Raked and KT take on this week’s big episode of Dollhouse–before the month-long break. Read Raked’s thoughts below, and KT’s over here.
DOLLHOUSE: 2.04 “Belonging”
I knew this would be a big, Sierra-centric episode. And while I thought that every big episode needed to be written by the Joss man himself, this one was actually written by Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen of Dr. Horrible fame. And I must say, I loved it.
Character development alone set this episode above the rest. What made it that much more effective was that it wasn’t Echo we were discovering more about. It wasn’t Ballard (in fact, he wasn’t even in the episode). It was Sierra. It was Topher. It was even Boyd.
I think Topher is the “it” character of the season. After knowing his ultimate future in “Epitaph One,” he’s certainly been the character I’ve been most interested in this season. And here’s an episode that first introduces us to the inner workings of him.
Adelle was right. Topher has no morals. The dolls are his playthings and as long as they stay in good shape, he’s happy. We’ve never considered that he’s cared about any of them–we haven’t even thought that he really felt like he was helping any of them. It’s all just been fun and a cool job. That’s it.
So discovering that he felt that he was helping Sierra, well, that was new. Now, looking at the excitement in his eyes, you knew that part of it was due to the fact that he’d have a challenge: wiping clean a broken brain. But in the end, he thought he was helping.
Something in him told him that he needed to continue to help Sierra. Which is why he gave her Priya’s wipe.
Now, you knew as she entered the house that something bad would happen. Either Nolan would die or something so severe would happen to Sierra that Topher would be affected. Either way, Sierra would be sent back to the Dollhouse (possibly, to heal from her bloody wounds), and Nolan would be out of the picture (in prison or death).
And what happened? Priya killed Nolan. It was interesting to see that Boyd was the one to save the day, but despite all that, it was Topher I was watching. It wasn’t just that he was stuck in a terrible situation, dissecting a body to disintegrate and hide. Piece by piece, he was seeing what his actions caused. It was horrifying.
I think this was really an episode that sets the stage for his ultimate downfall. I wonder what it would have been like to see this episode having not seen “Epitaph One.” Would I have noticed how his character is changing? Would it have been that much more heartbreaking and destructive?
While sure, there were some weaker moments in this episode (say, Echo’s characterization, even though, yes, it moved plot), it certainly was a strong one overall in my eye. I can only hope it keeps the viewers’ attention until December 4, when the show returns with new episodes.