"And you could do anything to Eliza's personality that you wanted, right? You could make her think she was a guy if you wanted..." -MeIn light of this exchange from an interview I did with Joss before the series premiered, when I heard that this episode would involve Echo and Victor swapping imprints, I briefly wondered if Team "Dollhouse" had just given up and were openly tempting the shark-jumping gods. But "Belle Chose" spent a very small amount of time on the "Freaky Friday" scenario, and in terms of gender-swapping, only tried to play Victor's half for laughs.
"I suppose. Nobody has come in to request or pitched that story yet. She might be a guy jumping over a shark, I'm not sure." -Joss Whedon
Overall, I thought this was an improvement over last week's episode, but still problematic in that usual "Dollhouse" way.
As usual, the LA Dollhouse proves to be grossly incompetent, with the serial killer's uncle(*) somehow being able to get Victor out of the building without anyone noticing or trying to stop him, and with Victor's LoJack being conveniently missing. I'll give them a pass on the remote wipe going wrong and temporarily frying the system, as the point there was that Topher was forced by desperate circumstances to try something he didn't really know how to do. But too many "Dollhouse" episodes have the feel of those "Star Trek: The Next Generation" shows where the holodeck would malfunction and endanger the lives of the crew; at some point, it just makes all the characters seem like idiots for not turning the damn thing off.
(*) Given that he's a bigwig at Rossum, I really hope this isn't the last we see of Michael Hogan, because this episode was a real waste of Saul Mother-Frakking Tigh.
That said, it was good to have an episode set more at the Dollhouse than on Echo's mission, and one that again showed us how versatile Enver Gjokaj is. He can play other characters on the show, he can play serial killers, and he can even play dance-crazy sorority girls named Kiki. The man is good.
And I liked that Echo's gig was a straight-up call girl fantasy job, and how the serial killer was also trying to turn his victims into dolls. Too many episodes of the show try to suggest that there's some good to be gained from this business, when it's rotten to the core, and I tend to prefer episodes that don't run from that. But while I think Tim Minear was very aware of the parallel between the killer and the Dollhouse when he wrote the script, I would have liked for the characters to be more troubled by it. The closest we came was when Ballard told Adele that he was never really able to put himself in the killer's head - the implication being that Paul still can't get comfortable with what the Dollhouse is doing.
Ratings had a slight uptick this week. They're still awful, but at least they didn't drop for the third straight week.
What did everybody else think?