Friday, October 30, 2009

2.04 Belonging

Summary and spoilers

There’s a moral dilemma for DeWitt, and, surprisingly, for the normally conscience-challenged Topher as well. Nolan Kinnard, a high-ranking Rossum VP, has been stalking Pria (now Sierra) since she was a teen. When he rejected his lavishly staged advances (using all of the money and dolls available through his company), he did something truly evil. He drugged Pria into a state of schizophrenia, then convinced Topher and the Dollhouse to ‘save her’ and take her in. He then paid for her services as a lover. On a deeper, almost buried level, Sierra knows she is being violated, and she is able to relay that message via paintings to Echo, who passes it on to Topher. Topher investigates and discovers the client relationship. But when DeWitt tells Kinnard that he must stop, Kinnard threatens to remove DeWitt unless she has Sierra permanently implanted and given to him as a slave. DeWitt tasks Topher to do the imprint; on the surface, Topher agrees. But he implants Sierra with the awareness of what Kinnard has done. A violent confrontation ensues at Kinnard’s apartment, ending when Sierra stabs him to death.

Langton intercepts Pria’s call to Topher and goes into action. Kinnard’s body is disposed of completely, and his death is changed to look like a disappearance. Sierra returns to the house and asks Topher to remove her memories of the horrible events she endured and created, leaving Topher to deal with these secrets. Her mind wiped and her smile returned, Sierra renews her friendship with Victor – a friendship that is growing into love.


Halfway through the show, as I watched Sierra getting smacked around, I reflected on the robust and diverse performance of Dichen Lachman. She got to play four different characters: herself (Pria) before she was tampered with (when she was an Australian artist); Pria after she had been given drugs to split her personality (should I count this as two characters?); Sierra as Sierra; and Pria, with no memory of her experiences as ‘doll’ Pria, but with an awareness of the evil that had been done to her. And as I watched, I hoped this was not going to be the last time we see her on the show. Survive, Sierra, survive!

Conversely, Echo’s role is small but highly important. She has a great subtle conversation with Langton about just how aware she has become.

This episode was directed by Star Trek: Next Generation alumni Jonathan Frakes.

Dollhouse Quotes

"Look. This is a brain – a normal, boring brain – like your brain."
- Topher to Langton

 "Given that you’re a raping scumbag one tick short of a murderer – do you take sugar?"
- DeWitt to Kinnard

Langton: Echo – when did you learn how to lie?
Echo: Am I in trouble?
Langton: Not from me – but there are people who would be very upset if they knew what you were doing.
Echo: Reading?

"They even programmed me to think it was endearing how quick you were."
- Pria to Kinnard

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