“You haven’t seen my drawer of inappropriate starches?” (ep7: Echoes)


Have I mentioned before that I’ve never written a recap of anything? Well, I haven’t. So here’s the disclaimer: i’ve never written a recap of anything, so I’m totally winging this. I’m watching the episode for a second time this morning while I write about it, so hopefully I won’t miss much of anything. I’m going to try to keep it pretty short though.

Oh, and, yanno, *spoilers*. Duh.

We start out with a flashback to Echo in her pre-Echo days and Miss DeWitte; they’re sitting in some version of an interrogation room. Caroline has been held without any information for two days, and DeWitte is there to make her an offer she can’t refuse. It’s clear that she’s a threat of some kind to the Rossum Corporation, but nothing is elaborated upon. It looks like they’ve been after her for two years, for something she saw.

There’s a trio of kids in a lab somewhere; Owen has apparently gone nuts as he’s playing with flies when the other two come in. Obviously something is wrong here. And I’m fairly certain that Owen probably would’ve knocked himself unconscious by the fourth or fifth time he banged his head into the plate glass window. Gives me a headache just thinking about it.

As it turns out, the Rossum Corporation, parent of the Dollhouse (should that be capitalized? I’m not sure) has created a new psychotropic memory drug that does a buncha technical shit I can’t quite explain, but suffice to say that it’s powerful and they aren’t sure how Owen got a hold of it, or if he’s selling it, or what. The only caveat is that the Dolls are immune, due to something or another.

Really, do we care? They’re immune because they need to be immune for the purposes of the story.

So all of the dolls are mobilized and given various and sundry useful personalities to deal with the situation. Owen ended up killing himself on the drug, so the objective is to contain its usage and, on Topher’s end, figure out an antidote for it.

Because of course Rossum is an EVIL corporation, so they create drugs without antidotes.

Echo is off on a different assignment while all of this is going on. DeWitte wants her not involved at all. Obviously the woman cares about Echo a great deal—i’m curious to find out why. It’s not yet been made clear, even as we learn why Caroline became Echo (well, at least part of it, anyway) in this episode.

There are a series of flashbacks throughout the episode. Some are straight up flashbacks, like the one at the beginning, and some are shown more as memories that are filtering through for Echo. (I knew she was going to have some sort of big event thing a la Alpha [who I desperately want to meet—how awesome would it be if the rumors are true and it’s Alan Tudyk?], but I didn’t think it was going to end up like it looks like it’s going to end up!)

It turns out that Caroline and her boyfriend discovered some of Rossum’s research on humans and the brain and that got htem into trouble. Caroline was one of those crazy animal-rights activists. Not that I disagree with her, I just am not that extreme. She finds a way to get into the Rossum building at her old campus (one and the same with the Rossum bldg of earlier, of course, and with the Rossum Corp), and they go in to get footage of the animals being used for testing. So they can post it on the internet and shame the corporation into policy change (uh, does that work? That seems awfully naïve to me.).

There’s not a whole lot in the way of development as far as Paul Ballard and his girl Mellie are concerned. She’s clearly been programmed to try to get him away from his obsession with Caroline and finding the dollhouse. She seems a bit different than she was before. Less of the fragile waif she was, all crushing and low self-esteem, more of a woman empowered, even if she does think it was luck. She ends up going away for a while, I guess to escape Ballard for a while. After all, they are neighbors. But we’ll see her again in the dollhouse itself. I’m not sure what they’re going to do there.

Seriously, Echo is dressed up like a super sweet whore of some sort this episode. I like the dress, actually, but those thigh highs are just horrid. Horrid, I say. I get that she’s supposed to be some sort of sweet girl willing to try whatever for the fantasy purposes of that dude, but ugh. Are we in Clueless, or something?

One thing I will say about Mellie? She’s got a great rack. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. She’s such a sweetie. And she has a nice voice, too, actually. I think I have a crush on her.

I like that this episode we start to learn a bit more about many of the characters. I love that Topher has a drawer of inappropriate starches. I have a drawer of inappropriate starches. Hee! In fact, I might have to go to work on Monday and label it as such. FINALLY we get some awesome Joss quotes. There are a few lines I will be saying for weeks after this: Ooooh, I could eat that word. I find lentils completely incomprehensible.

Echo does this weird thing the whole episode where she’s remembering things and not remembering them at the same time. Clearly she’s starting to recover things that are supposed to have been completely wiped clear of her brain. I really like that it’s becoming obvious that, despite all their technology and assurances to the contrary, the dolls are starting to recover themselves. I guess I can see possibilities of commentary on the power of the human brain, and of memory and things of that nature. I like that. I’m starting to see what I think Joss is getting at here, and i’m liking it more and more.

