RECAP: 1x01, "Ghost" (Dollhouse)

  • Feb. 14th, 2009 at 4:16 PM
lily_lovely: Eliza Dushku looking dead sexy (dollhouse)
Okay, so this is actually less of a recap and more of a random spouting of opinions, based on what little I can actually remember.

Also, even if you don't mind being spoiled, this probably won't make much sense if you haven't seen the episode. If you're in America, go watch it on hulu.com, and if not, go find a torrent or something. It's worth it.

[ETA] THERE ARE MINOR SPOILERS FOR THE NEXT EPISODE BASED ON THE PROMO/PREVIOUS SPOILERS. I'M VERY SORRY THAT I DIDN'T MENTION THIS BEFORE.

X-posted at [livejournal.com profile] dollverse and [livejournal.com profile] dollhouse_tv.



So first of all, I watched the ep with three of my Jossy-inclined friends, which was very fun. I'll probably be watching it by myself most of the time, but it was nice to make a thing of the premiere.

Let's see, stylistically? I loved the music; very mysterious and mystical and pretty. The title sequence was generally fun and good, although they did that weird thing where they don't show the face of the actor/character with the actor's name. I found that a little off-putting.

I'm definitely a fan of Fox's less-commercials thing. It made me feel more engaged in the show, and less likely to start doing something else while I'm waiting. And I think it will keep more people in who are just randomly channel surfing and find it.

I seem to recall there was one minute-long break, one 90 second one, and one regular-sized (don't know how long) one. I enjoyed the "Dollhouse will return in ____ seconds" thing, although my friends and I got a little confused when it didn't happen before the regular break. We were like, "IF THAT WAS THE ENDING YOU SUCK AT WRITING ENDINGS JOSS." I mean, okay, your smarter viewers would have realized this with the lack of end credits, and it would be weird to be like, "DOLLHOUSE WILL RETURN IN LIKE 5 MINUTES KTHXBAI." It still threw me off a bit.

And the Grr-Argh at the end made me SMILE and GIGGLE.

Also? Can I say that I am majorly loving how many of the promo pics involve Eliza in tight clothes or being naked? Cause I do majorly love that. :P

Although, the whole promo ads with Summer & Eliza didn't grab me. They're both cute and all, but they didn't seem to have much chemistry. Maybe cause they never actually talk to each other at all.


As for the actual episode? I liked it, overall. But let's get into the details:

I enjoyed the beginning part, with how Echo signed up. It introduced a lot of the concepts of Dollhouse, and gave us just enough info about Echo to keep us intrigued.

The motorcycle chase was amusing, and the misdirect of "OMGZ IT'S ACTION" when it was just friendly!fun was both friendly and fun.

Her interactions with Matt were mostly interesting. I got a little confused about how they'd met each other, since she sometimes made it sound like they'd been friends for awhile and were now just romantically interested in each other, and sometimes made it sound like he picked her off the street, fucked her with some ropes, and invited her to his birthday party.

I did love how Echo kept telling people about how she thought she'd found something. It was cute.

I kind of wish it had been clearer as to how she was called back to her Handler. Maybe that would be too obvious, and I did like how she always talked about her 'treatment'...I don't know. I think it could be confusing if you aren't up with the spoilers and mythology, but it would also get a little annoying if they had something like that every time.

The memory-wiping thing was very cool, and the image of the necklace falling to the floor, although the memories from before her interactions confused me, as to what they were about and what their purpose was.

Amy Acker played Dr. Saunders really well, and the line - I can't remember exactly what it was - where Echo asks her, "Does someone take care of you?" with the scars was really nice.

The revelation from Topher that the personalities come from real people was at once intriguing and confusing. For one thing, it highlights the guy who was grilling Paul's point: why hire an Active if they're just doing things real skilled people can do, and have the same flaws as real people? After all, Dollhouse is illegal, secret, and expensive; it would be easier to hire a legal professional for the same job. It might not be quite as good, but it would be less dangerous.

It also made me wonder what happens to the people whose personalities they take. Do they become Actives? Are they killed in the process? Do they take the personalities from dead people? Why can't they just make personalities? How exactly do you store a 'personality' in a floppy drive, anyways?

I found the hostage plot engaging and cool. I've read in some discussion threads that some people didn't like how Echo's personality had sexual abuse in the background, because that's overdone or something, but I thought it made for a nice metaphor of triumphing over your past, and women's rights, and all that.

I found it a little strange that Echo gave the whole speech about being abused by the guy, and he didn't really say anything, when clearly he's never met Echo, just the person whose personality she has. Either it's just a tiny plot hole, or she didn't say as much about being abused by him as I thought I did, or there's some conspiracy where he had met whoever Echo was before. I'm guessing the second one.

I also liked the sequence where they all went in the pods and had their memories wiped. Fun stuff.

The thing with the shirtless guy watching the yearbook video of Echo (I feel bad that I keep having to use the name Echo even when it doesn't really apply, but whatever) was a nice little cliffhanger. I'm pretty sure from hints in the ep, spoilers, and the promo that he's Alpha, the rogue Active who appears in the next episode - but I'm not sure what that means. You'd think rogue Active would be a good thing, since Dollhouse is all sketchy, but then there's all the bloody dead people in his house, so we'll see.

As for the characters:

I really do think Eliza did a very good job. It's no joke that a bun changes her personality totally, and she was very good at distinguishing her different characters (so to speak) and playing the blank doll mode.

Some people have been saying that Topher is creepy and the next Warren, but I rather liked him. Maybe that's just because I think he's kinda cute, and he set my gaydar off the minute I saw him, but I think he'll be a source of humor and moral gray area.

We didn't see much of Adelle, but what I saw came off very classy madam-esque. I just hope that her character is furthered and not just turned into the evil rubbing-hands mua-ha-ha caricature, because one of the main things I'm looking for in this show is moral complexities.

Boyd was also morally confused, except in the mostly-good-but-inadvertently-supporting-evil-deeds way. I liked his paternal affection for Echo, and I hope we see more of that.

Paul was...eh. I'd like to think Tahmoh will be great, because I want him to be great, and, y'know, get with Echo, but I didn't really see anything to impress me. The difference between him and, say, Adelle or Sierra, here, was that they seemed to show more potential and interesting-ness just with the little they had here, while he didn't, IMHO. I liked the boxing metaphor, although it confused my friends, since the guy he was boxing wasn't either of the guys in the room. I think it might have been improved if he was boxing the guys there, so that it was completely clear what it meant. But they wouldn't look as good with no shirts on sweatiness, I guess.

Enver's character (peeing on his shoes, gun to his head guy) confused me in the bad way, though. I thought he was Victor, a doll, but his part in this ep didn't tell us his name (if I recall rightly) or who he was at all, except that he pees and has a Russian accent. I read an interview saying that he now has a different part as a gangster or something, which makes me kind of sad. I liked the idea of Victor, if nothing else.

We didn't see that much of Sierra, either, but I rather liked her. She's hot when getting needles poked in her brain or holding a gun, if nothing else.


What do I hope for? I hope the moral grays keep chugging along and get developed, I hope we see more of the other Actives than we did this episode, I hope things get explained while subplots pop up alongside. I hope the actors get more chances to strut their stuff, and I hope that the answers to the questions raised aren't stupid or ret-con-y.

Mostly I hope that it improves as we watch. Shows take awhile to get into the swing of things, and we all know that the Buffy and Angel pilots weren't the best they had to offer, right? So I hope people realize this and stick around, even if they didn't like this episode very much.

I liked it a lot, but I think that it has a lot of room to grow, too. What we saw here was mostly potential for greatness, not greatness.


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