- Joss Wheadon's New Show on FOX, Dollhouse
Two Words: Joss Wheadon. Those two words alone were enough to glue the true Wheadonites to their boob tubes on February 13th for the premiere of Dollhouse. Another two words, Eliza Dushku, were enough to glue any pre- and post- pubescent male, along with the promise of a house full of hotties that can be programmed to be anything you want them to be, completed the coterie.
I had heard rumors from fellow Wheadonites that the pilot, Ghost, was blah. I found that hard to believe since Joss Wheadon is another creative genius whose hit shows includes Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel, along with short-lived, Firefly, could write something that was less than genius but I had to agree. It was blah. It introduced Dushku's character of Echo, a girl with no choice but to allow The Dollhouse to wipe her brain of anything that is inherently a semblance of self and upload new personas again and again and again, leaving behind an empty shell. By the end of the pilot, I was confused to the whole premise of the show's concept but being a brain child of Joss Wheadon I just had to give it a chance; plus the pilot had enough mystery that left you curious to see where's it going to go and watching episodes one and two together, thanks to the wonderful DV-R, helped break down the confusion.
Episode two, The Target (aired February 20th), was freaking cool. A rich and good-looking guy hires the Dollhouse to provide a woman who can spend the day with him doing extreme sports. Okay? You'd think he wouldn't have any problem finding someone to spend the day with but he says that he doesn't want someone phony. Again, okay? But we follow along, curious if his intentions are honorable. They aren't. After a rousing day of outdoorsmanship at its best and sex, Echo finds herself the target of a sick game of cat and mouse. Now, the basic premise of the show is that after each persona imprint, any aspect of that persona is wiped clean after a job, so Echo is left to fight for her life with just the basic adventurer imprint criteria. However, she is able to somehow access past imprint information and fight her way out of the situation, ultimately saving herself and her handler. Also, revealed in flashbacks, an active called Alpha went psycho and killed almost everyone, except Echo, before escaping the Dollhouse. We discover that Alpha was behind Echo being hunted by the outdoorsman. So, what the frig is going on?
- Eliza Dushku as Echo in Episode 1.2 The Target
Episode three, Stage Fright (aired February 27th), kicked psychological butt. And we discover that Eliza Dushku has a pretty good singing voice. Echo is imprinted with the personality to be close to and protect a pop singer, not as a bodyguard but as a backup singer. Echo soon finds out that the stalker sending threats to the pop singer is actually in cahoots with the singer to end her life. Again, Echo goes off protocol but the headmistress that runs the Dollhouse laughs it off as nothing.
Episode four, Gray Hour (aired March 6th), was good for the underlying storyline that has to do with the mystery behind Alpha and what he wants with Echo. Somehow, Alpha was able to remotely wipe Echo of her imprint while she was on the job. We still don't know who Alpha is or why he seems determined to bring down Echo and the Dollhouse with her but all we do know is that Alpha is one scary dude.
Episode five, True Believer (aired March 13th), Echo goes undercover in a cult but in order to infiltrate this heavily guarded and secluded sect, she is imprinted with the personality of a woman who truly believes in the power of the cult's leader and they are able to accept her because she is also blind. But looks can be deceiving.
Battlestar Galactica fans will be happy to know that Tahmoh Penikett plays FBI agent Paul Ballard who investigates the existence of the Dollhouse and is ridiculed by his fellow agents. Jokes about a candy house in the woods a la Hansel and Gretel are bandied about and is a bit cheesy but still funny. He is also a pawn in Alpha's sick game; he just doesn't know it yet. The Dollhouse headmistress also is pulling Agent Ballard's strings, trying to throw him off the case and he is unaware of this activity as well.
What is the Dollhouse? Well, that is the $24 million dollar question and we'll be closer to an answer after episode six, Man on the Street, airs on March 20th on FOX at 9 PM.