Renée (rogueslayer452) wrote,

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Dollhouse: "Stage Fright" Episode Review + Meta

Dollhouse 1.03 "Stage Fright"

A pop singer, Rayna, is being targeted by an obsessive fan who wants to kill her, and Echo's engagement is to become her bodyguard undercover, along with Sierra whose assignment as backup and a distraction in case something goes awry. Echo becomes a backup singer in the tour, a fierce one at that, who also specializes in kicking people's asses like a superhuman would. But it turns out that Rayna wants to be killed and that it's her only way out of that lifestyle, and things flip upside down as Echo tries to protect her despite her resistance, and Sierra gets kidnapped by the crazed obsessed fan, and to solve the entire situation she turns the tables and kidnaps the singer in exchange for Sierra, and plays into everyone's weaknesses, thus saving the day.

Some of the administrators at the Dollhouse feel that Echo is becoming a threat because she is going outside of her programmed protocol, however the director believes she's doing just what she was imprinted to do, just improvising and finding a different route. She may be off the hook but she's still underneath heavy surveillance, by those guys in particular.

Meanwhile, Paul gets a fake lead from a contact concerning the Dollhouse, which only leads him going to the hospital. His so-called contact happens to be a male Active from the Dollhouse itself, keeping Paul in check of not coming too close to their organization.

The Living Fantasy: Two Worlds Underneath A Lie

One of the things I liked is how Echo and Rayna aren't that different from each other, that they were both given opportunities to live a dream, however were both taken from their own life and were shaped and molded to becoming the Most Perfect Ideal Female Ever; that they have no control over their own life, it's the people they are contracted under that are controlling what they do, how they do it, and they have absolutely no say whatsoever. Also considering how Echo was assigned to protect her, the irony is clear based off of that alone.

Sad thing is, this is a great representation of how celebrities are treated in the spotlight of their careers, specifically pop singers. Most people will become cynical and cringe because of the painfulness of having more blatant half-naked women on the show, which I will get into more during my meta of the actual show in a later post, but I digress because it's more about how our society and culture has accepted the exploitation of celebrities and treating them like objects; materializing them and making them the object of everyone's fantasy, the subjected to the worst kind of hatred without really knowing what's going on behind doors, a.k.a. their real personalities and not the facade they place before the cameras. Take a look at the media, we judge purely on either looks or talent, brains or beauty, and what the paparazzi try to construde as true or false by just clicking the button of a camera. Our pop diva's attitude is more or less how some young singers have started to become -- feeling like they have nothing outside of what they are percieved as to the world, hence why some act out the way they do. In this episode, she wanted to die, figuring that was the only way out from a prestegious lifestyle.

Yes, Rayna acted like a diva and kind of heartless and not really caring about things, but she wanted to believe that this is what her job entailed. She couldn't do things she wanted because of her contract, of her boss, her manager, everything. Like she said, "the show must go on" and whether she wanted it to or not, that is the motto she has lived by for Lord knows how long. Like Echo, it has been imprinted into her and there is no way around it.

Echo's story is very similar, the only difference is that she's portraying different people without any memory of it afterwards. She has absolutely no personality of her own besides the basic human instincts and behavioral mannerisms to function properly, and is doing this from her programmers will to be whomever they choose her to be for whatever engagement. She cannot fight back, she has no power to, therefore there is nothing she can do to take back control of the life they stole from her. She and Rayna are similar in that regard, however it seems that Rayna can change her life and, while there is no indication she may do so, it's clear she has that option whereas Echo does not.

It also makes things interesting because of Echo's present difference from the other Actives, which leaves me to speculating more about her and Alpha....

Alpha and Omega: Alpha's Real Purpose and Echo's Special Destiny

More indications and mysteries surrounding the mysterious Alpha and his connection and fixation of Echo, who is the only Active he did not slaughter during his outbreak within the Dollhouse months before. It's clear that he is targeting her for a reason, and while it's not entirely clear what his motives are quite yet, I have some speculations about that and with Echo's development and "waking up" period.

My main belief is that Alpha is testing Echo. He is seeing if there is something truly special about her that even during her imprinted personalities and assignments that she can go for "outside the box" thinking to try and figure out the situation in another way that isn't programmed for her, which is something he did and what the other Actives could not do, and perhaps he remembered her from living inside the Dollhouse with him and that he had some sort of connection with her (much like how Echo and Sierra have a bonding despite their blank slate state) and sees the potential of waking up like he did. He is testing and challenging her reactive skills, which I tend to believe that there is something inside of the real Caroline underneath all what the Dollhouse has been doing to her, imprinting and erasing repeatedly, that is slowly emerging. We've seen this already that she can remember even in a drugged-induced state. She also remembers things, senses them through the imprints. She has no explanations for why, but her instincts tell her something is either wrong or she remembers certain people that she was not programmed to remember during a task (i.e. knowing Boyd during "The Target", knowing that she must save Sierra).

Echo has something special within her, something that the Dollhouse are either aware of and are waiting for it to explode, or they are unaware of and sans one of the administrators seem to think this is good for one of their Actives to do something outside of the box. The fact that Echo has this slow build in regaining some other methods in her engagements means that she's either going to be a really effective Active, or a very dangerous one to become another serious threat, much like Alpha. And perhaps Alpha sees the potential in both, and she can become the only lethal weapon amongst the others to finally see the truth behind the mask and facade they're all living in.

