Dollhouse episode 4 review

Dollhouse has a toneless hour when it really needed a colourful one...

The fourth episode of Dollhouse is called Gray Hour, and watching it, I started to get annoyed that this show hasn’t yet kicked the tyres and lit the fires, so to speak. I so wanted to like Dollhouse because of its creative heritage, but so far the only similarity between this and the best of Buffy and Firefly is the running time.

It didn’t really help that the whole story this week is encapsulated by two really stupid plot points that could only be attributed to sloppy writing at best. The story starts with Echo being a midwife on top of a mountain! WTF? I know medical insurance isn’t cheap, but that is the lamest excuse for erasing a person’s brain I can come up with! Surely if it was important, you wouldn’t subject a pregnant women and unborn child to the blood pressure and oxygen deficit issues associated with high attitude? Plain stupid.

Then we move to Eliza Dushku playing a hooker, again. I didn’t buy that in the first episode, but it seems to be a personal fantasy of the Dollhouse creative team, so they keep doing it repeatedly.

Except this time she’s faking err…faking, and she’s actually an expert thief intent on getting two criminals and an antiquities expert into a secret vault beneath the hotel she’s flaunting herself about.

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From this point things go well until they actually get into the vault, and the antiquities expert takes a very small piece of the Elgin Marbles (the person who wrote this bit has obviously never seen them…) and locks Echo and the two bag men inside the vault.

They’ve got 30 minutes to get out, before the security in the building is aware of them, conveniently. There are two complications. The first is that the rat that ran off with the statue stabbed one of the men. And just to make things really fun, Echo has a phone call that alters everything. She’s telling Boyd what’s happened, when the sound of an analogue modem interrupts, and amazingly resets her memory to blank.

Oops. Now these two men are trapped in a vault with Echo the expert in blank pages, and not ‘Taffy’ the criminal mastermind.

It’s obviously the work of renegade Alpha, but it takes them at least another 25 minutes for the Dollhouse team to work that out. In the meanwhile, they give Sierra the same imprint they gave the first Echo to try and get her out.

Much happens that  is of little consequence, and then the alarms go off, bringing a small army of security guards down on them. Cue the second WTF moment!

A gun fight breaks out, at which point the stabbed guy fishes out a smoke grenade he picked up earlier and they both use the ‘cover’ to entirely escape. I thought I’d tuned out for a moment or something, but on rewind, no, it was that simple to get past all the guards. Did the last page of this script read ‘we build to an exciting escape… if anyone can think one up on the day we shoot it’?

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This show needs to cut out the terminally dumb stuff, and get so much more interesting at least two episodes ago. I’m bored with everyone other than Echo and Boyd being bad guys, and I’m bored waiting for her to run into Agent Ballard, and I’m bored with the adolescent Eliza Dushku sex fantasies, and I’m bored not seeing Alpha’s face. I’m bored, and I’m getting progressively more bored with each episode.

I think it needs to get to the point, before it’s too late for there to be one to Dollhouse.

Check out our review of episode 3 here.