Eternal Sunshine of the Kickass Spies

Like the title ? I think it’s the best I can do… whatever I’m tired.

Today we’ll be talking about Dollhouse, the new show from Joss Whedon. I planned to write a review here after watching three episodes, but I watched the first four instead. This fourth episode really changes the tilt of this review…

I had low expectations for this show. Quite low. I hammered it for ripping off Street Fighter. I goofed on Joss for going back to Fox after all the abuse they have given him… The premise is that there’s a secret enclave full of “dolls”, which are people that can have their memories and personalities wiped and swapped. These dolls are used for all kind of cloak and dagger and secret agenty type stuff. Of course, each episode can have the dolls specialize in a different thing, since they can have knowledge of certain skills implanted in their heads with the personalities.

Pretty typical science fiction fare… it looks like it’s going to end with the dolls slowly becoming aware and escaping. Whatever though, Joss isn’t known for his originality so much. I’ll be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by this show… at least for the first two episodes. It has some pretty good characters so far. It felt like it was starting to grow on me.

Episode three was a little shaky for me. It wasn’t outright bad, but it was a little weaker than the previous two. Episode four set up a really cool situation. Echo (played by Eliza Dushku) has been given the personality of a master thief of sorts in order to break into a vault and steal an artifact. After answering her phone, something goes wrong and her memory is wiped while she is on the job, causing her to revert back to her “blank” child like state. One of the crew betrays them and locks them in the vault. So now they’re trapped and she has lost her super thief skills. This is shaping up to be pretty cool…

She and the other robbers prepare to make a last stand in the vault. The guards are approaching… it shows them all loading their guns. There are a few other operatives from the Dollhouse working to try and get them out before they are discovered in the vault… 

… it ends with Echo just kinda leaving through the hole in the wall that she used to enter the damn vault to begin with…. encountering no resistance on her way out. Meaning they never were really trapped… meaning she and the other robbers had SOME kind of escape route the whole time… meaning the last stand was completely unnecessary. There were many diversions and dangling parts of the episode that didn’t shape up to anything too… The whole episode felt like it was artificially stretched to hit that Fox “remote free tv” format.

The show still shows promise, but the last two episodes have left me a little disappointed. I’ll keep an eye on it for a few more episodes and see how it shapes up. So far, it really deserves the mixed reviews it’s been getting.


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March 2009
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