But this leads to the question about why is Alpha leading Paul step by step towards Echo and the Dollhouse? What could all this mean? Does he want this detective to find Echo so that once she regains her memories of what's been done to her that his investigation can be taking down the organization once and for all? Will Alpha be using him and Echo as his way of getting back at them for what happened to him, and what's happening to the others? There are so many questions here and I am further intrigued each episode it continues.

Memorable Moments from the Episode:

++ I am still in love with the theme song. Some people like it, others aren't feeling it, but I think it's a very etheral kind of theme that goes great with the perception of what the Dollhouse is trying to show all those that come to them. A sense of forgetting the world, forgetting reality, having the perfect whatever in your life if only for a show period of time. Plus the music box notes in the end? SO MUCH LOVE!

++ Tahmoh continues to be pretty, as always. It's funny I see him here and then I see him in BSG. HOLY TAHMOH NIGHT FRIDAYS ARE! :D

++ Dayum, is that Eliza singing? Girl has got vocals, yo.

++ I really liked the persona Echo had this episode. It seemed a mixture of Tru and Faith, really, just the way she carried herself and how she was utterly badass at the same time. Also, totally shallow here, but her hair was frakking amazing. As were her outfits -- I have this weakness for outfits and this show seems to be like that. I know, I know, there's the message behind it and all, but Eliza can do no wrong with wearing some of the things she does. Just saying. ;)

++ Like I mentioned above about the irony concerning Rayna and Echo, that entire scene with their two bosses meeting inside the main director's office of the Dollhouse, clearly old friends, was very telling and kind of disturbing. They control these girls and one side is asking for one to protect the other. It's scary really, knowing that you are controlled in such a way without knowing it, without seeing what's underneath and how disturbing it truly is.

++ Poor Paul. Getting himself in dangerous situations, which chasing the secrecy of the Dollhouse will have such consequences. But dudes, srsly, HIS CONTACT WAS AN ACTIVE! WHY IS NOBODY TALKING ABOUT THIS?!?! MALE DOLL - MALE DOLL!

++ Diva singers, typical but if you look into the hows and whys it makes sense why they would be like that. Rayna is no different, and sometimes having breakdowns like that happen. Hers happened to be more serious than like a Mariah Carey or Britney Spears kind of meltdown, she literally wanted to end her life and didn't care.

++ "You can fire me but, bitch, don't think you can take me!" TELL HER GIRLIE! That's my favorite line of the episode, really.

++ Eliza was fierce in this episode overall. I mean, she was fierce in the last episode too, but this time she had the attitude of Faith with this "bitch, wanna bitchfight, ai'ight let's go!" kind of thing, and I liked that. I felt it, and I liked it.

++ Sierra was too adorable in this episode! With those glasses and that accent and just, omglove! I also really adore her and Echo's friendship during their blank slates, it's obvious that despite having no personality of minds of their own there is no doubt a bonding between the dolls during their stay. They can't not have that kind of human interaction, and it's interesting that even with the imprinting and wiping of memories they still remember each other afterwards.

++ Because I am a dancer, I was enthralled with the dancing in this episode. But I wouldn't want someone like Rayna bitching at me about not getting the moves right to the beat and shit (again, srsly, too many diva dance instructors lead to stress, and I'm tired of stress like that lol). At first I thought Echo was going to step in and do the moves just right that Rayna would be like "SEE?! THAT'S HOW YOU DO IT!!" But alas, nothing like that. But Eliza has vocals, and that's good. Also, I'm a sucker for pop songs like those, so yeah.

++ Mentionings of "the Attic" within the Dollhouse. omg plz tell me I'm not the only one that thought of Flowers in the Attic? Just me being crazy? Okay then Makes me wonder if Alpha had been sent there, or if that is some sort of prison for misbehaving Actives that need more "repairments" or excessive attention to their "treatments" before they can return back into the field amongst the other Actives. I mean, you can't just mention that without it being significant later on in the series.


Overall: It seems that with each passing episode it keeps getting better and better. I just wish others would see it that way instead of bitching and moaning about how they can't see the significance of what it's trying to achieve and all the negativity I'm seeing from others, but I digress. That'll be for another time, a.k.a. my meta regarding the show in general and the recpetion it's getting which will be very soon (I has a busy life too, y'know). But yes, this episode I really enjoyed. Adding more mystery regarding Echo and Alpha, the connections and similarities between the two and what would happen if Echo turns out to become another Alpha? What will happen then? I am caring about these character, I want Echo to start remembering more, I want Paul to succeed in finding Echo and proving that the Dollhouse exists, I want to know more about Alpha and all these mysteries tying altogether.

And if FOX pulls the plug too early I will seriously cut a bitch.

I've decided to do regular episode reviews for Dollhouse, since this is the kind of show that requires weekly observations and meta because of its content and material for deep-thinking, whether others believe so or not. I'm just really loving this show and it's improving with each episode, and I think that's great even if ratings aren't agreeing with that (c'mon y'all, start watching!) Nevertheless, hello new fandom!

I also watching TSCC and I also enjoyed it, as well. Very trippy and kept me guessing, through me through loops in not knowing what was real and what wasn't, and the return of Sarah VOs, yay! A great way to look into her psyche as well.
Tags: meta: dollhouse, show reviews: dollhouse
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