++ Dollhouse 2.02 "Instinct"
I really liked this episode, a whole lot actually. I'm loving the progression of incorporating what is happening inside the Dollhouse to the engagements, something that wasn't done last season, at least not fully. Here we're seeing the cause and effects of experimenting with new technological evolutions with the imprinting system, as provided by Topher for taking that trial by error leap with tweaking with the glandular systems. It also shows us that they're not always that bright when thinking beyond what might happen to the Actives after a wipe and still maintain such feelings via those changes. This is providing more insight to the workings of imprinting and how Actives like Echo and the others can be effected by it, which should be examined further and I believe Joss has that intended to be a major factor.
And it needs to be said: I love Echo.
There's been a lot of Echo-hate going around lately and that's just making me sad. I know not everyone is a fan of Eliza Dushku and that's understandable. I, however, am and it distresses me when people are outright hating her character and her in general. Say what you will about her acting ability (which I personally think she has a lot of, as evidenced in this episode where she brought it all to the table, for serious), but to call her the weakest link in the show and that the character should die? That does not bode well with me, and it's disconcerting that many are feeling that way.
That's how I feel about that. I love this show and where it's going and what Joss and Eliza are bringing to us and I'm glad to have another season to expand it, but it's the fandom that's harshing my squee right now with their cynicism and pessimistic opinions only two episodes into the season. I get enough of that from people who don't watch the show, and I don't know how to feel about that.
Going away from that, I loved Echo in this episode. Mama!Echo in particular. There's something so endearing and powerful about someone who loves and cares so deeply about a child, and I loved seeing that maternal side of Echo and that, despite not having all the details from that latest imprint, it's the maternal instinct that drove her need to save the baby. Even though the story was all mixed up and not quite understanding to the full extent of the situation, she was going by what she instinctively felt. Which was the feeling that she loved the baby so much and that she felt her life, and the baby's life, was in danger. Thus, the lioness arose to protect her cub.
It's also sad because she was trying to understand what was happening -- when she lashed out at the father and abruptly recoiled and was like "no, this isn't right", automatically knowing that she shouldn't be doing what she was doing. She just didn't understand those feelings, and that is when the conversation between her and the father took place, to rationalize the situation and have her hand over the baby. The father of course understood what he had done wasn't right either, he realized it was a mistake to pay all that money for a temporary stand-in of a mother that wouldn't be there for very long, especially if he was going to give the baby up for adoption anyway. It's also nice to see empathy from a client, knowing that they had placed the Active into some major trauma, and having remorse for what they'd asked for. Most times clients hardly have any kind of empathy towards a doll they've hired, so it's nice to see at least something in this man who is learning from this mistake.
I loved the ending, with Echo and Paul. I love how she is telling him these things, of remembering, of being aware of what is happening. Although she's still evolving, she understands at least something is wrong with what the Dollhouse is doing. I loved that she would rather have the pain than be numb again, now that she's fully awake instead of asleep. Last season we were seeing bits and pieces of that, but now she's completely awake. I have this notion of River going "she understands, she doesn't comprehend." That is what is happening to Echo right now. She's figure things out. She wants to find the real her.
Questions that's been on my mind: Do you think she would be able to tell Boyd these things? Do you think Echo could have trusted Boyd with the stuff she's telling Paul?
Oh, and I kinda adored her going "go please" at the car when getting into the passenger seat. So adorable. ♥ But I like that she didn't need any assistance, that she was able to figure out how to operate the car all on her own. Sweet.
I liked Paul's subtle way of exploring Topher's lab in the beginning of the episode, which pops up later when he's referring to Topher's "genius". The same thing can be seen with him and Madeline when he's asking questions, very subtle-like, and gets a few answers that might lead him more into investigating the truth behind the Dollhouse. For instance, when Madeline was explaining her background at how she managed to get into the Dollhouse and its contract, she mentions that it was Adelle that sought her out. This will perhaps lead Paul to finding out precisely how the Dollhouse finds out about these individuals who are promised to be "healed" from their pain after five years underneath their contract.
Speaking of, how amazing was Miracle Laurie in this episode? From not being November/Mellie and just herself, Madeline, I found her quite intriguing. I loved the setup of her own personality, which seems more confident and clear-headed than the version we saw previously last season. I kinda want to know how much downhill she went after her daughter had died or what her past had been which made Adelle seek her out in the first place. It had to be something big, because there was mention of her free to leave the country now that she's been clearer. That was a huge hint, at least to me. Could she have been a criminal? Could her pain of losing her daughter drive her to do illegal things? I'm curious now.
Nevertheless, I loved her appearance. I was happy to see her, and I liked that she was also curious about being let off her contract years earlier than expected. Another hint that she seems to be ahead of her game.
I'm still finding it weird that Alexis Denisof is speaking without a British accent. I still see him as Wesley so hearing him without one is kinda strange, lol.
I'm wondering...does Adelle know of Saunder's departure? How could that have gone down, since she technically is an imprinted doll, wouldn't that be something to be concerned about? Moreover, how could the security in the Dollhouse overlook Echo leaving the premises if she were to get inside a car (with its keys still in the ignition, mind you) and just drive off? Makes for interesting questions about how liable the Dollhouse is....
Overall: I enjoyed this episode very much. This was perhaps Eliza Dushku's strongest performances because I believed her when she believed she was being tracked down, and I believed her believing that she was the mother of the child, and when back as Echo her believing in those emotions, all of that is so amazingly done. That's the may focus here people, watching her evolve and become an individual than how we've seen her before. I really wish fandom wasn't so snippy and quick to judge. That happened last season too. Either way, I loved what was brought in this episode. I really did.
I also want to talk about ratings for Dollhouse. From all the "save Dollhouse" campaigns and people praising it, getting others to watch it and even making petitions and critics waiting for the second season to premiere, the ratings have been lower than last season. What the hell, people? Where the fuck are you, after all this fighting for it to be renewed and for FOX not do be dickheads about it, and the ratings are fucking dropping? Fuck that shit. I'm also hearing that TSCC fans are so bitter about their show being canceled that they are purposefully not supporting Dollhouse. I mean, okay, I loved TSCC too and I'm sad it's gone, but get the fuck over your childish bullshit and stop being so butthurt. Jesus Christ on a cracker, this is ridiculous.
Needless to say, the ratings system still blows. blank_dolls has provided ways of supporting and helping boost up ratings for the show, so please spread this information around.
++ I've been catching up on Bones recently, just had a marathon of season four and my God, can this show be any cuter? Booth/Brennan are so much love, their bantering and are totally opposite yet perfect for each other. But it's one of those shows where if the two main characters get together romantically then it's the end of the show, hence the UST between them. And I love David Boreanaz as Booth...I think way better than Angel, to be honest. Because Booth isn't some brooding vampire with a soul, and he can be goofy as well as badass. Hee.