Dollhouse 01×03 and 01×04: “Stage Fright” and “Gray Hour”

7 03 2009

Questions!

  1. Why on earth would anyone hire one of the Dollhouse actives to be a midwife?  This makes no sense whatsoever.
  2. Why can’t anybody just use normal security measures?  Why use Echo as a bodyguard when all Rayna’s manager really needed to do was find the Kevin Costner to Rayna’s Whitney Houston?

I liked “Gray Hour” a lot better than “Stage Fright” — in fact, I like “Gray Hour” better than any of the episodes so far.  (SPOILERS BEHIND THE JUMP) 

With “Gray Hour” the show seems to be settling in: the dialogue sounded more Whedonesque, and the plot was actually pretty gripping.  It makes SENSE for a client to hire actives to steal priceless (already stolen) art.  Plus, I have wondered what happens if an active loses her programming in the middle of a job, and this episode explored that in a way that was both suspenseful and provocative.  I’ve heard that the first three episodes show a lot of network tampering.  I hope that the rest of the season looks more like “Gray Hour” than like any of the previous three episodes.

I like the developing relationships among Echo, Sierra, and Victor.  Well — Echo and Sierra, anyway.  We haven’t really seen them doing anything with Victor other than just eating together.  But I’m such a sucker for strong friendships between women, and I do like that Whedon is giving us the potential for a really strong bond between these two women.  I’d like to see them pass the Bechdel test on a regular basis.

“Gray Hour” also introduced a new character: Topher’s assistant.  (Or did it?  Now I can’t remember whether she’s ever shown up before.)  I’m glad to see the cast becoming more chromatic, but I also wonder about stereotyping here: the image of an Asian-American woman in a lab coat hits pretty squarely in the middle of many stereotypes of Asian-Americans.  Plus she’s in a subservient position to Topher: he wants her to stock his fridge, and she tells him she won’t — but later in the episode, there she is, putting soda in the door.  That’s just awesome.

I do find it ironic that there are more actors of Asian descent in Dollhouse than there were in Firefly.  Then again, anything is better than zero.

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