Saturday, March 21, 2009

1.6 Man On The Street

Summary and spoilers

The show starts with a news report and vox pops about the urban legend of the Dollhouse (additional vox pops are shown from time to time throughout the episode). We pan back to see it is Ballard watching. He is visited by another agent who once again derides his case. When the agent calls Echo a mindless whore, Ballard almost snaps the guy’s arm off.

Victor and Echo are sitting together when Sierra enters the room and sits alone at a different table. Victor walks over to ask her to join them, but he only gets as far as touching her shoulder. She screams in fear, then later tells Dr. Saunders that Victor likes to pretend they are married. Dr. Saunders’ examination of Sierra reveals that she has had sex. Victor is the likely partner. Mr. Hearn, Sierra’s handler, wants to check the videotape to prove it is Victor and put him in the attic if found guilty. Echo pops in from nowhere to say that when they go to sleep in the pods, she can hear Sierra crying.

Ballard has traced large payments from various accounts to form a proposed trail of possible Dollhouse clients, including an internet mogul named Joel Miner, a billionaire with commitment issues who always has a beautiful anonymous ‘doll’ on his arm when he shows up at charity engagements.

Back at his apartment, Ballard and Mellie are sharing Chinese takeaway and talking about the case and Mellie’s personal life.

Joel Miner has readied his house for a romantic encounter and has hired Echo to fulfill his needs. Ballard is there as well, and he infiltrates the kitchen and, gun drawn, comes face to face with Miner…and Echo! Ballard is just about ready to take Echo (whom he calls by her pre-doll name Caroline) into custody when he is attacked by numerous Miner bodyguards. Eventually Ballard has all those guards writhing or unconscious, but in the meantime, Boyd grabs Echo and they get away. Before being taken away, Echo yells out her accusatory "Porn!" one more time (she somehow believes the Miner is her husband and that he is involved in making porn).

Ballard’s questioning of Miner gets turned around. Miner accuses Ballard of being in love with Caroline, then tells his own story – how his wife Rebecca died just before she got to see her new house (the one they are in now). Now, each year, Miner hires a doll to play the part of his wife, and he recreates the moment the way it should have been.

Dr. Saunders and Topher question Victor about his feelings toward Sierra. No one has been able to find any incriminating evidence against Victor. Boyd realizes that all the dolls are broken. He rings Dominic and tells him he must take Victor and his handler off the floor. Dr. Saunders takes Victor away, and Victor’s normal handler is dragged away while protesting. Boyd assures an inquisitive Echo that it is all being done to protect Sierra.

Ballard and Mellie are back in his apartment. Shirtless, he is being patched up by her while he debriefs as well, but he stops to suddenly kiss her. They decide to make believe that kiss did not happen, although they are both pretty sure it did.

Back at the Dollhouse, Boyd has done nothing to catch the true perp; his earlier actions were all a setup to make Hearn try to rape Sierra again, and this time, Boyd catches him and punches him through a glass panel. DeWitt chides Boyd for taking action on his own, but also tells him a bonus has been wired to his account.

After Boyd leaves, Dominic and DeWitt watch wiretap footage of Ballard discussing the case with Mellie. Dominic warns DeWitt that if word of this and of Hearn gets out, she will be in trouble with higher ups. DeWitt tells Dominic to bring Hearn to her, and to prep Echo for a ‘second date’ with Ballard.

Boyd tells Topher he is upset that Echo has been sent out on assignment but without him. He’s been put on hold. Topher says this is the standard penalty for plate-glassing someone. Topher says Echo is on a nothing ‘life coach’ assignment and not to worry about it. Boyd leaves and Topher returns to his office, where he has a surprise – Echo shows up to be imprinted.

Hearn has arrived at DeWitt’s office to get his punishment. But he’s not really being punished, just reassigned. His next job: kill Mellie and make it messy.

Apparently, Ballard and Mellie didn’t forget about that kiss, as we join them just after they have made love. Ballard leaves to get some Chinese takeaway. While at the restaurant, he sees Echo in the kitchen. When he pursues her, she grabs his gun and flattens him. After a long fight that continues out into the alleyway, Echo tells Ballard that she represents someone inside the Dollhouse that wants to bring it down – it and the 20 other Dollhouses around the world. She instructs Ballard to stop trying to find the Dollhouse, and rather to find out what their real purpose is – because it is something much more sinister and important than pure fantasy fulfillment. She also warns Ballard that while they want him alive, they will kill those around him. She shoots a cop with Ballard’s gun, then gets away.

Ballard realizes that Mellie is under threat, and he takes off. Meanwhile, Hearn has arrived at Ballard’s apartment and begins attacking and killing Mellie. Ballard is running, trying to get there, dialing the phone. The phone rings inside his apartment, but it is not Ballard – it is Dewitt delivering an encoded message. Upon hearing it, Mellie becomes a lethal assassin, and she dispenses with Hearn – and there we see what DeWitt really had in mind for him. Another message from DeWitt, and Mellie returns to her normal self, just in time for  Ballard to return.

Dominic tells DeWitt that Ballard was suspended for shooting a cop and beating up bodyguards. DeWitt says to bring Mellie in for a Topher diagnostic, but not to pull her off the case, as Ballard probably won’t let something like suspension stop him from his pursuit of the Dollhouse.

Life inside the Dollhouse has returned to normal, but Echo tells DeWitt that her painting of a happy couple in front of their house is ‘not finished.’ In response, DeWitt sends Echo back to Joel Miner, to complete the fantasy that has somehow become meaningful to both of them.


My first thought about who Sierra’s partner/rapist might be: Dominic!

Just when I thought DeWitt had a shred of morals and good will, she tells Hearn to kill Mellie! Of course, we find out later that she had something very different in mind for Hearn.

So Mellie is an active!

There’s something strangely touching – and creepy – about a man who would want to recreate a lost moment in his life with the degree of realism that Joel Miner does. I can’t decide if it’s beautiful or sick.


I’m sure at one point when Ballard is talking to Miner, he calls him ‘Wyler’.

Memorable Moments

It was painfully sad as I watched Hearn brutally assaulting Mellie and knowing that there was nothing that could stop him from killing her. She was such a beautiful character – did they have to kill her off? The phone began to ring, but we knew that Ballard was dialing his phone, so we assumed that this would be who would leave a message. When that message came from DeWitt and turned Mellie into a lethal assassin who not only saved her own life but delivered fitting justice by ending the life of Hearn, the flood of emotions that filled me were unique. Thanks, Joss Whedon, for doing that to me!

I love the natural, unforced chemistry between Ballard and Mellie.

Quotable Quotes

Agent: What, you’d come to my house, dig through my garbage, too?
Ballard: You’re out of hand cream again.
Agent: This the alleged victim? Guys said you had a face. Damn – no wonder you’re foraging for hand cream.

Ballard: Weren’t you…seeing someone?
Mellie: Uh huh.
Ballard: Rick.
Mellie: Dick.
Ballard: Really. I thought it was Rick.
Mellie: Oh, his name is Rick.
Ballard: Ooh.
Mellie: Uh, huh. He said he didn’t see me as a long-term investment. He said he wanted to…dump the stock before it went public. He talks like that. He works at a donut shop.
Ballard: What a Rick!

[after making love]
Ballard: So…can I borrow a cup of sugar?
Mellie: I don’t think I’ve got any sugar left!

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