So Dollhouse is back for round two, much to the shock and awe of many, including myself. Season One was hit or miss, to say the least and I was one of the many that would not have been surprised if the show'd gotten canceled. So it was with no small amount of trepidation and just a touch of excitement that I tuned in to see what Whedon and company had to offer for Dollhouse 2.0.
Vows maintains the psuedo-prostitute vibe that so dominated the first season, but it had the one element that was so terribly lacking through many of Season One's lesser episodes; actual character development. The directions they went with Saunders following the reveal that she is a doll were pretty inspired, I thought. The psychological implications of what they do to these people are trippy enough, but what would it be like to be fully aware that you are not, in the truest sense of the word, a real person? Her little mind games with Topher were hilarious and a tad creepy. At the same time, they were also terribly, terribly sad.
As for this week's engagement, the only thing remarkable about it to me was seeing Apollo with a British accent (apparently, his natural one). The accent and the silly shaggy hair do left me in a pretty constant state of WTF every time he was on screen. Other than that, I wasn't too into the undercover bit. I did, however, love the way it all wrapped up. Her going all Robocop 2 on everyone was reasonably awesome. Still, tucked away in the lackluster spy story was, again, some fairly interesting character development. The reveal that Ballard was actually a clent using Echo to nail the evil gun runner was only surpassed by Ballard's induction into the fraternity of handlers.
Echo's walls are breaking and I hope we see more of it as the season progresses. It's what I wanted out of the first season but never got. They topped the episode off with Echo and Saunders discussing her days as Whiskey, once again revealing more hints of darkness beneath Amy Acker's ever cute exterior. For some reason, seeing someone that sweet going native is always infinitely more frightening. Alan Tudyk as Alpha in the first season had the same effect on me. Loving the darkness, though. Bring it on. I'm ready.