Dollhouse: The First Month

Eliza Breaking into Stuff as TaffyEach week as I’m reviewing Dollhouse, I’m trying to not spoil anyone who hasn’t seen the episode yet. But as I read other reviews, I see people throwing the plot away all over the place. Personally, I’m not anti-spoiler, for myself at least, but not everyone wants to read what happened in a show before they watch what happens. That totally made sense, just read it again.

Speaking of spoilers, back in the Buffy days, there was this guy, I think his name was Leon, who somehow got a feed of each episode of Buffy on the Monday before it aired. He would then watch and recap the show, exactly, including his own made up commercial breaks (I recall he was very fond of “Windex Makes It Shine”) and every week, I would read that recap, even if it was just an hour before show time when I got to it. I can’t say why I felt I couldn’t wait just one more hour when I’d already waited a week, but it’s just the way it was.

In any case, I want to talk about some of what I’m loving, hating or just thinking about, now that we’ve reached the fourth episode and spent a month with Dollhouse:

If I had chosen the lead for this show, I have to admit that Eliza Dushku would not have been my first choice. She’s OK, but sometimes I’m just not sure what Joss sees in her that I don’t. She’s not a bad actress or anything like that, but she can come across as a bit one-dimensional. Maybe its just that her looks are so stunning, melty brown eyes, pouty red lips, cleavage, that she herself comes through so loudly in each character she plays. Dichen Lachman did a better job in the last two episodes, in my opinion, of playing completely different characters and making me not see her through the mask of the others. Last week she was a geeky, awkward fangirly, and this week a smart talking, capable art thief. That’s even more amazing, when you take into account Dichen’s very striking and unusual looks.

The character of Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett), although he started out as likable and maybe a bit of screw up, is making me not like him anymore. I think it was when little Anton Lubov (and he did look so tiny to me this week) came to him for help and Paul basically threw him to the wolves. Maybe I’m missing something about what happened when Ballard was shot, cause I do that sometimes.

I also wonder about the character of Victor (Enver Gjokaj), if continual wipes and then re-imprinting him with the same personality is going to have some backlash in the future. It seems like if he is only ever two different people he might remember it eventually.

Finally, I thought it was good in this episode to see Topher (Fran Kranz) worried about so many things: How a remote wipe could happen, if Alpha is still alive, and if he was about to lose his job. It makes him seem a little less smug and weasley.

Overall, though, I am enjoying the show more each week and I think it would be a shame if it didn’t get a chance to grow and build on what’s been started.