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TV Recap: Dollhouse - Stage Fright

This episode was entertaining, though it didn’t really do a lot to advance the plot. I can literally sum the episode up in two sentences: Ballard steps into an ambush and gets shot. Echo saves Sierra and a pop diva while becoming more self-aware. But there were some subtle plot advancements and it was, indeed, an entertaining episode.

Lubov tries to bust into Ballard’s apartment, but nosy neighbor busts him. He acts all intimidating like he’s going to bust into her apartment, but then just gives her an address where he wants Ballard to meet him.

When Ballard shows up, Lubov basically tells him that there’s nothing he can find out about The Dollhouse, that it’s a dead end. Later, though, he calls Ballard and tells him that there’s an old hotel that may have some clues for him.

When Ballard shows up there, he’s ambushed by a group of Russians. He seems to be getting the upper hand until he gets shot, but he still beats them all down before calling an ambulance.

Nosy neighbor comes to visit him at the hospital, but he won’t even look at her.

Echo’s engagement this week is to protect a pop diva whose stalker has been making attempts to kill her. To this end, Echo has been imprinted with the persona of a young singer looking for her big break along with the compulsion to protect the diva by whatever means necessary. Langton thinks this is too soon for Echo, so Sierra is sent along for backup, imprinted as a girl who won a number one fan contest to meet the diva.

Echo tries out for a job as the diva’s backup singer and gets the job, because otherwise the episode would be over before it began. Sierra gets backstage as the contest winner and basically hovers at the edge of things. And then…nothing happens for awhile, other than diva behavior, Echo beating up a member of the paparazzi, and Sierra being kinda dorky as the starstruck number one fan.

Just before the next concert, Echo stops by the diva’s dressing room and finds out that she’s been corresponding with the stalker. She’s a bit freaked out and somehow realizes that he’s going to make another attempt tonight, but the diva refuses to call off the show. While the concert begins, Echo runs around backstage trying to figure out how he’s going to do it, then runs onstage and commandeers a spotlight to find the stalker about to shoot the diva.

Rather than being grateful that Echo saved her life, the diva is pissed that she ruined the show. She goes into some crazy talk about the only way she can give her fans a real ending is to die on stage, and Echo realizes that she has a pact with the stalker to kill her. The diva fires Echo when she gets called on her craziness, but Echo can’t leave (that compulsion thing again), so she’s still around when the stalker kidnaps Sierra to make the diva come to him.

The Diva calls the cops and figures that she’s done all she can, but Echo disagrees and kidnaps her to meet the stalker, to the chagrin of basically everyone, especially since Ms Dewitt and her pet bulldog in a suit sent a team to rescues Sierra, which arrived just after the stalker left to meet Echo.

Anyway, the stalker shows up and they all have this big confrontation, complete with the resident shit-talking and threats to shoot eachother and everyone else, the diva’s insistence that she doesn’t really want to die, and all that fun. Echo seems to finally get fed up with it all and just pushes the diva off of a catwalk (the rope around her wrists is also tied to the catwalk, so she just dangles) then beats the crap out of the stalker when he runs over to see the diva go splat.

Mission accomplished, people.

Sierra’s handler thinks Echo’s lost it, and Dominic (the pit bull in a suit) agrees. He wants to send Echo to “the attic”, but Ms Dewitt feels that Echo completed the mission admirably, since she saved the diva from the person who really wanted her dead – herself – and made sure it won’t happen again.

Langton and Dr. Fred speculate that Echo’s developing the ability to think outside the box. Langton thinks this is good, but Dr. Fred disagrees, saying it’s not a good idea for the “Dolls” to stand out.

So she’s developing ways to perform that aren’t strictly part of her programming. Yet another sign that she’s beating her programming.

Another sign is when Echo is walking through the Dollhouse and sees Sierra’s handler watching her and giving her dirty looks. Sierra then comes out of a door and looks like she’s about to talk to Echo, but Echo subtly shakes her head and keeps walking, seemingly knowing that Sierra’s handler doesn’t want them talking.

Echo is definitely remembering things that she shouldn’t. I bet this is what happened to Alpha, too. I wonder how long it will be until we see him, if we haven’t already?