Eliza Dushku may be the star of Dollhouse, the story of Echo, a woman who was turned into a “Doll” to fulfill the needs and fantasies of the rich and power.
It may be the story of how she slowly started to become self-aware and grow a new self inside her, much to the disapproval of Rossum, the evil Doll makers.
However, you could argue that it’s also the story of another person, who thought she was a loyal employee, on the fast track to success, convinced that what her company is doing is right and proper..or at least convince herself it was.
Then, one day, she became self-aware, and decided to be her own woman, even if Rossum disapproved about that, too.
Of course, that person is Adelle DeWitt, wonderfully played by the woman who should be a female version of Rupert Giles like, yesterday…Olivia Williams. This was especially true this past Friday in “Stop-Loss” and “The Attic”, where she really had to take a hard look at Rossum when she realizes it doesn’t want to stop at ful filling the needs of the rich. Actually, it has an urge of its own that must be fulfilled with a doll…world domination. She had to ask how she could deny Rossum that urge, and avoid being dead or being stuck in the company’s version of Hell, “the Attic.”
Adelle started in a division that made replacement organs out of stem cells, and that eventually led to her running the Los Angeles Dollhouse. Somewhere on that road, she did someone especially bad, according to evil bigwig Matthew Harding, but she still wound up being a boss. When we first met her, she was seen as the one who ran the Dollhouse, and the best saleswoman for it. Add a friendly spot of tea, and the client is hooked. She was also busy trying to keep the Dollhouse hidden from a certain FBI agent, and using favors from the rich and powerful to do it. Of course, there was the problem of Alpha, an Active that went insane and escaped.
Eventually, she saw herself as a very important person at Rossum, maybe to the point that she could abuse that power. That’s why she invented “Miss Lonelyhearts”, and enjoyed an illicit affair with “Roger” who was actually Victor, an Active. She didn’t see it as forcing herself on him. She just programmed him to love her, because it’s a lot easier than the singles scene.
Some may find that ironic, since she had one of the handlers who raped Sierra killed through Mellie, a “sleeper” Active. However, Adelle wasn’t aware of what another major player at Rossum was doing to Sierra…with the company’s blessing. Once she was told what Nolan Kinnard was doing to Sierra, and was determined to literally own her, she thought she had no choice. Topher’s decision to turn Sierra back into Priya, which led to her killing him in self-defense, would lead to Adelle deciding to turn the other way, as Rossum looked the other way to what Nolan was doing. However, she would not forget.
Then Echo was grabbed by the D.C. Dollhouse after she discovered Senator Daniel Perrin is a Doll. She escapes, which looks bad for DeWitt. It’s not long before Harding takes over the Dollhouse, and Adelle is demoted to being his lackey. That sticks in her craw, but not enough to do anything drastic. That happens when Topher reveals his most dangerous invention: a portable ray that can turn anyone into a Doll. She hands it to Harding, and she has her job back. She sees it as a way to protect the Dollhouse, but it was mostly ambition. She thought she had to act like one of the boys to win the company’s favor again.
However, that takes a toll on her. “Stop-Loss” shows her drinking a lot of whiskey, while trying to show she is in control. However, she tried to have one last sexual encounter with “Roger”, or should we say Victor, before he is released from service. However, he rejects her because he has found someone else, namely Sierra. She is as upset as any client who wanted a Doll as a lover. Eventually, Adelle takes a shower with the Actives. This is a big scene because we wonder whether this shower has provided a point of clarity, or is it just a respite before she resumes being Matthew Harding’s Doll, there to serve his wishes and urges.
A few minutes later, it looks like Adelle is still Harding’s Doll, when she sends Echo to the Attic. While the staff, and Paul Ballard, are shocked over her decision, she justifies it in many ways. First, she reminds Boyd that once he joined Rossum, he had to obey their orders, or find himself in the Attic or in a grave. She also says “I have seen the future, Mr. Langston, and it is not for the weak.” He may argue that is this is true, she wouldn’t last, either.
By the end of the episode, we see that Adelle is right: Rossum’s future is not for the weak, and she has stopped being weak. Sending Echo to the Attic was really a chance to dig into Rossum’s darkest secrets. Once Echo got them, Adelle got an advantage to protect herself, the Actives and the Dollhouse. As someone once said, she aims to misbehave…again, but it is for the right reasons, not for an urge.
So what happens next? Will Team Echo win? Maybe not, or the world of “Epitaph One” would not exist. She will keep fighting for something more important than a corporation whose attitude towards humanity isn’t, well, human.
It won’t be long before we find out when new episodes of Dollhouse start on January 8th.