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April 24 2009

Dollhouse Has Gone "From 'Intriguing' to 'Freakin' Brilliant". Kristian Lin finds it "butt-kicking," "creepy," "morally shady" and "haunting."

Very positive review. I wholeheartedly agree that the show has gone from intriguing to freakin' brilliant. Now if we can just get everyone and his sister to flock to Hulu NOW...

By the way, how is it that there aren't any pics from Dr. Horrible or Dollhouse in the photo row at the top of Whedonesque? I say that, if Melaka Fray is up there, we need pics of Goggle Head and Echo.
I agree with pretty much everything she says... except that people should watch 'the target'... I really don't understand why people like that episode so much. I think it's atually worse than alot of the other early episodes. I prefer even the episode with the spoilt diva who wants to die.
It's good because it touches on the role of Alpha.
Plus, it focuses fairly heavily on Boyd, how he comes to the Dollhouse, how he's bonded with Echo. This episode also explains how Saunders got the scars.
I don't remember much Alpha stuff in The Target at all. All I remember is them talking about him, sayignt hat something horrible happened, and then vaguely connecting the mission to his machinations.
But the 'A' storyline seemed really contrived to me. It was like a bad episode of Law and Order. I'd prefer just a 30 minute highlight package of the first 5 episodes to get people up to date for episode 6.
What troubles me about Target is that it raised an important question that seems to have fallen by the wayside - who sent that guy after Echo? They said it wasn't Alpha, and it came before Dominic started gunning for Echo. Am hoping it will get resolved in time and not left hanging. There was no need to make the guy a hired assassin, he could have just been a nut, so I have to think it will go somewhere.
i thought they said, vaguely, that it probably WAS Alpha who sent the guy, and then left it at that. (Which I found unconvincing and sily.)
Here’s my recommendation: Start with Episode 2 (“Target”), which is a better intro to the show than the pilot, then skip directly to Episode 6 (“Man on the Street”) and proceed from there. The pilot and Episodes 3-5 are of variable quality. They’re meant to be seen on their own.

I agree with this except I'd say skip "Echoes." And I suspect (but hope not!) that this week's episode might be another hiccup in the must-watch timeline.

I really don't understand why people like that episode so much

"The Target" is a good presentation of the show concept and introduces a lot of things that have resonated already or will resonate later. It gets the Boyd/Echo relationship across really well, has awesome Boyd badassery and emoting, introduces the Boyd/Echo bonding script, flips the bonding script and their roles, shows Echo drugged and remembering stuff, has Jenny/Echo fighting a jerk and the notion that she's unworthy, flashes back to very scary Alpha scenes, establishes his whereabouts and activity as a line of intrigue, and begins the Dominic creepiness in earnest. I didn't dislike "Ghost," but I think "Target" did a much better job of introducing the main elements of the show to the audience. Also if I recall correctly, it was the debut of both Topher's juice boxes and the Squigglies. Which, for me, are very important Topher elements.

I wouldn't say it's my favorite episode, but it was a good one and definitely the best so far in terms of combining an engagement-of-the-week with the longer plot and character development arcs.
... except I say skip "Echoes."

I loved Echoes, but it seemed to trigger a "loved it / hated it" response here on Whedonesque. I enjoyed the humor.
Again, didn't dislike it myself, but for a mini-marathon to give the series a new or second shot, it's a weak spot.
I don't get the "skip this an this episode" attitude. Watch 'em all and see what a show is about. Like people shows are good because of their ups as well as their downs.
Yeah, by not watching "Stage Fright", you miss the adaption-of-the-mission that Echo does to save Sierra, let alone the head shake.

If you skip "Gray Hour", you miss the whole "I'm not broken" bit which is again emphasized in "Spy".

If you miss "True Believer", you miss out on the "we have people already volunteering for this sort of control (like a cult) in our society" ties. AND you miss Victor's man-reactions that lead to him being a suspect in MotS. This is the first time he & Sierra show their connection to each other.

If you miss "Ghost", you miss out on how these manipulations can really be put to good use (saving someone's life). This episode also holds the keys to the chocolate factory- it states "nothing is what it appears to be", "we're great humanitarians" "who could be put in jail if anyone ever found out about this place", and that it seems that it was Caroline's "choice" to be here. I know we seem to skim over this first episode, but it really does (in a subtle way) tell you what issues are going to be brought up in this show... and doesn't necessarily leave you with the closure of giving you answers. I think it's important.

So, yeah, I agree with Pretty_Hate_Machine. Each episode has a lot to contribute. I don't think you can fully appreciate the later 7 without understanding this subtleties along the way.
I agree, korkster, but as far as getting people to watch, I don't think they need to fully appreciate the first time through. It'd be great if they did, but if watching MotS first leads them to watch the show, even if they miss some themes, then I'm happy. If they quit after Stage Fright, I'm not so much.
if watching MotS first leads them to watch the show, even if they miss some themes, then I'm happy

And, in fact, unless people want to spend money, or pirate, they can't start at the beginning because the Hulu and FoD streams expire. But speaking of starting with MotS, that's exactly what happens for Watch DOLLHOUSE Week, which begins Monday, 4/27. (Digg it?)
Some episodes are a better introduction to a world than others. This does not meant the others are bad episodes or don't contribute to an arc. You just don't need them to get the arc.
You never really know what episode will get a person interested in a show. I wasn't interested in Buffy (despite the begging of friends and family) until I watched Something Blue. I don't know how many people would say that's the must watch introduction.

It helps if you know the friend you're introducing and what aspect of the story would interest them, but still, you never know.
Of course. These are just suggestions, not rules of any kind. But I think this show has struggled to find its feet, and some episodes are surer-footed than others, as it were.
I actually have been hesitant to try to get people to watch the show because of the early episodes. I got some friends to watch at the beginning, but they soon turned it off after a few episodes (as I would have if I didn't trust that Joss Whedon couldn't make a bad tv show). Trying to get them to give it another try is problematic. I think you need some sort of intro before jumping into MOTS, but I don't think Ghost was a particularly great pilot for the series. I think The Target serves adequately as a pilot and sets up some of the major plot points for the series (even though the A story was just okay imo).

So I'd agree with the author's suggestion completely. The Target and then skip to episode 6. I have mixed feelings about Echoes. I think it came a little too early in the life of the show to feel right. The humor doesn't seem earned and is therefore a little awkward and forced. I probably would have loved an episode like that late in the second or even third season. The last two episodes have completely rocked though.

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