Dollhouse Review - 1.04 'Gray Hour' Part 1 - Featured

Well, four episodes in and we're picking up pace nicely. For all ye faithful Dollhouse viewers who have been glued and gripped by Whedon's new project, I'm certain you were very happy with this week's offering.

'Gray Hour' provided us with the background and answered some of the questions we were having about the 'science' behind imprinting the actives. And of course it dealt with the ultimate one: What happens if something goes wrong with an active in the field?

We open really with Topher and Boyd looking at Echo, Sierra and Victor seemingly having a nice lunch and discussing that in their Tabula Rasa state, even with no memory of each other, they still have an instinctive bond together. I think that will definitely be a big factor in later episodes if the show is going the direction I think. Hopefully you think it too. Yep, you guessed it! Probably a showdown with Alpha. Just my thoughts though.

The plot this week is kind of simple once more. But I care quite little about the jobs the actives do and rather more on the mythology of the Dollhouse like; Who does Miss DeWitt take orders from? The problems with the imprinting and wiping of the actives and definitely about the past when Alpha went 'wrong' and what his motives are with Echo. 'Gray Hour' had a little Greek feel with Echo being a skilled professional thief pulling a Trojan Horse trick to get into a hotel vault to steal a piece of the Parthenon.

On a sidebar, once again I didn't get the sense that Echo was anyone different. That's not a plot twist but rather Miss Dushku not pulling off different characters. Taffy was just like Faith and whoever Echo was last week. Anyways, Taffy and her band of merry men get double crossed by the antique dealer they brought with them and get locked in the vault. Not a problem for Taffy, but during her call to Boyd...a mysterious transmission to her cell phone takes Taffy out of the picture and brings Echo forward in her Tabula Rasa state.

I think we weren't supposed to be fooled that Alpha was behind this. As Topher himself later explains that he only knows of one person that could do a remote wipe...and he was dead. We heard in episode two I think that he believed Alpha was dead but us gentle viewers who get to see Miss DeWitt in her office, heard that he is not.

A fantastic contingency plan was put into effect this week and answered a theory I had thought about; Can two actives be imprinted with the same personality? Yes they can! Sierra is given the Taffy imprint and I must say that Dichen Lachman who plays Sierra gave a great performance 'echoing' (excuse the pun) Eliza Dushku's version of Taffy. She is an Australian actress who used her own accent last week but had a nice American one this week. On another sidebar, so far Lachman is the actress who can show a real change in personality with her imprints and Sierra is my favourite active. Sorry Echo, but Sierra has bailed you out twice now!

Sierra/Taffy finally gets through to Echo before the Gray Hour is over but unfortunately Echo messes up the escape form the vault. Not her fault as Echo is a blank slate and has no skills to call upon. As the police are gathering, Miss DeWitt is deciding to terminate Echo to leave no trace of the Dollhouse. Understandable as she just sees the actives as assets to her organisation that can be replaced. Something Alpha found frustrating no doubt? Well, the termination is canceled when Echo escapes to meet Boyd and gets all sorts of tests done. Crisis averted and the job for the client was done...barely, but done. The teaser at the end is nice as Miss DeWitt lets Topher into her inner circle of what she knows about Alpha, since she probably sees the same faults that happened with him starting for her new actives.

Continue to Part 2


Default avatar cat
Mar 9, 2009 9:02AM EDT

At this point, I'd like to see Dushku get a character that's vastly different from the usual tough-chick bit. She's hasn't shown much breadth, but how much margin can you get between tough-bodyguard and tough-thief? Either she can play something different or not, let's at least see her get the shot.Though I will say, her 'blank' personality is pretty good, nice to see it for a full episode.
Lachman has had the benefit of going from dorky-fan to tough-thief, so at this point she is looking a bit better.

Default avatar cat
Mar 9, 2009 12:16PM EDT

i think so too, I would really like to see Dushku in a different character - its kind of onesided :/ i like Lachman more in this show, because she seems to be a really capabale actress.

Default avatar cat
Mar 10, 2009 11:13AM EDT

I think this is going to begin to resemble Alias too much. I like the show and will continue to watch it but they think Dushku has to be all sex, all the time and it seems to limit her character.
I agree with freetv22 about the Tabula Rasa character but that could get old soon too.
My guess on Alpha is that he is related to Echo in some way. This could be why he snapped.

Mar 10, 2009 12:23PM EDT

She hasn't just been playing the 'tough' all the time though. She was that liason in the very first episode, and I thought she played that fantastically well.I think it's hard for her because of many who are watching will know her only as Faith, and always see Faith, especially when she is kicking butt.I wouldn't underestimate her though, if she gets a chance I think we'll see some brilliant stuff from Miss Dushku.

Default avatar cat
Mar 10, 2009 1:51PM EDT

Agreed, they do have her oversexed. 4 episodes in Echo hasn't made it through a full 45 minutes wearing a shirt. The costumes are getting a bit over the top.
Hopefully they'll tone it down and start giving her some new material.

Default avatar cat
Mar 13, 2009 11:10PM EDT

Eliza's subtleties in the distinctions between characters is in her facial expressions and slight voice modulation. In the obvious sense to the obvious senses, she's great at mannerisms and body language. I'm not biased, just appreciative when it's due.
And a remote wipe should be impossible because it doesn't make sense enough to actually work in theory. In the chair, Topher seems to use invisible forces reactive to brain waves to accomplish mind wipes and personality planting. But a screech over a phone shouldn't have done it, like maybe it was supposed to trigger a permanent tabula rasa imprint installed in her head that had just been brought to the forefront. By itself, there couldn't have been any extraction of memory. But it was stated that the phone had wiped her. So did it damage her? Like trauma-induced amnesia?This wasn't a handheld portable version of whatever technology the chair is, BUT A PHONE!

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