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Last night I finally caught up with episode 3 of Dollhouse season 2. First off, I’m overall intrigued by the direction the show is taking, especially considering initial misgivings about Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) joining the Dollhouse as an insider/handler. Additionally, I’m more and more impressed by the performances of Enver Gjokaj, who plays the doll “Victor” and has a hilarious turn in this episode after being accidentally imprinted with the psyche of “Kiki.” And let’s not overlook Eliza Dushku—she’s grown leaps and bounds since her days as Faith, and is especially impressive at the end of this episode when she takes on the persona of a psychotic serial killer.
Acting acrobatics aside, the episode establishes an extended metaphor, likening “actives” to the victims of a demented serial killer. While Victor is imprinted with the mind of a serial killer to help find the real killer’s victims, Echo is imprinted with that of a silly, hyper-sexual college girl in order to fulfill the fantasy of a Medieval Literature college professor (hence the episode’s title “belle chose”). In each case, the writers suggest that victimhood extends only so far as the victim is unwilling to fight back. After accidentally switching imprints with Victor, Echo emerges out of the serial killer’s mind in a moment of temporary clairvoyance and asks her would-be victims to kill her, once and for all. It’s an intriguing suggestion, and poses the greater question of whether she would be better off dead than living as a human shell without an identity.
Overall, the episode sets up some very difficult questions about what makes us human, while simultaneously throwing in a bit of dark humor during Victor’s big dance scene (Gjokaj has got some serious moves).
My one gripe (yes, here it comes) is this: It is completely implausible that a Medieval Literature college professor would have the resources necessary to hire a Doll. Erasing peoples’ minds and reprogramming them to be whoever you want? That’s good science fiction. But beyond-your-wildest-dreams wealthy literature professors? That’s just plain nonsense. Nobody gets paid that much to teach Chaucer.
Tahmoh Penikett is well on his way to the top of my celebrity crush queue. Given that I really only have one other celebrity crush, and he’s not even really a celebrity (unless you count lead singers of semi-obscure indie bands as celebrities), it’s not exactly a huge milestone. However, it would appear that Tahmoh is fast becoming everyone’s celebrity crush, at least according to google.
Having recently finished Season 1 of Dollhouse (sans Epitaph One—hurry up netflix!!), Tahmoh has established himself as the simultaneously tough yet sweet good guy who really wants to save the girl/cylon/doll. If you listen to the commentary by Joss Whedon for the episode “Man on the Street” (the episode of dollhouse that had me saying “WOW” out loud), it’s clear that even Whedon has a mancrush on Tahmoh. He’s just that awesome, and here’s a few reasons why:
1. He’s from Whitehorse, Canada. Have you ever been to Whitehorse? I have. It’s in the Yukon Territory, and its remote but beautiful. For some reason that’s a huge selling point—Canadians rule!
2. He’s a trained Muay Thai fighter. So not only does he act like he kicks ass on television, he actually can kick ass.
3. He’s funny. I saw him at a tiny Battlestar Galactica convention in Chicago about 3 years ago, and he was pretty hilarious and swoon-worthy. Sigh.
Anyways, I’ve linked up there at the top to an interview he recently gave IGN on the new season of Dollhouse, including some semi-spoilery things about Jaime Bamber’s guest role on the season premier. Check it out!
Season 2 of Dollhouse starts this Friday, Sept. 25th.
On the recommendation of a friend, I think I’ll be giving Dollhouse another try. Network shows tend to fall off my radar when I get too busy with work—the first season of Dollhouse fell victim to this phenomena, as did Fringe. The list of new guest stars for Season 2 of Dollhouse includes some of my favorites from BSG, as well as Alexis Denisof (aka Wesley Wyndam-Pryce!), making for some very compelling reasons to catch up before the premiere. Will Dollhouse become a casting chimera of past Whedon shows and BSG?