Alright, so the ratings for Dollhouse dropped 15% from the pilot but that didn’t mean the episode plummeted in quality. In fact, “The Target” was a stronger episode presenting questions and mystery that will keep this show going strong (hopefully).
So let’s recap the episode. Echo has her new assignment: to spend a weekend with an adventure-crazed guy, Richard Connell. Together they white water rafted, climbed mountains, and hunted deer. But that didn’t quench Richard’s craving for adrenaline. So what’s next? He plays out The Most Dangerous Game by actually hunting Echo. Echo runs for her life while Richard tracks her with bow and arrow in hand.
Throughout the episode there are flashbacks from months before that begins to answer some of the back-story the audience will obviously want. An Active named Alpha went crazy and killed a number of people in the Dollhouse. Boyd then begins his job at the Dollhouse as Echo’s handler.
As the flashbacks and Echo running for her life dominate the episode, we also see Agent Ballard continuing to research the Dollhouse. He arrives at the scene from the last episode and later on returns to his apartment claiming to his neighbor that he won’t stop until he finds her (Echo).
The action sequences of Richard hunting Echo provided the bulk of the entertainment while the flashbacks served as a longer story arc. Who is Alpha? It seems like he’s out there somewhere. If so, who is he after? And why?
The conclusion of the episode was well done. Echo is saved by Boyd and kills Richard. And after Echo takes her treatment, she remembers an action Richard taught her by pounding her shoulder (“shoulder to the wheel”). This will certainly be the bread and butter for this show: displaying how and what Echo remembers to solving certain questions and finding out who Alpha is.
Overall, this was a very strong episode that shows the potential this series has. I find it incredibly creepy whenever Echo takes a treatment after, when she acts like a child. Not that I don’t like the idea, it just freaks me out a bit. Anyway, again Eliza Dushku held her own as the lead of Dollhouse. Will this formula continue to work? Does Joss Whedon have any tricks up his sleeve? I’m willing to find out.