A step down from last week’s episode, “Stage Fright” did offer a few bright moments that made it worthwhile. For one, who knew that Eliza Dushku could sing? And another, who thought that the pop song by Rayna was catchy as hell (composed by Joss Whedon’s brother, Jed, I believe)? The beginning shows Echo catching Sierra and saying how they’re friends and friends help each other out. Awesome… BFFs!
Anyway, so the setup for this episode is that a pop singer, Rayna, has a crazed fan who is trying to kill her, so her manager goes to the Dollhouse to hire someone to protect her. The conversation about rather having someone who ‘wants’ to protect you instead of someone who is paid to protect you is basically the whole idea of the illegal Dollhouse. So Echo takes on her new personality as an aspiring singer who lands a dream gig, backing up Rayna (singing and protecting). Also, for reinforcement Sierra takes on the personality of Rayna’s number one fan and is near her and Echo all the time.
Some of this didn’t make much sense to me. When giving Echo her singer personality, she was also uploaded with the skill to kick ass in case she’s face to face with Rayna’s killer. But what was Sierra’s purpose? She was just her number one fan. How is that reinforcement? She could’ve at least been programmed with some combat skills as well to save herself when she was confronted by the crazed fan.
Meanwhile, Agent Ballard is still trying to track down the Dollhouse. The “woah” moment of the episode was finding out that the man Ballard’s been pushing for information, Lubov, is actually an Active at the Dollhouse. I guess that makes sense. Lubov can deceive Ballard all he wants, or even lure him into an abandon hotel’s basement where he’s ambushed and shot. Pretty wicked.
The rest of the episode plays out how Echo accomplishes her mission by keeping Rayna safe, but through nontraditional methods that took outside-the-box thinking. Echo was able to detect that the real threat against Rayna’s life was herself. At the same time, she felt a close bond between Sierra and wanted to save her as much (or even more) than saving Rayna, which was her programmed mission.
Dominic and Adelle share different views on Echo’s performance; Dominic thinks she’s dangerous and recommends they put her in the “Attic” (whatever that is) while Adelle stresses how Echo helped save Rayna from the one person who actually wanted her dead, which was herself. Langton and Dr. Saunders also talk about how Echo is special, creating ways on her own to solve problems. Dr. Saunders comments that Echo wasn’t always the best, hinting about what happened to Alpha.
And the episode, like last week’s, ended with a bang. While Echo and Sierra pass each other, Echo disinctly warns Sierra when she tries to approach her since Sierra’s handlers are near. The notion that they acknowledged each other even after their treatments is puzzling, yet exhilarating. Just like last week with Echo repeating a gesture, this showcases how the Actives aren’t the clean slates everything expects them to be.