Renée (rogueslayer452) wrote,
Renée
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Dollhouse: "A Spy in the House of Love" Episode Review + Meta

Dollhouse 1.09 "A Spy in the House of Love"

In this uniquely directed episode and clever title, it is discovered there's a mole within the Dollhouse. Sierra and Echo are both imprinted with spy-skills to uncover the mystery of the mole's identity, and there are multiple surprising and unexpected revelations that are revealed. It appears that Mr. Dominic was planted into the Dollhouse by the NSA and has been for the last three years; after being found out he was sentenced to the attic. It is revealed, to the viewers at least, that Victor's repeated engagement to Miss Lonely Hearts is actually DeWitt who has a softer, light-hearted side that we've never seen before. Echo proves to be more attentive and observant than anyone else realizes.

Meanwhile, November is back to being imprinted as Mellie and returns back to Paul, though her imprint was corrupted by whomever corrupted Echo's during their last encounter and gives him a starling message, pretty much shocking him of the entire situation.


Echo: The Potential Inside The Doll

As mesmerized as I was with this episode, I think what stood out for me was the beginning sequence with Echo's point of view. Everything from how the camera was following and focusing on her reactions to her surroundings and even making outside conversations seems muffled and private, as they we were seeing it all through Echo's eyes in a way. We were experiencing how she perceives everything around her. I thought that was an amazingly creative way to start this episode, which was creative and artsy in and of itself the entire hour.

This really tells us a lot more about what's going on inside Echo's head, even in her Doll state. Quite frankly most will look at the Dolls like mindless, brainless walking bodies with no minds of their own, and some treat them as such. But like children, they are very observant and see and listen even if they appear to be noticing or "not all there" so to speak. Echo provided us with an inside look to how she looks and sees situations. She might not know all the details of what's happening but she knows, instinctively, something is wrong. Most of the Dolls probably don't even register some of those things, but we know that Echo is different, special. She's been able to think outside the box numerous of times. She's able to assess the situation from a child's point of view. She knew something wasn't right, she wants to help fix it. There is no specifics needed. I found that very interesting.

Also, notice how she places the pieces together before deciding to help. First she observes people's body language, how they're acting and treating each other, the tension levels are high and she notices it. Then she sees the changes in her friends -- November not reacting to her waving, and then Sierra going into the chair as Sierra and then becoming someone else. Someone that wasn't the Sierra that Echo knew. So placing all that together, she knew something was wrong and because she knew of the "chair" which made people differently then how they were, she wanted to help whatever was wrong so people could be okay again.

This development in Echo is rather fascinating and I'm loving where it's going, particularly since Adelle seemed very impressed with how Echo managed that all by herself. She seems to hold a lot of affection for Echo in general, and I really want to know why that is.

It also seems that there's hints of Caroline inside of Echo still, or at least subconsciously. We know that Caroline is rather idealistic in how she wants to solve things, whereas Echo appears to be more pragmatic. If adding those two personalities together we'd have an interesting combination where Echo could truly become a potential threat to the Dollhouse if she ever find out their true intentions. This is something I am predicting will happen in the future once she, and the others, regain their own personalities and memories again; combining both her old memories with those she acquired from the Dollhouse, it could be potentially dangerous to have all that knowledge and being unleashed back into the world.

Either way, I can't wait to see what happens next.


The Dollhouse: Actions Have Consequences

That's the basic tagline, isn't it? Actions have consequences, nobody is free from sin. Even within the Dollhouse where fantasy becomes reality, sin still exists. Underneath the incredibly powerful organization of the Dollhouse, owned by the Rossum corporation which is possibly powered by something else higher up in the government food chain, there's that possibility that even the goodness of the business isn't always for that greater good belief. As it is repeated, nothing is what it appears to be. This episode gave us a reveal along with more questions concerning just that.

