I made myself watch it. Which was actually pretty easy to do. Easier than making myself finish it, anyway.
The storyline had Echo programmed to be a backup singer to a Beyonce-style pop singer who was being stalked by a homicidal fan. Eliza got to sing. Fox got to have a hot chick in Red Sonja clothes singing bad songs. And we got an After School Special look into the tormented life of the poor pop diva, who finds herself molded into what other people want her to be…hey! Just like Echo!
Great Toasted Jesus With Gravy, I hope it gets better than this. The entire middle third or more was just pure tedium. The final act picked up somewhat, as Echo went “off task” (because she’s been so reliably on task on every other job we’ve seen her on, right, she just never malfunctions) and got creative in solving the problems with her own take on her mission parameters. There was something genuinely cool in that, in the implication that she’d recognized Sierra, and in the little headshake she did back at the Dollhouse, after her Tabula had allegedly been Rasa-ed again.
The problem so far is that the Dollhouse itself, and its workings, and the effects of the personality implanting process on the Actives, is the most interesting stuff in the show, and the structure of the show shoves all that cool stuff into the background and focuses on stand-alone TV stories that could be from any mediocre TV action-drama. A smart hostage negotiator tries to help a kidnapped girl and faces the demons from her own past. A person finds herself hunted by another human for sport (and we’ll call the predator “Richard Connell” just to let you know this is homage, not just another tired retread of Connell’s story “The Most Dangerous Game.”) A pop diva is stalked by a dangerous fan…
Who the fuck cares?
I want to know all the cool stuff without having to suffer through the stuff that’s basically just a humdrum anthology show. I am genuinely interested in Echo, in what’s going on in her head, in her relationship with the other Actives and her handler, and in what the repercussions of her apparent re-growth as an individual of some sort may be. But damn, I hope the stories she finds herself thrust into are going to be way better than this, or we’ll never see much of that cool stuff because this show will die. And unlike Firefly, which Fox royally screwed, it’s going to deserve what it gets.