TV Review: Dollhouse – Stage Fright


Dollhouse, Fox, Airs Friday 9/8c

Episode: “Stage Fright” (Season 1, Episode 3)

Synopsis: Echo (Eliza Dushku) is assigned to protect a singing sensation with a twisted overzealous fan, but inner loyalties to a doll friendship make the situation more complicated. Meanwhile, Agent Ballard (Tahmoh Pennikett) is closer to the Dollhouse than he realizes, but a twist regarding his Russian source (Enver Gjokaj) leads him into danger.

Review: Wow. For the first time, Agent Ballard’s quest shows signs of an interesting story. For a side plot which seemed so boring in the first two episodes, the mere small twist we saw this week was enough to light a fire under my interest levels and bring them up a degree or two. This could possibly be due to the small amount of progress made, or possibly because of the twist, however either way it’s a spark and apparently it set to be built upon in the next episode. Before tonight (i.e. for the whole two other episodes), the storyline remained steadfastly separate from the characters within the Dollhouse and therefore slightly removed from the audience. Bringing them into contact gives it a bit more life and depth, plus it serves as an important reminder that anyone could be a doll.

Back in the Dollhouse, things are getting more and more interesting. Again, the client selection was more than meets the eye, which is more than many people expect from a show like this. Plus in the course of the job, we learned Eliza Dushku could sing, who knew? It seems that Echo’s recall of past events and connections is getting stronger, as are her attachments to those in her life. The action taken to protect Sierra (Dichen Lachman) certainly seemed to be at the expense of the client, though things all worked out in the end. Dr. Saunders (Amy Acker) stated that prior to Alpha’s disintegration and psychotic break, he had the knack of thinking outside the box, so perhaps it really was all part of Echo’s grand design to rescue the songstress (Jaime Lee Kirchner) from herself. The exchange between the two dolls at the end of the episode poses some questions. How much does Echo remember? Why did she warn Sierra against coming over? How did she know that the men in suits disliked the idea of the two girls interacting?

It’s certainly clear why they moved this episode up in the airing schedule as with two strong early episodes in a row, solidifying the core audience and hooking new viewers should be an easier task. Word of mouth is far more positive now than it was after the premier, and lets face it, with Fox’s track record this is the most important thing. Unfortunately, despite all this the ratings slipped again and if the downward trend doesn’t stop soon, we may never discover the secrets of the Dollhouse.

Up Next Week: “Gray Hour” – Echo becomes a burglar so she can perform a dangerous art break-in. Meanwhile Ballard challenges Lubov/Victor and Adelle makes a disturbing confession.

Read More: Dollhouse Recaps

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

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