Dollhouse season 2 episode 8 review

Alan Tudyk is crazier than a box of frogs in episode 8 of Dollhouse…

2.8. A Love Supreme

In some ways the spectacular return of Alpha in season one was the highlight of that year, so it was kind of natural that he’d be back again this year. Except I’d thought they’d hold that till the finale, which they still might do.

Alan Tudyk reprises Alpha who is now slightly more showman and slightly less Hannibal Lector. Why he’s skulked around for so long before putting one of his dastardly schemes into plan for Dollhouse isn’t obvious, but it’s clearly been playing on his minds.

His first action is to get the attention of Dollhouse by systematically working his way through Echo’s romantic engagements clients, killing them. But initially, Dollhouse is too preoccupied with the returned Echo to really take notice. Adelle’s new super-bitch personality has her confining Echo in any attempt to find out how she survived in a Doll-like state outside the confines of the Dollhouse. This turns out to be a rather pointless cat and mouse exercise, because before the episode is run, she’s well aware how Echo does that particular trick. But then everyone else knows, so it’s about time she got with the programme.

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There’s actually a rather engaging scene where Echo is put back onto the active rostrum and dispatched to a previous client. Topher discovers that he’s actually redundant for this active, as she can pull the appropriate personality to the foreground without even a treatment.

But sadly, when she gets to the engagement, Alpha’s already paid a visit and Mr. Pearce won’t be playing Prince Charming again soon, or ever. Soon it becomes obvious that Alpha is booking all the female actives, and that he’s got unsurprisingly dark intentions.

He blows one client up, and Dollhouse predicts he’ll go after Joel Mynor (Patton Oswalt), a tech billionaire that Echo worked for in season one. This is all a set-up for Alpha getting back into the Dollhouse and creating the sort of chaos that only he can.

The fine irony of all this is that Adelle’s acerbic wit isn’t much use against Alpha, and she’s forced to rely on the very people she’s abused to survive. Tudyk is entirely over the top as Alpha, who is now a slick dresser and acting like a circus ring master. He has, however, some nice lines, of the variety that only Joss Whedon can pen.

When he first gets into Dollhouse he heads for a cosy chat with Adelle where he reveals the true nature of Echo to her (why, I’ve actually no idea). When she describes his evidence as ‘most intriguing’, Alpha retorts that what he loves most about the British is “their talent for understatement, also Python”.

This is all a sideline to him appearing to threaten Mynor, which is a subterfuge to lure Ballard down to Topher’s lab.

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What happens here is most curious, and quite twisted. Alpha creates mayhem in the Dollhouse by using very similar technology that Topher devised only last week to send all the Dolls crazy. That allows him to corner Ballard and remove his mind, placing it in his own brain! Echo can’t kill Alpha now, because she’ll kill Ballard, whose empty body is now on life support!

From season one it was evident that Alpha had a major bee in his bonnet about Echo, disfiguring Whiskey to make her #1. But clearly it’s gone well beyond that particular psychosis, and he’s now somehow connected his unhappy state with her ability to love anyone but him. He also made some curious remarks about not being at the Dollhouse for Echo, as she’s not ready for him yet. Please don’t tell me that this is the old The Hitcher plot, and that he’s turning Echo into the person who is capable of stopping him?

Whatever, this is clear a set-up for a happy-or-not ending for the show, which is only five episodes away now and the last will air on the 22nd of January.

But I must away now, because Fox have just screened about two episodes and I’m getting behind covering them! In the next adventure I’m told that Victor is released from service, which creates all manner of problems.

Read our review of episode 7 here.