Episode Review: Dollhouse 2×06: "The Left Hand"

The episode starts where “The Public Eye” left off:  Bennett Halverson’s lab at the DC Dollhouse. She’s still torturing Echo, but we don’t know why. Bennett also wonders why Echo doesn’t cry out for God because she’s in pain. She sees Echo as a shell, in a feeble, simple world where there’s “just pain, over and over.” Oh, and when we get to “why”, then it gets worse. She’ll see to that.

Cindy, meanwhile, spills everything to Perrin about Rossum’s plan to disassociate itself with the Dollhouses. She points out that Perrin was a nobody until Rossum “improved him” to become the rising star of the Senate, meant for better things (for Rossum, mainly). She also says being his wife was awful, but he’ll forget what she just said.

As for Adelle and Topher, they’re in DC to talk some sense into the Dollhouse there and get Echo back. They also hope to scan Daniel’s brain and stop Maddie from testifying. Topher’s all excited by the limo and the booze, but Adelle tells him to calm down.

Back to Bennett, she shows Echo a cartridge that has her memory of the last time she saw Echo, who was actually Caroline at the time. Whatever happened, it ended badly, and cost Bennett her left hand. She then imprints the memory into Echo’s head. Now, recalling Joss Whedon’s claim that the memories in the cartridges that were uncovered in “Epitaph One” may not be the whole story, maybe that goes for what Bennett shows Echo. We’ll see.

Adelle meets with the head of the DC Dollhouse, Stewart Lipman. He’s played by Ray Wise, well known as Leland in Twin Peaks and Satan in Reaper. As Lipman, he says he’d like to give back Echo, but there are protocols to follow, She interfered with Rossum’s plan for Perrin, and it takes time. He also asks why Topher is there. He says he has his “best man” filling in for him. It’s Victor as Topher 2.0, or rather, VicTopher.

How good is he? It’s like Topher has a geekier brother, and it’s very uncanny.

Meanwhile, Bennett is told Topher is there, and she suddenly acts like…well…a girl. She fixes her hair, and prepares to meet him. Seeing these two exchange pleasantries and small talk is cute, yet disturbing. He compliments her accomplishments while she says his skin is like a pig. After they calm down, she tells Topher he won’t get Echo back but is welcome to look her over.

At the office, Lipman suggests Adelle leave town without Echo. Adelle then tries to use her seductive charms to convince him to compromise. They consist of grabbing his reproductive system, then calmly telling him she gets Echo back or he’ll be killed horribly and get castrated…maybe in that order. In fact, she says this in such a sensual manner, it’s also quite arousing. Now, how come she couldn’t do that to Matthew Harding?

Topher looks over Echo and notices she’s been drugged. Bennett plays dumb, but not about his disruptor ray. She even suggests how it can be made into a taser. He then tries it on her, sort of, just to check if Bennett has always been Bennett. He’s able to start getting a download of Daniel’s brain scan, whch is needed to stop the hearing. As he’s doing this, he talks to VicTopher, and they chat about what Bennett’s like.

Meanwhile, Daniel wakes up, and finds Echo. She gets a flash of that memory Bennett gave her, and suddenly her left arm hurts. They leave, and Bennett sees this, Instead of stopping them, she slams her head into a monitor. That way, she can say Echo did this, and keep Topher on her side.

As we see Daniel and Echo in their “Doll state”, we see they’re two simple people who can figure things out. That’s not in the brochures, but it is now. They’re smart enough to remove the GPS chips from their necks.

Then, Topher and Bennett come up with a plan to disable the two Dolls from a distance, thanks to Topher’s ray. Of course, he’ll need Daniel’s brain scan to do it, and hopefully this is where he remembers to double-cross her.

Still, he is quite taken by her, and her technology in her lab. He’s also surprised that she claims a brain can hold many imprints. In Daniel’s case, they retain his true self while making him “better”. Well, we may not hold to that, as Mal Reynolds would say, but maybe Echo’s proving Bennett’s point with three dozen or so selves inside her. It’s also pretty ironic that Summer Glau is portraying the type of “computer technician” who abused and scarred River Tam’s brain to make her a weapon in the name of Blue Sun and the Alliance. Maybe Bennett is what River Tam could have been after they finished using her as a soldier.

Daniel returns to the family compound, but he wonders which of his memories he can trust. Echo asks “does it matter?”, and we switch to a memory where he’s talking to Cindy. She tells him that despite his past, “all that matters is who you decide to be.” Considering that’s been pre-programmed, it’s ironic. Still, he figures as the DollSenator Perrin, he can still do damage to Rossum. Echo’s worried, though. She wants to stay as Echo, and not turn back into Caroline. That may be due to Bennett “reminding” Caroline how she left Bennett behind in an accident, which led to her losing the use of her left arm. As long as these Dolls assert their true humanity, they can decide who they can be.

Then Topher uses his disruptor ray on Daniel and Echo. It does nothing to Echo, but turns Daniel into an assassin. Bennett explains Echo deserves this. She says Caroline was her friend before she deserted her in that accident. She also notices Echo has a hold over people, or Topher wouldn’t consider the Doll to be his friend. Well, that’s enough to end this love story, and Topher knocks Bennett out.

While Echo tries to run away, Daniel is determined to kill her. Echo’s pleas to Daniel, especially saying that “you can belong to you” don’t work. Cindy arrives, but doesn’t understand what’s going on…until he strangles her to death. Topher re-zaps Daniel just in time to realize what he’s done. What will he do? What will Echo do?

Daniel gets to the hearing and reveals his wife is dead. He’s also come across a shocking discovery: a group of companies is trying to destroy Rossum because of its medical advances. This group is responsible for planting a bomb in his car…which Cindy happened to be inside when it blew up. Maddie, meanwhile, was actually in a mental institution in Canada for three years, much to her surprise. In short, there is no Dollhouse, and Maddie’s insane.

You can trust him. He’s Senator Daniel Perrin, a man with a vision of the future who has given up everything. He loses a wife, but gains respect and credibility. Brought to you by Rossum, because Your Mind is Our Business..and the key to global domination. Eat your hearts out (or whatever internal organs you have), Visitors!

So what can Adelle do? Nothing, except find Echo and hope that will stop Rossum somehow. Maddie, meanwhile, will be thrown to the wolves. She really winds up in Bennett’s clutches, and becomes a Doll again. She’ll be a handy tool in her plans to kill Echo, or worse.

In the end, Dollhouse as we know it is over, and a new era begins with Echo on the run…but where will she go?

One thing is for sure: she is much more capable in deadling with the outside world than Adelle thinks, but is that enough?

And where’s Paul Ballard? Now that Maddie/Mellie/November’s a Doll again, his agreement with Adelle is over. What will be his role in all this?

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We have a sci-fi show that makes profound statements about identity, self, and manipulation, and it’s been given a death sentence even before it gets a chance to prove itself. That’s why Fridays on Fox will be known for Gordon Ramsey and his intimidation of would-be chefs, and leftover reruns. If only Fridays could be known for drama that can be considered a gourmet treat.

Fans of <
em>Dollhouse can still feast on double-headers on the 11th and 18th, which promise the return of some familiar faces.

This week’s doubleheader pulled in slightly more than two million people, with a .82 rating. That’s much less than reruns of House and Bones.

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Post Author: David Mello

Worked nearly eleven years at a radio station as a board operator, news reader, and assistant producer for baseball broadcasts. Have been a staff writer for Whedonopolis since July 2008

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