Home > Episode Recaps, Opinions (TV), TV > TV: Dollhouse – Belonging (S02E04)

TV: Dollhouse – Belonging (S02E04)

DHSE01

Episode quote: "The cold reality is that everyone here was chosen because their morals have been compromised in some way." (Adelle DeWitt)

Year of Broadcast: 2009 (19 days behind US)

Starring: Eliza Dushku, Harry J. Lennix, Fran Kranz, Enver Gjokaj, Dichen Lachman, Olivia Williams, Keith Carradine, Vincent Ventresca.

*Spoilers follow*

Summary: Topher learns about Sierra’s past and how she came to join the Dollhouse, which presents him with an uncomfortable decision; Boyd discovers something unexpected about Echo.

Thoughts: Dollhouse was on top form this week, giving us a detailed look at how Sierra ended up in the house, and it wasn’t a happy story, even when compared to the generally unhappy situations that brought the others in.  Pursued by an aggressive stalker who happened to have a lot of influence with the Rossum corporation that owns the Dollhouse, as well as having access to all sorts of medication, she was drugged into a state resembling paranoid schizophrenia, written off as a hopeless case by a corrupt doctor and given to the Dollhouse so that she could be used as an active (and hired repeatedly by her stalker and made to love him).

It was interesting because the Dollhouse is already in a very murky moral situation, keeping people in an essentially brainwashed state and reprogramming them into whatever their clients request, so this episode raised the question of how far they’re willing to go.  For DeWitt that seems to be anything that preserves her job and possibly her life (implied by the line, “you wouldn’t like the early retirement plan”), which isn’t an unpredictable reaction for the character.  For Topher, who ordinarily relishes the mad genius role,  the line he won’t cross seems to come somewhere before permanently gifting a Doll to the man who kidnapped, drugged and essentially raped her for a year.  There were also a few hints of Topher becoming a little unhinged, which point to the full breakdown we saw in the unaired (in the US) episode, Epitaph One.  Hopefully we’ll see that occur some time in the remaining nine episodes, because it seems unlikely that Dollhouse will get a third season.

Echo wasn’t a major part of the story this week.  In fact, aside from being the one to originally bring Sierra’s troubles to Topher’s attention, her story was wholly separate from the main plot, focusing on Boyd discovering that she is remembering more than she should and doing things that the Dolls really shouldn’t be able to do.  It didn’t concern him though (which is a bit odd for the chief of security) and he even ended up giving her a security pass “for the storm” (which is an even more odd security choice).  Everybody seems comfortable with Victor and Sierra’s relationship too, even though that kind of thing used to be a big deal (it doesn’t seem to have progressed beyond hand-holding though).

So out of the Dollhouse’s staff, the former chief of security was a traitor, the new chief of security (and Echo’s former handler) is neglecting to report important security issues, Echo’s new handler is actively trying to destroy the Dollhouse and the genius programmer is comfortable sabotaging Dolls when he disagrees with their assignments.  That’s not really a good success rate for whoever does the hiring at the Dollhouse, and that’s assuming that whoever is programming Echo with secret messages and sending info to Ballard and Perrin (who were both absent this episode) is one of those four.  I guess that’s the price you pay for having to hire people of dubious moral character.

Hopefully Dollhouse can keep up this kind of quality for the rest of the season.  Annoyingly we’re going to have to wait a while to see more episodes because Fox have decided to keep the low-rated show out of the important “sweeps” period, delaying its broadcast until at least December.  As Fox have first-run rights that means that even here in the UK we have to take the same break, and it’s looking like it will be at least December 8th before Dollhouse is back on UK TV.  At least they went into the break on a high note.

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