Sunday, March 1, 2009

1.3 Stage Fright

Someone is trying to kill Rayna, a high-profile female pop singer. Echo is imprinted as a background singer to get near Rayna, protect her, and perhaps even take a bullet for her. Dr. Saunders is concerned; she had recommended that Echo only have a romantic engagement for her next assignment, but Topher doesn’t care; besides, they are sending in Sierra as backup.

Rayna is a diva who freaks out if she smells someone sucking on a mint, but she takes to Echo and befriends her, much to the disgust of the other, competing background singers. Echo pays her back by naturally being on the alert. She intercepts paparazzi, but the real killer is lurking nearby, having infiltrated the venue with crutches and smuggled in a sniper rifle.

Ballard meets with Lubov who becomes just another in the long line of people who want to convince him that the Dollhouse is an urban myth like "…alligators in the sewers." Later, Lubov gives Ballard a lead that sends him to the basement of an abandoned hotel, where he is ambushed by Borodin’s men.

In a stunning turn of events, Lubov awakens in Topher chair and Topher addresses him as ‘Victor’ – he’s just another doll.

But the biggest twist of all is that Rayna not only has been communicating with the obsessed, gun-toting fan, but she knows he is going to kill her, and she wants him to, so she can be free of her life. Sierra is sent in masquerading as Rayna’s number one fan, but when the sniper can’t get Rayna, he kidnaps Sierra instead. Echo deviates from her programming and uses Rayna as bait to protect and rescue Sierra. She’s got the whole thing under control, despite Laurence’s misgivings about her back at the house; she not only rescues Audra/Sierra, but she subdues the psycho and renews Rayna’s will to live!

As mentioned, Laurence is not happy. First, he confronts Topher and accuses him of being really bad at his job. Then he recommends that Echo be placed somewhere called ‘the attic’ as he believes she is a liability. But DeWitt defends her.

In the final scene, Sierra and Echo pass each other in the house. Sierra smiles and walks over toward Echo, but Echo shakes her head no. Sierra picks up on this and just keeps walking, simulating the zombie state that apparently is becoming more and more of an act.


There’s a great analogy between Rayna’s perception of her life as a factory-created singer with no personality of her own, destined only to fulfill others fantasies and needs.

Everything is tied up too beautifully and somewhat unbelievably by that clever Echo, although there are no obvious plot holes there – just an amazing happy ending.

This episode got a slightly poorer rating in some internet polls; also, I believe it rated lower in viewer numbers. People are going to start wondering, worrying, and speculating over the long-term future of Dollhouse, but I still think its high production values and strong basic concept could see it renewed beyond its initial run.

Memorable Moments

Þ   Echo hitting Rayna with a chair

Quotable Quotes

Dr Saunders: You shouldn’t have taken the arrow out – you could have bled to death. And a broadhead arrow does more damage coming out.
Boyd Langton: I’ll remember that the next time I’m being bowhunted.

Lubov: I’m a friend of Paul
Mellie: Really.
Lubov: An old friend from Navy. A friend from Old Navy; I did retail before; he would buy slacks.

"Friends help each other out."
- Echo to the unconscious Rayna (repeated line)

1 comment:

  1. I just started watching Dollhouse online. Though I'm a long time Joss/Eliza fan, I was initially hesitant to commit (the teaser was terrible, and in an interview on the show, Joss seemed resigned to finally making a sell-out show). But after watching episodes 1-3, I'm hooked. Fantastic themes about the nature of identity, relationship, social ethics...I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Echo!