Dominic being revealed as the inside mole was quite unexpected, and I'm shocked with how they dealt with it, along with impressed. We get a little background information about him being in the NSA, about being a plant by them in wanting to shut down their entire organization, and we finally understand his hostility towards Echo. At least somewhat; he saw her as a threat, that by going off mission she could compromise his intentions for being there, and for a Doll to think outside that box would be dangerous for him. Also what he says the Adelle that she's naive of her beliefs towards the Dollhouse and their purpose, that he appears to know a bit more about that purpose; his message to Echo in the back of that van, it seemed omnious. Very omnious, that no matter what there is no escaping what's happening. It makes things much more interesting because we know that the Dollhouse is owned by a powerful corporation, and what their purpose is? We have yet to know that full truth yet.

I'm saddened about Dominic, but he's not dead. At least not yet. He's just been wiped and placed into the attic. We have yet to see this attic but I'm presuming it's not entirely pretty, from the descriptions mentioned in this episode. Also, non-Dolls can go to the attic, which makes me wonder what this place is and what it does to people so they are no longer a threat.


Adelle DeWitt and Paul Ballard: Everyone Has Needs, Everyone Has Secrets

Another startling reveal in the episode was that Victor's repeated engagement visits to Miss Lonely Hearts a.k.a. "Catherine", imprinted as Roger, is actually for DeWitt. That was also very shocking and unexpected.

What I liked about seeing this however is the twisted reality they're all living in and even the depressing thing about it. Yes, the Dollhouse is a business of using people and there is no justifications for that, whether it is taking advantage of a Doll during their innocent blank state or becoming a client and using your own Dolls to secretly have your own personal fantasy, it's all about controlling and using people against their will, which is the morality issue the show is presenting to us; the very uncomfortable notion of such a thing.

Nevertheless, it was a pleasant surprise seeing Adelle DeWitt, to often cold and slightly offputting and conservative director of the Dollhouse letting loose for a change. Being romantic, having dreams of a future outside of the Dollhouse setting; of wanting love, finding love. Even by secretly making herself a client to engage in such a fantasy, it's kind of sad thinking of Adelle wanting out of that organization and wanting more out of life. She has needs and wants of her own, and she cannot have that while being at the Dollhouse 24/7 and dealing with such unimaginable things, and this is her means of escape, even if for a weekend. Which makes me wonder who "Roger" was to her. It must've been a personally chosen imprint to have because she seemed so attached to him. Perhaps not Victor but the personality of this "Roger" character, and I'm thinking he could've been someone she previously loved by lost, or left behind. Also make note that she's even told and confessed to "Roger" about her work inside the Dollhouse and the stresses of that job. Twisted irony right there, but y'know. She trusted this man, she told him her secrets that she wouldn't tell anyone else and she's just fulfilling that emptiness within her.

It's sad, after realizing that she could no longer keep up with that secret along with finding out about Dominic, I have a feeling that Adelle is probably going to have a breakdown at some point. I sympathize with her a lot more now than before, poor Adelle. *sad face*

Going onto Paul, which yet another revelation that happened with Mellie when her imprint switched from Mellie to November and telling him vital information, which also startles him because he now realizes what he's been doing. Sleeping with one of the Dolls from the Dollhouse, an unwilling participant who has no idea what is being done to her. Even with the twistedness of that November tells him more of her message that he could not reveal this to Mellie otherwise the Dollhouse would find out he knew of these secret messages and, since Mellie is a sleeper agent, they could have her kill him instantly if they decided to. You could tell he was disgusted and revolted and moreover confused by everything, but he had to go along with it because what other choice did he have? He just looked like he'd gotten hit with an anvil, repeatedly, because of this revealed knowledge.

Secrets and needs. All these characters have them and yet, thinking about it long afterwards, there are many flaws where these needs and secrets and jusifications come from. So many twisted delusions and wanting to justify your actions by questionable methods and whatever, it really places into perspective of what this show is about.


