Recap: "Man on the Street"

In this highly touted, game-changing episode, Agent Ballard's quest for the truth finally came to a head this week, while the Dollhouse staff investigated the abuse of Sierra.

If you're reading this, you're no doubt interested in the public's overall opinion of the show. It's clear that the chief criticisms of the program are its lack of Whedon wit and the standalone nature of the stories coming from the writers' room.

While just this week Joss spoke with about the lack of funny, the knocks on the show's pacing have been around for quite some time. For weeks, the Whedonites on the web have been saying that it's this episode, "Man on the Street," when the reins were loosened on Joss & Co.

While there will no doubt be some out there who are disappointed, I found the episode to be extremely satisfying. I tried to avoid setting expectations too high in last week's column by pointing out that, based off the production buzz, it's this episode that starts Joss' true vision. Not defines it. All I was looking for in this episode was a culmination of many of the threads set up in the previous five episodes and even without the involvement of Alpha, the writers managed to fulfill that expectation.

The episode's framework involved "man on the street" interviews of the denizens of L.A. commenting on the Dollhouse, which has been an urban legend in the city since the late 80s.

"Victor likes to pretend. He pretends we're married."

Victor notices Sierra does not sit with Echo and himself as she normally does and instead, sits alone. He places his hand on her shoulder to invite her over and she begins to scream in terror.

Dr. Saunders gives her a physical examination and determines that Sierra has had sex since returning from her last engagement. Combined with her comments about Victor and his man reaction from "True Believer," the staff's concern is that Victor is a ticking time bomb. Sierra's handler, Hearn, pushes for Victor to be thrown in The Attic. Echo tells staff members she hears Sierra cry in their pods at night.

Could Sierra and Victor have known each other before being brought into the Dollhouse? There was a knowing glance exchanged between Boyd and Dr. Saunders in these early scenes. This look could have been in reference to the previous incidents between Victor and Sierra but I don't think Boyd was privy to those situations. Perhaps they were lovers in their previous lives and that just can't be erased.

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