Spoilers for tonight's "Dollhouse" coming up just as soon as you tell me about the retirement plan...
In an ideal world, I would devote a lot of time to extolling the virtues of "Belonging," easily the strongest episode of this uneven second season of "Dollhouse" and one of the better episodes, period, of this up-and-down series. I would write once again about how terrific Dichen Lachman is as Sierra (and as Priya), and I would write about how remarkable it is that Topher has become, if not a sympathetic character this season, then at least a much more interesting one than the sociopathic quipster he was in season one. I would write about how well the episode followed up on the revelation in season one's "Needs" that Priya was essentially a slave of the Dollhouse, and how this episode managed to cleverly have its cake and eat it too, by showing how the Dollhouse as an institution could be so corrupted, even as our central characters were revealed to be ignorant of, and horrified by, the truth of the situation. (I might also spend some time wondering why Topher couldn't just do as Priya asked and wipe her back down to her pre-Dollhouse life; with Nolan gone, and the technology they have at hand, precisely why are they keeping her a slave when they know better?) I might write for a while about how good Enver Gjokaj is at playing a lovestruck Victor-as-doll, or about all the delightful malice dripping from Olivia Williams' voice as DeWitt called Nolan a "scumbag one tick shy of a murderer," or about how much I would look forward to the always-terrific Keith Carradine as an amoral Rossum exec. And I would note, as I and so many others so often do, that it's not a coincidence that one of the series' better episodes kept Eliza Dushku's presence to a minimum.
But this isn't an ideal world. Fox has pulled "Dollhouse" from its November sweeps schedule, and will burn through the next six episodes by airing them as Friday double features for three straight weeks in early December. That'll leave three episodes left on the initial order of 13, and while the Fox scheduling chief promised all 13 will air, he never said when, so it could be a while. And based on the ratings so far, and Fox's probably-wise decision to pull the whole abominably-rated Friday lineup during sweeps, I would say that the odds of seeing any episodes past the 13 are virtually non-existent. The show's done, and all we can do now is watch the remaining episodes when they air, hope they're good, and again ask the question about where things went awry.
And lord knows we've already played that game a time or twelve, blaming everyone from Fox (for alleged creative meddling), to Dushku (for a limited range), to Whedon (for placing too much faith in Dushku), to the concept itself (which has led to some terrific episodes like this one but also some flat-to-terrible ones).
And at the end of this particular long, strange week, I don't have the energy to once again play the blame game any more than I have to further sing the praises of all involved in the making of "Belonging." So talk about the good, or the bad, and we'll get back to it in early December, okay?