Naturally, this drug does affect the dolls as well as normal people. It makes them tweak out. They start remembering their previous lives, their previous imprints. It affects everyone. We see Mellie tweak out, freaking out over Paul’s obsession with Caroline, she starts going on about dumping the stock again. Echo has started remembering herself even before she seems to be affected by the drug. She is the one remembering her original personality, though. Both Viktor and Sierra also tweak with the effects of the drug. Sierra remembers events from being in the dollhouse, but Viktor seems to be remembering            somehting that looks to have been… real? I don’t know, it’s hard to frigging tell what’s an imprint, whose imprinted and with what, and what’s original. Woohoo, fun for everyone!

Perhaps Alpha did something similar. Since he was the very first doll. Or at least, that is what I’m gathering from, yanno, his name.

I’m wondering what’s going to come of Mr. Dominic. He clearly does not like the dolls, or the process of imprinting them, or much of anything as far as I can tell.

The reason behind all of this turns out to be the dude helping Echo get into the Rossum building. He and Owen had planned on taking it to a rival drug company to make bajillions of dollars off of it. He gave Owen a super dose in order to get out on his own, or something. Basically, he double crossed and accidentally murdered his own best friend.

Guess where he ends up at the end? Not surprising, really. I mean, Rossum is an EVIL corporation, after all. This appears to be how they take care of problems. Some evil corporations just have folks killed; Rossum turns them into dolls. I’m not sure if that’s better or not!

I have to say, i’m still a touch confused as to the amount of time lapsed between Leo’s death, and Caroline’s being absconded by Rossum and convinced to undertake doll-hood. Was this immediate? Or did they have to chase her for those two years that were mentioned earlier? I hope they make this a bit more clear in upcoming eps. And what, if any, is the relationship between DeWitte and Echo/Caroline? Is there one, really? Or is this just some kind of attachment, like the one Helo Ballard has for her?

(Oh, and I will totally comfort him while he misses Mellie.)

Oh, and did everyone see the preview for next week’s episode? I’m psyched, actually.

And… scene. How’d I do, y’all? Is that enough detail? Too much? Did I catch the important bits? Let me know what you think! And, of course, commence discussions right now!

And here is the preview of next week’s episode, in case you haven’t seen it yet!


16 Responses to ““You haven’t seen my drawer of inappropriate starches?” (ep7: Echoes)”

  1. yay! I don’t have much time right now, but I will say this: I really enjoyed this episode, not least because of the “drawer of inappropriate starches” (of which I need one, stat) and all the stuff between Topher and Adele. That was some funny stuff. I loved Dominic, too, when he was apologizing to Echo for trying to burn her to death. As for Mellie, I think I would have liked it better if she wasn’t actually a Doll, but a sleeper agent of some kind, without and knowledge that she was.

    I said to my friend a couple of episodes ago that “You can’t fuck around with the human brain without repercussion”, or something to taht effect, and I’m glad that the show is finally getting there as well. It’s a really interesting idea, and it’ll be fun to see where they take it. Next week’s episode does look good. I can’t wait!

    Good work, Lizzie! I’m excited for some discussion! When I’m done with errands and parties and papers and volunteering. Why did *this* have to be my busy weekend?!

  2. I enjoyed it as well. I have to snark on it, because that’s what I do, but I did enjoy it. It feels like it’s really picking up now, getting some steam going, yeah?

    I agree with you about not being able to fuck around with the brain w/o repercussions. I am glad that the show seems to accept that and is working with it.

    Yay, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Now, to get other people involved! Start commenting, folks! Join in teh discussion! Otherwise this turns into me and AvB geeking out together! 🙂

  3. …and also drooling over Balled/Helo. (I put Ballard first ’cause I’m not a BSG geek. Yet. I’m sure I will be at some point.)

    • hee! i understand. you can put Ballard before Helo. BSG is worth it. fo’ realz, yo. It has its ups and downs, but overall it is way worth it.

      • 5 christine

        Seriously. Even I like it, and I have never liked anything that takes place in space. I was barely through the mini-series before I found myself involuntarily saying “Oh my gods.”

  4. I thought it was okay. Not nearly as good as last week’s episode, but better than the earlier ones. I loved the scene between Topher and whatserbritishface, that was pretty funny.

    I don’t know. I WANT to love it, I do, but it’s just not connecting with me. Maybe I just can’t get past the premise of why anyone would hire a doll who thinks it’s an expert to do really serious stuff rather than just hire an actual expert.

    Obviously, I’ll keep watching it because I’m a Joss junkie, but I’m still not all in.

    Nice review, Lizzie!

