Dollhouse Review 1.10 - 'Haunted' - Featured

Quite an interesting episode from Dollhouse last night as it re-raised and answered a question from the pilot episode 'can dead people be brought back to life if their mind was scanned prior to death?'. Well, it seems they can in the Dollhouse and it's done quite cleverly also. Yes, a former client and dear friend to Miss DeWitt has had suspicions that someone was going to murder her so she had her personality imprinted and stored. With her memory completed to three weeks before she died, Miss DeWitt was able to 'install' her friend, Margaret, into Echo so she can solve her own murder. Who says extreme paranoia in thinking everyone is trying to kill you doesn't pay off? Miss DeWitt though does describe it as a one-time deal. As Boyd mentions in the episode, if they could offer the ability for people to live forever then the Dollhouse would be the most sought after place more as the 21st century Holy Grail. This also explained some of the technology behind the Actives more as well. It gave the opinion that when Topher imprints a personality he does take away their memory a little bit so it's more of a character wash-over than actually being that person. Obvious thing being to wipe their memory so that if they looked in the mirror, the active wouldn't be shocked into seeing someone else. But in this instance it was fine to just leave the whole thing in as requested by Margaret.

It was a great episode in that it shows us how real relationships to people can be. Margaret was able to go to her own funeral and see through the eyes of an outsider what people really thought of her. Also it gave the chance to see how they reacted after her death, especially since she believes that foul-play was afoot behind her death. Margaret was able to find out about how her daughter felt unappreciated without Margaret showing interest in her photography work, how her alcoholic brother was returning to see her to mend a broken relationship, how her young husband really loved her, and finally, what a scumbag her son was. A degenerate gambler who would try to profit from his own mother's death.

Topher and Ballard showed us something about the fakeness of some relationships too. Topher was quite content to have a 'play-buddy' in Sierra (once again outstanding acting from her this week!), even though he knew she wasn't a real person, just by having a close connection to another living being made him happy and not isolated from the world. From the secret message through November, Ballard now knows his relationship with Mellie was false and she is just an active spying on him. Though, to keep up appearances, he plays along in that to avoid suspicion. He finds it hard but in the end, gives in to lust and delves into the realm of the depraved human need for physical contact and sexual desire. Humans can be sickingly instinctual at times when their desires are tested.

Then in the end, Miss DeWitt shows us the relationship of true friendship. After solving her own murder in such a Clue way that has been portrayed countless times on television, Margaret has to say goodbye and give Echo back to the Dollhouse. In a sweet way, they were able to say that to each other before the end. Not many people get the chance to say goodbye or to make amends with their lives before they die, but Margaret and 'Julia' had that chance and made the most of it. Margaret was able to see how people truly felt about her and the impact she had on other's lives.

I'll leave you there to ponder and speculate the relationships you have in your own lives. Two episodes left and nothing building up to Alpha's whereabouts but hopefully we're in for a good finish for the season. Hopefully not forever. Save Dollhouse!!


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Apr 26, 2009 12:32PM EDT

It's a bit rough to call the human need for physical contact and sexual desire as 'depraved', (I thought part of the intensity was anger because he was virtually having to 'pay along' not knowing if he was being watched or not, therefore feeling as used by the dollshouse as poor Melle) but otherwise an excellent review! Thanks!

Default avatar cat
Apr 28, 2009 3:33PM EDT

"depraved human need for physical contact and sexual desire" = wrong
im not gonna delve in the human psycology to explain why is wrong so besides that exellent review

Default avatar cat
Apr 29, 2009 2:51AM EDT

whoa, guys, it was just a literary joke the same that Oscar wilde or Shakespeare would make. I'm not shunning the human experience but meerly focusing on the point that through November, the Dollhouse is able to control Ballard.

Jul 8, 2009 10:25AM EDT

Excellent review of this episode!! Are you reading a bit much into the Ballard/Mellie incident, though? I think on a subconscious level Ballard hopes that by pushing the boundaries of their relationship Mellie will 'come to her senses' and stop him, that she will behave more like a real person and not a doll. Of course, that doesn't happen because she has been programmed to be submissive and cater to his every need. When he says he has "found a client" he has to come to terms with the fact that by being around Mellie he is becoming just the type of person he hates.What a shame as I feel Tahmoh has a lot more chemistry on-screen with Miracle than he does with Eliza!

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