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Dollhouse – Stage Fright
Stage Fright was my favorite episode of Dollhouse so far, but that does not say it was without fault. Far from it. Echo is programmed to protect a pop star by becoming a backup singer in her entourage. The biggest issue I have each week is that the missions do not seem cool enough, they have limited action, and do not seem as grandiose as one would think for an operation like the Dollhouse. One of the other storylines involves Ballard starting to get a little closer to finding out some information about the Dollhouse. This leads to some people with connections to the inner workings of Dollhouse trying to stop him for good.
Jaime Lee Kirchner, as Rayna Russell, and Graham Norris, as the crazy fan, are both good casting choices. Jaime played Rayna as some self centered, over dramatic pop/R&B singer, which is to say she played the part perfectly. Graham played the crazy fan as someone smart enough to accomplish all the crazy thoughts he has going on in his head about Rayna and himself. I have already hit on the rest of the regular cast in previous reviews and nothing has changed so far. As usual for the rest of the episodes we have already seen, the Echo as an “active” weekly story line is the weakest part of the episode. It was very similar to the movie of the The Bodyguard for my wife’s tastes, but for me I felt more engrossed in this storyline over the first two episodes. Minor annoyance for me though, and it happens often in other shows as well not just in Dollhouse, when you are filming a crowd scene for a concert keep it tight, make me feel like it is a huge crowd. When you pan out during a concert scene and can see the back wall and the small crowd of extras the immersion factor goes way down for me.
We do get a bit of insight as to why someone would want to hire an “active” over a professional this week. We already know about them not having a memory of the assignment, so that is a great thing for those discrete clients, but what about the ability to program in caring for the person they are protecting? That should mean they will go more out of their way to protect them, or at least that is the theory that you can debate. Sierra who is getting a more active roll on the series then I thought originally, plays a weird plot point this week as an “active”. Yes I understand why she was there for backup, but why is she programmed with no fighting skill, and to just be demure? She could have had a better programming job for her assignment this week. Also, I may have mentioned it before, but why does the Dollhouseuse hard drives for data storage, give us something cool like holographic memory. One of the cool moments in this episode we find out that Lubov works for the Dollhouse, but probably does not even know it. We also get a whole bunch of new questions about Ballard popping into our heads (what is up with his neighbor), and Laurence is still a jack ass.
This episode had a bit better story this week, but as I have stated in the previous reviews, the meat and potatoes of this story lies in the story going on behind the scenes at the Dollhouse. We see Sierra and Echo have a moment at the end while they pass each other that screams “you are not erasing everything”, and that is why I keep tuning in each week.