    • “not all in”– I like that. That’s how I feel about it as well. I enjoy it, I do, especially these last two episodes. But I’m not particularly attached to it, as of yet.

      i’m hoping the current trend of improvement continues, and next week’s episode isn’t just a buncha bullshit. because i can see how it could go either way. but i’m going to try to keep the faith with Joss, and hope for the best.

      thanks for indulging my begging, Lainey. i do appreciate it. 🙂

  5. 8 jM

    These last two episodes have been an improvement but I’m still not sold. I like where it’s headed in terms of the dolls becoming self aware but I feel like I can telegraph everything that happens way before I should. And I am definitely not the brightest bulb in the… uh… bulb box. This episode was a turn in the right direction, though, especially the scenes between Topher and DeWitte (I thought Lainey wrote Whatserbitchface, and spewed soda all over myself). However, my biggest issue is and probably will continue to be, Echo/Eliza. She’s the weakest part of the show and I find myself wandering off when the story focuses on her. And, good GOD, I must’ve done the world’s biggest eye roll when they went all PETA on me. But I am growing more and more intrigued by the other characters and the anyone-can-be-a-doll possibilities. I definitely plan to stick with it as it’s still more interesting than most TV right now. I’m just not pumped for it, except for the Alan Tudyk rumor. How awesome is that?! And I hope that they make the whole evil Rossum Corporation angle interesting because I’m kind of getting a Wolfram & Hart vibe and I think they could do better than recycling old ideas.

    And is it just me or do they shoot Ballard/Helo really weird on this show? Something about his face always seems off, but then I turn to BSG and all’s right in my loins. But his body is always perfect. Yum.

  6. You know, I’ve been thinking about the Echo backstory issue. I think that’s not all there is to it. I mean, what did they really find out? Not a hell of a lot. I can’t imagine that’s the onl reason that Rossum would be after her, or that she would agree to have her mind erased. I really think we don’t have her whole story yet.

    Also, RIP Lorne. It’s not easy being green, baby, and you did it with grace and aplomb.

    • Indeed, RIP Lorney Tunes. He was absolutely my favoritest part of Angel. And I always loved his part in the end of the show.

      People need to stop dying.

      I see what you’re saying about Caroline’s backstory. GOod point. Here’s hoping that this is a typical Joss thing where it’s just slow building, and not just that the show is crap.

  7. 11 christine

    Peggy aka AnnaVonB sent me a link to your blog, like, two weeks ago and I am sorry that I forgot to check it until now. Looks like I need to subscribe because I have a mind like a sieve.

    Agreed that those stupid kneehigh stocking things were stupid. Also agreed that Mellie has a nice rack. I like the idea that she is a sleeper and not an actual doll… are we sure that is not the case? I mean, she was clearly activated by the “flowers in a vase”. Unless she’s always a doll and that activated a secondary layer of programming. But if that were the case, I would think they would want her to stick around close to Helo Ballard and not go off on her little vacay.

    All in all, the show is not as good as I want it to be. But I am holding out because, a) it is still better than most things that are on right now, and b) Joss takes awhile to find his legs. I watch the first season of Buffy purely for nostalgia and to mock the ridiculous outfits they put SMG in, and Angel season 1 is pretty weak as well.

    Last thing, I promise: I had been hoping Joss would find a place for Andy Hallet in Dollhouse at some point. So sad.

    • Yes, I forgot to mention how stupid the thigh highs were. Seriously, is part of the fantasy that it’s 1993?

      Ooh, it would have been so cool if Andy had been on… he could have walked in to Amy Acker’s character and been all like, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” *sigh*

      That’s another thing I’m a little … something about, is Amy Acker. They start things with her character, give her a hint of a back story, and then she’s just kind of in the background. Are they trying to do too much all at once, and so some characters are suffering from lack of development? Is that my problem with it, is the pacing? Hm. I’m having an epiphany as I type right now…

    • Also, hi Christine! 😀 Yay, I’m glad you came!

      • Hi Christine! Welcome! I’m glad Maggie sent you over here!

        I definitely agree with you that Joss can take his time finding his footing sometimes, and that most television these days is utter crap.

  8. I remember reading your comment on pajiba that you started a whole new blog just for this. Lizzie, I will totally check this out each week just for “Dollhouse” recaps and the like. Keep it going.

    First, I was so on the fence with Topher until I saw this: http://www.dollverse.com/2009/03/fran-kranz-topher-in-my-two-fans.html Somehow his creepy sexy thing really does it for me here, so I am now all of a sudden in love with Topher. Some things are inexplicable.

    But Toph, man, he has expressed certain levels of vulnerability in the past two episodes that have made me warm up to him.

    As for the rest, well, I could write a novel. DeWitte and Boyd are my two favorite characters so far, probably because they are the best actors in the series. I think strength lies in the ensemble cast and I hope that this show highlights that for the rest of the season.

    I was severely disappointed in Mellie’s character. I mean, HELLO! Helo is sexing it up with you and you dump him? I’m a feminist and a strong woman and all that, but damn. Just, damn. I am a BSG fan so the Ballard character is basically eye candy for me. I didn’t think it flowed well and I guess that has to do with Mellie being an actual ‘active’, instead of just a sleeper doll.

    I’m just waiting for Alan Tudyk’s turn as Alpha.

    • Welcome Rayliota! I’m psyched that you’re here!

      That video of Fran doing the creepy sexy thing is pretty awesome. Creepy… but awesome.

      I really like Boyd, and DeWitt is becoming increasingly interesting, I agree. I really need to go watch last night’s episode now!

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