Monday, January 11, 2010

2.05 The Public Eye

Summary and spoilers

Abetted by Senator Perrin, Madeline Costly (November/Mellie) is testifying that the Dollhouse stole three years of her life. Externally, Rossum is in major spin mode. Behind the scenes, Rossum will do whatever is takes to silence Madeline. DeWitt also wants to silence Madeline, but not using the same methods. The Dollhouse teams up to discover why Madeline is testifying against them. The first clue is Perrin’s too perfect wife Cindy, identified as an active by the observant Echo.

With Cindy a threat to go all sleeper mode and assassinate Madeline, and with Cindy and Madeline sharing a safe house, Ballard grabs a Topher-created Doll-disabling device and goes on a rescue mission.

Echo is also on a mission: to drug, seduce, and videotape Senator Perrin, and to deliver a message that he should back off. Perrin wakes up embarrassed but also aware that Echo is a Doll. He takes her to the safe house as well. They all gather as Ballard arrives. When activates his disrupter, Madeline and Echo collapse as expected. Somewhat unexpectedly, Cindy does not. She watches as Ballard is overpowered by two security agents. But most surprising: Perrin also collapses, marking him as the Doll and Cindy as his handler. Why would Rossum program Perrin to expose the Dollhouse?

Echo speeds away with Perrin. In her disrupted state, she flashes back and realizes she is a Doll, as does Perrin. Cindy tracks them down; a violent confrontation ensues, with Echo beating the bejesus out of Cindy. Echo takes Perrin back to the Dollhouse, but Cindy gets within range and uses the disrupter to stop them.

Ballard beats up his two would-be executioners and tracks Madeline to the airport. There, he confronts her with the story of how they knew each other during her Doll life. Ballard tries to convince her not to testify (since Rossum wants her to for some reason) but Madeline insists on making her own decision, even if it possibly a mistake.

Although I don’t fully understand the plan, Rossum will control Perrin, who will implicate the Dollhouse (just the one), make Perrin a hero, and control the damage.

Back at Dollhouse East, Bennett (Summer Glau) is sort the evil sibling of Topher. She programs actives but gives this task her own sadistic twist. After prepping Perrin for his mind-wipe, she visits Echo, addresses her as Caroline, expresses sarcastic joy at seeing her again, and then begins to torture her by performing what looks like an extremely painful treatment.


I’m not sure if this is Joss’s doing or because of network influence, but Dollhouse has certainly changed. In the first season, there were grayer areas of morality. The Dollhouse was bad. Rossum was bad. Maybe not all bad, but still bad. Now, however, Rossum is becoming the bad guy and the people in the Dollhouse are becoming white knights. This approach probably has more broad appeal, but I kind of preferred the darker, more generally negative first season. Except it’s not so simple. Rossum wants to stop Madeline because it threatens them. DeWitt wants to stop Madeline because it threatens DeWitt.

It’s shocking to find out that although Madeline was supposedly released from the Dollhouse, she still has what Ballard calls the Dollhouse ‘architecture’ in her head. If this is the case, one would surmise that she can still be controlled if required.

Ah…and Summer Glau is finally in the House as Bennett, a migraine sufferer who wants to share her pain with the actives that she reprograms. It’s kind of unclear exactly who she is and who she is so twisted, but her quirky character and screwed up facial expressions are a perverse joy to watch.

Memorable Moments

  • Bennett torturing Echo; the episode ends as Bennett shuts off the security camera that was monitoring this transgression

Dollhouse Quotes

Ballard: So just how much danger is she in?
DeWitt: A former active once made a passing reference to us in his Blog. That was his last entry.
Ballard: So going before the United States Senate - that would be worse.
DeWitt: Considerably.

DeWitt: Any sympathy for Mr. Han would be misplaced. He was a serial rapist.
Ballard: I wasn’t thinking about him.

Ballard: What is it?
Topher: It’s the thing that if it doesn’t work exactly like it should won’t get me in trouble. I call it a disrupter. That’s not too Star Trek, is it? TOS? Hmm?

Bree/Echo: C’mon. I think I know where you can get some help.
Perrin: You want to take me to them? They’re all bad guys, Bree.
Bree/Echo: I think her bad guys are badder than my bad guys.

"I assumed we’d fill him with travel memories: a layover in Milwaukee; some turbulence; and something to explain any dehydration or disorientation: bad shrimp – or…or a film with a dog."
- Bennett