Friday, May 8, 2009

Super-Powered TV: Dollhouse 1.10 Haunted and 1.11 Briar Rose

We have a Dollhouse two-fer as I skip back to cover Haunted followed by last week’s Briar Rose! Then I will be back within the next day with a look at Omega!

Echo wakes up in the body of an older woman named Margaret, who decided to use a doll to finish off the issues of her estate. But her main goal is to solve her own murder. Definitely a unique use of a doll.

Topher has a special project that apparently involves turning Sierra in to his ultimate game playing buddy. Really?

Ballard tries his best to have a romantic dinner with Mellie despite his knowledge of her dual identity. And wants to run a DNA test apparently. Woops, no just prints. They looked in to various aliases of November, only to have the files disappear instantly.

Son tries to make out with “mother” which ends in dry heaves. They are playing this one for all they can.

Margaret-Echo-Julia works her way through the list of suspects, but she cannot quite grasp any potential murderers.

Wild, crazy sex between Ballard and Mellie. I was hoping we might get out of this holding pattern.

Someone is stalking Echo-Margaret in the dark stall. It’s her son Nicholas, who recognizes her as Margaret. He knows about the Dollhouse, but only the New York branch.

The husband finds out his new horse was juiced and gets angry as mother and son watch on. The son helps Margaret escape, and the husband chases them down. Nicky gets her to write a note about how her husband murdered her, but she begins suspicious as she writes the note. Nicky pulls out the drugs and plots to poison her again.

The two men fight, and Jack laments the loss of his wife as he bleeds out in the bed.

She writes a different, posthumous will for the rest of the family.

An interesting episode, although it seems a little late in the season to really be useful to the ongoing storyline. It feels like a holding pattern episode yet again, in a show that I feel has had a few too many of them.

Briar Rose opens with a living body in a trash bin and a disturbed young lady listening to a story. Which is apparently why we are here.

Okay, so we are imprinting the future best possible scenario of the kid on Echo and using her to help the child as a test.

Mellie is suicidally despondent before her handler retrieves her. And Ballard follows her right straight to the Dollhouse. That was easy, wasn’t it?

They bring Victor back with Dominic’s imprint and he freaks out. (Victor does an amazing Dominic impersonation by the way.) But why wouldn’t they tweak Dominic’s brain just a bit like they do with other imprints?

Ballard goes to meet Stephen Keppler, the environmental expert that helped design the Dollhouse (who is played by Alan (Wash) Tudyk of Firefly). He is a crazed environmentalist with a lot of pot in his apartment. Ballard forces him to take him out and open the Dollhouse.

Dominic admits the drive isn’t from the NSA, but from Alpha. Someone killed a person near the Tuscon dollhouse, but it may or may not be Alpha’s work.

Ballard and Keppler are doing a bad comedy act with their break-in at the Dollhouse. Obviously there is more to Keppler tahn we are letting on. They find themselves in the same space where Sierra was raped by her handler.

Nice cut to Susan, the kid, as we show how Ballard is Briar Rose’s Sleeping Beauty.

Sierra is a forensics expert sent to investigate the slashed body.

They sneak in to the Dollhouse and Ballard immediately tases Topher and heads in to his lab. Topher’s computer is too secure to access however. Keppler is strangely more interested in investigating now, all though still a paranoid. Ballard sees Victor and realizes Lubov was a fiction as well.

Keppler starts opening security to release dolls while Ballard checks them one by one. After a brief glance of November and his decision to leave her behind, he finds Echo.

But Boyd stops him with a gun to his head. Boyd and Ballard fight, breaking through Victor’s bed. Echo flashes back to their preivious fight and turns on Ballard. Boyd and Ballard start fighting again. Keppler systematically removes all security as the two men fight.

The doctor takes Victor back to her lab and Keppler appears to slash up his face. Because, of course, Keppler is Alpha. Saw that one coming a mile away. He plays mindgames with the doctor as Boyd takes Ballard to see DeWitt. They discuss Boyd’s fate, while Alpha has the doctor call to Echo.

And Keppler was a vic in Tucson, replaced by Alpha. Alpha imprints Echo as the episode ends and we play up the Sleeping Beauty aspects again as they leave.

Not exactly the way I thought we would get to Alpha, but beautifully put together episode by Joss Whedon and Jane Espenson. My Buffy fandon (and I am sure a lot of Buffy fans got it as well) makes me immediately suspicious of simple plots, as does the fact that Tudyk was a Firefly star. But even though Alpha was no surprise to me, this will still a spot on episode. This is exactly what the show has built to, and it is carried out perfectly here. On to “Omega” shortly!

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