For the seventh episode of [[Dollhouse (TV Series)|Dollhouse]], we get a special treat: an amazing amount of backstory about Echo and a completely stoned Dollhouse staff. Both were highly satisfying pieces of television, and I found myself laughing hard at the antics of the usually intense Laurence Dominic and Adelle DeWitt.
A student ingests an experimental drug at Freemount College and ends up killing himself by repeatedly banging his head off a window. The incident occurs at Rossum House, which is owned by the Dollhouse’s parent organisation. When it becomes clear other students have taken the drug, DeWitt is asked to provide Actives to lock down the college and sedate the drug users.
While on an engagement, Echo sees a news report about the incident on campus and feels like she know the place, overriding her current imprint.She leaves the engagement and heads for the college, where she starts to have a series of intense flashbacks to her previous life as Caroline. We discover that Caroline was an animal rights activist, and had a grudge against the Rossum Corporation. She infiltrated the laboratory with her boyfriend and discovered that they were experimenting on humans and animals. However, the pair got discovered and Caroline’s boyfriend got shot and died. Sufficiently weakened by the loss, we know DeWitt saw her time to interject and make an offer to Caroline to become one of the dolls.
The effects of the drug spread to the other members of the Dollhouse. DeWitt and Topher have some interesting comversations, Langton decides to play piano instead of deal with Echo’s meltdown and Laurence Dominic apologises for past attempts to murder Echo.
At the end of the episode, we see DeWitt making her offer to the student who was trying to steal the drug. Will there be a new Doll this time next week?
I think the comedy side of the episode managed to detract nicely from how sinister the Dollhouse/Rossum Corporation seem to be. Clearly they’re a shady bunch, but watching DeWitt’s ungainly attempts to vault a bannister takes away from the human/animal brain experiments that the company is conducting elsewhere.
Classic moments include Laurence Dominic’s muttered insult to Victor’s NSA agent: “Now you’re experts. Four hours ago, you were discussing your love for applesauce.” His frantic stoned apologies for trying to kill Echo were brilliant. Reed Diamond rocks though, but it was nice to see the character out of character. If you know what I mean.
I thought DeWitt was particularly hilarous. More importantly though, I can’t stop noticing her frilly blouses. Not in a pervy way, but frilly blouses are all she seems to wear. Even in the footage from five years ago.
I suppose that’s an interesting point though – how far through her ‘contract’ is Echo exactly? If she attended college a few years ago, ending with her joining the Dollhouse for a five year term, then what happens when she approaches the end of this time?
Caroline’s backstory wasn’t quite as exciting as I’d expected it to be. The animal rights thing was a bit cliche, to be honest. We’ll have to play a ‘wait and see’ with this to see if there’s other background to discover. Surely that’s not the whole story?
Overall though, a successful episode, with a good balance of funny moments and character development for Echo. This series has been going from strength to strength so far.