Saturday, March 28, 2009

Have you seen my drawer of inappropriate starches?

Everyone's inappropriate drawers get opened in this week's episode of Dollhouse, Echoes. Wow, that's a metaphor you won't see too many other places.

Many, many, many spoilers. Shoo. Go and get the ep on iTunes if you haven't seen it.

This was another episode that was actually good. Damn good. (I've seen reaction that suggests some liked it better than last week's. Me, I prefer episodes that have kung fu kitchen fighting, but your mileage may vary.) It had everything I want – a mixture of use of the dolls, behind the scenes stuff at the Dollhouse, science fiction stuff, drugs, comedy. 

So our plot starts with a college kid hallucinating in a lab. When his friends come in and try to help him, they get the giggles. He smashes his head against a plate glass window until he's dead. Okay, show, you've got my attention.

We also learn a little more about Caroline becoming Echo. DeWitt had apparently pursued her for about two years before she finally pinned her down and convinced her to sign a five-year deal to become a doll.

From there, we segue into a plot about a stolen memory drug – clearly the drug that killed Kid A in our opening sequence – nabbed from the Rossum corporation. Ah, I believe we have a nerdkenning there. Topher says the dolls will be immune to its effects because of the way their memory has been blocked. So a big old herd of dolls is sent out, (as with flock of birds and pod of whales, may I suggest an amnesia of dolls?) with Victor in charge as an "NSA" agent, Sierra as a "CDC doctor," and Dominic as their surly minder. They'll check out the university campus where Rossum's lab is located, where the drug is apparently spreading among the student population.

Is Echo with them? Why no, she's off for a date/prostitution engagement with the young millionaire from way back in episode one. As Alice, she is a very innocent young thing, who likes wearing six inch heels and thigh-high lace stockings. Thanks for driving home the skeeviness of the whole operation there, guys. Of course, she's just tied her client to the bed when she catches a news report about the mess over at the university. She suddenly has to go. She's remembering...

And that's where the whole thing comes together. Boyd trails Echo to the campus, where he quickly becomes infected with the hallucinogen. It's spreading by touch, which we soon learn as Topher and DeWitt both also become infected. And it does affect dolls, it just does so in a different way, giving them flashbacks, memory glitches to either their previous lives as false personalities, or to their real lives. Echo remembers Caroline, and remembers her boyfriend being shot by Rossum guards. Sierra remembers being raped. November remembers being Mellie, and almost remembers being a killer assassin while she's three feet from DeWitt. Victor remembers being a soldier somewhere in the Middle East.

Everything gets tied up, more or less, with just a few loose ends flying around regarding the dolls and the imperfect nature of their brainwipes.

One of the most important developments of this episode is that the drug affects dolls and regular humans differently. So we now know (say to 90 per cent certainty) that Boyd, Dominic, DeWitt and Topher are not dolls. Because they were just hilariously tripping.

We're also getting more about the links between the Dollhouse and outside organizations. Rossum is supposed to be the biggest pharmaceutical firm in the world. But after meeting its CEO, DeWitt remarks off-handedly to Topher that it's CEO is more or less the runner up for her job. Rossum is a junior partner of the Dollhouse, and apparently one of their research divisions.

So that's two pretty damn good episodes, five that are a bit shaky. The average is improving.


Amanda said...

I could be mistaken, and I'm not going to go back and watch to make sure, but I think that DeWitt's remark about the Rossum CEO was meant to imply that the only reason he was above her (not below) was because her job was too hard for him, as underlings' jobs often are. It's like not getting promoted because you're too good at your job.

Ouranosaurus said...

Hmmm... You could be right. I'm not sure if it's a straight underling/boss relationship, so much as that Rossum and the Dollhouse are the public and private sides of the same organization. So it's possible that normally neither would be in the other one's chain of command, but when Rossum's in trouble, the Dollhouse rushes to help. I suppose if the show isn't cancelled, we'll find out more.