Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Dollhouse: Man on the Street
This is the finest episode so far. It’s also scripted by Joss Whedon himself. These two facts may be connected. At last, after a few “stories of the week”, we get an awful lot of back story and the arc really kicks in to gear. Things are getting very, very exciting.
I remember blogging my theory that Caroline and Echo may not necessarily be the same person on the grounds that Whedon is far too devious for that. Er, I was wrong. Not only are they the same person, but Ballard is getting closer to her. This episode does more than any so far to deepen the sense of a wider world. The device of using “vox pops” gives us a definite sense that there exist shadowy rumours about Dollhouses throughout Los Angeles. This gives us a sense of depth which is furthered by the revelation that there are many Dollhouses worldwide, purpose unknown. Ballard learns this from none other than Echo, programmed and sent by a mysterious mole from within the Dollhouse itself.
The sub-plot between Sierra and Victor thickens; Sierra is always crying and constantly distressed. Initially, it appears that Victor is raping her, but it emerges, even more upsettingly, that the true culprit is Hearn, her handler. These are not easy scenes to watch. Ballard, meanwhile, follows the money and successfully interferes with Echo’s mission, but has an unexpectedly philosophical conversation with her billionaire client. He learns much, including the fact that, while Dollhouses may be illegal, the police are not likely to side with him.
Ballard’s budding relationship with his neighbour, Mellie, is suddenly undercut by the revelation that she is an active under deep cover, subject to voice control by DeWitt. Suddenly, there’s a lot going on. This series is becoming addictive.