Sunday, March 15, 2009

Another Week, A Lot More Bad Acting

Dollhouse: True Believer
Season 1, Episode 5

We'll keep things slightly brief this week. As every review on the internet is pointing out, its next week's sixth episode that will start the rocking off of our socks. But let's not put all the weight on Whedon saving the day for this show. Especially since his debut episode doesn't really rate much more than an F. I'm beginning to think there might be no salvation for this show besides cancellation.

In a minor advancement for Agent Ballard, he receives the video of Echo pre-Dollhouse that we saw Alpha watching in the first episode. It doesn't add much for the story. Although I personally enjoy the cold shoulder he keeps giving his obviously love-struck neighbor. Sorry honey, Elisha Dushku is the star of this show. But its very encouraging that he's at least closing in on the trail of Echo, just missing her in the cult ranch. If this show is ever going to start turning around, it might be when these two finally get in a room together.

The When Dolls Fall in Love humor-based storyline lets Amy Acker kick Fran Kranz' butt... in the acting sense. They're observing Dolls in the showers to determine why Victor is having "man reactions" while in his wiped states. It might have something to do with the showering next to naked women everyday. I mean we understand you wipe them and they're basically children. As I understand it puberty follows childhood fairly often. Despite some nice moments for one of my favorite Angel veterans, this storyline is yet ANOTHER repetition of the "Dolls are glitching out" plot that is being revisited every week. And why are we so concerned with Echo then? Shouldn't she be fairly unique? The good alternative to Alpha's bad? Otherwise, why isn't Sierra or Victor the main character of the series? Or as I've argued for weeks now Ballard or Boyd? None of this serves to do much except make the lead character seem even MORE commonplace.

Echo's storyline is once again the weakest aspect of the show... her adventures really need to stop being the A-plot of every episode. The main problem is that Tim Minear's script doesn't make an effort to give the cult a specific belief structure. And the idea that the ATF would waste this one opportunity to investigate the cult with an untrained operative that nobody besides this one creepy Senator has ever met before??? There goes my B-S alarm again... hold on. The fact that most of the followers are put off on the idea of guns being in the compound makes it hard to believe they're a legitimate threat.

On the outside of the compound, the best conflict of the episode occurs between Boyd and the ATF agent who set up the entire sting. Thanks to Harry J. Lennix' Boyd this portion of the story is much better performed and would have been a nice resolution to the story if, you know, the cult leader wasn't actually a violent maniac. One of the few bright spots week after week is Lennix' performance. Assuming this show doesn't last, he, Acker and Penikett are the only actors whose next project I would check out without question. They all deserve better than they have to work with here.

Luckily for the dramatic tension (again using that phrase in the lightest sense) there's more than enough idiots on both sides of the fence to ensure something blows up. The ATF agent is a big enough idiot consider going on a killing spree to catch Sparrow, the cult leader, and prevent his own illegal actions (planting the evidence that got the warrant in the first place) from coming to light. But to see this guy say tell the reporters that there aren't any more survivors and then see Boyd carry out Echo and adding the least convincing, "Thank God" ever... that's some nice unintentional comedy.

Oh, one last thing. I have to mention the line, "God has a message for you. And that message is... move your ass." Yet again, unintentional humor is the gift that just keeps on giving. It also utterly breaks character with everything Echo/Esther had done up to that point in the episode and further breaks down any confidence in the mind wiping/implanting procedure. Too much is happening to undercut this organizations credibility if the basic science behind it is failing. Once again, if this was only happening to Echo, she could stand out, instead of blending into the crowd. But apparently, Dushku has stomping ass hardwired into her DNA. It would be nice if this show would stop having sucking hardwired into its.

Final score: D+

No comments:

Post a Comment