Miraculously, Fox somehow didn't cancel Dollhouse, so here we are. It was clear from the beginning that this episode has more purpose than most of the first episodes last season. The second season is where lots of shows succeed. After tinkering around in the first season it seems Dollhouse has found it's place. I'd be perfectly content with episodes like this every week and not some random sexcapade that marred a couple episodes.
The engagement of the week seemed straightforward. Echo was going to marry some weirdo named Martin Klar played by Jaimie Bamber. That sounds fine, right? Of course not, Joss wrote this episode and learned from the mistakes of last season. It is in fact Ballard who is the client using Echo to marry Klar who is an arms dealer. Echo believes Ballard is still in the FBI and she is just helping in an official investigation. The plan unravels quickly with Klar's crony Hugo getting pictures of them together. This seemed like a cop out especially considering the secrecy of the Dollhouse but I get that it was done to advance the plot.
Echo tries to open a desk while unbeknownst to her Klar is standing right outside. This is where Jaimie Bamber proved his worth as he went from calm to super crazy, beating on Echo. This triggers Echo to start having flashes of previous engagements. Her handlers are so stupid they don't realize anything is wrong and it takes Ballard to call Topher. He confirms that she experienced pain and wildly changing chemical levels indicating a concussion. Klar takes her to a hangar and Paul confronts him. Echo starts cycling through a couple personalities and Ballard comes up with a plan. He starts hitting her, and activates her fighting personality. She beats up everyone and stops Klar from getting away. It was a great action sequence and made me want more badass Echo.
This was definitely one of the better engagements since it wasn't all about adventure or sex (ok, that one scene was nice). Eliza Dushku did a great job being the good wife (great show btw), FBI agent, and being confused after being smacked around. I hope this improvement continues since she was shaky last season.
The most intrigue of the series happens inside the Dollhouse which is where the focus should be. Dr. Saunders was having trouble coping with the fact that she herself is one of the dolls. I can just imagine how crushing it would be to learn that your entire existence is just so digital information shoved into your brain and the writing and acting certainly invoked this. Amy Acker is such a wonderful actress and I'll be disappointed she'll only be a recurring character this season. Boyd wants to have dinner with her, but then she rattles off a list of things she is afraid of. Of course this is predicated on the fact that these were all designed into her. Boyd says that they are simply excuses.
Her interaction with Topher and pretending to want to have sex with him was a really disturbing scene that made you feel sorry for Dr. Saunders and made you hate Topher less. He's a genius and has at least some trouble grasping with exactly what he does to people. In the end, Dr. Saunders drives off leaving us for a couple episode. She'll appear in only 2 more episodes so I hope she gets as much screen time as she did today.
Alexis Denisof of Buffy and Angel made his first appearance as Senator David Perrin. He has his sights on Rossum and isn't backing down. All we saw of him was a measly press conference so we don't know anything really, but from all accounts, he plays an important role this season.
There could be a weird possibly of a love triangle between Adelle, Sierra, and Victor. In the beginning of the episode, Adelle feels his face and at the end, Victor and Sierra hold hands and smile at each other. Is that too much of a stretch? Victor and Sierra like each other naturally, but Adelle has the ability to make Victor like her.
The big kicker was at the end. Echo tells Ballard she remembers everything. She is all of them (the personalities), but no of them is her. Ballard tells her the real her is Caroline, the imprint that originally belonged in her body. She has grand vision of finding the real person in everyone and asks for Ballards help. He obviously goes along. What better way to indulge an obsession when the obsession asks for help.
I know many people stopped watching last season and for good reason, but it's time to jump back in. The quality has improved and the show seems to have a purpose and direction. With the last scene, everyone is coming back for more, right? I know I am.