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Dollhouse the Target: Dark, yes. Disjointed, also yes.

February 24, 2009

After a long 3 minute intro, complete with a mostly unnecessary recap of the previous episode, Dollhouse unleashes The Target, its second episode.

Yes it’s dark and I like dark. But it’s also disjointed, claustrophobic and goes nowhere. The main plot that has Echo being hunted stands up well, but it still runs up against the problem that Echo is nobody, and Eliza Dushku can’t act. Here she’s given another imprint, which leaves her with the exact same personality she had in the last episode, except she likes hiking, and has four brothers who are Republicans. Guess who has two thumbs and doesn’t care?

Still if Echo being selected just for a bout of target shooting was the main story, that would be okay and would make for a decent episode. But it’s also overlaid with a lot of flashbacks. The decent kind involve Echo’s handler that pays off well at the end. But The Target is overlaid with a story involving Alpha, the possibly escaped serial killer doll, that manages to turn the episode’s conclusion into mush as we go from “Evil Rich Yuppie Hires Echo for Some Human Hunting” to “Huh, but Maybe Alpha was Involved.”

This ending really snatches defeat out of the jaws of a half-decent plot.

The real culprit though is the entire Helo storyline. Not only is this thing hitting every dumb cliche in the book, right down to the other agents mocking Agent Ballard for his preoccupation with the bizarre. Hello Spooky Mulder, Kate from Angel and Agent Ellison from Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles, that nice show before this one, along with cliche beaten into the ground. But the entire investigation insists on torturing us with a barrage of pointless stupidity.

Agent Ballard drags us back to the crime scene from last week to find a pair of Echo’s glasses. There he sneers at a bunch of other agents, including another Battlestar Galactica buddy, just to give the fanboys a fangasm, and distract us from the awfully bad scene, or from wondering why an FBI supervisor has an Irish accent. Then we’re treated to a drawn out scene of him encountering a beautiful woman next door who offers him a casserole only to have him turn her down, while she goes sadly back to her apartment feeling unwanted. The idea here is to emphasize how gorgeous Agent Ballard is, or how the stupid the episode is. Or both. Also we have Agent Ballard harassing a Russian crook on the phone. Because you know how the Russian mob is easily intimidated by prank phone callers or guys who threaten them with guns in urinals that they never actually see.

By the time the episode is over, you wish Agent Ballard would just die in some horrible way already. Also you wish the episode would end like 30 minutes faster. There is a nugget of a decent episode in Dollhouse the Target, but it’s overdone, overloaded with storylines, and still goes nowhere.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2009 12:57 am

    I agree 100% with everything you said. I was hoping this show would be good, but I’m not sure if it’s Ms. Dushku acting or the bad writing considering how simular her characters seem to be so far. Also I wanna say, the guy that pays the ‘doc’ who does the imprints…. I really, really, REALLY do not like that guy’s acting. At first I thought maybe it’s just the character, but no, if I imagine someone else playing the role with the same lines, it seems fine. WTF was wheldon thinking?

  2. drnormalblog permalink*
    February 27, 2009 3:42 am

    Apparently he was thinking that he wanted to cast Topher Grace from That 70’s Show in the part, but couldn’t get him.

    That’s my best explanation. Also it’s supposed to be some sort of commentary on how geeks are creepy perverts. See Buffy Season 6.

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