Dollhouse is a new science-fiction series by Joss Whedon, starring Eliza Dushku on Fox. Dushku plays a young woman code-named Echo, who’s forcefully volunteered to become a Doll at the Dollhouse. Dolls are have blank slates for personalities, which are imprinted with new ones depending on the mission or they have to complete. This can vary from simply being someone ideal girlfriend to being a hostage negotiator or bodyguard. Clients of the Dollhouse pay a lot of money to have this privilege.
Once the Dolls go Active, they get a handler who watches over them. After each engagement, the slate is wiped clean again. We learn that Alpha was a Doll who retained memories of his imprints and killed a lot of people before escaping. It seems like Echo is also becoming like that. She’s becoming self-aware after starting as a complete blank state. Special Agent Paul Ballard is hot on the trail after the people who are behind the Dollhouse.
Warning: spoilers ahead
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I thought that the pilot was OK. I think that I’ll need a few episodes before I can really decide if this is a good show. This means that the show isn’t too bad. It’s actually not bad. This type of show blends different concepts together. Since Echo can be anyone, anytime, this lets the writers free to come up with any kind of intrigue. This disparity has a consequence. The narrative can become diffuse. That’s why they’ve decided to include someone chasing the Dollhouse, FBI agent Ballard. He doesn’t know it, but he’s being manipulated by them as well.
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Dushku is sitting at a desk talking with a woman with a British accent. Dushku plays Caroline. She has to volunteer her services. After five years, she’ll be free.
The scene cuts to two people on Ducati superbikes riding them around in the city. One falls down. It’s Caroline. She gets back onto it. It’s a 948. They ride into a restaurant in Chinatown. It’s some party. The other rider is Matt. Dushku is looking hot as always. Her dress is so short that it almost lets everyone see her panties or lack thereof.
She leaves and walks into a van. It’s time for her treatment. She arrives at a place where other girls are being ferried around in the same way. Caroline steps into a strange looking chair. They erase her memories. Caroline wakes up and she’s Echo now.
The man and the tech talk about Echo. They are in a control space. They look upon a bunch of different people who seem to be like Echo.
A man is talking to his daughter. The daughter gets kidnapped. They put her in a bag. The man is talking to the woman with the British accent. He’s a rich Mexican businessman. Christejo wants his daughter Davina back. He’s a client of this place and he wants a negotiator to get his daughter.
At the dollhouse, it’s kind of like a heavenly spa. Echo is getting treatment for her knee. Her doctor’s face is covered in scars. It’s Fred from Angel. Echo leaves the office and walks up to the control space. She hears someone crying out and lights are flashing. She sees a girl with electrodes in her. The tech explains that it’s the girl’s first time and they need to do more work on her. Her name is Sierra. Dr. Saunders arrives to pick her up. Echo acts childlike and innocent, like she doesn’t know what is happening.
An agent named Paul is investigating the dollhouse. He wants to find it. He’s asking questions of a billionaire, who apparently hired the dollhouse. He paid a million buck for this. Paul thinks that the people who are the dolls have had their personalities completely erased. That’s like murder. He’s warned to back off. He’s going to piss off some serious people.
Echo is brought in to see the tech. The bosses brief Echo’s handler. He is told that she is going in as a negotiator. Echo is Eleanor Penn. She’s already at Christejo’s. The handler is surprised that Eleanor is nearsighted now. The tech says that he manipulated her nerves. She is actually nearsighted now and has asthma.
Eleanor has started working with the kidnappers and Christejo. They want $5 million. Chritejo doubts Eleanor. He knows that she’s a doll, but doesn’t believe in her. While she is talking about her fake past, she flashes on what the techs did to her.
Paul asks his target about the dollhouse. The Boradines supply girls to the dollhouse. Paul wants into the supply line.
The next day, Christejo and Eleanor go to the exchange. They see the girl and bring out the money. Echo sees a man. She has an asthma attack. Eleanor tells Christejo not to let the men onto the boat. They aren’t going to let the girl go. The kidnapper shoots Christejo. Echo’s handler shoots the man. The kidnappers get away. The handler is told to extract Echo and get her to her treatment. He was the man that took her away. She’s remembering him. He took her away. The man is going to take the girl and kill her. Only one man was wearing a mask. The girl knows her.
The tech says that what happened must have happened to the real Eleanor Penn. Langdon convinces the British boss Mrs DeWitt that they need to continue with this mission. Penn figures out that it must be one of the girl’s teachers.
Jay Sheppard is the one that fits the profile. He’s been absent from the school for some days. One of the people the Penn persona is based upon was abused by Sheppard. She killed herself last year. Penn goes in by herself. She tells Sheppard that the older man, who’s responsible for Penn’s abuse, will kill them all. The kidnappers exchange shots. They learn of the older man’s killings and shoot him. The other kidnappers let her go.
Sierra walks in and takes them out. They recuperate the money.
DeWitt gives her associate a file entitled Alpha. They have a problem. Someone has killed a few people and is mailing something to Paul. It has information about Caroline/Echo.