Mini Review: 2.07 Meet Jane Doe

by admin on January 28, 2010 · 2 comments

2.07 Meet Jane Doe Mini Review

As regular readers will know, I’m attempting to catch up with the episodes of Dollhouse that I have missed, or not yet reviewed, by posting mini reviews before the series finale, bumped to Jan 29 (where I plan to post a full review, thus bringing closure to my WD journey). Below the jump I post my honest thoughts on the episode 2.07, “Meet Jane Doe”.

THE GOOD

  • Finally the stakes are raised as we find out the big reveal that might just make me care. Rossum want to imprint humanity, effectively enslaving the world – no chair, no choice, just streamlined mind-wipes. Damn that’s evil! This not only builds upon previous technologies and concepts seen in the show (remote wipes, disruptor, etc), but shows it through a wider lens. I may not care about Echo and pals, but humanity – now that’s another story. I was very thankful for those last 5 or so minutes, they pretty much saved the episode for me.
  • I like the idea of Echo’s past imprints having a mind of their own – it makes them feel very sentient – as they acted not so much on command, but on impulse. These ‘best fit personality options’ really do take Echo to another level, and the concept is rooted in the way humans are able to use different aspects of our character to fulfill a need or desire. It begs the question: are they are on some level helping themselves, or helping Echo? Perhaps it’s both, perhaps her 36(?) imprints need to pull in different directions to help some of them survive. Maybe this isn’t so much about Echo or Caroline, but whoever survives? Which is pretty trippy, but then, this is Dollhouse.
  • I was so pleased that Echo raised the idea of Caroline not necessarily being a very nice person. It’s something I remember talking about back in season 1, when we saw the flashback of Caroline signing her Dollhouse contract. Depending on how they play it, this could help me like Echo a bit more.
  • Topher. He’s developed into a fantastic and genuinely funny character, with a shred of humanity (unlike DeWitt). 🙂 He needs better hiding places though.

THE BAD

  • I thought the A-story with Echo, Galena and Ballard was pretty ridiculous to say the least. I get that Echo blamed herself for Galena’s incarceration and that breaking her out of jail into the earlier ‘wish fulfilment’ concept, but having Echo and Ballard use the situation as practise for taking down the Dollhouse? I find that absurd and contrived. The story lacked organic structure – it was more a case of having two strings, tying them together and having the string falling apart. I would also like to know how Ballard found Echo in the first place – did they even address that?
  • I thought some of the story elements where a bit too disparate. I didn’t mind the idea of jumping ahead 3 months, but it seemed like a bit of a cop-out. My level of intrigue didn’t really pick up again until the final 5 or so minutes.
  • Echo and Boyd as a romantic couple. Sorry, not liking that at all. I appreciate the need to give both characters a softer edge but bringing them together wasn’t the way to go about in, in my opinion. Ballard is bad enough on his own. I’m not saying that it was a complete waste of time, as we did get some nice moments (the two-handed drawing was pretty neat), but it just felt too convenient, and we spent way too long in their apartment watching them shadow dance.

Other Comments

  • It’s a real shame Victor and Sierra aren’t used more often. I feel they are wasted at the moment.
  • Topher is right about Adelle. She had the chance to redeem herself slightly, but failed to take it when she handed over Topher’s secrets. Unless there’s a MAJOR turn of character I can’t see myself ever warming to her. I guess some characters are just made to be despised. But it’s a shame they haven’t given her more depth and ambiguity – that’s something this show could use more of..ambiguity.
  • Although Adelle’s heart is made of ice, Topher also has to have a hard look at himself in the mirror because she was right about one thing – he was curious enough to design the plans for the Mega Mind Wipe thingy in the first place. That doesn’t make him bad per se, but it stains his conscience if Rossum put the tech into action.
  • Did that county jail only have 4 guards or something? Don’t they have bosses who would demand that they look for an escaped prisoner?
  • Can we get Bennet back please, or at least have Ballard magically find Whiskey?

Best Character: Topher

Episode Rating: 6.5/10

Phoenix January 28, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I would have commented on the earlier episode, but I figured I’d just jump ahead to this one. I was actually fairly surprised that you didn’t like the Victor-Topher thing; but then, Topher is annoying enough when it’s just Fran Kranz. Mainly I think I enjoyed it so much because Enver Gjokaj is an eerily accurate mimic — I know it’s been awhile, but do you remember when he did that spot-on Reed Diamond/Laurence Dominic impersonation in the first season? Creepy!

To address the points you brought up this review:

1) Echo and Ballard weren’t using busting her out as a warmup for taking down the Dollhouse, they were using it as a warmup to see if Echo could control her imprints and call them up at will in order to turn her into a self-directed weapon. Breaking Galena out (and props for remembering her name, because I didn’t) was just the most convenient way they could grab to do that.

2) During the three months she was absent before “Meet Jane Doe,” when Echo was just starting to recover her memories, she remembered Paul and called him. He did mention that in passing, but it was just a bit of exposition that was hard to spot.

3) I was confused about the time-jump too.

4) I bought two things about the Echo/Ballard moments: first, there are some of us who like Ballard, second, because it’s a bit of expository way to show us that Echo has completely “woken up” and is her own person, and fourth, it’s supposed to showcase that Ballard is one of the good guys because he’s given up on his creepy fantasies about Echo/Caroline from season one and is being forced to see Echo as her own person. His decision to *not* act on both of their feelings was a bit of a turning point for him. He was a bit of a creeper on that point in the first season, I’ll give him that.

5) I love the questions that Echo raises about Caroline, of course (wait till “Getting Closer,” trust me), but the great moment of this show was when Ballard told her that she should call herself Caroline and she smacked him down: “I’m NOT Caroline. I’m ECHO.” That was a pretty liberating power grab for her, and it was nice to watch.

6) Adelle DeWitt is the sort of evil that hates itself as much as anything else, which is interesting to watch. The moment where she leaves her dignity behind and stumbles into the dolls’ showers was like watching a train wreck — I couldn’t look away. Olivia Williams is a kick-ass actress.

7) You actually will find out why they can’t find Whiskey in “Getting Closer,” when she makes her reappearance. Also, Bennett Halverson will continue to appear in the second season (for the win!).

I’m glad that you are starting to like Rossum a bit more. There’s a bit more going on there than meets the eye, really. Also, did you catch that Rossum is named after that creeptastic eastern play “Rossum’s Universal Robots”? Heh.

Roco January 29, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Ah, so much of the first season is a blur to me right now – but I vaguely recall Gjokaj’s Dominic impersonation. I can’t remember if I thought it was good or bad though!

1) I see your point Phoenix. I just think the ‘convenience’ of the prison-break was part of the problem. But thanks for giving me some extra context. I still find it bad, but not quite as bad. 😉

2) Fair enough – I must have missed that. I do find it a bit convenient that she just happened to remember his or the DH’s number though.

4) I’ll give him that – he refused to act on those instincts. I wish I saw him through your eyes. I just can’t see him as a ‘good guy’ at this point.

7) Cool, looking forward to it!

Thanks for your thoughts – always interesting and insightful!

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