TV Review: Dollhouse – Haunted


Dollhouse, Fox, Airs Friday 9/8c

Episode: “Haunted” (Season 1, Episode 10)

Synopsis: When a close friend of Adelle dies, we discover that the Dollhouse is capable of the most unexpected of services for the more prepared and well connected customer. Meanwhile, Ballard finds the charade difficult to maintain as Mellie tries to understand why he is so distant, and Topher makes an unusual request for the most human of reasons.

Review: Finally, a bit of a breather! It was by no means a bad episode, in fact it was quite enjoyable. However, it didn’t have the big reveal, the frantic pace or the shocking character development that has become a constant in the last month’s worth of episodes. This week’s focus was on the subtle character development. Boyd, Adelle, Topher and even Agent Ballard got to grow a little bit more, whilst Dichen Lachman proved yet again that she’s a versatile performer. Either that or she really is a tomboy with a head for “boy stuff”*.

It’s hard not to feel for Topher in this episode, which indicates exactly how well Fran Kranz pulls off his character. Once thought of as an odious jerk with absolutely no empathy or even humanity, he has grown into a likable little boy with a comic twist. Unfortunately all those things that we saw initially haven’t gone away, and so connecting with someone and finding a friend requires more mad science on his part. The idea of someone being completely alone on their birthday is saddening, but this goes beyond that right to pitiable. Maybe Boyd can take Topher under his wing, teach him how to meet women and eventually be his best man! …Or maybe not.

Poor Boyd. It’s like watching a parent running around after their child has gone off to college, only a thousand times worse because he knows that she’s not ready to be alone (and also probably has a psycho after her). However, he’s growing into the role of head of security nicely, obviously aided by his cop skills. It seems that this role may come into conflict with his affection and attachment to Echo in the coming episodes, but in the end he focuses on people more than his job. The connection made between the two was artificial on his end initially, but now she’s etched under his skin and he’d fight for her as he would his own daughter. Which, given her track record of scrapes, engagements gone awry and mishaps, he may well need to do.

Of course, he’s not the only one with a doll under the skin. Ballard is slipping under the weight of hiding his knowledge of Mellie’s true identity, especially with no end in sight. Although he gained an ally in this episode (not that she wasn’t already under the not-so-smooth-talker’s spell), he also lost a piece of himself. Each time he’s with Mellie, it looks like his moral compass takes a hit, as he starts to see himself as a bad guy too. The foreplay/sex scene between the pair was even a little intimidating, as Ballard looked to be teetering on the brink of losing control and Mellie’s quite fragile without her code-phrase to activate her ass-kicking skills. Whether he’ll completely snap or not is unknown, but the remorse and disgust he looked to be filled with whilst in the shower indicates that he’ll fight against it.

One final point. Why on earth can every single person, professional or layman, fight as though they’ve been training all their life? Margaret’s son and husband went at it with some finesse, finesse which I doubt that a random person pulled off the street would have. I’d like to see people fighting that actually look like they’ve never been in a fight before, just once. Not everyone spends their life beating people up!

*”Boy stuff” being the general term for it. No, I am not saying it’s just for boys. I am not a boy and take part in most of what they were messing with. Generalizations are so much handier than saying “stuff that is predominantly appealing for boys but also has a large female fanbase which actively takes part and also gets pissed when said stuff is generalized as being just for boys”. Don’t you agree?

Up Next Week: “Briar Rose” – Adelle searches for information in the darkest place in the Dollhouse. Meanwhile, Alpha returns and this time he means business.

Read More: Dollhouse Recaps

Did you watch Dollhouse this week? What’d you think?

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