Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Review of Dollhouse's 2x06: "The Left Hand"

Written by Tracy Bellomo
Directed by Wendy Stanzler

Daniel: “Why are you telling me this?”
Cindy: “Because it’s funny and because in twenty minutes you won’t remember.”

Well that settles it – Cindy’s a total bitch. I know the last episode confirmed that but this one seemed to go a little further in decimating the slightest twinge of sympathy I might have felt for her. Rossum must have had a field day when they hired. Cindy’s got no conscience at all, not anything.

She showed her true colours when Daniel was strapped down by going into great detail about how Rossum manufactured everything that he believed in. Talk about being vicious. Daniel wanted to believe that he was fighting Rossum organically and Cindy made sure that she shattered the illusion with great detail.

Of course the one thing she hadn’t banked on was Daniel’s newfound friend in Echo. Echo and Daniel working together was great in this episode. They might have had help in escaping but at least they had a similar goal – taking Rossum down. The only thing was that their partnership was hampered thanks to Bennett.

Programming Daniel to go nuts on Echo wasn’t very sporting of Bennett, though consistent with the girl’s overall feelings for Echo. The only problem was that Cindy and her thugs got in the way and it was them who Daniel ended up killing instead of Echo. At least Bennett tried but clearly she’s no Alpha.

I’d like to say that Cindy’s death evoked some emotional punch but it really didn’t. I didn’t care about it one bit but at least her death had a surprise turnaround for Daniel. By pretending that the Dollhouse didn’t exist at his press conference and that was Madeline was insane was a genuine surprise.

I’m not exactly sure how this will aid him in his obvious revenge mission against Rossum but more power to him for refusing to be a pawn in their games. The flipside is that Madeline suffered as a result with Bennett having to wipe her at the DC Dollhouse instead. I guess it’s better than seeing her killed but even still; things aren’t looking good for her, are they?

As for Echo, the first quarter of this episode was dedicated to torturing her. The female equivalent of the beloved whump niche in TV. Bennett certainly had the best reasons in the world to be livid with Echo and I liked that we got to see them instead of having to conjecture what they were.

Caroline left Bennett virtually to die in some kind of a mission and Bennett got a dead arm for being her friend. No wonder Bennett’s pissed off with her. Not that I advocate what Bennett put Echo/Caroline through but at least it’s understandable and there’s an interesting little scene where Bennett points out that everyone seems to choose Echo most of the time.

I don’t know if it’s Meta on Joss Whedon’s part but it’s interesting. We’ve seen enough people on this show who are in love/attached to Echo in some capacity – Paul, Adelle, Boyd, Alpha but is Topher really one of them? Given that he chose Echo’s safety as a priority, Bennett seems to think so and she wasn’t happy with it.

I can’t believe that for a large segment of this episode that I was interested in the banter between Topher and Bennett. Only on a Whedon show do you get geek offs that are actually infectious, even if the two people in question lack a certain moral quandary. Then again, maybe it was also supposed to highlight that Topher does notice certain girls.

He was attracted to Bennett when they first met and certainly bowled over by her genius when he realised who she really was. He even felt bad about having to knock her out in a bid to try and stop Daniel from killing Echo and something tells me that the two of them will interact in the remaining seven episodes of the series.

As for Echo being alone in the street with parts of Caroline resurfacing – well, it was going to happen at some point. Having this whole smack down with Daniel and Rossum was probably the best opportunity for things to go down but something also tells me that Echo won’t be enjoying her freedom for too long. Especially given that a certain someone is back in the next episode and that Rossum are noting her specialness to boot.

Adelle in the DC Dollhouse was an unexpected highlight in this episode for me. I loved seeing her and Stuart going toe to toe with one another, only for her to gain the upper hand. With any luck, she’ll soon be able to achieve that one with Harding as well. Also it was far less odd that seeing Victor imprinted as Topher. Good likeness and physical comedy by Enver Gjokaj but still a little jarring. I guess the world can only handle one Topher at a time.

Also in “The Left Hand”

In regards to the title, is that referring to Bennett’s left hand being the one that’s dead?

Topher (re alcohol): “Mmm, good stuff. Drink?”
Adelle: “No.”
Topher: “Can I have one?”
Adelle: “Absolutely not.”

If Cindy was that repulsed with having to sleep with Daniel, why didn’t she ask her bosses to programme him into not wanting to sleep with her?

Topher: “Is it weird that I asked about your arm?”
Bennett: “Honestly, it’s refreshing.”

Adelle (to Stuart while grabbing his balls): “If you don’t return my Active, I will send someone to cut these off.”

Topher and Bennett worked together to try and get the disrupter to specifically target both Daniel and Echo’s brains. They were also surprised when discovering the other lied to them.

Echo (to Daniel, re Bennett): “She wanted to me to know how it felt. It feels bad.”

Daniel (re Rossum): “They didn’t create me, only parts of me. How can I untangle it?”
Echo: “Does it matter?”

It’s funny that Topher assumed that the real Bennett was dead and had his/her brain imprinted into Summer Glau. Mainly because people assumed that she would play an Active if cast on the show.

Topher: “This isn’t about Caroline, it’s about Echo.”
Bennett: “It’s the same person.”

Echo (re Daniel): “He’s gone. Something else is here.”
Cindy: “Oh God, Doll speak.”

Paul was missing from this episode as was Sierra again and Boyd’s had very little to do in these past two episodes as well.

Topher (to Victor as Topher): “It wouldn’t be a second opinion. It’d be the same opinion twice.”

Victor: “Did I fall asleep?”
Topher: “For a little while.”
Victor: “Shall I go now?”
Topher: “For the love of God, yes.”

Chronology: Takes place directly from where “The Public Eye” left off.

If this was a proper two parter (which it felt like to me), then “The Left Hand” was a good second part. Bennett’s still not a departure for Summer Glau as an actress but she’s interesting enough and Rossum’s overall scheming has now backfired on them thanks to Daniel’s turnaround.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

1 comment:

Nat said...

I really enjoyed this episode. It was a little confusing especially the last segment, where it felt a little rushed, but it was one of the best Dollhouse episodes.

I adored the geek-off and attraction between Bennett and Topher. It was adorable and I think mostly genuine even if they both had their own agendas.
Enver Gjokaj was superb as Topher though, it was very believable. It made me sad though, as its obvious thats he's an excellent, yet we get to see so little of him in this show. There's a still a few episodes to go, but I really wished the show had utilised him more. Hopefully he'll find a gig that better showcases his talents in the future.

Cindy really was a bitch in this episode. The fact that she felt nothing for Daniel after all their time together, shows she herself is practically a shell. However handlers like her show why the Washington house seems to be a lot more successful than the LA one which is always botching up missions!

I didn't really get why Daniel said what he did at the hearing. Was he following Rossum's orders or going against?? He seemed to be exonerating them but to me it wasn't really that obvious.
Poor Madeline though, she's really gone through it. I'm not sure how many episodes she was meant to be in but hopefully we'll get to see more of her.