Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Super-Powered TV: Dollhouse 1.3: Stage Fright

We open with a pop concert where a backup dancer suddenly finds herself on fire. Bodyguards rush the singer offstage.

Sierra seems to come to the fore-front as they bump in to each other.

Victor tries to break in to Ballard’s house, but ends up meeting the neighbor across the hall (from last week).

Ms. DeWitt meets with the singer Raina Russell’s manager, who admits that the attack was pre-meditated, maybe by a stalker. So Echo becomes a back-up singer/dancer named Jordan in order to become Raina’s secret bodyguard.

Dr. Saunders and Topher argue over Echo’s new role, as Saunders has apparently recommended Echo only for low risk missions, but Sierra apparently will be coming along for the ride too.

Gratuitous, half-naked Dushku alert! Jordan ends up getting a ride with Raina, convenient for back-up singer programmed for defense.

Ballard and Victor have a heart to heart about whether or not the Dollhouse exists... a heart to heart that strengthens my sneaking suspicions that one of these two men may also be Alpha. Just throwing that out there.

But it is apparently not Victor... as we learn that he is in fact another doll. A doll designed to throw Ballard off the trail.

Sierra is a plant backstage as her #1 fan contestant, while someone is in the rafters ready to attack Raina. Stalker/killer guy is apparently at the after party as is Audra/Sierra.

Victor returns to give Ballard another tip, and Ballard goes after what is most likely a trap in a dingy basement. He fights off a pair of Russian mobsters only to be shot by another. But he fights his way out quite ably. (Remember he is an MMA fighter as well as an FBI agent.)

In a conversation backstage, Echo/Jordan learns that Rayna is suicidal. she wants the killer fan to kill her. She wants to be “free”

Audra joins Rayna on stage as Jordan warns Biz and security that the assassin is here. Jordan runs on to the stage when the security guard refuses to stop the show. She uses the spotlight to shine on the killer, but he gets off shots anyway.

Meanwhile, Ballard flatlines in the ambulance...

Rayna yells at Jordan backstage, and Rayna’s suicidal fantasies continue. She goes on about how she is not a real person, everyone’s fantasy... how convenient when said to a doll. (Little heavy handed, Mr. Whedon.)

Audra goes backstage and gets picked up by the psycho fan. Psycho sends Rayna a video threatening Audra. Biz realizes that Rayna set up the entire assassination. Crazy man makes Audra sing Rayna’s music.

Jordan confronts Rayna backstage. But Rayna refuses to help now, of course. Go, crazy lady, go! But Jordan goes a little crazy. She knocks Rayna out and sets up a meet between herself and the crazed fan in order to free Audra.

Topher and Lawrence argue about whether or not Echo is off task. It seems Echo’s programming makes her want to fulfill Rayna’s wishes, even if its suicide. But the situation makes Rayna realize she doesn’t want to die. Echo drops Rayna from the rafters, but only a few feet as she is tied to a cord. Echo beats down the fan and goes to retrieve Rayna from her tangle.

DeWitt and Lawrence argue over whether or not Echo was on task. But DeWitt sees the bigger picture: that Echo is able to think on her feet far better than other agents, a realization Boyd also notes. Dr. Saunders notes in turn that her ability might not be quite such a good thing.

Ballard receives a visit from his neighbor across the hall. And the show ends with a strange look between Sierra and Echo, answered by a shake of the head from Echo... a shake like she doesn’t want to draw the attention of Sierra’s handler.

So yeah, we got a new doll this episode. We have Ballard shot and in the hospital, and the first mention of something called “The Attic”. Oh, and I am calling it now: Alpha has two possible identities on this series: either Boyd or Ballard. Maybe I am horribly off base here, but let’s just wait and see.

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