Memorable Moments of the Episode:

++ ELIZA BECOMING A DOMINATROX = OMG HAWTNESS! ♥ I loved her dom!outfit, and hair; it had a slight resemblance to Princess Leia, or was that just me? Anyway, I liked that they aren't shying away from the fact that yes, even with some of the romantic and criminal and even government-type engagements there are still the sexual fantasy type of engagements being done. Even Claire Saunders mentioned that there were multiple same-sex engagements that day alone...not shying from that either! I also liked that we didn't to see the engagement played out, since the outfit told us all we needed to know.But still, Eliza in leather and with a whip? Rawr.

++ Echo and Victor seeing each other without really knowing each other because of their imprints, was kinda awesome. And Echo using the whip on Victor's handler? LOL.

++ Opening sequence with Echo was brilliantly done. 'Nuff said.

++ Sierra becoming a highly skilled spy hunter was absolutely cool, very Alias-like. Also, HELLO HIGH TECH HEAVEN!

++ Paul's obsession with the Dollhouse is becoming quite scary, and I like that development because sooner or later you knew that was going to happen. You can't be fixated on something that intensely and not go overboard or have some kind of breakdown. And all those newspaper clippings, the strings and whatnot totes reminded me of Supernatural and John's obsession with pinning things together. Or Mohinder with his father's map. Whatever. Same kind of situation where the obsession takes over.

++ Though poor Paul, guy can never catch a break can he? WHEN CAN HE AND ECHO/CAROLINE MEET AGAIN?! Srsly, I think the only way to progress his findings and get further into the investigation is with meeting Echo again or, hell, even Alpha.

++ Fight scenes on this show are always so awesome. Impressiveness never fails.

++ I completely was like "WHOA!" when we find out about Adelle and about Dominic being the mole. I mean, srsly, I knew Joss wouldn't let us down for surprises and he delivered that nicely. Also the "wiping" of Dominic or whatever was done extremely well, in that creepy kind of way.

++ The fencing scene with Adelle and "Roger" was very cool. Again, fighting scenes are done awesomely on this show. Trufax.

++ Also that car he was driving? ME WANTS IT! *grabby hands*

++ Topher is lolarious. As always. XD

++ OMG IVY! WE FINALLY HAVE A NAME! \O/ I really like her, and her outrage about being Topher's little assistant for food stuffs is rightly noted because hey, if I worked my ass off to get where she is now only to become a servant of foods for another? I'd be pissed as well.

++ AWWWW, NO! DON'T TAKE BOYD AWAY FROM BEING ECHO'S HANDLER! DDDD: I have a feeling it won't last very long, considering her look at him at the end when she says "with my life" -- because Echo isn't like the other Dolls in that she notices and catches onto things more quickly, or at least have a different approach to them, she'll still trust Boyd even with a different handler. She seems to have that instinct when it comes to defending and depending on her friends. She and Boyd are like BFFs; and I see them in that Giles and Buffy kinda relationship in a way. ♥


Overall: EXCELLENT EPISODE. It was definitely the kind of episode that has that kind of flavor which speaks what this show is primarily about. It was done in that creative manner where you see the perspectives of nearly all the characters, their storylines and get that insight to some of the mysteries and questions that need answering, thus having more questions. As always. Dollhouse is proving to be more and more durable as a show and from what I've seen, those that didn't like it or were uncertain at first are now loving it. And that's what Joss does, he creates this atmosphere, this world and its characters and makes us see them like this, so when episodes like this one come up we're all "OMGWHUT? OMGOMG" because either we didn't see it coming, or we did but just not like that, and anxiously waiting for more.

So yes, overall very impressive and I'm loving the directions this show is going. I keep saying that and it may seem redundant at the moment, but it's true. Please FOX, please don't even think about canceling this shiny gem.


Two weeks without Dollhouse? Blasphemy! Let's hope people will remember to watch it when it returns. That's the fear I have sometimes, that if there's a prolonged hiatus sometimes people won't pay attention to dates and times and will bypass it completely.

Must go watch TSCC because I accidentally missed it by over-napping this evening, as it's the season (and hopefully not series) finale.
Tags: meta: dollhouse, show reviews: dollhouse
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