s/he had full-blown awareness. It will be interesting to see how this can happen. All the composite imprints in the world wouldn’t be any good unless there was a way to consciously control them.

Interesting possibilities.

Finally, dollhouse is not quite so morally cut and dry to me as it is to Shar. My understanding is that the actives are paid. They are in some serious trouble -DH scoops them up and offers them an alternative for 5 years as well as payment. This is different from slavery. I think it is still wrong, but I think why it is wrong is interesting, and will be explored by the show, which i, for one, intend to keep watching.

Interesting. I’m not sure it is too different from slavery though. The Dollhouse may be promising ‘reparations’ before inflicting abuse on the pre-wiped humans, but it’s still a form of slavery to me.

SF February 26, 2009 at 8:18 pm

God knows how much I love Eliza, but this second episode didn’t worth more than 5/10. I can admit it’s better than “Ghost” due to more actions, but that’s all…
To be honest, I didn’t read the positives points and only the bad ones (bad me), and guess what Roco ? You’re totally right. I like the way you compare and explain your feelings, point of view, about the scenes.
I’m agree with you on every points. This episode is a “bad remake” of Wrong Turn, all scene are easy to guess.. I told my girlfriend when we saw her drinking the canteen in the cabin scene “Bad idea, poison in it..” and I was right!
They’re so many incoherences that we spent the episode counting them (yeah, waste of time, but we had nothing more interesting to do last night.) and for us, Boyd is nothing more than a “watcher” brought back from btvs, with that kind of paternal side, protection and moral mind. Honestly, I hope it will improve soon, because Whedon is a great creator, maybe he did a wrong choice to hire Eliza as Echo.. (I can’t believe I think that).. Anyway, I know I’ll watch it again next week..

Roco February 28, 2009 at 4:01 pm

maybe he did a wrong choice to hire Eliza as Echo.. (I can’t believe I think that).. Anyway, I know I’ll watch it again next week.

Yeah, I would agree with that. The only problem is that she cast him, effectively. So she was always going to be in the main role.

It’s a difficult one – how do you bring to life such relevant concepts such as identity and consciousness when you don’t have the tools with which to create?

That said, Whedon has faith in her so we can only hope that she comes good.

Sarah January 10, 2010 at 2:02 am

You guys have been talking about Echo’s character being some expert woodswoman who suddenly went amuck and started acting clumsy and out of character – and, well first of all, you know it’s a TV show, right?

Second of all, I didn’t get the impression she was imprinted as an expert woodswoman. The only thing we her do with competence is white water raft (which lots of normal people do) and have sex (ditto). She didn’t know how to shoot a bow and arrow – the guy taught her that. I think she was imprinted to be just an athletic, adventurous girl who have some skill in the outdoor.

Now someone turns the bow and arrow on her and you expect her to be – what – female Rambo? Roco, the fact that you’ve designed a whole website around a TV show leads me to believe that your expectations of what a real person would and would not do in the face of death is a bit skewed. And I agree with the guy above who said that only someone watching a TV show would be suspicious of a random canteen of water in a cabin the forest. Someone in real life running around, fearing for their life, and thirty would not suspect a random water bottle. In real life, it *wouldn’t* have been poisoned. Walking into a dark room in real life also won’t get you killed, but in a horror movie it will. That’s why it’s a horror movie; and the water was poisoned because this is a TV show. Kudos to Joss for giving his characters some halfway realistic reactions to what are necessarily absurd situations.

Previous post:

Next post:

Flash Forward TV Series - Fringe Fox - Fringe Fox - TV Show Blog - Serialized TV Forums