1.06 “Man On The Street”

by admin on March 20, 2009

1.06 Dollhouse "Man on the Street"

So here we are, episode 1.06 of Dollhouse — “Man on The Street”the big one, the game changer, the redeemer, the saviour. Just a few of the phrases that have been bandied about by those who are yet to see the episode. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t get caught up in all of the hype over this episode. The show has yet to earn my trust, so I kick hearsay out to the street. I can understand that fans of Whedon and his works, want so badly for this episode to be “awesum”, but anyone would think he had nothing to do with the quite terrible “Target” or “Stage Fright”. I guess I need to see the episode before I can start raving about it. Maybe I too want for this episode to be the one that hooks me in. But most likely it’s asking too much from a show that has struggled to raise itself above the ‘average’ mark.

That said, I go into this episode with interest and without pre-conceptions (well, as much as such a thing is possible). One of the odd things about my relationship with this show is that I actually do find the underlying themes extremely interesting, despite not enjoying the vehicles that they use to hammer them home. So, I’d like to see more of a slow-burning awakening from Echo and the dolls (heh, “Echo and the dolls” sounds like a bad pop group). It’s one of the many areas that I think the show is lacking — Echo’s “evolution” has happened far too quickly for my liking. I feel as though I’ve learned the entire range of her inner and outer-self. I don’t think that she can surprise me; she may be ‘able to be anyone’, but I know what I’m going to get when it comes to this chick. Maybe I’m wrong, perhaps there’s more to Echo than meets the eye, but so far I feel as though her progression has not been handled with the care that the ‘identity theme’ needs. There was so much wrong with her comment at the end of last week’s episode; immediately after a mind-wipe, she gets up and makes sure that the audience knows that she remembers Dominic from earlier that day. It felt hurried and forced, her response was so unnatural and slightly toe-curling — compare that to the rather gorgeous ending to“Gray Hour”, where several metaphors were used to depict Echo’s burgeoning awareness, without the character even having to say a single word. I know that not every moment of awareness can be shown with the same grace that a montage affords, but the portrayal of Echo vengefully ‘remembering’ Dominic Laurence made me want to turn my computer off — thankfully the episode had ended at that point.

I really hope that we get to see more of Langton. If this is to be my last Dollhouse episode, then I want to see the guy who got me through those first two episodes have an important part to play, rather than just being there because he’s Echo’s handler. I want him to be involved because he has a story worth telling — one that can be serviced in conjunction with Echo’s journey, not in spite of it. For me, Langton has been the heartbeat of the show so far — he’s shown compassion, where others have shown ‘company values’. He’s seen potential, where others have seen power. He’s believed in Echo, whilst others have believed in their science. But despite all of that, Langton is working for the Dollhouse. What does that say about him, if he willingly works for a company who sell  unwitting human-beings to the highest bidders? How does he feel knowing that these people (including his own Echo) have no conscious decision in the things that people do to them? Whether he likes it or not, he’s involved in human trafficking, and a lot of other illegal acts. What happened to him to make him so hardened to the reality that he helps perpetuate on a daily basis? God bless him for being so invested in Echo, but it only takes one good man to turn a blind eye to allow evil to prosper. I guess he is a representation of the general face of humanity — we all like to think that we’re “good”, that we are “moral”, but when it boils down to it, how far would we go to fight every evil in the world? Do we lose ourselves, turn a blind eye to selective wrongs?..do we become part of the problem, or is saving just one life enough to redeem us? I think it’s enough, but I wouldn’t expect redemption.

As for Topher, pound for pound he’s been the best character on the show, in my opinion. He’s like a young, but naive “Wizard of Oz” — he doesn’t value human life, he doesn’t seek to mentor, he doesn’t care..he just wants to see how far he can push the boundaries. He’s corrupted by science and his own ego, and this makes him incredibly interesting, because when the imprint hits the fan (and you know it will, again and again), the cracks in his armour will be there for all to see. But at the same time, there’s also room for growth there — maybe part of his journey will be to realise that the ‘human experience’ — be it joy, pain, happiness, sadness, the whole range — needs to be real in order for the soul to grow. But I sense that this will only come if he learns to love someone else for who they truly are. Or maybe he will be vindicated — perhaps experiencing everything and remembering nothing is merely a justifiable metaphor of this short journey called life? Maybe through his amorality the ‘volunteer’ dolls (assuming they are all volunteers) will have led better, more fulfilling lives? Perhaps freewill is an illusion anyway?  I personally do not think that is the case, but there’s a theme there worth exploring.

As for the rest of them, I can’t say that I really care. Claire’s OK, I’d like to see more of her in this episode. I have a feeling that she’s feelin’ Langton — there were definitely some vibes going on between them in an episode who’s title I fail to remember. Sierra’s very watchable, and she’s definitely my favourite Active. We need to see much more of her, that goes without saying really. Mellie’s cute, but she’s also a bit creepy which makes her insanely interesting to watch, if nothing else. I wouldn’t want her as my neighbour (the constant smell of lasagna would be a bit off-putting after a while), but hey,  if she wants to run my errands for me whilst I’m at work, then I’m game! 😀 That was actually quite cheeky of Ballard, asking her to fetch his meds when he has no relationship whatsoever with the woman. Speaking of Ballard, now would be a good time to do something worthwhile on the show. To be fair to him, at least he’s actually trying to stop corruption, and not just shaking his head and saying how bad things are whilst perpetuating the whole mess, Langton. Only kidding, still loving your work LB! 😉

Anyway, that’s a long enough preview for a show I probably wont blog about after this weekend. I hope it’s a good’un. I hope the creators haven’t shot themselves in the foot by pimpin’ this episode too much! I mean, it’s worked, it’s created a buzz, every popular media site and their grandma is doing the right thing by Whedon…but is it really any good? Like, for real, real?

We shall soon see..


Patton Oswalt (“The King of Queens,” “Ratatouille”) Guest-Stars

Echo becomes the perfect wife for a lonely internet mogul (guest star Oswalt), and Sierra’s attacker is revealed. Meanwhile, Mellie’s life is in danger and Agent Ballard’s investigation takes a surprising turn when he comes face-to-face and goes fist-to-fist with Echo for the first very time in the “Man on The Street” episode of DOLLHOUSE airing Friday, March 20 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (DOL-106) (TV-14 D, L, S, V)

Cast: Eliza Dushku as Echo; Tahmoh Penikett as Paul Ballard; Olivia Williams as Adelle DeWitt; Fran Kranz as Topher Brink; Harry Lennix as Boyd Langton; Enver Gjokaj as Lubov; Dichen Lachman as Sierra

Guest Cast: Amy Acker as Dr. Claire Saunders; Reed Diamond as Laurence Dominic; Miracle Laurie as Mellie; Kevin Kilner as Hearn; Liza Lapira as Ivy; Mark A. Sheppard as Tanaka; Aisha Hinds as Loomis; David Barry Gray as Bicks; Patrick Stinson as Brett Locano; Patton Oswalt as Joel Mynor


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