Welcome to the second season of Dollhouse! No doubt, the shock of being granted a second chapter wore off long before the Fourth of July, but I hope fans remained excited enough to tune in. No need to wait for unprecedented DVD sales and feature film follow-up with this one, a la Firefly. With "Vows," Whedon & Co. springboard off their first season and deliver a Dollhouse (the show, the building, the staff...) inherently changed by Alpha's run of the place last spring.
Speaking of changes, Dr. Saunders' - I mean, Whiskey's had a hell of a time adjusting to the idea that everything she is was chosen by someone else. Her storyline, wrestling with her hatred for Topher, fit perfectly with where we left her. Amy Acker has never been a series regular and that hasn't changed, but she was really given a chance to take center stage in this episode. I hated that she was so angry and dark, but I can't say I blame her. Who wouldn't be? I mean, she didn't put "Bride of Frankenstein" on Topher's computer 'cause it was the only DVD available in The House.
In the first quarter of the episode, two of the suggestions I made in the final blog of last season came to fruition. Clearly Joss is a reader. I kid (seriously), but it was great to see a new opening title sequence and, more importantly, Liza Lapira's return as Topher's protege and juice-box fetcher, Ivy.
Agent Mr. Ballard
Arguably, Paul changed more than anyone else due to the events of the first season. He went from a frustrated FBI agent looking for any shred of proof that the Dollhouse existed to working for the organization but retaining his contempt for it. Angel fans will liken it to the gang's running of Wolfram & Hart in that series' fifth season. Can you work inside the belly of the beast without being digested?
By episode's end, he's already given up his resistance to being Echo's new handler and accepted that role. How many more compromises will he make and where will they take him?
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